University of Virginia Library

5. Library Journals

The broad field of library publications—including general studies of librarianship as well as accounts of individual libraries—is immense and, since any material dealing with books may potentially be of significance to bibliographers, cannot be ignored. It is true that most of the general journals deal almost exclusively with matters of library administration, but they occasionally have articles of a historical nature and frequently review books of bibliographical interest. Fortunately, the field is well covered by an excellent index, Library Literature (1921- ), and even the period immediately before its inception (1876-1920) is relatively well covered in H. G. T. Cannons's Bibliography of Library Economy (1927), a subject (but not author) index.[26]


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Library Literature attempts to record all relevant material, wherever it appears, but it does provide a list of basic journals that are regularly and completely indexed. Thus any articles on printing, publishing, and bibliography which appear in any of the general or specialized periodicals in this field can be easily located through this index; and since, in addition, Library Literature surveys some of the important bibliographical and book-trade journals (Library, PBSA, Publishers' Weekly), it provides an extremely convenient—and sometimes over-looked—guide to bibliographical articles.[27]

Of the general library journals, those of most interest to bibliographers are probably Library Quarterly (1931- ), the leading scholarly journal in the field, Library Association Record (1899- ), especially in its earlier years, and Library Trends (1952- ), along with the more recent Journal of Library History (1966- ) and Library History (1967- ); all these journals have included articles on printers and publishers or on bibliographical trends. Most of the other established periodicals in the field—such as Library Journal (1876- ), Library World (1898- ), American Library Association Bulletin (1907- ), Special Libraries (1910- ), Wilson Library Bulletin (1914- ), Library Review (1927- ), College and Research Libraries (1939- ), and Library Resources and Technical Services (1957- )—are of less interest bibliographically, though one cannot rule them out entirely; and historical articles on printing and publishing do appear in some more specialized publications like Horn Book Magazine (1924- ), dealing with children's books, and Catholic Library World (1929- ), as well as in the Medical Library Association Bulletin (1902- ), Law Library Journal (1908- ), and Music Library Association Notes (1934- ). Many of these journals have been widely indexed—particularly in IBZ, Subject Index, and IBBB—but since all of them are taken up in Library Literature, and for a longer period of time, there is little need to consult the other indexes for this purpose.

Publications of individual research libraries present a somewhat different situation. As a general rule, they do not concentrate on library administration but rather on the contents of the libraries


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involved, and as a result they frequently contain bibliographical examinations of important or newly acquired books in their collections and often in this way supplement or correct previously published bibliographies or provide new demonstrations of bibliographical techniques. Since most major research libraries (and some lesser ones) publish journals, this kind of valuable bibliographical material is widely scattered. Again Library Literature is helpful in covering some of the principal journals, but it does not cover them all. It does take up most of the best-known ones, such as those issued by the New York Public, Bodleian, Yale, Huntington, Princeton, and Harvard libraries (as well as providing partial coverage of those from Boston Public, John Rylands, Rutgers, Library of Congress, Texas, Rochester, and Columbia). But Library Literature must be supplemented by the Subject Index if one is to cover the Aberdeen and British Museum libraries, the National Library of Wales, and additional years of the New York Public and John Rylands. Similarly, IBZ is necessary for later coverage of the Boston Public and Huntington journals; and the International Index must be turned to for some (1917-55) of the important bibliographical contributions of the American Antiquarian Society.[28] But even after supplementing Library Literature in these ways, one still does not have any systematic index to a number of other useful journals, such as those from the Syracuse, Pennsylvania, Duke, Brown, Colby, Newberry, Indiana, Durham, Kansas, Iowa, Hunt Botanical, and Kent State libraries.[29] Many additional periodicals are published by the state libraries of individual states—sometimes as the organs of state or regional library associations and sometimes independently—but these journals contain much less that would normally be of interest to bibliographers[30] and need not be included in a basic list. Many of them—and especially the regional library association publica-cations—are included in Library Literature, and the bibliographer will not be missing much if he does not pursue them beyond that


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index. Largely as a result of Library Literature, then, the indexing situation with regard to library journals is better than that for any of the other related fields upon which bibliography impinges.

A survey of this kind (reinforced by the accompanying table) only emphasizes the fact that, for the years before 1949, the periodical literature of bibliography is not—despite the existence of several excellent indexes—brought together in any single comprehensive index. Because the amount of material is so great, if all the related fields are taken together, it is probably not realistic to expect such an index to be produced retrospectively. And since librarianship has already been well provided for, perhaps the most feasible solution would be to have similarly comprehensive guides—but limited to periodical articles—for the literature of book production and bookselling and for the contents of all book-collecting and bibliographical society publications. Until such works exist, bibliographers will have to resign themselves to time-consuming searches through several indexes. But even the most energetic bibliographer cannot continually turn through all the journals not indexed anywhere. The importance of comprehensive periodical indexes is not merely that they save time in utilizing the accumulated information of the past but that they literally make possible that utilization.