Arctic Bibliography


  • Marie Tremaine



Wildlife habitat


Research at some stage involves recourse to the literature. Literature records are usually organized according to disciplines or subjects. Research interests that cut across subject lines, as do area studies, require an independent control of the literature. Thus the Arctic and Subarctic, though unique by nature, present by reason of their extent and diversity unusual problems in the organization and control of literature. An attempt to solve these problems is being made by the Arctic Institute of North America in its "Arctic Bibliography." The history and purpose of this project, its financing, staffing, procedures with their inherent difficulties, and results are outlined below, together with some byproducts of the main effort. Research and planning in their arctic phases during World War II were constantly hampered by dearth of information, lack of ready access to it, and at times by uncertainty as to whether data required were obscurely recorded or non-existent. Most of the founders of the Arctic Institute had been in such predicament during their war service and one of the first efforts of the Institute was to provide a key to the existing literature covering its area of interest. Groundwork and financing of the project took a year's time. Its directors were drawn from the scientific community, armed services, and library world, as well as the Institute itself. Project personnel began compilation in the summer 1947; "Arctic Bibliography" began publication with three volumes in 1953, and continues to the present, volume 11 being in press and 12 in compilation. The series is designed as a permanent reference work, especially for use in research remote from the great libraries and special information centres. The early volumes are retrospective; the later ones are current and appear at about yearly intervals for use when the high-frequency listings in card or throw-away form from a variety of sources have served the immediate need and are falling into desuetude. The volumes have low maintenance cost, mere shelf room; they are easy to use, very handy for the individual scientist; and the nominal price per volume from the U.S. Government Printing Office puts them within the reach of all. ...