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The Bibliography of Science Fiction and Fantasy

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Introduction

The bibliographic control of science fiction and fantasy has a long and storied history, from its beginnings in the 1930s to the online tools of today. The works range from superb productions that serve as best practice standards to quick-and-dirty listings. Virtually all of them add a bit to the coverage of the field.

The last decade of the twentieth century ushered in changes in the bibliographic world, as publishing outlets for such works disappeared or became highly selective. Borgo Press, a key outlet and standard setter, closed its doors, and other publishers recognized the impact of the World Wide Web on the viability of printed bibliographic tools in the genre. Presses like Scarecrow, Greenwood, and McFarland became highly selective, or withdrew entirely. One press cited the World Wide Web as an insurmountable obstacle to the economical publication of bibliographic work. Specialty presses and publish-on-demand presses offer an outlet but at the cost of low volume and marginal marketing. They also suffer from their own version of poor bibliographic control.

Magazines such as Extrapolation, Science Fiction Studies and Foundation are occasional outlets for shorter bibliographies. However, their primary mission is the presentation of scholarship, not bibliographies. Other outlets include some of the professional science fiction magazines and some E-zines. Even the well-known presses like Greenwood or McFarland share the problem of low distribution volume and lack of scholarly access. This is compounded by the increasing demands faced by libraries, with resulting reallocation of acquisition funds to electronic resources, and decreasing funding for the purchase of highly specialized bibliographies, and of genre materials in general.

These factors combine to leave a void in bibliographic publishing, and, perhaps, in the creation of scholarly bibliographies. It is this void that the Center for the Bibliographic Control of Science Fiction is proposed to fill.

Purpose

The Center for the Bibliographic Control of Science Fiction provides an online repository for bibliographic works on science fiction and fantasy. Bibliographies included in the Center are created and formatted following an established set of content and style guidelines. The bibliographic content can include single author bibliographies, thematic bibliographies, indexes to magazines, and other bibliographic works.

Sponsorship and Management

To meet the various needs of the field, and to ensure quality content, the Bibliography of Science Fiction and Fantasy is proposed as a joint venture, sponsored by the Science Fiction Research Association, The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, Extrapolation magazine, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection, Cushing Library, Texas A&M University. The Editorial Board of Extrapolation is proposed as the initial review board of submissions, following their established reviewing mechanisms. Should a need for a separate board develop, the sponsoring organizations would jointly name such a board.

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