International Bibliography of Social and Cultural Anthropology – Reviewed Spring 1996

Reviewed by: Martin Shapiro, American University, December 1995.

London and New York: Routledge. Annual. Issue reviewed: 1993. The International Bibliography of Social and Cultural Anthropology is also available from SilverPlatter as part of the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) CD-ROM.


The International Bibliography of Social and Cultural Anthropology,
an annual index to periodical articles and monographs, is one of four
publications that comprise the International Bibliography of the Social
Sciences. The other bibliographies in this series index materials in
the fields of economics, political science, and sociology. Published by
Routledge, these indexes are compiled by the British Library of
Political and Economic Science (BLPES) at the London School of
Economics, under the auspices of the International Committee for Sohe
International Committee for Social Science Information and
Documentation. UNESCO provides financial assistance for its production.

The series began in 1955 as Documentation in the Social Sciences,
published by UNESCO. Volumes completed before the 1990 publication were
prepared by the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques in Paris.
Vestiges of this title’s French roots and continuing UNESCO influence
are visible throughout; there is a 35-page subject index in French
following the English subject index, and classification schemes appear
in both languages.

Scope and Coverage:

All of the volumes in the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences
share the same preface and periodical list. Each year, in preparation
for inclusion in this series, the editors and compilers examine 100,000
articles (from 2,500 journals), and 20,000 monographs (incorporating
what would have been included in the recently discontinued London Bibliography of the Social Sciences),
representing 70 languages from 60 countries. Given the
interdisciplinary nature of much of the research taking place in the
social sciences, articles or books cited in one volume might also
appear in one of the others.

Nearly 500 journals are cited in the International Bibliography of Social and Cultural Anthropology.
A list of these periodicals, arranged alphabetically by title
abbreviation, follows the list foion, follows the list for the entire
series. Each entry also includes the full title, ISSN number, and the
name and address of the publisher. International publications are
emphasized, especially those from developing nations. A glance at one
representative section, E.2.4, “Sexuality and Gender Relations,”
reveals the range of journals indexed: the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars (USA), Fabula (Germany), the Journal of Micronesian Studies (Guam), Nord nytt (Denmark), Man in India (India), Aziia i Afrika segodnia (Russia), Borneo Review (Malaysia), the Journal of Social Development in Africa (Zimbabwe), and Revista Andina (Peru).

Selection Criteria

The compilers of the 1993 volume looked for both monographs and
periodical articles of “known authorship” and “lasting significance,”
which include a “theoretical component.” These works may present new
knowledge, make use of new ideas, or new materials. They exclude
previously published works, most translations, textbooks, stories from
newspapers, and news magazines.

Time Lag

The editors note that their series has been designed as a tool for
retrospective searching rather than current awareness. Consequently,
there may be a lag of more than one year between the publication dates
of indexed journals and monographs and the time the International Bibliography
is produced. The majority of periodicals included in the 1993 volume
were published in 1993, although some items date back to 1991. Volumes
indexing 1994 publications are expected to appear at the end of 1995.

Subject Access

A three-page section introduces the classification scheme for this index, which is divided into ten main subject areas:

A. Anthropology: General studies
B. Materials and methods of anthropology
C. Morphological foundations
D. Ethnographic studies of peoples and communities

E. Socio-political structure and relations
F. Religion, magic, and sorcery
G. Problems of knowledge, arts and science, folk traditions

H. Culture, personality, identity
I. Social change
J. Applied anthropology

If the editors had assigned page numbers to these headings, this
section would have doubled as a very useful table of contents. Some
headings in this classification scheme are divided into more specific
topics, and then further subdivided. Other headings could use more
specific arrangements.

Section A, “Anthropology: General Studies,” includes separate
categories for the history and teaching of the discipline, on the life
and works of specific anthropologists, and for reference works produced
or updated duringference works produced or updated during the year,
such as Atlas of the World’s Languages and the Historical Dictionary of

“Materials and Methods of Anthropology,” Section B, contains seven
major categories. One of these, Physical Anthropology, has subheadings
for Craniology, Dentition, Genetics, Human Evolution, and Osteology.
However, the categories “Anthropological Theory” and “Methods and
Techniques” are not subdivided. Users must check the subject index for
any further specificity. The subheading “Language and Communication” is
broken down into Amerindian, Austronesian, Indo-European, and
Niger-Congo languages. Within these broad classifications entries
appear in alphabetical order by title; there is no further separation.
One must consult the subject index for access to individual languages.

Some major headings are organized geographically. For example,
Section C.3, “Economy,” is divided by continent, as is E.4,
“Interracial and Interethnic Relations”. Another section, C.2,
“Technology,” contains only two subdivisions, “Crafts and Clothes” and
“Food, Drink, and Nutrition.” Works involving other types of technology
(ice age lamps to outboard motors) are simply grouped together under
the main heading.

Some sections could benefit from more precise classification, or
simply clarification. Section H.2,ification. Section H.2, “Biographical
material,” indexes works on biography as a research tool, but also
actual biographies. However, for biographies of anthropologists one
must return to Section A.4, “Anthropologists–Life and Works.”

The Bibliography concludes with an author index, a place name index,
and separate subject indexes in English and French. Entry numbers are
provided, with an occasional cross-reference. The addition of
subheadings would make the subject indexes easier to use. The place
name index could incorporate subject or time period subheadings, and
the subject index might include geographical subheadings. For example,
entry #1443, on political corruption in Mali, can be accessed in the
geographical index under Mali, and in the subject index under
“corruption”–or one could scan Section E.1, “Political Structure and
Power,” until one arrived at the title. But nothing exists othing
exists in these indexes to tie the concepts “Mali” and “corruption”


Under each heading, citations are in alphabetical order by title,
which is printed in the language of the article or book (or in
romanized versions of that language). A translation of the title into
English follows, with the name(s) of the author(s) or editors. Article
citations provide abbreviations of journal titles in boldface, volume
and issue numbers, dates, and page numbers. Monographic citations add
place of publication, name of publisher, date of publication, total
number of pages, and ISBN number.


International Bibliography of Social and Cultural Anthropology

is notable among indexes in this field for its coverage of monographs,
and foreign periodicals. It will be most useful in research
environments, especially in academic libraries with strong anthropology
collections and efficient interlibrary loan/document delivery
operations. Graduate students and upper-level undergraduates should
have little difficulty using it. An annual subscription costs $230.
Prices for the SilverPlatter CD-ROM product containing the four IBSS
databases are determined by number of users, starting with $1995 for a
single user on a “stand-alone computer,” and $2494 for a single user in
a networked system. For over 13 users on a network, the price clim
network, the price climbs to $7980.

Libraries may also consider subscribing to the Anthropological Index to Current Periodicals
in the Museum of Mankind Library, (at $132), which indexes nearly 800
current periodicals from around the world, only 90 of which are covered
by the International Bibliography. While the International Bibliography
includes materials on a broader range of subjects, with more titles on
economic development, social change, and linguistics, the
Anthropological Index carries more titles from Central and Eastern
Europe. The Anthropological Index is arranged geographically, with
subheadings for each of the major fields of anthropology (e.g.,
physical anthropology, etc.) and has had an annual author index. Thus
far, there is subject index only for 1992. This index contains many
geographical cross-references.

Another title, the quarterly Abstracts in Anthropology
indexes nearly 200 English-language periodicals, covering a wide range
of subjects within the general categories of archaeology, cultural
anthropology, physical anthropology, and linguistics. Abstracts in
Anthropology provides very informative abstracts at a yearly
subscription rate of $277.

Overall, the International Bibliography of Social and Cultural Anthropology

is a very useful tool for researchers and students. In spite of some
problems with the classification system anlassification system and
indexing, this work provides coverage of a wide range of subjects
within the field of anthropology, at a reasonable price.

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