Today I received in the mail a copy of Ulysses S. Grant: A Bibliography compiled by Marie E. Kelsey (Praeger, 2005), which I will review for H-Net. The book is 475 pages and contains 4,242 entries, which are broken down into various categories. At first glance it looks to be a fairly comprehensive list of everything published about Grant. Kelsey provides a short overview of Grant’s life as well as the organization of the entries. To be honest, I have no idea as to how I will go about reviewing this book.
The book is clearly a valuable reference tool for those researching Grant’s life, but what I find curious is its publication in the traditional print format. It seems to me that an online publication would make better sense. My guess is that college and university libraries will purchase the book, but given the developments of online publishing it seems hard to justify a print format when so many more people could access the immense amount of work that went into this online. Of course, there is the question of the terms of public access, but that is no longer a barrier to the online approach. At this point I am not calling for a radical shifting from print to online or e-book format, but in regard to certain types of published works it does seem like a no-brainer.