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G.S. Jolly

BOOK SELECTION AND PHYSICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY
By Chandra K. Sharma
Metropolitan, 1976, xiv plus 127, 40.00

VOLUME II NUMBER 2 March-April 1977

Book selection represents the sphere of librarianship which distinguishes the profession from many other occupations. There has been a controversy in the past whether the process of book selection is an 'art' or 'science'. Should librarians be administrators or bookmen? What­ever may be the answer to this, there is no denying the fact that book selection requires a high degree of organization. Book selection is based on procedures which in turn rely on the adequate pro­vision of information designed to guide the selection decision. It is the job of the librarian to keep his academics well informed about materials appearing in their subject areas. Over the past 30 years, the number of books published each year has risen by 250 percent. In these circumstances there is an obvious need for a library's book selection policy to be clearly stand to the members of the staff. The author of the book under review very rightly believes that growth of libraries and limited finance available for this purpose, have created problems of book selection. Therefore, considerable difficulties are encountered by the librarians in the course of their funda­mental task of building up a balanced book stock. The author briefly discusses the con­cept of book selection. Theory of quality and demand propounded by McColvin also finds a place in the book. McColvin says, ‘Books in themselves are nothing. They have no more meaning than the white paper upon which they are printed, until they are made service­able by demand.’ Demand, therefore, is a large governing factor in selection. Libraries of all kinds have developed numerous activities and programmes to meet the demands of their users. Activities which are common to all libraries are: (I) administering the library; (2) building up the collection; (3) making it accessible for use; (4) serving the users. The present work deals with the second activity. Selection of documents depends upon wide knowledge of available material and ability to evaluate them. The sources and tools of selection are also discussed. Selection can be current and retros­pective, the former being based on a multitude of reviewing organs, published lists and the usual plethora of book news arriving with every mail. Retrospective purchasing can only take place in the light of detailed consultation and various processes of stock editing. Selection may then occur via the examination of subject bibliographies, desiderata lists, existing external collections and use of the second-hand sources. ...


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