Arcane magic: Hal Hall and the creation and transformation of science fiction indexing

Sarah Potvin, Catherine Coker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What are the origins of the boom in science fiction bibliography publication, and how has science fiction bibliography endured and been transformed in the Internet age? This article will discuss a progenitor of the boom, notably the creation and development of science fiction indexing. We take as our focus the evolution of two indexes - one of book reviews and another of secondary, critical material - compiled by Halbert (Hal) W. Hall at Texas A&M University. A project that originated in the 1960s, Hall's indexing work marks an early attentiveness to the emerging field of science fiction scholarship, and the inclusiveness of his work offers insight into the shifting boundaries and audiences of the field. In this article, we look at the publication history of Hall's work and mark the evolution of his index of critical material from a hand-typed card file to a continually updated open access electronic database.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalReference and User Services Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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