Book Reviews Information Literacy: Revolution in the Library, by Patricia Senn Breivik and E. Gordon Gee. New York: American Coun- cil on Education/Macmillan Publishing Company,…
- Book Reviews Information Literacy: Revolution in the Library, by Patricia Senn Breivik and E. Gordon Gee. New York: American Coun- cil on Education/Macmillan Publishing Company, 1989. 256 pp. $24.95, cloth. ISBN: 0-02-911440-3. It would be reasonable to assume that the information age and information lit- eracy are mutually complementary fac- ets of related phenomena of our time. Information literacy could even be thought of as having ushered in the in- formation age. Not so. The information age demands a high degree of informa- tion literacy, but members of institu- tions of higher learning have yet to reach or teach a reasonable level of that elu- sive proficiency. The research for the book and the re- sultant work are the result of a partner- ship between a university president (Gee) and a university librarian (Breivik), both at the University of Colorado, "com- mitted to quality education in the infor- mation age." The book is one of advo- cacy relating to deficiencies in the educational processes of our colleges and universities. Breivik's and Gee's co- authorship grows out of their belief that "quality education means an active ed- ucation that helps students develop a pattern of lifelong learning" (p. x). As the authors say, the success or fail- ure of academic leaders in facing infor- mation literacy issues will have long- term effects on the future of this country (p. 191). Just think of one instance of information illiteracy cited by the au- thors (p. 103): a student in an English class in a community college could not find Robert Frost in the encyclopedia be- cause he looked under A for author! Nothing stimulates American interest in our educational program more than a comparison with other countries, par- ticularly Japan. Consider this: a study of the 1985 volume of Chemical Abstracts, looking at the author's university affili- ation, found that the three most fre- quently cited universities were the Uni- versity of Tokyo, the University of Kyoto, and the University of Osaka (p. 54). According to the best evidence avail- able (there are evidently no hard statis- tics), the 1980s was a landmark decade in that for the first time in the history of this country the cumulative budgets of institutions of higher learning were less than the learning budgets of enterprises outside higher learning. The process of education and training is particularly ex- tensive among large corporations. Ac- cording to the Wall Street Journal of 9 February 1990, annual public and pri- vate spending on elementary and sec- ondary education was $189.1 billion, and annual spending by employers on for- mal and informal training was $210 bil- lion. IBM's annual training costs are $1.5 billion, and Harvard University's an- nual operating expenses are $951.7 mil- lion. In any one day IBM sends approx- imately 18,000 persons to the school bench. Companies such as IBM, Xerox, Motorola, and General Electric maintain their own substantial educational and ho- tel facilities. One of the largest of these, Xerox's, at Leesburg, Virginia, has a 1,000- room hotel.
- 76 Book Research Quarterly / Summer 1990 The quite appropriate sense of ur- gency of the authors is reflected in this statement (pp. 12-13): Information literacy is a survival skill in the information age. Instead of drowning in the abundance of information that floods their lives, information-literate people know how to find, evaluate and use information effec- tively to solve a particular problem or make a decision, whether the information they select comes from a computer, a book, a government agency, a film or any of a num- ber of other possible resources. The vision of the authors is laudable. It accords to the librarian and the presi- dent the kind of leadership role that would substantially benefit the learning process. "The ideal librarian," as indi- cated by Frank Newman, the president of the Educational Commission of the States, is a person who "empowers stu- dents to learn by teaching them how to draw upon sources of information, knowledge and ideas." Newman sees classroom faculty and librarians as "sharing a common function, although they operate in a different context" (p. 167). The authors also agree with Har- vard President Derek Bok's book Higher Learning (1986), that academic leaders can bring about significant changes because "even today, they possess attributes and powers that put them in a unique posi- tion to foster educational reform" (p. 198). Amen. But I question whether it will hap- pen in time. The authors marshal substantial re- sources in making their case, and they are knowledgeable on all facets of the issues. For instance, they refer to the en- hanced effectiveness of a research team when it is joined by an information spe- cialist. The reference here (p. 60) is to saving time, but one could also argue for the effectiveness of the process and the broader scope of results. The au- thors also refer to the power of selective dissemination of information (SDI) ser- vices, which, in this reviewer's view, is a sadly underutilized computer tool in scanning databases (p. 59). They call at- tention to the effect of library use and the higher completion rate for academ- ically disadvantaged students at Brook- lyn (79 percent vs. 64 percent in the con- trol groups) (p. 98), illustrative of the effectiveness of learning from what Dr. Samuel Johnson called the "second knowledge" or what might be described as "lookup knowledge." Another li- brary issue addressed is the importance of access vs. ownership, and the au- thors conclude that library resource shar- ing is a "vital necessity" (pp. 138-139). Inevitably the authors come to grips with the fundamental issue of what is expected of higher education. Appropri- ately, they quote Ernest L. Boyer, the president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, in a speech to the American Council on Ed- ucation: students' capacity should be tested regarding their ability "to inte- grate knowledge, to analyze what they have learned, and to apply knowledge creatively to contemporary problems" (p. 27). The authors also refer to intellectual linkages between the information age and information literacy that have been ad- vanced by Harlan Cleveland, the former dean of the University of Minnesota Hu- bert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Af- fairs. They rightly emphasize the need for developing students' ability to learn rather than focusing exclusively on mas- tering a particular body of knowledge. The book calls for integrated learning in preparation for lifelong learning and active citizenship, and it refers to three fundamental truths about the relation- ship between information and problem solving in the information age (p. 28): (1) the half life of information is shrinking (2) problem solving requires a sound infor- mation base (3) the information base is constantly ex-
- Book Reviews 77 panding in all formats, thus requiring higher levels of skills in accessing and evaluating information resources. The authors see a solution in jointly de- veloped leadership provided by the pres- ident and the library director. Will that suffice? Institutions of higher learning are by nature reluctant to change, and are often change resistant. The authors are probably more sanguine than the re- ality would suggest. A president and li- brary director have limited capacities in causing change, even assuming that a proactive leadership such as that pro- vided by Breivik and Gee would mate- rialize in every institution of higher learn- ing in this country. The ever-increasing rapidity of change in our society calls for high-powered, highly visible mech- anisms of change in an institution of higher learning. Rarely do they exist. Probably it is for that reason that an ever- increasing and ever more significant por- tion of advanced learning, be it of the "pure education" type or of "training," is offered outside institutions of higher learning in this country. Information Literacy is part of the genre of literature on the issue of change in an environment that is structurally reluc- tant to change, or lacks sufficient self- awareness to effectuate change at a pace that is required. We hope, therefore, that the American Council on Education or the authors will continue to forge ahead on the path that they have started. What comes to mind specifically are two follow- on endeavors: first, the projects that dem- onstrate how information literacy bene- fits individuals and how it furthers the adaptation to change in our society; sec- ond, a study of barriers to information literacy. Eric H. Boehm International School of Information Management Archival Gold: Managing and Preserv- ing Publishers" Records, by Laura M. Coles. Burnaby, B.C.: Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, Simon Fraser University, 1989.69 pp. $6.25 Canadian, paper. ISBN: 0-86491-084-3. Despite the implications of the title, this is a small book aimed directly at book publishers, and more specifically Cana- dian book publishers. Its procedural rec- ommendations, however, are applicable to publishers anywhere in the world. In- deed its rationale and principles apply to most business operat ions. And whether a company intends to establish its own archive or, more likely, transfer inactive records to an institution for pres- ervation, executives of the organization will want to weigh the author's argu- ments for good records management. Arguments on the value of publisher records to the outside world introduce the booklet to the reader. The author does not try to convert; she merely alerts publishers that what close up may ap- pear to be the mundane records of a profit-making operation in the later and larger view is valid and valuable docu- mentation and measurement of our so- ciety's cultural mores. Had I chosen to prepare a similar volume, experience might have demanded that these argu- ments be developed in greater detail, per- haps by citing instances in which newly uncovered letters or memos shed light and understanding on a significant au- thor-publisher relationship, a bestsell- ing publication, or publishing practice that heretofore had been little known or understood. The author, quite rightly, I think, ignores tales of scholarly adven- ture to focus on why, for a publisher's own self-interest, archival record con- cern should have a place of importance in the general operation of a company. Central to her concern is the establish- ment of a "good records management
- 78 Book Research Quarterly / Summer 1990 system," one that will have immediate benefit to "daily operations by helping you keep all your files, both current and old, orderly and up-to-date." The re- mainder of the book describes how such a system can be put into place (much easier for a relatively young publisher than for one long established) and how it can produce "archival gold" for all con- cerned. Such a records system begins with a review of the active files to de- termine their current and future value to the company. Sample forms are pro- vided as well as a records schedule, ar- ranged by book publishing company de- partment, that suggests the likely lifespan and value of document types such as contracts, correspondence, payrol l records, and promotional materials. The author also gives general guidelines on the disposit ion of manuscripts and proofs, as well as the retention of copies of new and revised publications. If fol- lowed, all of this advice can lead to greater office efficiencies for the pub- lisher and establish an in-house archive, or bring about the smooth transfer of archival records to an outside agency. The recommended procedures are la- bor intensive and are not accompanied with suggestions for existing computer filing and record keeping systems and software that could reduce some of the paperwork required. Publishers with large quantities of unsorted records will approach these guidelines cautiously. On the one hand, the office space required to house these documents is likely to be greatly reduced. However, the general review and close scrutiny recommended for each classification of documents will appear daunting. As one who has mined the archives of a number of major American book pub- lishers and who has, in turn, been asked by publishers to provide information that their own company archives, had they existed, would have easily yielded, I urge publishing executives responsible for of- fice management to acquire and review this trim volume as a first step in a re- view of their company's records man- agement. Thomas L. Bonn Book Publishing: A Basic Introduction, by John P. Dessauer. Third ed., ex- panded. New York: Continuum, 1989. 260 pages. Cloth. $25.95. ISBN 0-8264- 0446. A Guide to Book Publishing, by Datus C. Smith, Jr. Rev. ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1989. 268 pages. Cloth, $25.00. ISBN 0-295-96652-1. Pa- per, $12.50. ISBN 0-295-96651-30. A basic introduction to book publishing can meet the needs of a variety of read- ers: the college student contemplating a career in the industry, the newly hired publishing employee who wants to learn about the field, the student in a publish- ing course, the would-be publishing en- trepreneur, and even the manager or ex- ecutive whose firm has acquired a publishing house. All of these people need to know how the book publishing industry is structured and what its func- tional components are. They also need to understand how publishing straddles the worlds of culture and commerce, what role publishing plays in a nation's economy and soul. New editions of two classic introductions to book publishing can, in combination, meet these needs admirably. Each book was written for a different purpose, and each emphasizes different areas, but both provide volu- minous information as well as a sense of the purpose of the industry.
- Book Reviews 79 John P. Dessauer's Book Publishing: A Basic Introduction was first published in 1974. Dessauer has done a remarkable job of bringing the book up to date. The new edition is especially notable for in- tegrating discussions of current prob- lems in publishing into the basic over- view of the industry that the earlier editions provided. Dessauer begins with a brief history of U.S. publishing and a chapter on the nature of the book publishing industry and the most important issues it faces. The heart of the book, however, lies in the chapters on how books are created, manufactured, marketed, stored, and de- livered, and in "How Publishers Fi- nance, Plan, and Manage." The chapter on the creation of books clearly defines the industry's divisions and discusses the main problems they face. The chap- ters on manufacturing and fulfillment are adequate, though not exciting. But the lengthy chapters on marketing and on financing and management are superb introductions for any audience. All of these chapters provide very clear de- scriptions of the relevant procedures, but Dessauer adds critical discussions of in- adequacies, lack of imagination, and im- pending crises (for example, his discus- sion of salaries in the industry is both frank and admonitory). The only significant omission in the book is notes or bibliography. Like any good introductory text, Dessauer's book creates a desire in the reader to look fur- ther into the subjects covered, and a good bibliography would be welcome. Datus C. Smith, Jr., wrote A Guide to Book Publishing, not for American nov- ices but for those in developing coun- tries. Because of that purpose--not de- spite it--the book provides a view of book publishing that complements the cur- rency and sophistication of Dessauer's book in important ways. Smith reminds his readers constantly of the centrality of book publishing in a nation's economic, social, and educa- tional life. Whether addressing an edi- tor, designer, production manager, or marketing expert, he reminds his read- ers that publishing books is a responsi- bility, and that publishing them well is an obligation not only to the profitabil- ity of the house but to the wellbeing of the society. Even in a prosperous, tech- nologically advanced, and culturally so- phisticated society, that's not a bad les- son for newcomers. Like Dessauer, Smith describes the structure of the publishing industry and its functional components. His descrip- tions carefully relate each activity to the central purposes of the industry, both commercial and cultural. Smith's emphasis on publishing in de- veloping nations, which includes frank discussions of such problems as illiter- acy and scarce resources, should be of special interest to publishers in devel- oped nations who hope to expand into global markets. If the globe is consid- ered to include Africa, Latin America, and Asia, these challenges will have to be faced. Two topics are slighted by both Des- sauer and Smith. Although each men- tions desktop typesetting, neither ex- plores very thoroughly its potential impact, and neither discusses at all the potential of electronic publishing to sup- plement or alter the industry. More sur prising is the short shrift given to prob- lems of censorship. Dessauer touches on obscenity issues but does not deal with censorship arising from ideological or re- ligious concerns. Smith simply shies away from the issue, perhaps because it is so sensitive in many developing coun- tries. Yet freedom of the press is surely crucial to a healthy publishing industry, no matter what the political setting.
- 80 Book Research Quarterly / Summer 1990 Despite these omissions, the availabil- ity of both these classics in updated form is welcome. Both are required reading for newcomers, and old-timers will ben- efit from a quick reading as well. Beth Luey Arizona State University Financial Management of Scientific ]our- nals, edited by Barbara Drew. Bethesda, MD: Council of Biology Editors, 1989. 112 pp. $24.95 paper. ISBN 0-914340- 08-5. No matter how well edited, books based on conference proceedings rarely live up to expectations. The genre endures, how- ever, although fewer such books are pub- lished today than in the past. When the knowledge base is thin and interest high, conference proceedings continue to meet a need. Based on an all-day financial man- agement conference sponsored by CBE in 1988, this is such a book, and journals publishing is such a subject. While not precisely a European inven- tion, the journal certainly achieved its first flowering of significance in Europe. Except for journals published by societ- ies for their members, journals did not become important forces in scholarly communication in the United States un- til after World War II. Interestingly, their rise in significance coincides with the pre- war emigration of European scholars (and publishers) to the United States and the increasingly predominant role of the United States in postwar science. Partic- ularly in the sciences, journals publish- ing today is an international phenome- non. Most important nonsociety scientific journals now contain contributions from scholars throughout the world. But Eu- ropean publishers--Elsevier, Perga- mon, and Springer, most prominently-- still control the largest share of the journals market, both in number of titles and sales. Despite the increasing significance of journals compared to scholarly book pub- lishing, there is a paucity of literature about journals publishing. As an exam- ple, the bibliography to this book con- tains 45 entries, but only 14 deal specif- ically with journals. The anomaly is that interest in journals has never been higher. Librarians concerned about the vulnerability of their purchasing bud- gets worry about the increasing share taken up by journals. Scholarly publish- ers who are not involved in journals pub- lishing seek to learn how to publish jour- nals so as to protect themselves against the swing away from book purchasing by librarians. And publishers already firmly entrenched in journals publish- ing want to learn how to preserve what they have and do it even better. The title of this book suggests a com- prehensive overview, if not a "how to" handbook. Nothing would be of more interest to publishers and librarians than a book offering guidance in the difficult and controversial areas of finance and management of scholarly journals. But does this book deliver what it seems to promise? Not really. Certainly the edi- torial scaffold seems impressive. The first section, "Elements of Expense," in- cludes contributions on the manuscript review process, editorial production ex- penses, the manufacturing process, and distribution and fulfillment, and is in- troduced by an article on publication strat- egy, written by Janet Bailey of Elsevier, which is the world's leading journals pub- lisher by any measure. The second sec- tion, "Elements of Income," contains chapters on subscription sales/market- ing, advertising, and secondary in- come, and is introduced by a imagina- tive essay on market positioning by Ann Reinke Strong, formerly of the New En- gland Journal of Medicine. Unfortunately, the book betrays its or- igins. The contributors are drawn pri-
- Book Reviews 81 marily from the not-for-profit sector, and most of them are society publishers. So- ciety publishers simply do not mean the same thing by "financial management" as do commercial publishers. Although the two authors of the "overview" chap- ters that introduce each section are from commercial or quasi-commercial back- grounds, their contributions stand alone rather than provide an integrative frame- work. Almost certainly Ms. Bailey and Ms. Strong prepared their contributions without benefit of seeing the work of the contributors in the section follow- ing, and while their statements are pro- vocative, they do not begin to pull the sections together. The contributions themselves are un- even, as one would expect from confer- ence proceedings. Even the editor's strong hand cannot compensate for the fact that some of the authors simply ap- proached their task differently than oth- ers. On the positive side, several of the contributions are on elements of jour- nals publishing not often written or even spoken about, such as the review pro- cess. On the negative side, while these are obviously of great interest to societ- ies, who are accountable to their mem- bership, they are of less interest to com- mercial publishers. The chapter on editorial production is well done. Even though it describes a university press operation and an in-house process that can rarely be matched in the for-profit world, there is information here from which anyone can benefit. The chapter on distribution and fulfillment is by a vendor, and those who are not already considering a service bureau approach may find it of limited value. The contri- butions on advertising sales and second- ary income provide breadth of perspec- tive and valuable information that can readily be applied in any publishing sec- tor. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the ab- sence of any discussion of financial man- agement! In fact, the book is probably mistitled and might more accurately be called simply "Publishing Scientific Jour- nals" with an appropriate subtitle. It does not even attempt to show the relation- ships between expense and income, how each affects the other, or the elements of decision and choice and how perfor- mance should be evaluated in financial management. There is no discussion of the important subjects of financial con- trol and measurement of journal suc- cess and failure. Those who read this book with a solid base of knowledge in journals publish- ing may find new perspectives and gain insight into how others do it. Those who know little about journals publishing and seek fundamental guidance will proba- bly be confused and may even be mis- led, for this slim book raises as many questions as it answers. Nonetheless, those who know something about jour- nals publishing and wish to learn a bit more about a different area, or gain a sense of the whole process, should find this book of interest. In this respect, this book performs a valuable service de- spite its weaknesses. Mary E. Curtis Transaction Publishers Elementary-High School Textbooks: The Adoption Cycle~Manufacturing Capac- ity Dilemma, prepared by Strategic In- formation Services for the Book Indus- try Study Group, June 1989. $60.00. The most recent report of the Book In- dustry Study Group focuses on a critical industry problem: how to relieve the crit- ically overloaded press capacity of man- ufacturers during the spring months, when so much printing is necessitated by present requirements to produce elhi
- 82 Book Research Quarterly ! Summer 1990 textbooks in time to meet current dead- lines. Through a series of in-depth in- terviews with elhi publishers, manufac- turers, and textbook administrators in large states, the report also provides doc- umentation that the demand for manu- facturing capacity during these critical months will become even tighter unless measures are soon taken to relieve the industry. And the report offers a variety of al- ternatives. From elhi publishers, from textbook administrators, and from the manufacturers come a host of sugges- tions, many of which seem both sensi- ble and desirable could they but be ini- tiated on a widespread basis. Indeed, those engaged in establishing schedules for development, adoption, and manu- facturing will find the report rich in ideas, the more so since separate sections out- line in some detail what publishers, man- ufacturers, states, and associations (par- ticularly NASTA) might do. To me the very multiplicity of the ideas is a strength in the report. But the two major recommendations seem at best unlikely to be adopted on a widespread basis. One is to move adop- tion submission dates back to January (from the current May to July) so as to spread press time over six months; the other, to ensure that state adoption spec- ifications for textbooks are issued a year and a half in advance of submission, thus making it possible to schedule press time more evenly. However desirable these changes may be--and publishers have long asked for earlier specifications to permit them to develop better instruc- tional programs, and not just graft one state's new requirements onto existing programs--they do not satisfy the ever changing needs of schooling. Any length- ening of the development, adoption, and manufacturing process creates an addi- tional problem for publishers trying to respond to stated needs of schools within a limited period of time. Introducing an additional six months in the interval be- tween the call for particular instruc- tional features and the responses of pub- lishers would seem likely to make the textbooks of the future even less respon- sive to curriculum requirements of the moment than books submitted today. What the Book Industry Study Group seems to forget is the relentless calendar of American education. Our school terms start in the fall months; they terminate in the summer. Despite the diversity of the schools, many regular activities oc- cur at approximately the same time: achievement testing, for example, or school vacations. Is it any wonder, then, that most schools will want to evaluate and select textbooks during the time most convenient to teachers and instructional supervisors? And is there any doubt they will seek to order textbooks for the next term at the close of the present aca- demic term? Indeed, the very unifor- mity of the current educational calendar seems to drive the present press sched- uling, and not until the calendar is amended substantially can the present manufacturing overload be overcome by scheduling. Had the Book Industry Study Group included some representative teachers and instructional specialists in their interviews, the alternatives sug- gested might have seemed more viable. James R. Squire Reading Becomes a Necessity of Life: Ma- terial and Cultural Life in Rural New England, 1780-1835, by William J. Gil- more. Knoxville: University of Tennes- see Press, 1989. 538 pp. $49.95 cloth. ISBN 0-87049-586-0. Historians of books and culture have cited the need to read the Bible as the major incentive to learning to read and write
- Book Reviews 83 in colonial America. From 1780 to 1835, this practice underwent a significant change as participating in material and cultural life was closely tied to the ne- cessity to be able to read. This trend was characteristic not only for the male heads of household, but for women and even children as well. William Gilmore's the- sis is not original, but his use of the case study to examine the development of reading habits in rural America is unique. The evolution of print culture is an im- portant feature of our understanding of the threads of American life. Gilmore's laboratory is the Upper Val- ley along the Connecticut River in Wind- sor district, Vermont, from the end of the Revolution to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the United States. The region experienced meteoric population growth through 1800, con- tinued to grow until 1820, but saw a slight population decrease by 1830. From a small population of 6,564 in 1790, Wind- sor district grew to 16,164 by 1810, but still had a similar population (17,311) by 1840. Gilmore divides the area into what he refers to as human habitats--five dis- tinct classes representing five early Amer- ican socioeconomic classes ranging from town residents to hardscrabble farming families. Through these five habitats the author traces the idea that reading was a catalyst to economic change in rural cul- ture. In turn, Gilmore sees the newspa- per as a catalyst to reading. Gilmore does much to increase our un- derstanding of the role of reading in American culture. His book centers on family libraries, those assorted collec- tions of reading materials ranging from the Bible and an almanac to the profes- sional volumes owned by lawyers or doc- tors. Generally, the economic success of these families has a distinct correlation to print materials owned. The author uses material measures such as food, shelter, and clothing, as well as occupational char- acteristics, to divide Windsor residents into five groups: fortunate village fami- lies, fortunate farmstead families, self- sufficient hamlet families, self-sufficient farmstead families, and hardscrabble fam- ilies (from most to least affluent). The print holdings of members of these groups ranged from 36.2 items for the fortunate village families to 3.6 for hard- scrabble homes. By examining family in- ventories, Gilmore is able to determine available print material and the emer- gence of reading in Early America. The book offers much to the book his- torian and to the history of reading in nineteenth-century New England. The author synthesizes what numerous in- tellectual and cultured historians have written on the impact of the printed word in the early republic. From this point, Gilmore departs on his thesis of the re- lationship between material and cul- tural life. He utilizes, for example, the work of Perry Miller and Jackson T. Main, as well as recent important cultural stud- ies. Yet the author still applies primary sources to determine the extent to which Upper Valley residents took part in read- ing. He also has provided a comple- ment to the work of library historian Michael Harris by studying family librar- ies as well as the history of literacy in America. Here he extends his earlier work on elementary literacy in rural New En- gland (see the American Antiquarian So- ciety, Proceedings, vol. 92, pt. 1). The history of books, reading, liter- acy, and libraries continues to be an es- sential aspect of American cultural his- tory. Studies such as Reading Becomes a Necessity of Life add to that body of knowl- edge and do much to extend an often disregarded aspect of cultural life. Gil- more's book not only adds to our his- tory but also serves as the basis to ask more questions about related issues. Some of these include the availability of natural light as an aid to reading and
- 84 Book Research Quarterly / Summer 1990 education, the acquisition and use of per- sonal or family libraries, and the con- tinuing examination of print material and its impact on daily life. The roots of our modern age lie in the dawn of the cul- tural stages of the evolution of our civ- ilization. Boyd Childress Auburn University Library Typographic Communications Today, by Edward M. Gottschall. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989. 256 pp., $75 cloth. ISBN 0- 262-07114-2. Today, because of computers and com- puter-controlled devices, perhaps mil- lions of people with little or no art or design training or experience are called upon to make typographic design deci- sions. This book is clear in its purpose: to provide for this audience of un- trained practitioners a valuable educa- tional resource that explains how and when modern typography evolved; sa- lutes the pioneers; shows by illustrated examples the power of typographic com- munication; and offers a critical review of some of the best typographic design work of the twentieth century. Under the sponsorship of the Interna- tional Typeface Corporation, and as- sisted by a stellar committee of editors, Edward M. Gottschall, Vice Chairman of ITC and editor of U&tc magazine, de- voted five years to researching and trav- eling throughout the world to compile information for this book. Typographic pioneers such as Herbert Bayer, Max Hu- ber, Josef Mtiller-Brockmann, Max Bill, and others were interviewed. The plan of this 10 1/2 x 14 inch, full- color volume was ambitious, and the re- sults are impressive. Starting with dif- ferent approaches to typograph ic design-- unencumbered functionalism as enunciated most clearly, forcibly, and ef- fectively by Jan Tschichold, the da- daist's approach of disorder for its own sake, and all the shades of intention and purpose between these two perspec- t ives- the reader finds the comfortable and familiar images as well as the ob- scure and radical. And all these typo- graphic images are linked by the ro- mance, symbology, appropriateness, vigor, and art of letter forms and how they have been positioned by their cre- ators to communicate all manner of things. The roots of today's typography trace back more to early twentieth-century painting, poetry, music, and architec- ture than to changes within the printing or typesetting industries. Wars, inven- tions, economic upheavals, and political revolution forced artists to respond to these dramatic forces in their work. The paintings of Picasso, Mondrian, Kandin- sky, and others as well changed percep- tion of spatial relationships, shape, color, texture, and meaning. The new ideas and enthusiasm were contagious. Typo- graphic designers saw the new art, read the poets, heard the music, and their spirit and sense of creativity were stim- ulated. Type and letterforms were now being used not only to communicate lit- erally but to suggest moods, feelings, impressions, and to convey meaning in a new way. In choosing a typeface, controlling its size, shape, and color in mass, position- ing elements in relation to each other, and manipulating white space, the ty- pographer creates a scenario of balances or imbalances of all elements. It is en- lightening, in reading through these pages, to learn of the dynamic influence one art may have on another. Rather than diminish the importance of either, the interdependence makes each stronger. The shifting of these influences back and forth and across time and cultures is one
- Book Reviews 85 of the most fascinating aspects of this history of contemporary typographic de- sign. But the book is more than that. We are made acquainted through illustra- tion and text with the philosophy and work of the Bauhaus of 1919-1933. We are able to explore typographic exam- ples of its passionate advocate Jan Tschi- chold, even though he was neither stu- dent nor teacher there. We can go to the schools of Zurich and Basel in the 1930s with their emphasis on communication, clarity, and orderly typography on the grid system. In the 1930s and '40s, as many talented European designers im- migrated to the United States and began work ing , the look of everyth ing changed--books, magazines, newspa- pers, posters--and with it, general per- ceptions about communication and de- sign. American-born designers embraced the new look and responded with pow- erful, fresh, and creative work. This is an exhaustive study, heavily illustrated and beautifully produced. The captions are informative and the text is lively, inviting, and packed with infor- mation. You can read front to back or you can dip in at any point and find it hard to stop. Artists and their personal- ities saturate each page. Paul Rand, Brad- bury Thompson, Cipe Pineles, Ladislav Sutnar, Josef Albers, Gyorgy Kepes, Lester Beall, William Golden, Herbert Matter, are all there as well as F. W. Goudy, Joseph Blumenthal, Rudolf de Harak, Yusaka Kamekura, and Her- mann Zapf. Chapters on typeface milestones and typefaces show examples of typeface de- signs, how they evolved, how they were adapted to the needs of designers, the effect of different typesetting machines, and the differences spurred by the shift from metal type to film to digital font masters. And now computers and laser technologies have further changed the way typefaces are being designed and how they look. Wave after wave of new terminals, output devices, networks, scanners, and software have revolution- ized the world of typesetting and given designers, and those who work with type, a whole new set of tools, free- doms, and restrictions. The current sta- tus and direction of these technologies and how they are affecting communica- tion is examined in this book. In a glorious ending, chapters 13 and 14 show examples of work by outstand- ing designers from around the world and allow them space to give their thoughts on the business of type. Typographic Communications Today is the one book that anyone involved with type should save their pennies to buy. It pro- vides information, inspiration, and sheer joy. Don't be surprised by the feeling of pride evoked by these cross-cultural ty- pographic accomplishments, the humil- ity you will feel before these typo- graphic masters, and the realization that we all are part of a dynamic and ever- evolving typographic community. Anita Walker Scott Stanford University Press The ACLS Survey of Scholars: The Final Report of Views on Publications, Com- puters, and Libraries, by Herbert Mor- ton and Anne J. Price. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1989, 137 pp. $14.75 paper (ISBN 0-8191-7261-8), $27.50 cloth (ISBN 0-8191-7260-X). In August 1986, the now-defunct Office of Scholarly Communication and Tech- nology of the American Council of Learned Societies issued a preliminary report of the ACLS Survey of Scholars. That effort sought to obtain the views of more than 5,000 scholars in the human- ities and social sciences on a wide range
- 86 Book Research Quarterly / Summer 1990 of issues related to their authorship and to their use of scholarly publications. The preliminary report was influential among scholars and groups of scholars, librar- ians, and publishers who sought to un- derstand better the creation, dissemina- tion, and use of scholarly materials. The Final Report presents a somewhat ex- panded discussion of the survey find- ings and adds several new sections which provide detailed data and information on the views of retirees. It also includes an extensive analysis of the library data by Paul B. Kantor. The ACLS Survey of Scholars repre- sents an important milestone in provid- ing useful and substantive information about the attitudes and work habits of scholars. There has been surprisingly lit- tle work reported in this area. Perhaps that explains the survey's high 71% re- sponse rate to its 14-page questionnaire. The final report, although it adds only marginally to our understanding be- yond the preliminary report, is an im- portant document for current and fu- ture reference. Here we find more than thirty detailed statistical tables, a co- gently written set of methodologies and conclusions, and an expanded library per- spective. Although much of the latter isn't new to librarians, it is a useful piece when taken together with the entire re- port and for its demonstration of the po- tential for deriving further useful infer- ences from the survey data. It also suggests other useful areas of research. The Survey's findings are too numer- ous to report in much detail here. The following serve the reader to under- stand the broad range of issues with which this work deals. �9 The use of computers rose from 2% in 1980 to 45% in 1985; �9 75% of all respondents consider the peer review system for journals in their disci- pline biased; nearly 50% say reform is needed; �9 Interlibrary loan services are regarded as of great or moderate importance to 51% of scholars at colleges and universities; �9 Slightly more than half of the academics said they had published their doctoral dissertations either as a book or, in part, as a journal article; �9 More than two-thirds of the respondents receive material from colleagues before it is published, but the percentage is lower among scholars in literature and the clas- sics. The Final Report should be required read- ing for all university administrators, li- brarians, publishers, scholarly society of- ficers, and anyone else who wants to better understand the American scholar of the mid-1980s. As new technologies pervade academia, and as the cost of materials makes access less easy, the need to understand scholars' needs and atti- tudes becomes ever more critical. I would urge ACLS or other scholarly organiza- tions, to continue the survey on a reg- ular basis. Paula T. Kaufman University of Tennessee, Knoxville The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, and Sell Your Own Book, by Dan Poynter. Fifth edition, revised. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Para Publishing, 1989. 415 pages. Paper, $19.95. ISBN 0- 915516-66-7. At a recent regional conference for book publishers, a participant remarked that the boom in do-it-yourself desktop pub- lishing is bound to produce a rash of esthetically ugly books. The latest edi- tion of this manual for hopeful self- publishers seems to bear that out: les- son number one, it appears, is "hire a competent designer." From its purple cover to its fuzzy typeface, the book em- bodies what not to do in design and lay- out.
- Book Reviews 87 But we know never to judge a book by its cover. Between those strangely bilious cov- ers, Poynter has packed a great deal of information and advice for would-be self- publishers. He attempts to describe the creation of a book from research and writ- ing through printing, promotion, mar- keting, fulfilIment, and--yes--the fame that inevitably follows. The approach is cursory and in many places muddled. To editing, for exam- ple, Poynter devotes exactly four sen- tences, one of which is ungrammatical. Apparently ill informed about copy- right law, he advises budding writers to concoct their text by accreting out-takes from other works: "Copying ideas is re- search, copying words is plagiarism [sic]," he notes. Poynter must have followed his own advice, for the book reads like a paste- up of collected aphorisms. The passage on writing style sounds Iike it was "researched" from a freshman compo- sition text. The very superficial chapter on computers might have been distilled from a few broad surveys in computer magazines. When a book receives a negative re- view, Poynter suggests, one should "just use the good parts" in promotion. Just so. This book is not recommended for the unwary or the unsophisticated--but that is the very audience it will attract. Vicky Hay Hay Writing and Editing