Outstanding Reference Sources

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The Outstanding Reference Sources Committee was established in 1958 to recommend the most outstanding reference publications for small and medium-sized libraries. An annotated list of these outstanding reference works is published annually in the May issue of American Libraries. The list is also included in Reference & User Services Quarterly and published on the RUSA Web site.

Publishers are welcome to send books as they see fit if they believe they meet the selection criteria. For more information, please contact the committee chair Jessica Catherine McCullough (jmccull1@conncoll.edu), listed on the committee roster page.


The 2016 winners are:

  • Black Stereotypes in Popular Series Fiction, 1851-1955: Jim Crow Era Authors and Their Characters by Bernard A. Drew. McFarland & Company, Inc.
  • Civil War Biographies from the Western Waters: 956 Confederate and Union Naval and Military Personnel, Contractors, Politicians, Officials, Steamboat Pilots and Others by Myron J. Smith, Jr. McFarland & Company, Inc.
  • The Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature Dino Franco Felluga, editor. Wiley Blackwell.
  • Modern Genocide: The Definitive Resource and Document Collection by Paul R. Bartrop and Steven Leonard Jacobs, editors. ABC-CLIO.
  • The Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary by David and Ben Crystal. Oxford University Press.
  • The Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean by Scott Weidensaul. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • The SAGE Encyclopedia of Alcohol: Social, Cultural, and Historical Perspectives Scott C. Martin, editor. SAGE.
  • Weird Sports and Wacky Games Around the World: From Buzkashi to Zorbin by Victoria Williams. ABC-CLIO.
  • Women’s Rights in the United States: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Issues, Events, and People Tiffany K. Wayne, editor. ABC-CLIO.
  • Worldmark Global Business and Economy Issues Thomas Riggs, editor. Gale.

Previous Winners