Thursday, July 23, 2015

Adding Sexuality / Sexology

As one might expect in a bibliography that originated in 1912, there was little or nothing about sexuality or sexology in the bibliography, even in the 5th edition of 1991. There were only a very few works: Freud (1905) Havelock Ellis (1900-1928),  Kraft-Ebing (1886), Forel (1905). These were included under Psychology. If you count prostitution under sexology there were also Parent-Duch√Ętelet (1836) and Henriques (1961-68) and the 20th century English translation, rather than the original French edition, of Lacroix (1851-53). These were indexed under Public Health. Sex appeared in the subject index chiefly with respect to genetics and the science of reproduction. Taking a more up to date, less inhibited approach, I decided to add the subjects Sexuality / Sexology to the subject index, and to work toward improving coverage in this area. As of today there are 13 entries under the main subject and 6 under "History of".

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Medical Papyri and Ethnobotany

The two topics--medical papyri and ethnobotany--have very little in common, except that they are areas in which I decided to revise and expand the bibliography. In reviewing the citations for medical papyri I noticed that the selections tended to be early translations rather than the first printing of the papyrus text. This I improved when necessary. As there are so few medical papyri the task of revising those entries was not arduous. I also added "Medical Papyri" to the subject index under Ancient Medicine.

On the other hand, the history of native plants used as medicine by indigenous peoples is a topic that has long interested me, especially as these plants are sometimes the origin of standard drugs. This is a large subject, and it is also a topic which I tried to improve when I worked on it 25 years ago; it is still unsatisfactory in this area. As part of a project to build up references on Native Americans and Medicine (another favorite subject of mine) I have also added Ethnobotany as a topic in the subject index under Botany, and am in the process of improving the coverage in that general area. The coverage in ethnobotany should, of course, be wide-ranging geographically and not limited to "America."

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Filling a Major Gap in the 1991 Fifth Edition: HIV/AIDS

When I prepared the last edition of this bibliography for publication in book form during the late 1980s HIV/AIDS was very much in the news but I didn't have a good way of gaining historical perspective on it. Twenty-five years later it was easier to start filling this gap, beginning with the first description of the disease by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the isolation of the virus by Luc Montagnier, and the proof that the same virus caused HIV by Robert Gallo. From the secondary source standpoint I added Mirko Grmek's history of AIDS published in English in 1990, and Randy Shilts's And the Band Played On. I vaguely recall being aware of the publication of Grmek's history toward the end of my editorial process for the book, and by that time it seemed more important to get the 5th edition published rather than to continue with additions. Entries on this topic appear under Infectious Disease /  HIV/AIDS in the subject index.