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The Oxford Guide to Library Research

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  232 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
With all of the new developments in information storage and retrieval, researchers today need a clear and comprehensive overview of the full range of their options, both online and offline, for finding the best information quickly. In this third edition of The Oxford Guide to Library Research, Thomas Mann maps out an array not just of important databases and print sources, ...more
Hardcover, 293 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published October 8th 1987)
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Oct 08, 2008 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. Not the edge of your seat kind of amazing, but the kind of 'oh my fucking god this is so cool' kind of dorky amazing. In just under three hundred pages there is so much information that it's almost staggering, and the author can handle this plethora of researching advice in a very easy to read and accessible manner. That he's something of a crummugedon (oh, why won't my spell checker know what word I'm trying to spell here, and oh why am i so lazy to go look up how to spell ...more
Kyle Potter
Jun 15, 2011 Kyle Potter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research
Mann's book rewards a careful reader with an exposition of how the organization of libraries and databases serve the needs of the researcher - nothing in a library's organization is arbitrary, and this volume carefully explains how to best use that organization for deep research. He teaches useful, high-level techniques with interesting and memorable examples. This can be useful for an undergraduate research course, but it's entirely indispensable for serious academic work. Anyone starting a gra ...more
Dec 27, 2010 Karla rated it it was amazing
I fancied myself information literate, and then I read this book. The author is a reference librarian at the Library of Congress, and he knows an unbelievable amount of ways to find information. This book would be useful to most any graduate student. In particular, I think it would also be helpful for research involving older documents which aren't indexed in online databases. I also learned a thing or two about government documents. Highly recommended for library students!
Myron Brown
I do believe that this is a must read book for librarians, particularly those who work in academic libraries. With that said there are some caveats to this recommendation. Remember when your instructors conducted how to research classes they told you to "watch out for bias" in your information sources? Well this book wears its bias on its sleeve. Thomas Mann is no fan of the open internet as a reference research source. This book could have easily been half its length without the extended rants ...more
Zach Hedges
Jul 31, 2016 Zach Hedges rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Could there be a more qualified authority to write a guide to library research than a man who has three decades of experience working in the reference department of the largest library in the world (Washington’s Library of Congress)? Thomas Mann brings a uniquely masterful level of expertise to a subject which (as he demonstrates) sorely requires it in the age of Google and Wikipedia.

The fourth edition of Mann’s Guide is fully up to date and exceedingly prepared to tackle (and employ) the most
Oleg Kagan
Feb 19, 2011 Oleg Kagan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who is planning to do any research on anything should read this book before they begin.

Thomas Mann includes a breadth of information that is well-organized and clearly explained.

I'm not sure why I didn't read this book in library school. I know reading it now has made me better at providing research assistance for myself and others.
Sep 07, 2014 Kassandra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grad-school
I am reading this book as it is, surprisingly, a requirement for a graduate course in librarianship and I am very much disliking something about the author's underlying tone. He seems angry or frustrated and the book reads as if he is trying to argue with the reader. It's as if he is writing a paper to convince you to believe what he believes rather than to educate the reader. One example so far is that he seems to be very closed to change and seems to think if books were to be entirely digitize ...more
Oct 22, 2008 Kaelie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Valuable, but dry and the author is an internet phobe. I want to tell him that Google is okay, as long as you're careful. Ugh.
Oct 02, 2011 Kristin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good for listing of resources you wouldn't normally think of, but you have to get past Mann's demeaning tone...
Randy Hulshizer
This guy HATES the internet
Laura Buller
Jun 23, 2014 Laura Buller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The language itself was somewhat more complex than I thought necessary for a 'teaching text.' However, the many options for researching and finding the best information quickly is excellent. The databases presented along with search techniques is indeed helpful. I found particularly beneficial the fact that Mann demonstrates how citation and record searching yield far better results than keyword inquiries alone.

Feb 10, 2014 Marinda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lis, non-fiction
Information is not presented as linear as I expected it to be. It is therefore harder to follow than it has to be.
Thomas Mann has been a reference librarian in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress for 25 years and uses both print and electronic sources to find information. His tips on using ordinary sources are an indispensable friend for students, or anyone with a hobby, a project you are working on or if you just wants to find, perhaps, more detailed information. The book is very readable, not at all dry or technical. You do not have to be a professional researcher or studnet to get useful too ...more
Aaron Downs
Helpful, though a bit out-dated.
Cathy Wood
For Online Searching course
Half guidebook and half theory, this text can be incredibly helpful to serious researchers, reference librarians and MILS/MLS students. The rest of the world can probably do without the lists of resources and nuts-and-bolts approach to research. There's other books that are shorter and better designed to educate the layperson on the value of information searching.

The appendix on wisdom however is probably only worthwhile to philosophy students, not 90% of the targeted audience for this book.
Wens Tan
Excellent overview from a librarian who clearly knows his collection and his users, and would use the best combination of strategies to get the information needed, even when that information resides outside the library.

His basic premise (which I agree strongly with): that every strategy has its trade-offs; to be a good researcher, you need to know what these trade-offs are and use a suitable combination of strategies, in a suitable order, to find the information needed.
Joe Matson
Aug 07, 2012 Joe Matson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the only readable book on how to get the most out of libraries, Mann repeatedly stresses the strengths and weaknesses of several search strategy, and he gives clear examples to illustrate (especially) why certain things are not online, and probably never will be. The Appendix on Wisdom is a surprising departure from the rest of the book, arguing that knowledge is not enough: we also have to be moral to be wise.
Comprehensive, but dated. Really dated. There were times where I felt like I was wasting my time because libraries have changed so much since the pub date.
Pamela Hubbard
The book is pretty dry but gives an incredible overview of different aspects of research, such as citation searching, different types of resources, etc. Much of the material is "skimmable" and I'm not sure how long the material in the book will stay current, but it is a solid foundational book for librarians or students learning about research.
Jan 10, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
Thomas Mann has a dry wit that cleverly peppers this book and keeps it interesting. This is an extremely useful tool for those about to embark on large research projects that entail utilizing as many library resources as possible. Comprehensive.
Ariel Dagan
Aug 15, 2013 Ariel Dagan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any one who live by Google search
Recommended to Ariel by: Amanda Izenstark
Shelves: research
Many folks this that today search engine are the be all and end all of all answers. Mann puts things into perspective and enables the reader to have a greater understanding how one should access information based on their search needs.
Jun 25, 2011 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is pretty amazing. I think even a super-savvy reference librarian could pick up some great tips. It is getting a bit dated in terms of database names and providers and search features, etc.
Oct 05, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-science
I enjoyed Thomas Mann's annecdotes about reference work. I also learned that I need to remember to look for reference sources on specific topics when I am doing research.
Reid Ashbaucher
Sep 13, 2012 Reid Ashbaucher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Required reading for anyone involved in thesis or dissertation research projects. Written by a research expert both in the private sector and within the library system.
This is an excellent resource for Library and Information professionals. It is a great reference tool, providing recommendations of a number of resources.
May 11, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Mann creates order out of chaos. On page 24 of the 1998 paperback edition, you will find the secret to the library universe.
Jun 19, 2007 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVE this book. I wish every student accepted to graduate school was forced to read it before their first day of class.
Micheal Rumore
"This library would be the perfect place if you rubes would leave the books alone."
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