A Choice Review
How do academic libraries decide which books to purchase? Today, the various library suppliers (Dawson, Yankee Book Trader, etc.) offer libraries a filtering service so that certain publishers and subjects can be tagged and – voila! - a more manageable list is offered.
This filtering has its limitations hence why, in the United States at least, most academic libraries refer to a monthly magazine published by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) for selecting and purchasing materials. Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries is considered the premier source for reviews of academic books, electronic media, and Internet resources of interest to those in higher education.
According to the ACRL, Choice reaches 22,000 librarians and an estimated 13,000 higher education faculty in almost every undergraduate college and university library in the United States, along with many larger public libraries, and special and governmental libraries. Reviews are published monthly in Choice magazine and ChoiceReviews.online. Choice publishes approximately 7,000 reviews per year in 50 sub-disciplines spanning the humanities, science and technology, and the social and behavioural sciences.
Seven thousand reviews sounds a lot but in fact few reviews in the field of (say) Asian Studies are published in any one year. As such, we were very pleased to hear last week that, in its March issue, Choice published a review of Robert Cribb’s Digital Atlas of Indonesian History.
Concluding that the atlas is ‘essential [for] all academic levels/libraries’, the review states:
This reference work, available as a DVD and, after registration, an actively maintained and searchable website, is a very welcome expansion of Robert Cribb’s earlier Historical Atlas of Indonesia …, which existed solely as a book. The new format is not only easier to carry around than the original atlas (and through the online option, accessible anytime from anywhere), but also enables quick, easily navigable access to maps for specific periods or topics through a clickable chapter option, with each chapter listing the relevant maps available as a clickable sidebar. Researchers therefore can very quickly call up the maps of greatest interest to them without needing to flip through an index or pages of print. Most usefully, maps pulled up can be printed out or saved as PDF or JPEG files. Researchers can be assured that, along with the atlas's user-friendly nature and regularly updated material on the Web version, the atlas continues to reflect Cribb’s deep knowledge of Indonesian history and politics, exemplified through the descriptive chapters that accompany the maps. While historians probably will benefit most from the DVD, political scientists and policy analysts will also find much of interest here, particularly in the maps and data that cover a range of topics for post-Suharto Indonesia, including elections and decentralisation. The one caveat is that the maps very much reflect the atlas's title and focus directly on Indonesian history. … Nevertheless, the atlas overall is an indispensable resource for almost anyone with an interest in Indonesia. Includes a well-written 70-page guide.
Thanks to Wikipedia for the background details on Choice.