Rowley, Jennifer and Farrow, John Organizing knowledge: an introduction to managing access to information. 3rd ed. Aldershot: Gower, 2000. 404 p. ISBN 0 566 08047 8. £25.
This third edition of Rowley's classic text differs significantly from the second edition by involving John Farrow and not being produced by Jennifer Rowley alone. The authors explain that the changes are motivated by the increased significance of electronic information resources. New items, such as the Dublin Core and metadata are added. A chapter on users and interfaces has been written, and another on the Internet and its applications.
There are also here and there some improvements, as, for instance, parts about citation systems and filing order, which are difficult for many, and need to be explained in detail.
Nevertheless, it seems to me that in general the changes in this new edition are neither well-motivated nor well-structured. The structure of the second edition has been abandoned and, as a result, some things are unnecessarily repeated in different chapters. While I could see some relationship between the different chapters in the second edition, this cohesion is more or less lost in the third. For instance, there is a special chapter dedicated to manual information retrieval systems. In itself, this is a very good idea and some of the information there is relevant. On the other hand, most of this information is already appropriately provided in other chapters. The book would have gained if this chapter had been at the beginning. For the reader it would be easier to learn how a manual system is created and how it works before moving on to systems produced with the help of machines. This would be a logical continuation, as the main principles are the same.
In the chapter about formatting we can read about Dublin Core, while discussions of AACR2 and Marc records are placed in a later chapter about document description. Is not Dublin Core a way of describing documents and the Marc format a way of formatting? It would have been best if all this material had been presented in the same chapter or more logically: the AACR2 first, followed by MARC format, and then Dublin Core.
Sometimes the information given is correct, but still not relevant. For instance, the page about PRECIS does not tell the reader as much about the system, as in the second edition. It would have been better to omit PRECIS from this new edition, rather than to provide such inadequate coverage .
The second edition had 510 pages while this new edition has only 404, which means that a lot of information provided in the second edition has now been removed. The printing has also some shortcomings, such as the large number of figures with illegible text because of the wrong application of a grey colour scale.