“Mann’s Oxford Guide to Library Research is a comprehensive and practical guide for all levels of research and researchers. The guide is based on Mann’s experience working with patrons and materials during his years as a librarian and as a private investigator. His goal is to give readers the...”see full review » see other reviews »
“A good reminder of some of the information sources available offline, although I think he is too strong in his emphasis of the advantages of offline services. Online services can improve to meet the advantages of physical collections, or at least to the point when the physical advantage is minimal.”David wrote this review Saturday, July 10, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“ Mann’s Oxford Guide to Library Research is a comprehensive and practical guide for all levels of research and researchers. The guide is based on Mann’s experience working with patrons and materials during his years as a librarian and as a private investigator. His goal is to give readers the tools to experience all levels in the hierarchy of learning (data, information, opinion, knowledge, and understanding), and ultimately to help them achieve a greater wisdom through research. He does this by exploring material types (encyclopedias, for example), explaining how to use subject headings properly, how to browse, how to use indexes, how to properly search by keyword, and so on until it seems that all of the tricks available to researchers have been exhausted.
Mann emphasizes the importance of in-depth searching. He often argues that basic internet searches are inefficient. The common misconception that “everything” is on the internet is debunked by many of the real life examples he sites in the book, including the example on lighthouse libraries, which the author was only able to find successfully after he physically leafed through a few books. Although these examples are very helpful for the reader, one cannot help but sense the author’s frustration (and judgment) when dealing with uninformed researchers. Despite the intimidating tone, this work goes a long way in turning the uninformed into the informed. In each chapter Mann lists dozens of potential resources from the Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors to Wilson’s Library Literature to the Columbia Journalism Review Inflation Calendar .
Unfortunately, due to the nature of a printed book, some of the sources are possibly outdated, as well as the database format examples. But the spirit of the author’s intention, to teach people how to use these databases and where to find certain resources, should enable readers to follow along and still be able to find the suggested resources. Finally, the appendix on “Wisdom” seems out of place. Although it is interesting to read the author’s thoughts on the final level of the hierarchy of learning, the appendix seems tangential to an otherwise great resource for researchers of all levels.”