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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Booklist Editors' Choice
Seeing as many reference sources as we do in the course of the year, our challenge to a new one is always, “Surprise me.” These 2002 titles were selected by the editor of RBB because they did just that—they surprised us with unprecedented depth or breadth, or with a fresh angle, or because they made us want to spend time exploring them. We chose new rather than revised resources, and also favored those likely to have broad appeal. Titles were reviewed in RBB from February 2002 through January 2003.
America the Beautiful. [Internet database]. Grolier, pricing from $209 in combination with other Grolier databases. [http://www.go.Grolier.com].
Grolier’s latest addition to its excellent online offerings of reference materials is the venerable state series found in most K–12 and public libraries. Although the scope of the database is impressive, it is the site’s user-friendliness, clean look, and well-planned arrangement that will draw users.
The Companion to Southern Literature: Themes, Genres, Places, People, Movements, and Motifs. Ed. by Joseph M. Flora and Lucinda H. MacKethan. 2002. 1,050p. Louisiana State Univ., $59.95 (0-8071-2692-6).
Focusing on common threads that run through southern writing and set it apart from the literature of other regions, this volume serves as a greatly expanded and updated extension to the “Literature” section of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (1989).
Encyclopedia of Aging. 4v. Ed. by David J. Ekerdt. 2002. 1,591p. Macmillan, $495 (0-02-865472-2).
As the population ages, information about the causes and ramifications of growing older takes up a bigger share of the collective consciousness. This encyclopedia aims “to present advanced ideas about aging at an accessible level,” covering biological, medical, psychological, and sociological topics as well as social and public policy issues.
Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World: 15,000 Years of Inventions and Innovations. By Emory Dean Keoke and Kay Marie Porterfield. 2002. 384p. Facts On File, $65 (0-8160-4052-4).
How many of us know that the Moche invented the electrochemical production of electricity more than 1,000 years before the Europeans? This eye-opening volume describes more than 450 inventions and innovations that originated with indigenous peoples of North, Middle, and South America.
Encyclopedia of American Literature. 3v. By Carol Berkin. 2002. Facts On File, $225 (0-8160-4121-0).
There is still room on reference shelves for works that offer a different way of looking at American literature—in this case, an ordering of material into three distinct periods in American history. For each period, the nearly 2,000 entries encompass topics ranging from writers, genres, and styles to relevant social movements and historic events.
Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment. 4v. Ed. by David Levinson. 2002. 1,876p. Sage, $600 (0-7619-2258-X).
Crime and efforts to control it are the focus of this authoritative but unstuffy resource, the place to look for information on topics ranging from community policing and mandatory sentencing to the way crime is depicted in comic books and why Singapore is so orderly.
Encyclopedia of Evolution. Ed. by Mark Pagel. 2002. 1,205p. Oxford, $325 (0-19-512200-3).
An outstanding encyclopedia that brings together 365 articles written for users with varying backgrounds and covering all aspects of evolution, from fundamental theory to popular topics such as cloning. No other recent encyclopedias provide comparable authoritative in-depth coverage of biological evolution. A unique feature is the inclusion of an extraordinary collection of thought-provoking essays by eminent scientists and philosophers, which demonstrate what insights are possible when a subject is approached from an evolutionary perspective. (Top of the List winner— Reference Source.)
Encyclopedia of Holocaust Literature. Ed. by David Patterson and Alan L. Berger. 2002. 263p. Oryx, $54.95 (1-57356-257-2).
An important and sensitive work that gives fresh voice to the Holocaust studies subject area, which has seen many new publications in the last few years and thus needs a strong survey text that helps put these writings into historical and literary context.
Encyclopedia of Public Health. 4v. Ed. by Lester Breslow. 2002. 1,480p. Macmillan, $475 (0-02-865354-8).
Most other sources on health and medicine emphasize the health of individuals rather than the health of populations, so this work fills a gap in the reference literature. It is also timely, as more public-health concerns make their way into the news.
Encyclopedia of the Ancient World. 3v. Ed. by Thomas J. Sienkewicz. 2002. 1,275p. Salem, $325 (0-89356-038-3).
Not only does this set’s geographical scope go well beyond what most readers consider the ancient world, but its entries on numerous specific traditions, monuments, wars and battles, and people provide extremely useful background information for names and events that students may run across while reading other works.
Encyclopedia of Women in American History. 3v. Ed. by Joyce Appleby. 2002. Sharpe, $299 (0-7656-8038-6).
Each of these three volumes treats a discrete time period and offers not only biographical entries but also topical information to “help readers situate women’s lives and accomplishments within the larger structures of society.” The inherent chronological arrangement provides a different context for examining U.S. women’s history.
The Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders. 2v. Ed. by Stacey L. Blachford. 2002. 1,345p. Gale, $275 (0-7876-5612-7).
It is rare to have such detailed coverage of a specific set of disorders, written with the nonspecialist in mind. The readability and range of the encyclopedia, which covers both common and rare disorders, make it a very useful resource for public libraries and consumer health collections.
Great American Writers: Twentieth Century. 13v. Ed. by R. Baird Shuman. 2002. 1,887p. Marshall Cavendish, $459.95 (0-7614-7240-1).
Expansive, detailed coverage of the lives and works of 90 of the most studied or influential American and Canadian writers is enlivened by a profusion of photographs and well-chosen examples of American artwork, beautifully reproduced in full color. A wonderful resource for grades seven and up.
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations. 4v. By Cathal J. Nolan. 2002. 2,128p. Greenwood, $475 (0-313-30743-1).
More than 6,000 entries define terms, explain the significance of events, identify influential individuals, and analyze important ideas in international relations throughout the world. The emphasis on the particular complements the lengthy analytical essays on topics and country-to-country relations found in other reference works.
Historic Events for Students: The Great Depression. 3v. Ed. by Richard C. Hanes and Sharon M. Hanes. 2002. Gale, $225 (0-7876-5701-8).
Designed for high-school students, this set examines an important period in U.S. history, offering social, cultural, and ideological as well as historical perspective. The title is the first in a new addition to Gale’s for Students line, offering cross-disciplinary treatment that is both in-depth and student-friendly.
History of Modern Science and Mathematics. 4v. Ed. by Brian S. Baigrie. 2002. 1,040p. Scribner, $350 (0-684-80636-3).
Because of its topical approach and its broad coverage in both time and place, this set should find a home in most history of science collections. It surveys the historical development of 23 scientific disciplines, with emphasis on the natural rather than the applied sciences.
Horror Films of the 1970s. By John Kenneth Muir. 2002. 662p. McFarland, $59.95 (0-7864-1249-6).
Here is a volume that could attract a wide audience of researchers and fans, despite its narrow focus. It provides information and analysis for 200 films of a pivotal decade for the horror film genre.
Legal Systems of the World: A Political, Social, and Cultural Encyclopedia. 4v. Ed. by Herbert M. Kritzer. 2002. 1,883p. ABC-CLIO, $385 (1-57607-231-2).
A global look at law and legal institutions that fits right in with our increasingly global perspective. Some of the more than 400 entries discuss the current legal systems of political entities, while others deal with broader concepts. Of obvious value to anyone interested in comparative analyses of legal matters.
The Louisiana Purchase: A Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia. Ed. by Junius P. Rodriguez. 2002. 513p. ABC-CLIO, $95 (1-57607-188-X).
A fine example of a resource that presents a fairly narrow topic in a broad way, thereby opening it up to a wider audience. The Louisiana Purchase was a major event in U.S. history, affecting not only geography and politics but also culture, economics, and diplomatic relations with other countries, and entries touch on all of these aspects.
The Malcolm X Encyclopedia. Ed. by Robert L. Jenkins and Mfanya Donald Tryman. 2002. 688p. Greenwood, $74.95 (0-313-29264-7).
Here is the most comprehensive resource on a pivotal figure in U.S. history. It consists of 500 entries that create a cross-disciplinary, textured description of the man, his life, his times, and events. A first-stop tool even for those collections that already have plenty of Malcolm X information scattered in other reference sources.
Mathematics. 4v. Ed. by Barry Max Brandenberger, Jr. 2002. Macmillan, $375 (0-02-865561-3).
We like all of the titles in the attractively designed Macmillan Science Library, but we chose this one because it was the first math book that ever captured our interest. Taking a refreshing cross-disciplinary approach, it covers topics ranging from standard arithmetical topics to uses of math in quilting, cooking, and television ratings.
The Oxford Companion to American Law. 2002. 912p. Oxford, $65 (0-19-508878-6).
This is perhaps the best one-volume encyclopedia of American law to be published in a long time. Some 300 legal and historical scholars, law-school faculty members, judges, and legal writers contributed the nearly 500 entries, which are delivered with a minimum of legalese.
Oxford Reference Online. [Internet database]. Oxford, pricing from $325 [http://www.oxfordreference.com].
Having already produced electronic versions of American National Biography and The Oxford English Dictionary, last year Oxford launched a database of around 100 other OUP titles that can be searched individually or globally. A winning combination of high-quality reference material, ease of use, convenient features, and reasonable cost.
Rain Forests of the World. 11v. 2002. 670p. Marshall Cavendish, $329.95 (0-7614-7254-1).
Readers in grades four through eight will appreciate the information about rain forests both tropical and temperate; their vast array of plants, animals, people, and microorganisms; and issues such as conservation, deforestation, and tourism. Entries are enhanced by maps, illustrations, and vivid color photographs.
Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. 4v. Ed. by J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann. 2002. 1,507p. ABC-CLIO, $385 (1-57607-223-1).
This is the only source that covers the full spectrum of the world’s religions, focusing on how they developed and are practiced today. In addition to core essays on major traditions, there are entries for the 276 recognized nations and territories of the world and for 1,000 different religious bodies.
The Times Digital Archive. [Internet database]. Gale, pricing from $5,400 [http://www.gale.com/Times/].
We called this “a dream of a database,” a full-text archive providing access not only to articles from the Times but also to advertising and classified ads, editorials, birth and death notices, book reviews, crossword puzzles, letters to the editor, and the Court Page, which details the activities of the royals. The database, which started with issues from 1936 to 1949, will gradually increase in size until it encompasses 1785 to 1985.
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