Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society. 6(1975)4(457)

[p.457] LILLIAN SCIBERRAS, Malta: official statistical publications in the Reference Dept. of the Royal University of Malta Library (R.U.M., Msida, 1975).

This useful pamphlet is neatly set out, the nature of each item being described briefly. Its limitations are clearly stated; it covers only statistics, and only official ones. In fact, for historians, except for very modern ones, H. Bowen-Jones et al., Malta: Background for Development (Durham, 1961), will provide a more helpful approach to statistical materials, and could have been included in Miss Sciberras’ bibliography. This survey is also limited to works in the University library, and its production seems to have led to the filling of some gaps there. It will be especially valuable to students starting theses and to foreign researchers who need to find information quickly. Little of the material goes back more than a century or so, but it may none the less be significant; modern rainfall statistics, for example, are of interest even to prehistorians. The author reproduces the bogus and improbable population statistics for 991 AD. which derive from an early-modern forgery but are still being copied from one standard reference work to another; historians should continue to denounce this error.

Anthony Luttrell