Some further thoughts on the library assignment

This post is an amalgam of various answers to questions I have been sent in the past few days. If you have further questions, you could post them in the comments, if you like:

First step: Remember that the bibliography you are compiling is not merely a list of what is available at UNB; it is a list of central texts by and about your writer that you have developed from various sources (other bibliographies,, &c.). These will be works that a good library collection would have. Your annotations should indicate why you consider them central: for example, “This is the only biography of Writer X in print,” or “This is the most complete collection of Writer Y’s poetry.”  If you are working on a writer about whom there is a lot of material, you will have to be selective. Which begs an interesting question: how will you determine, out of ten books of literary criticism, which one, two or three are “central”? If you are working on a writer about whom there is little published, you might decide to throw your net wider and include anthologies, for example, in which your writer is represented (something you wouldn’t worry about with a more widely published writer).

A related question: in cases where there is a choice, how will you decide which editions of a writer’s work would be best for the library?  Some editions are facsimiles (i.e. they are exact reproductions of early printings), while others may contain useful editorial material such as essays and notes. When in doubt, more recent editions are often the safest bet, and facsimile editions are always worthwhile. If you think the Library should acquire different editions of the same text(s), explain why.

As a second step, compare your optimal bibliography to what is available to us at UNB.

Your final step is to propose that the acquisitions dept. aquire new material about your writer.

Your main focus will be on books, though in some cases you might want to suggest the Library acquire access to a particular journal. You will want to note the availability of articles about your writer, but there is no need to write annotations for individual articles.



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1 Comment

  1. Hi Dr. Jones!! I wanted to let you know how I was thinking of breaking up my project, to see if you feel it will be a good format or not.

    For my bibliography, I was going to break it up into 3 parts; Cavendish’s works, biographies on Cavendish, and then critical works on Cavendish. By breaking the bibliography up that way, I can then break up the comparative portion up that way too (UNB holdings on Cavendish, bios, and critiques, with a subsection on which are in Fredericton, Saint John, and online only). Then finally, I can section off the Acquisitions Dept letter the same way.

    I know this a unique presentation that could present a lot of different formats, so I thought I’d check and see if you think this will be a good way to organize it.

    Also, in regards to the ‘annotated’ part of the bibliography, I have a question. Since there really is no time to read everything out there, is it okay to take other people’s summaries of the books and paraphrase them for the description? Or do you want us to forego a description of the text and instead only put why it’s in the collection? (IE – Cavendish has 2 books of plays; If I choose only one of the books of plays, explain why that book was the one I chose? What if I choose both books of plays? Do I explain each book’s significance, or can I just say ‘they’re her only 2 books of plays and I felt it important to represent this form of literature in her bibliography”? Oh, that’s a good question too; can we use “I” in the bibliography, or should it follow a standard MLA essay format, with no personal pronouns?

    Okay, what else can I say to make this comment longer…..or more convoluted…..
    Nah, I think I’m done! Thanks!!!



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