Category Archives: Reviews

G. Edward Evans, Sheila S. Intner, and Jean Weihls, Introduction to Technical Services–Choice 2006

Evans, G. Edward, Sheila S. Intner, and Jean Weihs. Introduction to Technical Services [DRAFT]

284. Evans, G. Edward, Sheila S. Intner, and Jean Weihs. Introduction to Technical Services. 7th ed. Greenwood Village, Colo., Libraries Unlimited/Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002. 543 p. index. (Library and Information Science Text Series). $65.00. ISBN 1-56308-918-1; 1-56308-922-X (paper).

This seventh edition updates the sixth, published in 1994. The book is divided into three parts: general background, acquisitions and serials, and cataloging and processing. The illustrations, plentiful in places, include pie charts, copies of title pages, and illustrations that show how different databases display the MARC record. There is no bibliography at the end of the book. Instead, there are end notes after each chapter, along with a chapter summary, a list of suggested readings and review questions. Sometimes, the suggested readings are divided into sections, or another section is added. Chapter 5 (Acquisitions—Overview) has suggested readings grouped into general, public and academic sections while Chapter 8 (Order Processes) has no division in the suggested readings list, but adds a section on web sites and listservs of pertinent interest to those in acquisitions and serials.

An evaluation of the suggested readings lists are revealing. Michael Gorman’s Technical Services: Today and Tomorrow (1999) is cited in the first chapter. Coming from a cataloging background, I looked for the standard books used in library schools. Arlene Taylor’s The Organization of Information (1999) is listed although Lois Mai Chan’s Cataloging and Classification is missing, although two of her recent works are listed at the end of Chapter 20 (Classification). The vast majority of books and articles cited were published in the last five years, and indication that the authors are current in their professional readings.

The original edition of this book sought to create a reference work for para-professionals working in libraries. This edition goes far beyond the scope of para-professional work. True, chapters do deal with the everyday jobs done in technical services, including those that are not so attractive. Nonetheless, there are chapters that deal with electronic serials, allocation of monies, book dealers, pricing, using vendors, principles of subject cataloging—things that librarians and administrators, at one time or another, have to address.

There is also a more international focus, thanks to the addition of author Jean Weihs, a Canadian librarian. A previous edition was criticized for being too detail-oriented and bogged down with the day-to-day activities of technical services; not enough theory was presented. One must learn to crawl before one can walk, and this includes librarians. The basic processes of technical services must be understood before changes can be made. Most people entering library schools have never worked in libraries and need a textbook that introduces them to the functions, processes, and philosophy of technical services work. The authors are sure to point out that, even though technical services is traditionally a “back room” operation, that operation serves the public; everything done in technical services is to aid the user in finding and retrieving materials.

An excellent introduction to technical services processes for students and those new to the profession.—Michael W. Handis, Associate Librarian for Technical Services and Collection Management, Mina Rees Library, City University of New York Graduate and University Center

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Digital Egypt for Universities–Choice (March, 2007)

Digital Egypt for Universities [DRAFT]

000000556387                                                                                    [Internet Resource]

Digital Egypt for universities. URL:

Created by the University College London at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis for the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology with funds from the Joint Information Systems Committee. Stephen Quirke, a reader and curator of the Petrie Museum, manages the site. According to the learning resources page, “The primary aim of the website is support for learning across different disciplines—including learners and teachers who may know nothing about, or even be interested in, Egypt. The site is aimed at you especially if your subject includes a historical dimension—architecture, art, medicine, science, religion, literature, gender studies, cultural studies, museum studies.” The site is divided into eight parts: archaeological record; art and architecture; communication technologies; ideology and beliefs; technology and industry; contacts between peoples; social history; the exact sciences. At the top of every page is a navigational bar to take the user to the homepage, timeline, maps, A-Z index or learning. The chronology page has extensive links to the different time periods. There are more maps throughout the site than are listed on the maps page. Introductory guides for the different time periods are there for the novice. Pages load quickly. There is no searching capability on the site. Full-color plans and maps of temples, cities, palaces and artifacts—all of which discuss the archaeological record—are easily accessible. In some cases, nothing remains at the site but the web creators decided to recreate via computer technology images to give users some idea as to the possible shape and size of the buildings. These three-dimensional models/reconstructions require a VRML plug-in. A link to free VRML-readable software, Cosmo Player, is listed, on the VRML site (, but links to a site where Computer Associates states that they no longer support Cosmo Player. The Petrie Museum eventually hopes to be able to translate the site into Spanish and Arabic. Highly recommended for all levels.


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Historic Events of the 20th Century–ARBA 2005

Historic Events of the 20th Century [DRAFT]

Historic Events of the 20th Century (available from Greenwood Electronic Media. Pricing dependent on institution size and type of institution, $675-$1845.

The database is divided into six sections: Civil Rights Movement, Collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union, the Holocaust, Islamic Fundamentalism, World War I and World War II. Subscriptions for one or all of the sections are available.

There is no way to search the entire Historic Events site, only individual sections. Each section opens with a preface, a narrative overview, a timeline of events (chronology) as well as topic links that, when clicked upon, displays additional links to documents on the topic, and an annotated bibliography. Information can be printed; a hotlink reformats documents for printing. The documents links appears on the left bar after clicking the topic. Documents for each topic are under ten and could be assembled from free websites, since most are famous documents or, in the case of civil rights and Islam, from contemporary sources. Getting out of the modules proved difficult, and I got lost on a few occasions. The Home link at the top of the page takes you to the Greenwood homepage not the Historic Events main page.

The timeline hotlinks open small browser windows with, what I assume, is supposed to be supplemental information. Hotlink results are uneven, at least in the timeline. In the civil rights section, the hotlink conviction of the murderer of Medgar Evers in 1994, takes one to the NewsDesk website of the University of Mississippi, where there was no additional information provided. The 1995 Supreme Court decision in Adarand Constructors v. Pena link takes you to the summary of the case at the FindLaw website, a database in the public domain. The 1992 Los Angeles Riots link opens a browser to the free NPR website for the 30th anniversary of All Things Considered, where a quote from a riot eyewitness is quoted with a link to hear the broadcast. Images for many of the links, such as (in the communism section) the 1921-1928 link for the Soviet Union’s New Economic Policy, Nicholas II and (in the Holocaust section) Paul von Hindenburg, opens a browser to LearnThings, a website for school newsletters in the United Kingdom that houses a small image of the event or person; no other additional information is provided. The timeline for Islamic fundamentalism lacks hotlinks of any kind.

Besides the Old Miss, FindLaw and NPR websites, many other links go to public websites as well. Lenin’s biography link takes you to the Lenin Internet Archive ( while Brezhnev’s link takes you to CNN’s Knowledge Bank profile ( Many of the maps link directly to the CIA World Factbook website ( The link for Nagorno-Karabakh brings up the website of the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo (, which has free articles in pdf files on troubled places throughout the world.

The lesson plans for each section correlate to the National Center for History in the Schools, and there are quotes from the National History Standards. The standards are available online ( from UCLA. The lesson plans tie directly into the information housed in Historic Events. Greenwood’s information page lists prices not only for school libraries but also for public libraries as well as colleges and universities. Historic Events is geared towards school teachers.

Internet browsers can yield a plethora of reliable information. A Google advanced search on the phrase “Nicholas II” and the terms “Russian Revolution” with the restriction to educational institutions (.edu) yielded as the first hit the Internet Modern History Sourcebook ( from Fordham University. A Yahoo advanced search using the same search terms yielded Bucknell University’s Russian History site ( as the third hit. These sites contain links to dynasty charts, original documents, chronologies and other goodies that can easily be used in teaching. Some of these links don’t work, but these sites aren’t paid databases, either.

Greenwood repackaged information readily available for free to anyone with Internet browsing capabilities. This is a perfect example of why teaching students and teachers searching strategies for the Internet are so important. This site is for the research-challenged. A good librarian or subject guide would be just as good if not better. Better yet, a resourceful and dedicated teacher—doing the research—can take the opportunity to teach Internet research and evaluation skills while teaching these subjects; it’s never too early to begin learning to evaluate information.

The University of California Riverside’s Infomine ( and the Best of History Web Sites ( are two more examples of free databases that will yield comparable results to Greenwood’s offering.

REVIEWED BY: Michael W. Handis

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Dictionary of Historic Documents–ARBA 2004

Dictionary of Historic Documents [DRAFT]

26732. Dictionary of Historic Documents. Rev. ed. George Childs Kohn, ed. New York, Facts on File, 2003. 646 p. index. (Facts on File Library of World History). $75.00. ISBN 0-8160-4772-3.

This first edition of this work was published in 1991. Having been expanded, this new edition contains nearly 2,400 entries that consist of edicts, legal cases, laws, treaties, proclamations, statements, truces, petitions, concordants, bulls, oaths, etc. Gaps in the first edition have been filled; the new entries range from women’s rights documents to Hitler’s last will and testament. Many of the new entries date from 1990-2000, including the German Unification Treaty, the Unabomber Manifesto, the NAFTA agreement, Bush vs. Gore and the USA-Patriot Act. Editor Kohn admits that any such work is subjective; however, the breadth of the dictionary is remarkable, stretching from the present back to ancient Mesopotamia.

The dictionary contains a helpful Timetable of Documents, which not only lists the year and name of the document, but also the area of the world involved. There is an alphabetical Entries by Category section which breaks up the documents by continent, empire and selected countries, such as Canada, Mexico and the United States. The selected bibliography is again broken up by categories.

Each entry is followed by a bibliography of at least one source. Many entries have books or articles listed, but in some cases the only source listed is a web site. In the preface Kohn warns that “readers should be aware that addresses of websites change frequently; those listed in the dictionary were current as of press time” (p. ix). Readers beware. I tested several of the URLs listed. Martin Luther’s Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation is on the Hanover Historical Text Project’s web site. Maintained by the Hanover College Department of History, the URL is active and contains the English translation of the document. (There are a number of other historical documents listed on the Hanover site.) Many of the legal documents, such as Gillette v. United States, have FindLaw URLs, which are stable. The link provided for the Addyston Pipe and Steel Company v. United States is dead; I could not find the sponsoring agency or group from the URL. For Clinton’s Second Inaugural Address, the URL for the transcript at the University of Oklahoma Law Center is active; the PBS News Hour web site URL for the reactions to the speech is not. Too bad about Grant’s Order No. 11, the edict Ulysses S. Grant issued to exclude Jews as a class from the Department of Tennessee which set off a storm of protest during the U.S. Civil War; the link was dead, and there was no way I could identify the agency. The Grolier Presents the American Presidency link for Grant’s First Inaugural Address was also dead. A more cautious approach to including URLs in bibliographies might be practiced in the future.

The dictionary is a great starting place for undergraduate research. It also provides excellent examples of what primary sources are, a concept many undergraduates have problems understanding. People interested in historical documents will also find this a useful resource.—Michael W. Handis, Associate Librarian for Technical Services and Collection Management, Mina Rees Library, City University of New York Graduate and University Center

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Darrell D. Baker, Encyclopedia of Egyptian Pharaohs: v.1: Predynastic through Twentieth Dynasty (3300-1069 BC)–Choice (September, 2009)

Baker, Darrell D. The encyclopedia of Egyptian pharaohs: v.1: Predynastic through twentieth dynasty (3300-1069 BC) [DRAFT]

000000577528                                                                                DT58                                                                                         MARC

Baker, Darrell D. The encyclopedia of Egyptian pharaohs: v.1: Predynastic through twentieth dynasty (3300-1069 BC) Bannerstone Press, 2009 (c2008). 587p bibl index ISBN 9780977409440, $60.00

There is a lot of information in this volume. Each entry lists the various names (and cartouches) of the kings (Horus, nomen, Two Ladies, Golden Falcon) as well as the length of reign, tomb location (if known), mummy (if known), consorts, the king’s name as it appeared on Manetho’s list, and any variant names. There is a bibliography at the end of each entry as well as an extensive one at the end of the book. This is the only volume that gathers the scattered information on each king and in one case clears up a misconception that even confuses some experts. Both Smenkhkare and Neferneferuaten, co-rulers with Akhenaton, used the prenomen Ankhkheperure. This led to the merging of Smenkhkare and Neferneferuaten’s reigns, listing Smenkhkare as ruling after Akhenaton. Most scholars now believe that Smenkhkare died before Akhenaton and that Nefertiti, who had mysteriously disappeared from the historical record, took the name Neferneferuaten and started her reign before Akhenaton’s death. As Neferneferuaten, Nefertiti co-ruled into the first few years of Tutankhamen’s reign. Baker chooses to end the first volume with Dynasty XX because after it the historical record becomes jumbled, foreigners ruled Egypt and the complex period needs to be treated separately. Highly recommended.

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Ancient Greece (3 v.)–Choice (May, 2007)

Ancient Greece: v.1: Achaean League-Dorian invasion of Greece [DRAFT]
44-4799                                                                                DF214                                                                                           2006-16525 CIP

Ancient Greece: v.1: Achaean League-Dorian invasion of Greece, 1-338; v.2: Draco-Posidonius, 339-684; v.3: Praxiteles-Zeuxis of Heraclea; Appendixes; Indexes, 685-1031, ed. by Thomas J. Sienkewicz.  Salem Press, 2007.  3v bibl indexes afp ISBN 1-58765-281-1, $207.00; ISBN 9781587652813, $207.00.

According to the publisher’s note, “By design, Magill’s Choice reference sets compile and update previously published material from Salem Press.” The set brings together 29 new essays and 315 essays from: Great Events from History: the Ancient World, Prehistory-476 C.E. (2004), Great Lives from History: the Ancient World, Prehistory-476 C.E. (2004), Cyclopedia of World Authors (4th rev. ed., 2004), Encyclopedia of the Ancient World (2002), Weapons and Warfare (2002), and Magill’s Guide to Military History (2001). Each entry’s bibliography has been updated. A complete list of contents is reprinted in all volumes as well as three maps of Greece and the Near East. Entries provide phonetic pronunciations for Greek words. Biographical entries are broken into dates, category of activity, life and influence with see also references to other entries in the set. The homoeroticism of Sappho’s poetry is discussed, but overall the topics of gender and sexuality are underrepresented. There are no index terms for homosexuality, lesbianism or sex. Women’s contributions are discussed in the “Women’s Lives” entry. The third volume contains: a glossary of terms; list of historic sites with URLs; literary works by author; time line; a bibliography of secondary sources; and indices by category, name and subject. For general through undergraduate. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and general readers. — M. W. Handis, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

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Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece–Choice (April, 2006)

Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece [DRAFT]

551713                                                            DF16                                                   2005-4434

Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece, ed. By Nigel Wilson. Routledge, 2006. 800p bibl index afp ISBN 0415973341, $150.00

Based on The Encyclopedia of Greece and the Hellenic Tradition, edited by Graham Speake (reviewed in CHOICE jun 2001), which sought to cover the history of Greece from ancient times up to the present, “This new version results from the realization that there is also a place for a shorter work covering the same wide range of themes but concentrating on the ancient or classical world.” It seeks not only to focus on the traditional “classical” Greek period (Homer through Alexander the Great) but also through the fourth century A.D. The work contains lists of alphabetical entries, thematic entries and a chronology of individuals as well as an extensive index. Greek name forms that entered English from Latin have been retained with some exceptions, and 565 A.D. (Justinian I’s death) marks the direct transliteration from Greek into English. There are no illustrations or maps. Each entry has its own bibliography. For persons, a brief biography is given at the end of the entry followed by the bibliography and, in the case of authors, a list of writings. Entries from the original Speakes edition have been reprinted; in some cases, entries have been abbreviated and names changed, e.g. Corcyra for Corfu. Greek deities do not have their own entries; information on them can be found under “Gods and Goddesses” and “Religious History,” although the easiest way to find information would be to use the index. Only two women have their own entries, Cleopatra VII and Sappho. The list of contributors and advisors is impressive, with many well-known researchers in the field. For public and academic libraries.—Michael W. Handis, The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

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Anne M. Mitchell and Brian E. Surratt, Cataloging and Organizing Digital Resources: a How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians–ARBA 2006

Cataloging and Organizing Digital Resources: a How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians [DRAFT]

Mitchell, Anne M., and Brian E. Surratt. Cataloging and Organizing Digital Resources: a How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians. New York, Neal-Schuman, 2005. 219p. index. (How-To-Do-It Manuals for Librarians, no.139). $75.00pa. ISBN 1-55570-521-9.

This book is not about how to select and digitize materials. The title does what it states: it gives ideas on how to organize and make accessible digital (and already digitized) resources. And it does it well.

No book of this type could be written without a discussion of the MARC record for continuing resources. Mitchell and Surratt go into great detail to illustrate the different MARC coding in the fixed and variable fields for different types of digital resources: databases, ebooks and online manuscripts, online journals, items “born digital,” i.e. those published only on the Web, items in print which are digitized, and theses. Ironically, print theses are considered unpublished; MARC records for printed theses do not have publisher information recorded. In the electronic environment, however, theses available full-text online are considered published. (The publisher information is recorded in brackets.)

At no time do the authors talk down or take a patronizing tone. They inform and do so with aplomb. Numerous examples of MARC tagging, MARC field definitions and homepages abound. They analyze what affects bibliographic control of digital resources. Numerous examples of different types of information and how to catalog such information is presented in readable (and digestable) form.

My favorite chapter (3) is “Exploring Alternatives to Cataloging.” Why catalog digital resources? Good question. There are other alternatives to entering a full MARC record into a library’s ILS. Constructing full MARC records is time-consuming, as any cataloger knows. Metadata creation is no different. Web lists are an alternative and can be much more visible and flexible. There are also companies, such as Serials Solutions, which provide an indexing and updating service for online materials on a regular basis. The drawback, of course, is that the resources are not available via subject or keyword searching, nor are they in the “one stop” ILS. Federated searching offers another way to find the resources, but some databases are not accessible to these search engines, and duplication can occur in some cases. Any choice of access offers benefits and drawbacks. The important point, the authors argue, is for libraries to adopt a bibliographic strategy with regard to the online resources available through the Web.

Each chapter has a bibliography at the end of it for more information. There is also a good index at the back of the book. The book is well-organized with good illustrations. Unfortunately, books of this type have a short shelf-life. In 2008, a new cataloging standard will be released. As of this writing, the plan is to abandon AACR for something more flexible and adaptable to multiple technological environments. Whether this comes to pass remains to be seen.

Regardless, Cataloging and Organizing Digital Resources is a valuable resource for librarians unfamiliar with the online environment and libraries just beginning to grapple with the problems of making online collections accessible.

REVIEWED BY: Michael W. Handis, Associate Librarian for Collection Management, The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

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Bojana Mojsov, Osiris: death and afterlife of a god–Choice (May, 2006)

Bojana Mojsov, Osiris: death and afterlife of a god [DRAFT]

000000552414 BL2450 2004-2842 CIP

Mojsov, Bojana. Osiris: death and afterlife of a god. Blackwell Publishing, 2005. 150p bibl index afp ISBN 1405131799 pbk, $27.95

This survey book covers more than the Osiris cult. Mojsov traces not only the history of the Osiris cult (and others) over time but also the relation of religion and state in Egypt, starting with prehistory and ending with the Islamic conquest of Egypt. Kings used cults to strengthen their authority, with the favorite local cults of the dynasties being elevated to national status. The Old and Middle Kingdom god Ra gave way to the New Kingdom sun cult of Amun, with the two deities merging into Amun-Ra. The popularity of Osiris, lord of the underworld, ebbed and flowed over the centuries of Egyptian history but never disappeared. The Osiris cult—along with that of his wife Isis—became extremely popular in the Greco-Roman world, with their temples spreading throughout the Mediterranean long after Amun and other once-popular deities were forgotten. The triad of Osiris-Isis-Horus had a great influence on the evolution of Christianity. Osiris gets lost at times as Mojsov traces Egyptian political history. Written in jargon-free language, this book will interest anyone in Egyptian history, politics or religion as well as those interested in the Egyptian contribution to Christianity.—Michael W. Handis, The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

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Toby Wilkinson, The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Ancient Egypt–Choice (February, 2006)

Toby Wilkinson, The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Ancient Egypt [DRAFT]

54-9871                                                           DT58                                       LC Classification

Wilkinson, Toby. The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, 2005. 271p bibl ISBN 0500051372; 9780500051375, $50.00

Lavishly illustrated, many in color, and maps of the temple complexes, the Nile and its delta. According to the preface, this book seeks “to be the most comprehensive, single-volume dictionary of ancient Egypt currently available in the English language.” The bibliography (p. 270-271) is broken up into subjects: general; art, architecture and monuments; history; individual rulers and periods; language, literature & writing; and religion. The dictionary covers Egypt up to the Macedonian conquest in 332 B.C. Entries are alphabetical and listed under the transliterated spellings of Egyptian names with cross-references from the more familiar forms, e.g. Khufu for Cheops. It incorporates the most recent scholarship, such as the CT scan of Tutankhamun’s mummy that showed no blunt trauma to the head, thereby discrediting the theory that the king had been murdered. One discrepency is Nefertiti. Scholars, Wilkinson writes, now believe that Nefertiti may have ruled under the name Neferneferuaten after her husband Akhenaten’s death. There is no entry under Neferneferuaten. The entry for Smenkhkara, Akhenaten’s successor, was assumed to be an older brother of Tutankhamun but now recent scholarships suggests that Smenkhkara was really Nefertiti. There is no cross-reference from Nefertiti to Smenkhkara. Overall, an excellent general reference for public and college libraries.—Michael W. Handis, The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

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