Page 63 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 20

Basic HTML Version

JEWISH REFERENCE BOOKS: A SELECT LIST
B y
H
erbert
C.
Z
a fr e n
t
VERY book is a reference book—given the righ t time and
place—and the skillful librarian utilizes books of all kinds
in seeking information. In building a reference collection, how-
ever, one must adopt a more limited point of view. T h e relatively
quick answer is what may be sought in the books noted below.
These may be the starting points of research, bu t they are no t
the research tools.
We have arbitrarily excluded monographs and periodicals in
the various fields of Jewish study unless they are basic and very
broad in scope. Books with indexes, bibliographies, useful
arrangements are favored, since facility of use and suggestions
for further research are weighted high. For similar reasons, recent
books and books in better-known languages are also given
priority.
In anticipating the possible use of this list, we assumed tha t
synagogue, center, college and public libraries might find it
useful in tha t order. We have tried to gauge the clientele of
these types of libraries and the kind of information tha t is
sought. Thus the list is neither a research bibliography nor a
rounded compilation of basic books; it is ra the r an attemp t to
provide quick information and, where pertinent, further leads
in the various disciplines of Jewish knowledge applicable for the
intelligent non-specialist.
T h e arrangement below is by large subject categories, with
the usual dilemma tha t some books could easily have been placed
under other subjects as well. Best books, or those “indispensable
to any library,” are not so designated because the compiler
believes even reference books must be selected for the specific
library. Books are arranged so tha t like books may be easily
compared with each other. A liberal selection from the encyclo-
pedia section will eliminate for some libraries the need for many
of the general books in other fields. Encyclopedias should also
fill gaps left by the unavailability of general reference books in
certain fields of Jewish knowledge.
In the Hebrew and Yiddish books below when the book itself
has a transliterated title, it is given; otherwise the translitera-
57