The book is a universal symbol of information in the western world. Everyone accepts that books are sources of information but the term book, however familiar, is really only a description of form rather than content. Monographs, series, textbooks, conference proceedings, bibliographies, directories, handbooks and manuals can all be books. Their use as information sources varies but this chapter, as the title indicates, will only discuss monographs (including some handbooks and manuals of experimental methods), book series and textbooks. Conference proceedings are reviewed in Chapter 4 and bibliographies in Chapter 7. Periodicals appearing in book form are described in Chapter 6 and all publications specifically concerned with patents and patenting are discussed in Chapter 9. Market surveys are covered in Chapter 10. In general, technical reports from government organizations and other research institutes are not included in this chapter. Most of these (often described as ‘grey literature’) can only be obtained directly from the sponsoring organization (see Chapter 12). Many are ephemeral in nature and not truly published but merely intended as working documents. However, a few major government policy documents and reviews are listed here.
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