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Ridiculously Pleased With a Reference Book

Well, I think this clinches it. I think this means I really am meant to be a librarian. Nobody, but nobody should be this pleased over an index to a periodical. Point me toward the nearest 12-step program, please!

So, here’s what happened. A professor on campus teaches a class every Winter Term on the Folk Music Revival. This class has been particularly challenging for me to support because I’m learning the subject little by little every winter as I work with her students on their research conundrums. (It’s not usually easy to find scholarship on popular music, and the popular press that could be a treasure-trove of information is pretty unevenly indexed for that time period.) It’s the kind of challenge I thrive on and enjoy, but it sure keeps humble!

This professor wrote and asked that the guide for that course* include tips on how to find articles from Broadside, a key periodical for the genre, since her students seemed to be having a difficult time with this task. Well, this was the first I’d heard of that periodical, which didn’t feel great, since I’ve been trying to educate myself on the sources for that class. But as I did some digging I realized why her students were having difficulty. There just aren’t indexes to this thing! It’s not included in any research databases, and even though it has an ISSN number, it’s not even included in Ulrich’s.

Enter Steve Lawson, who contacted the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to ask about an index they have. Turns out, it’s a home-grown index, and they were willing to photocopy it for me! It arrived yesterday and I spent a very pleasant afternoon typing up a cover-page for it, creating a table of contents for it, and binding it so that all it’s glorious photocopied pages (typed in that nostalgic written-on-a-real-typewriter way) will stay in order. And beginning on Monday, my students will actually be able to consult a list of articles, music, and poetry published in one of the most important periodicals of the Folk Music Revival!! Oh Frabjous Day!!!!

Also yesterday, one of my co-workers got a reference work that made her all gushy and happy, so I’m in good company. (And we probably totally freaked out the poor IT guy who came over to move a photocopier and got to hear two librarians practically flirt with their new reference works.)

For the curious, here’s more information about Broadside.

  • ISSN 0740-7955
  • Wikipedia article on Broadside
  • Broadside.com (Includes an author and title index (both in PDF) which are prettier but not quite as useful as the Cincinnati index. The site also includes the tantalizing promise of free online access to digitized articles. Correspondence with the company revealed that this is a labor of love rather than a business venture, so here’s hoping the online version actually happens and that the site stays live!)
  • Microfiche available from CIS

*Live through March 2008. Archived off-line after that, but still around if you want it.

2 thoughts on “Ridiculously Pleased With a Reference Book

  1. Um… er…

    Of *course* I did!

    Actually, no. I didn’t. But it’s just spiral-bound, so it’ll be easily scanned. I needed it to be bound, paid for, cataloged, and shelved by Monday for a student, so other considerations had to be put aside. I’ll get it done, though.

    I have visions of putting the information up online so that it’s actually searchable and not just readable, but I think that’s being way too optimistic about the kind of time I’ll have to spend on this.

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