From Library Journal
Designed to provide researchers with "comprehensive and current coverage" of a wide variety of ethnic resources from museums, libraries, and archives, this guide was compiled, we are told in the introduction, from the results of a "comprehensive national survey" of such institutions. The compilers relied on questionnaires sent out between 1993 and 1995. The resulting bibliography contains entries for 786 institutions, arranged in 68 subject categories, most being specific ethnic groups. Entries provide the name, address, phone and FAX number, staff size, and the name of a contact person for the particular repository. A description of the repository's collections and services then follows. Not recalling receiving a questionnaire, this reviewer was surprised to find the Northwest Minnesota Historical Center listed. The entry is reasonably accurate but contains errors concerning our budget and collections. The center does not contain resources concerning the "Hispanics . . . who settled" the Red River Valley; it does possess collections concerning Hispanics who came to the valley as migrant laborers 50 years after settlement. The absence of entries for Minnesota's other five regional historical centers, each holding substantial ethnic collections, is also puzzling. Are these oversights due to lack of response to the compilers' questionnaires? Apparently not, for none of these centers' directors remember receiving a request for information. To test the guide's accuracy further, I sent copies of specific entries to five other repositories in four states chosen at random, representing five different ethnic groups. Each repository's reply uncovered minor errors in the entries, concerning hours of operation, collection size, and the like. Two of the repositories' directors noted that some of the mistakes seem to stem from out-of-date brochures, published well before 1993. The third director noted a serious error, pointing out that while her institute holds "records of Swedish-American churches in Minnesota," the guide entry claims that it holds "genealogy records from Swedish parishes." The archivist of a large center for Mennonite studies also spotted minor errors and provided me with a list of major Mennonite repositories in the United States, over half of which are not listed in the guide. Again, no one remembers receiving a questionnaire, nor an entry for proofreading prior to publication. Given the consistency of these responses, it seems clear that this publication fails to be either comprehensive or current. Many of the minor mistakes could have been corrected through more painstaking effort and less haste to get another reference book out on the market. Some libraries that deal with a large number of genealogy patrons may be tempted to purchase a copy. But as there are better works?the annual Directory of Special Libraries and Information Centers (Gale, 1995), for example?this is not recommended.?Terry L. Shoptaugh, Northwest Minnesota Historical Ctr., Moorhead State Univ.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
?Guide to Information Sources is arranged by 68 ethnic groups, including Jewish Americans, Native Americans, and 'Multi-Ethnic, ' a section that lists institutions with collections on many ethnic groups. This book will be useful to researchers in ethnic studies and immigration and to family historians/genealogists.?-Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin
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