EnglishGeneralLibrary Science

Systematic or Enumerative Bibliography

Systematic or enumerative bibliography may be defined as the preparation of lists of books in short, the compilation of bibliographies which list describe and arrange all graphic materials according to their affinity with each other for reference or study. The field of systematic bibliography can be divided into a number of ways, depending upon the characteristics used. The examination of individual books in order “to assemble the resulting entries, simple or elaborate as the case may require into logical and useful arrangements for reference and study”.Bibliographies

The following characteristics may be used to distinguish bibliographies:

  • a) Kinds of materials;
  • b) The purpose of compiler;
  • c) Geographical area of coverage; Language;
  • d) Time; and
  • e) Enumeration.

A common conceptual difficulty, connected with bibliography, stems from the term signifying both the art and the craft as well as the artefact. Used principally as a finding and verification tool in library practice, bibliography has been considered as a product of specific inventory practices in the literature of a particular field. The conception of bibliography as a comprehensive apparatus created to meet specific information needs makes it evident that it is anchored in the subject literature because it is intimately linked to the life process of a particular discipline. A unifying concept of bibliography is now necessary because knowledge cascading from the many faceted, multitiered, institutionalized knowledge producing and disseminating systems of today’s scientific disciplines is much more difficult to access than the knowledge that flowed from individual thinkers and writers of past centuries. While launching a fifty six volume comprehensive and annotated bibliography of India in 1950, at National Library, Calcutta, the National librarian argued. Well known bibliographies are solid highways to scholarly esteem and approval, for, without them, it is difficult to carry on any research and serious study, Dr. Luther Evans, the former Director General of the UNESCO, has very aptly said that without bibliographies, the records of civilization would be an unchartered chaos of miscellaneous contributions to knowledge, unorganised and inapplicable to human needs. And indeed, for want of bibliographies, the records of Indian culture that so long remained a chaos causing serious handicaps for indeological studies.

Katz says, Bibliography is analogous to a map or chart. It serves to guide the librarian in a chaotic world of books and other forms of communication   No modern library can hope to function without bibliographical guides.

There was a time when it was possible for a diligent scholar virtually to read all records of learning. Today, even for a voracious reader, it is not possible to read all the publications even on his chosen subject. To control knowledge explosion, there is a need for bibliographic organisation. As there is no time for a research scholar to make his own efforts to gain quick, easy, comprehensive and updated access to information, provision of comprehensive lists of documents on his subject of research is imperative. Through Publishers Information Card Service (PIGS), the scholar is in a position to know about the latest additions made to his subject. It helps to avoid duplication of research and keeps the researcher well informed of work done and being done. It serves as a tool for book selection. As bibliography is an index compiled systematically, it serves as a key to the literature or identifying a book or any reading material which may be of interest to the reader, bibliography is indispensable. It helps in the identification of bibliography which is indispensable. It helps in identifying bibliographical details of both old and current documents.


  • Esdaile, Arundel’. Students manual of bibliography – revised by Roy Stokes – New York Barnes and Noble. 1954. p.32.
  • Katz, W.A. Introduction to Reference works. Vol. I : Basic Information Sources, 2nd ed., 1974, p.25.
  • The UNESCO/L.C. Bibliographical Survey, Bibliographical Services, their present state and possibilities of improvement Washington D.C., 1950, p.1.
  • Katz, W.A. Introduction to Reference Works, Vol. 1 : Basic Information Sources, 2nd ed., 1974, p.25.




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