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Let's review everything

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On My Mind | OPINION am er ic an lib ra ri es m ag az in e. o rg | m ay 2 01 0 P B am er ic an lib ra ri es m ag az in e. o rg | m ay 2 01 0 1 by Jeffrey BeallWhy stop at books? Let’s Review Everything For many years, readers’ advisory has been a fun-damental and valuable library service that has helped library patrons and oth- ers decide what books to borrow from a library or to buy from a book dealer. Librarians have also been prolific writers of book reviews, which have helped other librar- ians make purchasing decisions and helped readers decide what books to check out or purchase. However, librarians’ readers’ ad- visory and reviews have been mostly limited to books. I think it’s time to expand their coverage and include shorter publications, such as maga- zine and journal articles, essays, short stories, and even individual poems. The ever-increas- ing number of jour- nal articles means readers are over- whelmed with con- tent. University of Manchester chemis- try professor Douglas Kell recently estimated that five sci- entific papers are published every minute. Academics and researchers are especially in need of a Booklist for scholarly articles. Also, individual journal articles are increasingly gaining equal stat- ure with monographs; many times the only difference is length. In some scholarly fields, journal arti- cles, given their faster publication time, are more important than monographs. So articles, like books, are equally deserving of reviews and recommendations. Book reviews help tell readers whether a book is worth checking out and reading, and they tell col- lection development librarians whether it is worth purchasing. In many cases, the library probably al- ready has online access to many magazines and journals, eliminating the need to suggest buying them or not. Therefore, the chief purpose of journal article reviews is simply to advise which articles to read a

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