Reference and research librarians, especially those fortunate enough to work at institutions such the State Library of Victoria, have a large arsenal of reference sources to draw on in the course of their professional duties.
Bibliographies are reference sources that can excite librarians and researchers alike. Bibliographies are a complete or select list of works on a particular subject or by a given author.  They confirm that a resource exists and state the publication details. Annotated bibliographies provide descriptions of the sources.

One example of a frequently used bibliography located on the Library’s Helen Macpherson Smith Genealogy Centre shelves is:

British directories: a bibliography and guide to directories published in England and Wales (1850-1950) and Scotland (1773-1950)

Some bibliographies are seldom used, however, when they are, they can really shine.

When a recent enquiry came to the Library requesting access to the ‘Hayes records’, it was a bibliography that saved the day.

The enquirer had been advised to “use the Hayes records” for her Irish research. “They are at the State Library and they have to be ordered in” she was told by her informant and that was pretty much all there was to go by. Initial searches of the Library’s online catalogue did not retrieve an entry of interest.

The following source came to mind:

Bibliography for researching Irish family history in the Victorian State Library / [compiled by] Kate Press.
Malvern, Vic : K. Press 1994

Bibliography for researching Irish family history in the Victorian State Library.

The bibliography’s index has the entry: “R.J. Hayes. Page 12”. We are closing in! How exciting! Page 12 contains a description of a publication edited by R.J. Hayes including the exact piece of information we want, the publication’s title. A search of our online catalogue retrieved the bibliographic entry for: Manuscript sources for the history of Irish civilisation and the desired volumes were ordered for delivery to the Library from our off-site store.

Bibliography saves the day!


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