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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Reviewing reviews
Authors:Henige, DavidISNI
Zell, HansISNI
Year:2007
Periodical:African Research and Documentation
Issue:104
Pages:3-7
Language:English
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:bibliography
periodicals
publishing
Abstract:Following the publication of three papers on 'reviewing reviews' in 'African Research and Documentation' no. 102 (2007), David Henige at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Hans Zell, publisher of African studies reference works, continue the debate. Henige discusses access to book reviews and their impact on the library acquisitions process. He argues that most research libraries do not use reviews as a selection tool but have accepted the expedient and handed the task of supplying materials over to megaproviders such as Blackwell and YBP (Yankee Book Peddler). At the same time, if book reviews are treated as a separate but complementary genre of scholarly opinion, then perhaps their greatest value lies in their diversity. And if book reviews are seen as essential to the enterprise of scholarship, then a way must be found to encompass them in some kind of easily searchable ongoing database(s). At present, finding out about reviews is a difficult and time-consuming activity. Zell reluctantly concludes that reviews in academic journals are increasingly becoming meaningless from the point of view of creating more sales. Moreover, the market for specifically Africanist reference resources continues to decline. He is increasingly convinced that inclusion of new titles in the major library vendors' approval plans is becoming hugely influential, certainly for sales in North America, thereby corroborating Henige's viewpoint. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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