A Selective Bibliography on Aboriginal Art, Culture, and History

Librarians are an odd lot. I speak from personal experience, having worked as one for most of my adult life.But I like to think that we are useful, and that we put our quirky behaviors to the service of our fellows. We amass enormous quantities of information and knowledge, catalog it, index it, and then give it away free to anyone who walks in the door. Well, you have to give it back at some point, but that seems a small inconvenience to bear in exchange for access to much of recorded human knowledge.

Many of us, also oddly, are book collectors even when we’re not on the job. I find it hard to pass by a bookshop, and my web browser has an entire section of “bookmarks” devoted to booksellers worldwide. I’ve even been known to borrow books from a library to see if they are worth purchasing for my own.

As a result, I’ve accumulated a fairly large number of books and articles about Aboriginal art and culture over the years, large enough that I had to start cataloging them in order to keep track of what I’d tracked down.

Over the holidays I’ve been wrestling with the software that I use to produce a bibliography I could post on the web. I call it A Selective Bibliography of Aboriginal Art, Culture, and History, and have divided it into two sections, the first relating to art, the second mostly anthropological and cultural studies. 

It’s a mix of monographs, articles, videos and movies, and exhibition catalogs, and I’ll be the first to admit it’s very idiosyncratic. There’s very little on rock art, for example. Otherwise, the 425 (or so) entries in the section on art are fairly catholic in their scope. If there are obvious omissions, they probably result from my inability to have held a copy of the title in question in my own hands at any point. The 300 entries on culture and history reflect more the chances I’ve taken and the much narrower channels my reading interests have followed over the years. 

In each section, titles without authors come first, sorted by year of publication. Afterward, the bibliography is arranged by author, again, in chronological order. This isn’t exactly the way I would have wished it to come out, and I would like to blame the software, but I fear the compiler and editor (that would be me) must take some responsibility for an inability to master the software. The numerous typographical errors and inconsistencies of entry I also claim as my own.

I hope that, despite its shortcomings, you’ll enjoy a browse through it. And suggestions for further reading are always welcome.

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