Who’s New?

My usual habit with the Sunday New York Times is to start with the front section, then proceed to op/ed, with Travel and Styles reserved for, oh, lining bird cages and other useful functions, perhaps because I can’t afford much of either. However, this morning the lead story in Styles caught my eye. It’s about how Who’s Who entries are selected and how those criteria are changing. The “old-boy’s club” is now admitting icons of popular culture. But notoriety can blackball you; Martha Stewart, according to the story, was delisted while she was in the slammer, but now that she’s paid her debt to society, she’s back. (This makes me wonder: was Nelson Mandela excluded while he was in Robben Island?)

Members of our profession are quoted in the story, and the reporter (who notes mobsters don’t qualify for listing) finds us “an egalitarian but tough crew when it comes to reference materials, exhibiting a protective ferocity that might impress the Gottis.”

We may not know where the bodies are buried – but we know how to find out. So your favorite celeb isn’t in the next edition due to slight misunderstanding? No problem, we’ll help you identify another source of information.

Author: Barbara Fister

I'm an academic librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Like all librarians at our small, liberal arts institution I am involved in reference, collection development, and shared management of the library. My area of specialization is instruction, with research interests also in media literacy, popular literacy, publishing, and assessment.

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