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PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION
THIS manual is a guide, designed primarily to help library assistants, library school students, college students, teachers, and users of libraries in general, in gaining a knowl edge of reference books quickly. It does not pretend to be complete. The reference books and bibliographies included in this list are necessarily limited, first to those of a strictly reference character, and, secondly, to the most useful works in the English language, with some exceptions in other languages. It is obviously impossible, without exceeding the limits of one volume, to include all of the important works of reference in foreign languages, which, though often of more value than the corresponding English books, still are of restricted use owing to the comparatively small number of readers of foreign languages who frequent our libraries.
Reference books which are limited to the use of the specialist have been in like manner usually omitted. Out-of-print books have occasionally been mentioned because they are to be found in the older libraries. It sometimes happens that the best reference book on a subject is out of print.
Almost all books of reference possess defects as well as merits; it is difficult indeed to find one that is perfect. At the same time they are essential to a well-equipped library. The annotations of the titles herein contained are largely of a descriptive character, showing for what purposes the books mentioned are especially useful.
Besides cyclopedias and dictionaries which give direct aid, the reader will have to consult more elaborate treatises for further information. Bibliographies are guides to these. A knowledge of bibliography, therefore, forms an important part in the preparation of the student. The most useful reference department will include bibliographies of special subjects along with the cyclopedias of those subjects. It is to be regretted that books belonging to the class Bibliography are as a rule kept in the cataloger's room or the librarian's office, not in the reference department where they would be useful to the public. In a large library, such an important printed catalog as that of the Peabody Institute Library and a bibliographical work like the United States catalog and supplement, should by all means be kept where the public can have easy access to them even if it is necessary to duplicate such works.
This manual will also serve as a guide in the selection of reference books for a library. The prices given are the publishers' prices, and the lowest price is usually quoted. Books can often be obtained at a discount or picked up from time to time at auction or secondhand stores at a much reduced price. Reference books are expensive, and few libraries can afford to keep up with new editions or even with recent authorities. In many cases new editions are not worth the cost. They are frequently made from the same plates as the earlier editions, with slight alterations, not of sufficient importance to warrant the expense involved in their purchase. A suggestive list of one hundred reference books for a small library will be found at the end of the volume.
The selection of the books in this volume has been made from a study of the reference departments of the principal libraries of Philadelphia, Boston, New York, St. Louis, and Washington, and practically covers the course of study in reference books as pursued in the Drexel Institute Library School. Other library schools also give similar
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
THE publication of many important reference books since 1902 made it necessary to revise and enlarge the Guide. The Supplements published in the Library Journal and the A. L. A. Booklist in January of each year have been incorporated with much additional material in the present edition. More foreign reference books have been included, and in some cases the scope of the work has been extended to embrace mention of institutions as well as books which may be consulted by the reference librarian.
Special attention is called to the Index which has been made as full as practicable in order that the reference books may be more readily used by persons who have had little experience in looking up information in them.
While it is obviously impossible to make a complete analytic index to the contents of reference books, there are still a number of subjects which it is convenient to locate quickly, and which are difficult to find without a thorough knowledge of these books.
The compiler extends grateful acknowledgments for helpful suggestions to Mr F. W. Faxon, Mr Charles C. Soule, Mr S. H. Berry, Mr A. Growoll, Mr. Edward H. Virgin, Mr. David H. Hutcheson, Mr Charles Martel, Mr Steingrimur Stefansson, Dr Roland P. Falkner, Miss A. R. Hasse, Miss Theodosia E. Macurdy, Mr C. W. Andrews, Mr. J. I. Wyer, Jr., Mr William Coolidge Lane, Miss Nina E. Browne, Mr George Winthrop Lee; to the reference librarians of the Free Libary of Philadelphia, Astor Library, Library of Congress, John Crerar Library, and other libraries for their many courtesies.
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION
THE third edition of the Guide is based, in the main, upon the second edition, 1908, and the two supplements for 1909-10 and 1911-13, but the many changes in reference books and developments in reference work and teaching since 1908 have necessitated many changes from the earlier edition. In the third edition the general plan and arrangement of the second edition have been followed and Miss Kroeger's Introduction, familiar to so many classes of library students, has been kept intact except that one section, "How to study reference books," has been made slightly more detailed. The lists of reference books, however, have been changed very materially and the annotations have been rewritten and much extended, so that this latter feature of the Guide is practically new throughout, only a few annotations having been carried over from the second edition, although somewhat more have been retained from the two Supplements. Aside from the new annotation, the revision of the lists of reference books has consisted principally of (1) excision of older titles and editions now superseded by more recent material, (2) addition of new titles including not only the recent books listed in the two Supplements and later titles through 1916, but also a very considerable number of earlier titles. principally foreign or more special works not hitherto included in the Guide, and (3) the addition of some entirely new lists, such as those on Constitutions, International law, Romances, Historical source books, English public documents, etc. Among the older lists which have been greatly augmented are those on Periodical indexes, both General and Special, Foreign dictionaries, Statistics, Author dictionaries, Concordances, Special gazetteers, Place names. In general, information included goes through 1916, and does
not cover changes, additions, etc., for 1917.
In order to meet the needs of students in library schools which give courses in advanced reference work and of reference assistants in the larger public and university libraries, foreign reference books have been included more freely than in the earlier editions. Questions raised by the European War have emphasized the use and need of foreign reference books, and it is hoped that the very considerable extension of the Guide in this direction will meet a real need.
Prices have been revised carefully throughout and it is hoped that they are, in the main, accurate. As many book prices have been changed during the war and are still changing, some inaccuracies are inevitable. In the case of annuals and periodicals only the price of the latest volume or current subscription is given, as earlier prices often vary and the cost of a complete set would generally have to be ascertained by quotation from some dealer. The entries of books listed are in most cases those of the Library of Congress printed cards, and the collation has been modified somewhat from the second edition in order to agree more nearly with the Library of Congress practice. At the suggestion of several constant users of the Guide, the paragraph form of list previously used for such lists as Statistical abstracts, Engineering handbooks, etc., has been abandoned and the full entry substituted.
The compiler extends grateful acknowledgment for the helpful suggestions received during her work of revision from many users of the Guide. Special acknowledgment should be made to Miss Mary E. Hazeltine, Principal of the Library school of the University of Wisconsin, Mr Frank K. Walter, Vice Director of the New York State Library School, and Miss Mary L. Sutliff, instructor in reference work in the Library School of the New York Public Library for many suggestions based upon their use of the Guide as a textbook, to Professor W. W. Rockwell of the Union Theological Seminary for constant help in both the selection and the annotation of the theological titles included, to Mr Frederick C. Hicks, Law Librarian, Columbia University, for advice about the list of law reference books, to Mr W. B. Gamble, chief of the Technology division of the New York Public Library and Dr Otto Kinkeldy, chief of the Music division of the New York Public Library for aid in their two specialties, and to Miss E. A. Cole, of the Reference Department, Columbia University Library, for the compilation of the list of statistical abstracts.
I. G. M.
A REFERENCE book has been defined as "a book which is to be consulted for definite points of information rather than read through, and is arranged with explicit reference to ease in finding specific facts." (E. C. Richardson in Lib. j. 18:254.) Books which come under this classification are usually separated from the rest of the books in a library and placed where they can be most readily consulted by the public, without the delay of customary formalities. They comprise general encyclopedias, cyclopedias of special subjects, dictionaries, gazetteers, atlases, etc. The term reference book in public libraries is also used to include many books than do not circulate outside the library either on account of their character or their value.1
REFERENCE WORK IN LIBRARIES
The term reference work is commonly used in libraries to include that branch of their administration which deals with the assistance given to readers in their use of the resources of the library. This is an important part of the educational work of public libraries. The "information desk" is now a well-established feature in the large libraries of America." At this post the reference librarian presides. His duties are to assist readers in their search for information, and to some extent to guide the reading public by preparing lists of references on topics of the day or on subjects of general interest. He must be able to send inquirers to the necessary reference books or other authorities, and in order to do this he should have a thorough knowledge of the librarian's aids and guides, reference books, and bibliographies.
The reference librarian, especially in a public library, should keep a record of the questions most frequently asked, specifying places in which answers to the same can be found. It is well, if time does not allow for analytic work to be inserted in the card catalog, to keep this record near the information desk, writing the questions on cards with references where found, and filing alphabetically. Much valuable time is consumed in looking up the same question over and over again. This is particularly noticeable in the case of questions for school work where a large number of children are assigned the same topic. Lists of all references on such subjects as Christmas, Arbor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Washington's Farewell address, lives of noted personages,-Washington, Lincoln, Lowell, Holmes, etc., should be always at hand covering every available reference in the library on the subject.
In libraries where there is no reference librarian every attendant at the delivery desk must be ready to answer questions, and, when not able to do so, must refer them to the librarian. Any one at all familiar with library management knows what a large number of questions-some trivial and some important-are brought to the library for solution every day.
The librarian cannot always be accessible to the numerous visitors who come to the library. It is, therefore, of the highest importance that his assistants should, so far as possible, understand how to use reference books, which serve frequently as guides to more important authorities which may not be included under the limited title, reference book. The public certainly cannot expect the attendants to know the answers to the questions which they ask, but in the majority of cases they should be expected to know where to find them. This knowledge comes largely from daily experience, and becomes constantly more technical in character; it can, however, be materially assisted by a systematic study of reference books. Johnson said: "Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it." The latter is one of the necessary requirements of a librarian. A thorough understanding of the use and value of reference books assists one to turn readily to the correct book for the solution of some difficult point, and saves much valuable time. Every desk-attendant should be a reference librarian so far as in him lies the ability.
The true librarian finds no greater satisfaction in his daily work than that of solving a difficult problem for some earnest student by placing before him the best authority from some hidden corner of the library. The memory can be trained along these lines
See the article on Reference books by E. C. Richardson, in Dewey, Melvil, ed. Papers prepared for the World's library congress, 1896, p. 976-982. See Assistance to readers, by W. E. Foster, in Dewey, Melvil, ed. Papers prepared for the World's library congress, 1896, p. 982-993.