Critically annotated bibliographic entries for more than 3,500 key sources in music are sequentially numbered within chapters devoted to types of reference works. Approximately 1,300 entries (marked with an asterisk) are new titles, older titles not previously included, and new editions. Around 15 percent of the titles from the fourth edition, most of which have been superseded by more recent works, have been omitted. Many of the entries cite reviews from music and library literature. Since this bibliography is international in scope, librarians will need rudimentary translation skills for the foreign-language entries that lack an annotation.
Chapters include dictionaries and encyclopedias; histories and chronologies; guides to musicology; bibliographies of music literature; bibliographies of music; reference works on individual composers; catalogs of music libraries and collections; catalogs of musical instrument collections; histories and bibliographies of music printing and publishing; discographies; yearbooks, directories, and guides; and electronic information resources. A final chapter covers bibliography, the music business, and library science. Most chapters are further subdivided; for instance, that on dictionaries and encyclopedias has categories on general works, nationally oriented dictionaries, instruments, quotations, and much more. Landmark works, such as Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, are placed at the top of their sections and set off from other entries by use of a printer's mark. Due to the cutoff date of publication for inclusion (December 1995), the section on electronic resources contains a limited number of online works and sites. In any case, Reed or the next editor may want to consider incorporating computerized resources into their respective subject areas rather than putting them in a separate chapter. That way, the Lully Web Project could be found with the three print sources on Lully and his music. The new single index (formerly four separated indexes) provides access by author, title, and subject.
Some minor problems were noted. Three pages in chapter 5 have the wrong entry numbers in the header, and in the index, the "by subject, dating" subheading under printing and publishing omits entry 9.102. The symbols and abbreviations key lists OCLC as the "Online Library Information Center," not "Online Computer Library Center," although the bibliographic entry gets it right. On the other hand, the bibliographic entry for RLIN gets that network's name wrong.
Reed presents "a balance of classic historic titles, dependable standard works, and important newly written tools" and emphasizes that the entire work is necessarily selective rather than comprehensive. Because of the importance of titles chosen for inclusion, librarians will want to start here for collection development or to refer patrons to major works on a given topic. Essential for music, academic, and most public library reference collections.