Subject Bibliography

1. Introduction: A subject bibliography is a comprehensive list of all books, periodical articles, pamphlets and other analytical materials that have appeared on that subject such a bibliography is international in scope since it covers everything that has appeared on the subject in different languages and in different languages and in different countries of the world.

2. Definition: According to Ranganathan, “A subject bibliography is a document bibliography confined to a specific subject field only, instead of covering the entire universe of subjects.” The subject may be a person, geographical entity such as study of locality or an area study, form of a material, form of literature etc. Ranganthan explains document bibliography further by saying that, it is “a list of embodied macro and/ or micro ideas – that is, of books and/ or of articles in periodicals- on a specialized subject or any number or on even all the subject” which is a record of work on paper or other material fit for physical handling, transport across space and preservation through time. Thus document refers to printed, handwritten and engraved material, including books, periodical, publication, microfilms, photographs etc.

3. Examples:

a) The Cambridge bibliography of English Literature, ed. by F. W. Bateson, 4 V cam, University  Press, 1940; supplement, edited by G. Watson, Cambridge, 1957.

b) Education Abstracts, 1949 to date. Paris, UNESCO.

c) Bibliography of Ideology, Vol. 1- Indian Anthropology, compiled by J. M. Kanitkar and others, Calcutta, National Library, 1960.

4. Present Situation: Subject bibliography is considered to be a weak link in bibliographic control. This is especially true in the fields of the humanities and social sciences. There are many areas where subject bibliography are not exists.

            The universal and the national bibliography form a base for a subject bibliography. There are many countries where a national bibliography doesn’t exist. In case of countries with national bibliographies a complete current national bibliography is lacking. The same is true for retrospective national bibliography and there is no universal bibliography in true sense. The printed catalogues of the great national libraries taken together can serve as a universal bibliography to some extent and thus we may conclude that the base for a subject bibliography is weak. Also there are many areas where subject bibliographies aren’t exist and again there are only a few fields where subject bibliography is well organized. So considering the above points we may conclude that the subject bibliography is the weakest link in bibliographic control.

5. Usefulness:

a) It enables scholars and researchers to know how far knowledge has been unfolded or research has been done on the subject.

b) Without it much of a scholar’s work may turn to fruitless labour at the end. In the absence of subject bibliography they may work hard for long on the subject only to realize at length to their utter dismay that what they have been doing so long was done long ago by some other scholars.

c) The scholars and researchers consult subject bibliography before undertaking any project of research.

d) The approach of the bibliography is generally through subject rather than author. So the role of subject bibliography becomes very important.

e) Of the various types of bibliography, a subject bibliography is of greatest direct as well as exact service to a reference librarian.

6. Limitation:

a) Most subject bibliography becomes out of date after they are released.

b) Those subject bibliographies which are not comprehensive in their coverage often miss material in related fields.