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Jay Bernstein
Associate Professor in the Library
Reader Services Librarian


Jay Bernstein became a librarian following a career as an anthropologist that included three years of ethnographic fieldwork in Borneo. His doctoral research on the Taman, an ethnic group of 4,500 people living in the remote interior of West Kalimantan, Indonesia, culminated in his book Spirits Captured in Stone: Shamanism and Traditional Medicine among the Taman of Borneo. His postdoctoral work, based at the University of Kent at Canterbury, took place among the Dusun, an indigenous minority in Brunei Darussalam. His anthropological studies have evolved into a research focus on the organization of knowledge and the multiple approaches of inquiry used both in anthropology and other disciplines. His current research and writing projects focus on these contrasting approaches to the theorization and study of knowledge and to inquiry, intellectual life, and the value and purposes of libraries now and in the future. As a librarian at Kingsborough Community College he coordinates the Interlibrary Loan program, conducts bibliographic instruction (information literacy) sessions, and selects titles in anthropology, philosophy, and sociology. He maintains Academic Works @ Kingsborough Community College, an institutional repository of faculty and institutional achievements, open educational resources, and archival records documenting and making available to a global readership the best of Kingsborough. He has also created an internship program in Civic Engagement in Public Libraries that places Kingsborough students in a local branch of the Brooklyn Public Library to participate in and promote services for the community, for which they receive Civic Engagement Credit. He enjoys helping students and faculty members in taking advantage of library resources and in formulating and developing their own research agendas and in seeing them through to successful completion. 

Please see Jay Bernstein's page in Google Scholar



Bibliographic instruction/Information literacy


M.L.S. St. John’s University

M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

B.A., SUNY College at Purchase

College Teaching

Kingsborough Community College, 2004-present

SUNY College at Purchase, 1997

University of Kent at Canterbury, 1992-1995

Selected Publications and/or Other Resources

Bernstein, Jay H. (2015). "Transdisciplinarity: A review of its origins, development, and current issues." Journal of Research Practice 11(1), article R1.  Retrieved from

Bernstein, Jay H. (2014) “Disciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in the study of knowledge.” Informing Science 17, 241-273. Retrieved from

Bernstein, Jay H. (2011) “Shamanic knowledge: the challenge to information science.” Advances in the Study of Information and Religion 1 (article 7): 128-150.  Retrieved from

Bernstein, Jay H. (2010) “Folk concepts.”  In 21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook, edited by H. James Birx, 848-855.  Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Bernstein, Jay H. (2009a) “Nonknowledge: the bibliographical organization of ignorance, stupidity, error, and unreason: part two.” Knowledge Organization 36(4): 249-260.

Bernstein, Jay H. (2009b) “Nonknowledge: the bibliographical organization of ignorance, stupidity, error, and unreason: part one.” Knowledge Organization 36 (1): 17-29.

Bernstein, Jay H. (2009c) “The data-information-knowledge-wisdom hierarchy and its antithesis.”  Proceedings North American Symposium on Knowledge Organization 2: 68-75. Retrieved from

Bernstein, Jay H. (2007) “New York placenames in film titles.”  Names 55 (2): 139-166.

Bernstein, Jay H. (2006) “From the ubiquitous to the nonexistent: a demographic study of OCLC WorldCat.” Library Resources & Technical Services 50 (2):79-90.

Bernstein, Jay H. (2004) “Taman shamanism (Borneo).” In Shamanism: An Encyclopedia of World Beliefs, Practices, and Cultures, edited by Mariko Namba Walter and Eva Jane Neumann Fridman, 842-847.  Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio.

Bernstein, Jay H. (2002) “First recipients of anthropological doctorates in the United States, 1891-1930.” American Anthropologist 104 (2): 551-564.  (Special centennial issue.)

Bernstein, Jay H. (2000) “An Interview with George De Vos.” Organdi Quarterly, no. 1. Retrieved from

Bernstein, Jay H. (1998) “The perils of Laura Watson Benedict: a forgotten pioneer in anthropology.” Philippine Quarterly of Culture & Society 26 (3): 165-191.  Special Issue: Commemorating our first twenty-five years: Selected papers.  (Reprint of Bernstein 1985.)

Bernstein, Jay H. (1997a) Spirits Captured in Stone: Shamanism and Traditional Medicine among the Taman of Borneo.  Boulder, Colo. and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Bernstein, Jay H. (1997b) “The deculturation of the Brunei Dusun.”  In Indigenous Peoples and the State: Politics, Land, and Ethnicity in the Malayan Peninsula and Borneo, edited by Robert L. Winzeler, 159-179. Monograph 46.  New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies.

Bernstein, Jay H. (1996) “Higher order categories in Brunei Dusun ethnobotany: the folk-classification of rainforest plants.” In Tropical Rainforest Research--Current Issues, edited by D.S. Edwards, W.E. Booth, and S.C. Choy, 435-450. Monographieae Biologicae 74. Dordrecht and Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Bernstein, Jay H. (1993a) “Poisons and antidotes among the Taman of West Kalimantan, Indonesia.” Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 149 (1): 3-21.

Bernstein, Jay (1993b) “The shaman’s destiny: symptoms, affliction, and the re-interpretation of illness among the Taman.” In The Seen and the Unseen: Shamanism, Mediumship, and Possession in Borneo, edited by Robert L. Winzeler, 171-206. Borneo Research Council Monograph Series, vol. 2. Williamsburg, Va.: Borneo Research Council.

Bernstein, Jay H. (1990) “The infusion of teachers from eastern Indonesia into West Kalimantan.” In Patterns of Migration in Southeast Asia, edited by Robert R. Reed, 182-190. Berkeley, Calif.: Centers for South and Southeast Asian Studies.

Bernstein, Jay H. (1985) “The perils of Laura Watson Benedict: a forgotten pioneer in anthropology.” Philippine Quarterly of Culture & Society 13 (3): 171-197. 

Bernstein, Jay H. and Roy Ellen (1995) “Licuala palms in Brunei Dusun ethnobotany.”   Brunei Museum Journal 10: 97-110.

Bernstein, Jay H., Roy Ellen, and Bantong Antaran (1997) “The use of plot surveys for the study of ethnobotanical knowledge: a Brunei Dusun example.” Journal of Ethnobiology 17 (1): 69-96.

Ellen, Roy, and Jay Bernstein (1994) “Urbs in rure: cultural transformation of the rainforest in modern Brunei.” Anthropology Today 10 (4): 16-19.

Events and/or Key Dates

Research Interests

Bibliometrics, collection assessment, and scholarly communication

History and bibliography of anthropology

Indigenous knowledge, belief systems, cosmologies, and shamanism

Knowledge organization, social epistemology, and theorization about knowledge from multiple scholarly perspectives

Library and information science theory

Transdisciplinary research and education

Awards Recognition, Distinctions and Grants
National Institute of Mental Health, Individual National Research Service Award

Social Science Research Council/American Council of Learned Societies, International Doctoral Research Fellowship

Sigma Xi

PSC-CUNY Faculty Development Grant

Regents’ Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley

Institutional Affiliations / Professional Societies

ACRL/New York

American Association of University Professors

American Library Association

Association of College and Research Libraries (member, Academic Libraries Trends & Statistics Editorial Board)

Anthropology and Sociology Librarians Section, ACRL

Association of College and Research Libraries

Community College Librarians Section, ACRL

International Society for Knowledge Organization

Library Association of the City University of New York

Personal Interests




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