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Library Research Models: A Guide to Classification, Cataloging, and Computers

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Most researchers, even with computers, find only a fraction of the sources available to them. As Library of Congress reference librarian Thomas Mann explains, researchers tend to work within one or another mental framework that limits their basic perception of the universe of knowledge available to them. Some, for example, use a subject-disciplinary method which leads them Most researchers, even with computers, find only a fraction of the sources available to them. As Library of Congress reference librarian Thomas Mann explains, researchers tend to work within one or another mental framework that limits their basic perception of the universe of knowledge available to them. Some, for example, use a subject-disciplinary method which leads them to a specific list of sources on a particular subject. But, Mann points out, while this method allows students and researchers to find more specialized sources, it is also limiting--they may not realize that works of interest to their own subject appear within the literature of many other disciplines. A researcher looking through anthropology journals, for example, might not discover that the MLA International Bibliography provides the best coverage of folklore journals. In Library Research Models, Mann examines the several alternative mental models people use to approach the task of research, and demonstrates new, more effective ways of finding information. Drawing on actual examples gleaned from 15 years' experience in helping thousands of researchers, he not only shows the full range of search options possible, but also illuminates the inevitable tradeoffs and losses of access that occur when researchers limit themselves to a specific method. In two chapters devoted to computers he examines the use of electronic resources and reveals their value in providing access to a wide range of sources as well as their disadvantages: what people are not getting when they rely solely on computer searches; why many sources will probably never be in databases; and what the options are for searching beyond computers. Thomas Mann's A Guide to Library Research Methods was widely praised as a definitive manual of library research. Ronald Gross, author of The Independent Scholar's Handbook called it the savviest such guide I have ever seen--bracingly irreverent and brimming with wisdom. The perfect companion volume, Library Research Models goes even further to provide a fascinating look at the ways in which we can most efficiently gain access to our vast storehouses of knowledge.


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Most researchers, even with computers, find only a fraction of the sources available to them. As Library of Congress reference librarian Thomas Mann explains, researchers tend to work within one or another mental framework that limits their basic perception of the universe of knowledge available to them. Some, for example, use a subject-disciplinary method which leads them Most researchers, even with computers, find only a fraction of the sources available to them. As Library of Congress reference librarian Thomas Mann explains, researchers tend to work within one or another mental framework that limits their basic perception of the universe of knowledge available to them. Some, for example, use a subject-disciplinary method which leads them to a specific list of sources on a particular subject. But, Mann points out, while this method allows students and researchers to find more specialized sources, it is also limiting--they may not realize that works of interest to their own subject appear within the literature of many other disciplines. A researcher looking through anthropology journals, for example, might not discover that the MLA International Bibliography provides the best coverage of folklore journals. In Library Research Models, Mann examines the several alternative mental models people use to approach the task of research, and demonstrates new, more effective ways of finding information. Drawing on actual examples gleaned from 15 years' experience in helping thousands of researchers, he not only shows the full range of search options possible, but also illuminates the inevitable tradeoffs and losses of access that occur when researchers limit themselves to a specific method. In two chapters devoted to computers he examines the use of electronic resources and reveals their value in providing access to a wide range of sources as well as their disadvantages: what people are not getting when they rely solely on computer searches; why many sources will probably never be in databases; and what the options are for searching beyond computers. Thomas Mann's A Guide to Library Research Methods was widely praised as a definitive manual of library research. Ronald Gross, author of The Independent Scholar's Handbook called it the savviest such guide I have ever seen--bracingly irreverent and brimming with wisdom. The perfect companion volume, Library Research Models goes even further to provide a fascinating look at the ways in which we can most efficiently gain access to our vast storehouses of knowledge.

30 review for Library Research Models: A Guide to Classification, Cataloging, and Computers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Fasching-Gray

    After 21 years, this book still has something to say about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Certainly much has changed about what Mann calls "the Computer Workstation Model," and maybe some of the issues he brings up have been addressed, but the overall message of the book is as true as ever. There are many ways to get at the collected knowledge of humanity and we shouldn't just use one at the expense of the others. The best bits for me were the examples drawn from Mann's own experi After 21 years, this book still has something to say about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Certainly much has changed about what Mann calls "the Computer Workstation Model," and maybe some of the issues he brings up have been addressed, but the overall message of the book is as true as ever. There are many ways to get at the collected knowledge of humanity and we shouldn't just use one at the expense of the others. The best bits for me were the examples drawn from Mann's own experience as a research librarian at the Library of Congress. Mann was a private investigator before becoming a librarian and his stories of doggedly pursuing rumors and anecdotal comments until he discovers the documents that inspired them have the flavor of detective stories. Every good story needs a villain, and the role here is played with aplomb by something Mann calls "the Principle of Least Effort." Instead of "satificing" after the first plausible answer we find, we should make the effort to try all of the models.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Yes, this book was required reading for one of the Library/Information Science classes I'm taking (hence the "school" bookshelf created). However, it is a well-written course on the various methods of library research specifically in the Library of Congress setting. I was surprised to see that it was written in 1993 and still had relevant viewpoints on organizing a library for both librarians and researchers. At its most subtle, it's a battle-cry for the validity of the librarian profession. The Yes, this book was required reading for one of the Library/Information Science classes I'm taking (hence the "school" bookshelf created). However, it is a well-written course on the various methods of library research specifically in the Library of Congress setting. I was surprised to see that it was written in 1993 and still had relevant viewpoints on organizing a library for both librarians and researchers. At its most subtle, it's a battle-cry for the validity of the librarian profession. The most important quote I took from this book: "paved roads create traffic." My paraphrase: if you don't organize a library to be useful, no one will use it. Three stars because it's required reading, but all in all, Mann took a dry topic and made it interesting.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mk

    This books discusses many different ways of doing research and structuring reference materials. It was interesting to see how these systems overlap and complement each other, and the amount of information that it's possible to miss by only searching subject headings, or browsing shelfs, or searching for keywords. Finally, Mann offers a suggestion for physically restructuring reference sections to make information more readily accessible, and make teaching search skills easier. I guess the fact th This books discusses many different ways of doing research and structuring reference materials. It was interesting to see how these systems overlap and complement each other, and the amount of information that it's possible to miss by only searching subject headings, or browsing shelfs, or searching for keywords. Finally, Mann offers a suggestion for physically restructuring reference sections to make information more readily accessible, and make teaching search skills easier. I guess the fact that I liked this means I'm not totally wasting my time in school...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Adam Gilbert-Cole

    Mann's style is very approachable, which is the strongest suit of this book: even if I hadn't been reading it for class, I would have enjoyed it simply because his explanations are friendly and articulate at the same time. I think the book is getting a bit dated, but his overall point is very strong: the best research methods (and teaching of said methods) incorporate many avenues of access to information so that the weaknesses of one system of access are overcome by the strengths of the others. Mann's style is very approachable, which is the strongest suit of this book: even if I hadn't been reading it for class, I would have enjoyed it simply because his explanations are friendly and articulate at the same time. I think the book is getting a bit dated, but his overall point is very strong: the best research methods (and teaching of said methods) incorporate many avenues of access to information so that the weaknesses of one system of access are overcome by the strengths of the others. I wish I'd read this when I was in previous degree programs: I was (am?) a TERRIBLE researcher.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

    Perhaps I should have read this _before_ putting a list of hundreds of books on Goodreads.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Harry

    I'm a Library Research Developer - so... (but anachronistic, and mostly irrelevant). I'm a Library Research Developer - so... (but anachronistic, and mostly irrelevant).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  8. 5 out of 5

    Robert Campbell

  9. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Langgle

  10. 5 out of 5

    Textmaven

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jillian

  12. 5 out of 5

    Owen Byrne

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alon Friedman

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alana

  15. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  17. 5 out of 5

    dearlittledeer

  18. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Might as well read the updated version of The Oxford Guide to Library Research since the information is more up-to-date and the examples are basically the same. Might as well read the updated version of The Oxford Guide to Library Research since the information is more up-to-date and the examples are basically the same.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  20. 4 out of 5

    Keelan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Miss Jamie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lanora TM

  23. 4 out of 5

    Harriet H.

  24. 4 out of 5

    F. Tim

  25. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mikah

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  29. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

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