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  • Librarianship and Information Science in the Islamic World, 1966–1999: An Annotated Bibliography
  • Lawrence J. McCrank
Librarianship and Information Science in the Islamic World, 1966–1999: An Annotated Bibliography. by Sterling Joseph Coleman, Jr.. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2005. ix, 425 pp. $60.00. ISBN 0-8108-5179-2.

This bibliography of 1,950 entries covers publications on librarianship and information science in the Islamic world, as the title defines its subject and scope. A publication's scope, with its inclusion and exclusion, is always problematic, but especially for this subject. While many publications listed are substantial, others are one- to two-page newsletter communications; news coverage as such is not included. Rather than a topical approach, entries are arranged country by country, then by author.

The Islamic world is presented by geographic regions (not necessarily historical or cultural entities), that is, it begins with Europe (the Balkan states), then moves through Turkey around the Mediterranean, back to the Persian Gulf, and then to Islamic Central Asia and South Asia. The editor includes in the Islamic World Slavic countries with significant Muslim populations but not necessarily African countries with rising numbers of Muslims; instead, he covers the core Middle East, [End Page 338] stretching to borderland states of the former Soviet Union (not Mongolia) all the way to Malaysia.

The book covers Western publications about the Islamic world from research centers and libraries in Europe and North America, such as the Library of Congress, but not necessarily material about these institutions, which are major depositories of Islamic material outside the defined Islamic world. An historical perspective is often lacking. One will not find, for example, important recent research on the great Islamic libraries of al-Andalus because Spain is not perceived to be part of the modern Islam world, even though it was Muslim, and Arabic was one of its two main languages, for over seven centuries. Historical research about libraries and librarianship in ages past is neglected, for this bibliography concentrates on the present—or the last generation of the past century. Expatriates and Muslim communities abroad, with their Islamic Centers, news agencies, and schools, are not always included. Only thirty-six entries take in the Islamic world as a whole, cutting across national boundaries. Each region has as much.

Without a subject thesaurus to guide inclusion or indexing for alternative access, the subject itself is fuzzy. The preface clarifies the focus as librarianship, not libraries, although the two are often inseparable. The modern blending of information professions makes such clear distinctions today almost impossible. The book, for example, covers libraries and those who work in them and write about them but does not adequately address the broader subject of information science or such information agencies as archives and records centers. It includes publishing but not necessarily electronic media. And there are discrepancies in coverage by country; the book goes back only to 1994 for Saudi Arabia so as not to duplicate other bibliographies published in 1988 and 1994; for Turkey it goes back to 1984.

Entries themselves appear old-style, without date of publication after inverted name entry, and form or entry is often inconsistent, with initials and first names appearing indiscriminately. Citations leave something to be desired; pagination and feature notation are omitted for monographs, so that one cannot judge size or if illustrations, maps, and so on are provided. Pagination for embedded references in serials sometimes appears misplaced at the beginning rather than the end of the series element. Occasional syntax problems appear in data element sequences. ERIC numbers are inserted before publication dates, which otherwise are appended to the publisher string. ISBN and ISSN numbers would have been helpful for online title and citation verification, as in interlibrary borrowing. Foreign-language title transcriptions are as they appear, so they are not consistent in transliteration. Author names, often Westernized, are all over the place; one cannot even count on the Prophet's name being consistent or with proper diacriticals. Monograph and article foreign titles are translated in English but not by journal and series titles. A sample check on transcriptions and translations revealed occasional problems, despite help from German, Dutch, Russian, Turkish, and...


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