2001 Outstanding Reference Sources


The 2001 list of Outstanding Reference Sources for Small and Medium-sized Libraries has been announced by the Reference and User Services Association's (RUSA) Reference Sources Committee. The titles were selected during the 2001 ALA Midwinter meeting and represent high-quality reference works that are suitable for small- to medium-sized libraries.

The Selections for Year 2001

Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. 2 vols. Nick Georgano, ed. Chicago: Fitzroy-Dearborn, 2000. 1-57958-293-1. $285.

Originally published in Great Britain, the
Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile covers every car manufacturer and every commercially produced car model. There are also biographies of car designers, manufacturers, and executives. The volumes are well illustrated with photographs of cars and original advertising art. An international, multilingual bibliography provides further information.

Cambridge World History of Food. 2 vols. Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Orenals, eds. Cambridge University Press, 2000.

0-521-40216-6. $150.

With 224 contributors writing articles on topics ranging from the diet of early man to staple foods, food taboos, and current food issues, the
Cambridge Word History of Food is a major scholarly resource. The contributors look at the historical and cultural as well as the nutritional and health-related aspects of food. Illustrations, a 1,000-entry dictionary, and a bibliography supplement the text.

Contemporary American Religion. 2 vols. Wade Clark Roof. New York: Macmillan Library Reference, 2000. 0-02-864928-1. $225.

This excellent source furnishes students and scholars with information on contemporary religion, personalities and popular topics from Fundamentalist Christianity to feng shui. "As a lexicon of popular religious culture", over 500 articles focus " less on official teachings" and "more on beliefs, practices and symbols are popularly understood or drawn upon in the context of people's everyday lives." The source begins with an alphabetic list of articles followed by the list of 250 contributors. Over 500 well-written entries cover such topics as Bioethics, Elvis Cults and Temptation and are complemented by 200 black and white photos and graphics. Each article ends with a useful bibliography. The
Contemporary American Religion is highly recommended to academic and public libraries.

Encyclopedia of Aquaculture. Robert R. Stickney, ed. New York: Wiley, 2000. 0-471-29101-3. $325.

Encyclopedia of Aquaculture contains 170 articles by an international group of contributors. They cover specific species of fresh and salt-water fish, disease and health issues, water management, conservation, technology and engineering, and business management. The articles have illustrations and bibliographies. This is an excellent resource for anyone interested in fish farming.

Encyclopedia of Biodiversity. 5 vols. Simon A. Levin, ed. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2000. 0-12-226865-2. $1,295.

Biodiversity is a relatively new term, first coined in 1986, that refers to the sum of all plant and animal species on earth. In 313 signed articles, the
Encyclopedia of Biodiversity looks at all of these forms of life, from nematodes to human beings, and how they interrelate. The articles are clearly written and understandable even for the non-scientific reader. Thorough bibliographies point the way for further research. The set covers scientific topics (such as extinctions, genetics, habitats and ecosystems) as well as social science issues (economics of biodiversity, public policies and attitudes). It is thus a useful resource for learning about purely scientific concepts as well as issues concerning human effects on the environment. A “Guide to the Encyclopedia,” a glossary, helpful see-also references, and a detailed index make this resource easy to use. Included with purchase of the print edition is access to an online version. Academic and larger public libraries will find the
Encyclopedia invaluable for answering questions about biological and environmental topics.

Encyclopedia of Ephemera: A Guide to the Fragmentary Documents of Everyday Life for the Collector, Curator, and Historian by Maurice Rickards, ed. By Michael Twyman. New York: Routledge, 2000. 0-415-92648-3, $65

This unique source includes over 400 entries on paper collectibles from the most obscure to the most common. This outstanding source is arranged alphabetically providing written descriptions and photographs of an ABC Primer from 19th Century London to winkle bags. The
Encyclopedia of Ephemera is the only contemporary reference work devoted to materials that fall into the category of ephemera, “the minor transient documents of everyday life,” as defined by the author. Each entry varies in length from 500 to over 1,500 words. Many entries include references, names and museums of collections, and societies affiliated with the subject. The back of the encyclopedia includes a detailed list of collections and societies of ephemera material, a bibliography and an index. This is truly a source to be consulted by collectors or anyone looking for a glimpse of the past.

Encyclopedia of European Social History from 1350 to 2000. Peter N. Stearns, ed. New York: Scribner, 2001. 0-684-80582-0. $595.

Traditionally overlooked by historians, ordinary people are the focus of social history and of this set. The
Encyclopedia of European Social History, covering the period from the beginning of the Renaissance to the present, consists of 209 articles and almost 300 biographical entries. Almost 170 scholars, all well known in their field, contributed to the set. The
Encyclopedia is thoroughly indexed, amply illustrated, and a joy to read. The essays, on topics such as “Micro history,” “The European Marriage Problem,” “Fairs and Markets,” “Gender and Work,” and “Cleanliness,” are clearly written, well researched, and thoroughly documented, and can easily stand on their own. Graduate students will find the
Encyclopedia useful as an introduction to historiography while advanced high school students will enjoy the articles on historical topics.

Encyclopedia of German Literature. 2 vols. Matthias Konzett, ed. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000. 1-57958-138-2. $175.

A substantial contribution to English encyclopedias of German literature, this authoritative two-volume set features in-depth treatment of the authors, works, topics, and influences of German literary studies. Arranged in A to Z format, the articles are both definitive and critical. In addition, this encyclopedia explores all facets of German literature from literary terms and themes to political, historical, and philosophical influences. A typical author entry includes a biographical sketch and critical introduction followed by a brief biography, selected works arranged by genre, and a substantial “further reading” list. Includes detailed subject and title indexes, and an impressive list of contributors.

Encyclopedia of Judaism. 3 vols. Jacob Neusner, Alan J. Avery-Peck, and William Scott Green, eds. New York: Continuum Publishing / The Museum of Jewish Heritage, 1999. 0-8264-1178-9 $250.

With more than 100 lengthy essays, this exceptional work on Judaism covers more than its historical framework. The
Encyclopedia of Judaism provides complete and accurate coverage of Judaism, everything from its history, beliefs, and observances, from the beginning to modern times. Many articles are devoted to contemporary issues and its relationship to other religions. This three-volume encyclopedia speaks to the scholar, practitioners of Judaism or anyone else needing information about Judaism. Contemporary issues such as medical ethics, women in Judaism, as well as many others are covered in this set. It is an excellent source written by scholars.

Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures. 2 Vols.
Lesbian Histories and Cultures. vol. 1. Bonnie Zimmerman, ed. 0-8153-1920-7. $140.
Gay Histories and Cultures. vol. 2. George E. Haggerty and others, eds. 0-8153-1880-4. $140. New York: Garland, 2000.

Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures is unique among encyclopedias of homosexuality in having separate volumes devoted to gay and lesbian issues. Traditionally, lesbian issues have been neglected in gay studies. Because of this concern, the editors have opted for two separately edited volumes, with one focusing on gay issues and one on lesbian. Readers can compare gay and lesbian takes on the same issue or examines issues of concern to just one group. The volumes both consist of short, signed entries arranged alphabetically. Brief bibliographies at the end of each entry are helpful for further research. Subject guides, cross-references, and indexes all aid the reader in locating articles of interest within the volume. This set, which should become the standard in its field, will be a useful addition to all public and academic libraries.

Encyclopedia of Monasticism. 2 vols. William M. Johnston, ed. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999. 1-5795-8090-4. $295.

This well-written, well-researched reference source brings together monastic life with particular attention to three traditions: Buddhist, Eastern Christian and Western Christian. As the first reference source on this topic, over 600 entries provide information on the "practices, doctrines, lifestyles, spirituality and art…" with extensive comparisons between the three traditions. The Thematic Outline of Entries will assist readers in understanding its organization and coverage. "See also"s and a list of "Further Readings" conclude each article. Most of the photos and illustration are in black and white. In the center both volumes beautiful color photos and illustrations enhance the set. An added feature is the very helpful glossary at the end of volume 2. This fascinating set will be a welcomed addition to both academic and public libraries.

Encyclopedia of Movie Special Effects. Patricia Netzley. Phoneix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1999. 1-57356-167-3. $65.

A unique resource detailing the developments and use of special effects in the American movie industry. Well indexed and illustrated, the 366 entries cover Academy Award winning special effects movies, groundbreaking techniques, equipment and devices, special effects houses, and pivotal figures in mechanical and visual special effects, makeup, creature design, directing, and stunt work.

Encyclopedia of Paleontology. 2 vols. Ronald Singer, ed. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999. 1-884964-96-6. $295.

As the editor states in the introduction, “People are drawn to fossils.” Thus, this resource is ideal for patrons who would like to learn more about the principles and methods of paleontology, as well as paleontology in different regions of the world and the primary researchers in the field. This title includes dinosaurs, but the editors include all types of animals, plants and organisms discovered in fossils. Thus, because of this comprehensive coverage, dinosaurs may not be covered as extensively as in other reference works. The entries are arranged alphabetically and are written by experts in academic departments, research centers and museums. This book contains some technical language but is still highly readable. The encyclopedia provides high-quality (black-and-white) illustrations, photos, charts and diagrams, as well as general and taxonomic indices. For academic and public libraries.

Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History. 5 vols. David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, eds. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2000. 1-57607-066-2. $425.

The editors have compiled a comprehensive source that provides a first stop reference on broad areas of specific topics on the Civil War. The contemporary photographs and lithographs bring the human element into the encyclopedia, a type of reference more known for facts and figures than emotions. The primary source documents volume brings obscure resources together which will further illumine the period for students.

Encyclopedia of the Palestinians. Philip Mattar, ed. New York: Facts On File, 2000. 0-8160-3043-x. $74.25 for libraries; $82.50.

The scholarship and the balanced nature of this volume on a controversial, highly partisan issue is what makes it immediately important and useful to students of current events. The articles are clear and accessible and discuss the political movements, arts, customs and individuals that have made an impact on the Palestinian world. The authors are diverse and do not always agree, nor do their “facts”, but his variety of voices and interpretations is reflective of the scholarship in the field.

Encyclopedia of Psychology. 8 vols. Alan E. Kazdin, ed. New York: American Psychological Association/Oxford, 2000. 1-55798-187-6. $750.

Within the last ten years, there have been numerous and outstanding encyclopedias of psychology, general sources and ones in the specific fields of study. The question is, "Do we need another one?" Public libraries and academic libraries will need to find space for this eight-volume set. The American Psychological Association under the editorial direction Alan Kazdin has produced an exceptional multidisciplinary and multicultural encyclopedia. Over 1400 international researchers and scholars contributed to this set that contains nearly 400 biographies and over 1500 articles in the fields of psychology allied fields and other disciplines. Articles are arranged letter-by-letter. Broad topics are broken down into smaller articles with scope notes that define each article and indicate the titles of the related articles that follow. An example is "War and Conflict: Effects on General Population" and "War and Conflict: Effects on Military Personnel." Found at the end of each article, references will direct users to many sources drawn from the 1990's. The Directory of Contributors includes name, affiliation, position within the institution and subject expertise. This encyclopedia will be a classic for many years.

Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution. Wilbur Applebaum. New York: Garland, 2000. 0-8153-1503-1. $150.

This unique resource focuses on scientific development in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries, when the field of science underwent tremendous advances and discoveries. The 441 articles are arranged alphabetically and cover scientists, processes, phenomena, philosophy, religion, and professional societies. This book includes black-and-white portraits, maps, charts and diagrams, as well as a subject index.

Encyclopedia of the U. S. Cabinet. 3 vols. Mark Grossman. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2000. 0-87436-977-0. $275.

This encyclopedia is the first work of its kind devoted entirely to the history of the United States cabinet and its secretaries. Arranged alphabetically by cabinet department, this encyclopedia provides a history of the department and detailed biographical and historical entries of the members who served some of the nation’s highest positions. Each volume begins with a chronological list of cabinet members by cabinet department. The cabinet overviews detail the history and evolution of each department, including departments that no longer exist or have been merged into other departments. Also included are a lengthy bibliography and a general index. It is a truly outstanding source filled with facts about the U. S. Cabinet. This book is also available as an e-book.

Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century American Humor. Allen Pace Nilsen and Don L. F. Nilsen. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 2000. 0-573-56218-1. $67.50.

This unique encyclopedia treats the concepts, persons, themes, and media of 20th-century American humor and humor studies. Over 100 alphabetically arranged entries highlight a broad range of humor-related topics from “Wit,” “Understatement,” and “Ambiguity” to “Late-Night Talk Shows” and “The Internet.” In addition, the encyclopedia features an interdisciplinary appeal in its inclusion of entries on culture-related concepts like “American Indian Humor,” “Hispanic Humor,” and “Jewish Humor” and behavior-related concepts such as “Acquisition of a Sense of Humor,” “Aging and Humor,” and “Health and Healing.” Entries are enhanced with humorous examples and “Further Readings.” Included are illustrations and photographs, a 20-page bibliography, and an index.

Facts On File Companion to the American Short Story. Abby H. P. Werlock, ed. New York: Facts On File, 2000. 0-8160-3164-9. $64.50 for libraries; $71.50.

This handy volume presents an immediate introduction to American short fiction from the 19th century to the 1990s. The 675 alphabetically arranged entries consist of author biographies, literary terms, theories, themes, well-known characters, influential events, and summaries of major stories. Emphasis is given to U.S. born authors or those who have lived in the U.S. Author entries include dates, biographies, list of stories, critical reception, and a brief bibliography. Appendices include: winners of selected short story prizes; stories listed by subject and setting; and selected bibliography of critical histories and theoretical approaches. Entries are definitive and written in a clear style.

International Encyclopedia of Women and Sports. 3 vols. Karen Christensen, Allen Guttmann, and Gertrude Pfister, eds. New York: Macmillan Library Reference, 2000. $ 0-02-864954-0. $325.

No other encyclopedia treats the field of women in international sports with such currency, depth, and detail. Where else could you find discussions of women bullfighters, eating disorders among women athletes, gender verification, competitive sports in Indonesia, and cheerleading? This 3-volume reference set includes over 130 biographies, 170 individual and group sports, 75 country profiles, plus examinations of cultural, societal, health, and ethical issues. International in scope, it has excellent coverage of non-Western sports as well extreme sports and outdoor activities such as hiking and life guarding. The articles that range from 250 word biographies to 4000 word surveys are generously supplemented by photographs, charts, informative sidebars, and bibliographies. Given the enormous interest in recent years in women's sports, this encyclopedia will be prove to be an invaluable resource in public and academic library collections.

Ken Schultz's Fishing Encyclopedia: Worldwide Angling Guide. Foster City, CA: IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., 2000. 0-02-862057-7. $60.

Whether you are looking for a fishing destination, description of a species of fish, or information on equipment, it's all here. Written by a long time editor of Field & Stream and renowned fishing expert, this mammoth encyclopedia has over 2000 entries covering every aspect of angling. Carefully organized and beautifully illustrated with over 1400 color photographs and drawings, fishing enthusiasts will surely find the information they need on tackle, techniques for a multitude of angling conditions, fish preparation, boating, fisheries management, plus coverage of 170 fishing spots and 500 types of fresh and saltwater fish. Authoritative, comprehensive, and up-to-date, this encyclopedia will serve as the seminal guide to sports fishing for years to come.

Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing. Rosemary Herbert and others, eds. New York: Oxford, 1999. 0-19-507239-1. $60.

Entertaining and authoritative, this alphabetically arranged companion is an indispensable reference guide to crime and mystery writing. Unique in its biographical and critical treatment of major detective writers, the companion is also a comprehensive digest to the genre’s lexicon, characters, themes, time periods, milieus, and curiosities. Emphasis is given to English literature of the United States and Great Britain. Treatment also is given to sub-genres ranging from short story radio, stage, film, and drama to comic strips and computer games. Entries consist of incisive definitions and intricate cross-referencing. The volume features an impressive list of contributors, glossary, and detailed index.

Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. Jack Zipes, ed. New York: Oxford, 2000. 0-19-860115-8. $60.

Researchers from scholars to the general public will find this landmark reference source an excellent starting place to find definitions, summaries, authors, artists, and regional and historical overviews of fairy tales, past and present. The introduction, entitled "Towards a Definition of the Literary Fairy Tale", and survey articles summarize the literary development of fairy tales with particular attention to Western Europe and North America. Whenever possible, information about Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America are included. Written by 67 scholars, over 800 entries cover traditional fairy tales, the people who wrote or compiled them, and articles that examine fairy tales as inspiration to themes in art, drama, opera, music, ballet, science fiction, film and television. Seventy black and white illustrations are sprinkled throughout and an extensive bibliography concludes the work. Academic and public libraries will find this affordable on volume source a wonderful addition to their reference collections.

Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. 7 vols. Neil Schlager and Josh Lauer, eds. Detroit: Gale, 2000/01. $595.

The purpose of this new series is to discuss how the major fields of science developed during specific time periods. Each volume focuses on a range of years and includes developments in exploration, life sciences, mathematics, physical sciences, and technology. When the series finishes publication, it will have seven volumes that will cover 2000 B.C. to the present. This series is comprehensive, informative, clearly written and extremely useful for high school students seeking information on scientific history and phenomenon.

Scientific American
Desk Reference. New York: Wiley, 1999. ISBN 0-471-35675-1. $39.95.

In the “pool” of general science reference sources published each year, this title clearly shines through. The Scientific American
Desk Reference is divided into 15 sections, each covering a specific scientific discipline. All sections include key concepts, glossaries, and biographies of prominent researchers in that field, chronologies, and information unique to that particular discipline. This book is highly readable and explains the major concepts in each discipline clearly. Numerous high-quality illustrations, charts, diagrams and photographs are included.

Sports: The Complete Visual Reference. Francois Fortin. Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books Ltd., 2000. 1-55209-540-1. $39.95.

All libraries with a sports collection should purchase this visual reference guide. Over 125 sports played around the world are covered and grouped into large categories (e.g. "Equestrian Sports", "Track and Field", "Racket Sports"). While there is excellent coverage of major sports such as soccer, skiing, and golf, the strength of this volume lies in its inclusion of lesser known and newer sports such as kendo, petanque, BMX and apnea free diving. Using lavish color graphics, photographs, and concise, clear explanations, readers will discover the origin of each sport, how it is played, the kinds of equipment and physical environments required, as well as the physical and training requirements involved. In addition, great competitors of the past and charts of world records are featured. Moderately priced and beautifully illustrated, this guide is a sure winner for any sports collection!

Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. 15 vols. Anne Commire and Deborah Klezmer. Detroit: Gale, 1999 - . 0-7863-736-x. $995.

Locating information on women is difficult and the editors have done a fine job assembling and publishing information extant on individual women from many nations, living and dead. In some cases, only birth, marriage, children, and death dates are known, so the 10,000 articles vary in length according to the subject. If you haven’t been able to answer reference questions on women, you need this set.