2007 booklist editors choice reference sources


AccessScience. McGraw-Hill [http://www.accessscience.com].

In a completely retooled version, the online counterpart of The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology enriches solid encyclopedia content with animations, video clips, RSS feeds, and other features that should have broad appeal.

Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction. By Jeff Prucher. 2007. 342p. Oxford, $29.95 (9780195305678).

Not merely a dictionary of science fiction terms, this is a resource of all the words from science fiction that have been absorbed into popular culture, defining them from their earliest known appearance in science fiction writing through modern usage.

The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama. 2v. Ed. by Gabrielle H. Cody and Evert Sprinchorn. 2007. 1,744p. Columbia Univ., $450 (9780231140324).

International in scope and spanning the 1860s to the present, this scholarly yet readable encyclopedia focuses on written drama while emphasizing the cultural contexts in which dramatic works were created. Carefully planned and meticulously edited—an example of reference publishing at its finest.

Daily Life America. Greenwood [http://dla.greenwood.com].

A most appealing interface, strong content, and flexible search options make the fourth component of the Daily Life Online suite of databases a good bet for a wide range of libraries.

Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2d ed. 22v. Ed. by Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnick. 2006. 17,000p. Macmillan, $1,995 (9780028659282).

The new edition of Encyclopaedia Judaica brings a monumental reference work into the twenty-first century. By documenting the modern Jewish experience while retaining links with its rich past, it provides users with information about all aspects of Jewish religion and culture.

Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties. 3v. Ed. by Paul Finkelman. 2006. 2,576p. Routledge, $595 (0-415-94342-6).

Recent tensions between individual rights and national security make this encyclopedia exceptionally timely and topical. Although many of the topics have been covered in legal and political-science encyclopedias, they take on a new vibrancy when seen through the lens of civil liberties.

Encyclopedia of American Jewish History. 2v. Ed. by Stephen H. Norwood and Eunice G. Pollack. 2007. 775p. ABC-CLIO, $195 (9781851096381).

This encyclopedia uses an interdisciplinary, thematic approach to explore American Jewish history. Although it is less comprehensive than Encyclopaedia Judaica, it provides a unique perspective for students and scholars.

The Encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War: A Political, Social, and Military History. 5v. Ed. by Richard A. Ryerson and Gregory Fremont-Barnes. 2006. 1,760p. ABC-CLIO, $485 (9781851094080).

Here’s a fine example of a reference set that lends depth to its A–Z entries by offering introductory essays, more than 50 maps, a comprehensive bibliography of about 20 pages, a glossary defining more than 100 words and terms, and a collection of primary documents that should satisfy any scholar of the period.

Encyclopedia of Children, Adolescents, and the Media. 2v. Ed. by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett. 2007. 886p. Sage, $325 (9781412905305).

There is no other resource quite like this one, which pulls together research on topics related to young people’s daily media experience. The relationship between food advertising and obesity; the portrayal of women in hip-hop; and the cognitive effects of electronic games are just some of the subjects covered.

Encyclopedia of Emancipation and Abolition in the Transatlantic World. 3v. Ed. by Junius Rodriguez. 2007. 1,350p. Sharpe, $299 (9780765612571).

Providing a unique perspective by concentrating on “how slavery was dismantled,” this encyclopedia is rich in primary resources, many of which are difficult to find elsewhere.

The Encyclopedia of the Cold War: A Political, Social, and Military History. 5v. Ed. by Spencer C. Tucker. 2007. 1,385p. ABC-CLIO, $495 (9781851097012).

This is the first and so far the only major reference on the cold war to take advantage of recently opened Russian, Eastern European, and Chinese state archives. The content gives a broad global view of an anxious period and provides useful background for some of today’s conflicts.

Encyclopedia of Environment and Society. 5v. Ed. by Paul Robbins. 2007. 2,736p. Sage, $695 (9781412927611).

This superb interdisciplinary work should find a place on the shelves of every public and academic library that has the least bit of interest in environmental issues, which should mean just about all. Articles approach the topic from every conceivable angle—historical, biographical, organizational, and social.

Encyclopedia of Globalization. 4v. Ed. by Roland Robertson and Jan Aart Scholte. 2007. 1,559p. Routledge, $750 (9780415973144).

Globalization is a hot topic, and by pulling so many diverse topics into an accessible reference source prepared by experts and intended for a broad audience, this set enters new territory.

Encyclopedia of Holidays and Celebrations: A Country-by-Country Guide. 3v. Ed. by Matthew Dennis. 2006. Facts On File, $275 (0-8160-6235-8).

Students, teachers, and librarians will delight in this set that brings together a wealth of information on major holidays and festivals in 206 countries. Besides covering major holidays, the encyclopedia excels in highlighting numerous lesser-known festivals from countries with increasing numbers of immigrants living in the U.S.

Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships: A Global Exploration of Our Connections with Animals. 4v. Ed. by Marc Bekoff. 2007. 1,632p. Greenwood, $499.95 (9780313334870).

What appears to be the first English-language encyclopedia solely devoted to the rich topic of human-animal relationships covers a vast range of topics.

The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 4th ed. 10v. Ed. by Colin Larkin. 2006. 1,248p. Oxford, $1,295 (9780195313734).

Larkin’s new edition contains more than 27,000 entries, including 6,000 new ones and updates of many existing ones. The most comprehensive guide to popular music, this work includes virtually all well-known artists as well as thousands who are lesser known.

Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center. Facts On File [http://www.factsonfile.com].

This peerless database provides information on more than 3,300 jobs and 94 industries, as well as more than 48,000 entries on scholarships, internships, and other resources. Thorough and user friendly, it is indispensable for libraries serving job seekers of all ages.

Global Perspectives on the United States: A Nation by Nation Survey. 2v. Ed. by David Levinson and Karen Christensen. 2007. 718p. Berkshire, $275 (9781933782065).

Experts analyzed a variety of materials to compile articles on opinions about the U.S. in 140 nations and regions. Not recommended reading for thin-skinned patriots; however, a great resource for libraries.

The Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art and Architecture. 2v. Ed. by Gordon Campbell. 2007. 1,600p. Oxford, $250 (9780195300826).

There are more than three million words on classical art in Grove Art Online, here distilled into a more compact form. Although numerous books cover the history of classical art, and many reference books cover art and architecture, this is one of very few reference titles treating just the art and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome.

Magill’s Survey of American Literature. Ed. by Steven G. Keilman. 2006. 2,866p. Salem, $499 (1-58765-285-4).

This update of the 1991 edition and 1994 supplement profiles American and Canadian writers from Anne Bradstreet through contemporary authors. Useful both as a guide for discussion and a research and reference source, it has a place in any collection where American literature is a focus.

New Encyclopedia of Africa. 5v. Ed. by John Middleton and Joseph C. Miller. 2007. Scribner, $575 (0-684-31454-1).

When Scribner published Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara 10 years ago, it was intended to be the standard reference source on its subject. Its successor, New Encyclopedia of Africa, encompasses the entire continent, as well as the many changes that have occurred since 1997.

The Oxford Companion to World Exploration. 2v. Ed. by David Buisseret. 2007. 1,072p. Oxford, $250 (0-19-514922-X).

Oxford, in association with the Newberry Library, has published an outstanding set that traverses the complete spectrum of world exploration, from the ancient world through current underwater and space exploration.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers. ProQuest [http://www.proquest.com].

When we first looked at this database back in 2003, we warned that researchers might find it addictive. Now, an expanded collection of newspapers (including, as of October 2007, several British newspapers) adds an unparalleled wealth of information, and two new graphical interfaces designed for school and public libraries make it appealing to a broader audience. A major contribution in providing a firsthand look at the U.S. and the world from 1764 to the present. (Top of the List winner—Reference Source.)

Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film. 4v. Ed. by Barry Keith Grant. 2006. 2,136p. Schirmer, $425 (9780028657912).

Though there are more film reference works than most libraries need, this one stakes a claim on the reference shelf by providing substantive articles written by contributors with stellar academic credentials.

Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. 6th ed. 2v. 2007. 3,742p. Oxford, $175 (9780199233243).

Though just one-tenth the size of Oxford English Dictionary, this venerable dictionary, familiarly called Shorter, contains a significant portion of the OED’s content. The sixth edition has 2,500 new entries.

Slavery in the United States: A Social, Political, and Historical Encyclopedia. 2v. By Junius P. Rodriguez. 2007. 740p. ABC-CLIO, $185 (9781851095445).

Combining A–Z entries with contextual essays, an extensive chronology, and 150 primary documents, this is a multifaceted and inclusive resource on a difficult topic in U.S. history.

Awards Won

Title Year
Booklist Editors' Choice: Reference Sources
Titles were reviewed in RBB from February 2006 through January 2007. All the titles are intended for a general readership at the high-school level and up. For our pick of the crop for students, see “Twenty Best Bets for Student Researchers” in the September 1 issue.
2007 - Selection(s)