Canadian Feminist Periodical Index, 1972-1985


1066 pages
ISBN 0-7744-0347-0
DDC 016.30542'0971'05





Edited by Compiled by the Canadian Women's Indexing Group

Kamala S. Narayanan is Serials Librarian at the Douglas Library,
Queen’s University.


This index was produced with the intention of improving access to
Canadian feminist periodicals. An investigation and preliminary survey
determined that there was a need for such an index, and a group of
librarians (the Canadian Women’s Indexing Group [CWIG]) embarked on
compiling the index in the hopes that it would meet both the generalist
and specialist needs of Canadian women’s studies researchers. The
compilers made an arbitrary decision to cover the years from 1982 to
1985, with the hope that eventually the index would be a regularly
updated publication.

Survey responses determined which periodicals ought to be indexed. The
desire to strike a fair balance among the 40 contending publications
also influenced the final choice of 15 English, French, and bilingual
titles. The chosen periodicals primarily cover women’s education,
creative arts, health, and environment.

An index to 14 years of publications on women’s studies activities
appears, at first glance, promising. This index, which seems to contain
quite exhaustive details, includes feature articles, bibliographical
essays, and book reviews among other items. The book also includes a
list of types of items indexed. The compilers provide, as hoped, a
detailed and thoroughly cross-referenced index.

Sadly, CWIG made no serious attempt to divide major subjects in any
meaningful way. Terms such as “fiction” or “poetry” are so broad
that one has to leaf through several pages and look through many record
numbers in order to select relevant references.

One might reasonably expect this index to be a one-stop source of
information on Canadian women’s publications. Unfortunately, it is
cumbersome and repetitive. The compilers provided both a bilingual,
alphabetical subject list and two separate indexes, one of English and
one of French descriptors. This repetition of subject terms seems
unnecessary. (They also provide author and title indexes.) The subject
terms are confusing, vague, and difficult to understand.

Other well-known sources already index some of the periodicals CWIG
chose to include here. Surely, the dire need to index more Canadian
periodicals should have taken precedence over the need for thoroughly
cross-referenced citations.

Because of the quality of the volume’s paper and binding, it may not
last long under normal library use.

Despite these shortcomings, this index will be useful for the few
titles that are indexed in no other sources. For that purpose alone,
both public and academic libraries should acquire it. The detailed
information provided at the beginning of the index is also useful.
Researchers will want to use the companion volume, the Canadian Feminist
Thesaurus / Thesaurus féministe du Canada, in conjunction with this


“Canadian Feminist Periodical Index, 1972-1985,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 22, 2024,