Journal of women's history guide to periodical literature /

Main Author: Fischer, Gayle V.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c1992.
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Review by Booklist Review

Since its inception in 1989, the Journal of Women's History has regularly featured bibliographies on such topics as women and work, women and family, and woman's suffrage. However, these bibliographies could list only a small percentage of the burgeoning number of historical articles pertaining to women that were being recorded in the Journal's database. Consequently, the editors decided to make these references available to researchers through a separate publication. Compiled by an editorial assistant for the Journal, this bibliography lists approximately 5,500 English-language articles relating to women's history. They were culled from 789 journals representing a broad range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, including the history of science and medicine. Although the bibliography primarily lists articles published from 1980 through 1990, it also cites a number that appeared in the late 1970s as well as some from 1991. A lengthy and provocative introduction by Joan Hoff, a history professor at Indiana University and coeditor of the Journal, traces the development of scholarly approaches to women's history in the U.S. and reviews recent research trends. The bibliography itself is divided into 40 major topical or geographic categories (e.g., "Asia," "Health," "Professions"), which are then further subdivided into more precise subject areas. For example, among the subheadings in the "Politics" section are "First Ladies," "International Relations," and "Women's Rights." Although some sections are updated versions of bibliographies that originally appeared in the Journal of Women's History, most have not been published previously. Within each subheading, article citations are arranged alphabetically by author, with each entry providing full bibliographic information but no annotation. Some articles appear under more than one section. Incredibly, the guide includes no subject or author indexes; therefore, the table of contents serves as the only access to the bibliographic citations, and it is a woefully inadequate substitute for detailed subject indexing. Users interested in specific topics, such as women during World War II, Mormon women, women naturalists, or Lucretia Mott, must scan entire sections of the bibliography for relevant articles. Moreover, since no cross-references are provided between related headings in the table of contents, users can easily overlook sections pertinent to their research. For example, in addition to the main "Biography" section, biography subheadings appear within five other categories, including "Feminism," "U.S. Southern Women," and "Theory." Compared with other bibliographies covering women's history, this volume has the advantage of currency and broad international scope. In addition, only 30 (or fewer than 4 percent) of the periodicals cited are indexed in Women Studies Abstracts. However, most libraries will be better served by the detailed subject indexing provided by two bibliographies published by ABC-Clio. The two-volume Women in American History: A Bibliography [RBB My 15 86] provides abstracts of more than 7,000 articles published between 1964 and 1984, while Women in the Third World: A Historical Bibliography [RBB Ag 86] includes abstracts of approximately 600 articles published between 1970 and 1985. Although these sources are now somewhat dated, the former can be supplemented by using America: History and Life and the latter by Historical Abstracts. It is unfortunate that a bibliography of such impressive scope and potential value lacks the indexes that would make it an extremely useful reference work. Scholars who are patient and persistent will undoubtedly benefit from perusal of this work, but students likely will seek sources with better access. (Reviewed Apr. 15, 1992)

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.