Specialized Guides


The Reader’s Adviser. Ed. Marion Sader. 14th ed. 6 vols. New Providence: Bowker, 1994. Z1035.B7 016.028. CD-ROM.

  • Vol. 1: The Best in Reference Works, British Literature, and American Literature. Ed. David Scott Kastan and Emory Elliott. 1994. 1,472 pp.

  • Vol. 2: The Best in World Literature. Ed. Robert DiYanni. 1994. 1,122 pp.

  • Vol. 3: The Best in Social Sciences, History, and the Arts. Ed. John G. Sproat. 1994. 1,127 pp.

  • Vol. 4: The Best in Philosophy and Religion. Ed. Robert S. Ellwood. 1994. 1,054 pp.

  • Vol. 5: The Best in Science, Technology, and Medicine. Ed. Carl Mitcham and William F. Williams. 1994. 975 pp.

  • Vol. 6: Indexes. 1994. 823 pp.

Ostensibly a guide to the best editions, studies, biographies, and reference books in print at the time of compilation (along with a few out of print); however, the lack of discrimination in the selection of works, the variable quality of evaluations, and the emphasis on books in print render this work virtually useless as a critical guide, especially for the lay reader. In effect, Reader’s Adviser is a repackaging of noncurrent information from Books in Print (Q4225a). Indexed in vol. 6 by persons, titles, and subjects. Author sections are also indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565).

Even more useless is The Best Books for Academic Libraries, vers. 3.0, CD-ROM (Best Books, 2005), an uncritical conglomeration of titles. Its print predecessor—The Best Books for University Libraries, 10 vols. in multiple pts. (2002)—is an egregious waste of paper that lists titles by Library of Congress classification. See Bateson and Meserole, Guide to English and American Literature (B85), Year’s Work in English Studies (G330), Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory (U6133), and American Literary Scholarship (Q3265) instead.


Taylor, Archer. General Subject-Indexes since 1548. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1966. 336 pp. Pubs. of the A. S. W. Rosenbach Fellowship in Bibliog. Z695.T28 017.

A historical and critical account of important subject indexes in Latin and European vernacular languages published through the 1950s. Organized by century, the full descriptions, which illustrate uses in modern scholarship, offer helpful introductions to earlier reference works now little known but still essential to research in many periods.

See also

Carter and Ritchie, Women’s Studies (U6580).