What's New in Reference

Though print reference works continue to see a decline as many materials move online, there are still many new and noteworthy books that will find homes in general reference, ready reference, and academic collections.

A survey of forthcoming print and digital offerings

Though print reference works continue to see a decline as many materials move online, there are still many new and noteworthy books that will find homes in general reference, ready reference, and academic collections. In fact, librarians looking over the list of forthcoming fall 2018 and 2019 titles might be overwhelmed by the sheer number and variety of titles; this brief analysis may make perusing and selecting a little easier.

Librarians whose patrons clamor for books on languages will be interested to see that DK and Tuttle offer many options at reasonable prices, while library buyers serving theater and movie buffs will be pleased that Rowman & Littlefield has added several historical dictionaries on foreign cinema and Broadway and film directors.

Publishers are adding to several well-known series. Salem is releasing new “Critical Survey” and “Critical Insights” titles, while Visible Ink is putting out “Handy Answer Books” about Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and Greenwood pre­sents “Daily Life” works on everything from Anglo-Saxon England to the United States during the 1960s. Additional volumes of the “Oxford Handbook” will tackle the auditory brainstem, the neurobiology of pain, and more.

Many publishers have also updated long-in-print books. The fourth edition of the Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health and the latest edition of The World Almanac and Book of Facts will be released this December.

Many titles reflect a burgeoning awareness of the concerns of marginalized groups, such as Latinx, LGBTQ, black, and other communities, with books focusing on their relationship with the U.S. government throughout history, such as Greenwood’s African Americans and the Presidents and Scribner’s The Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) History. Reference giant ABC-CLIO delves into relevant and newsworthy topics including school shootings, racism, and hate groups. Perhaps reflecting growing concerns about climate change, several works examine the environment (Grey House’s Opinions Throughout History: Environmentalism; Salem’s Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues).

There’s plenty to support more academic collections as well. Education titles explore the latest in curriculum and pedagogy; many focus on inclusiveness, especially in higher education. IGI Global’s “Handbook of Research” series covers curriculum reform, the promotion of higher-order skills, and science literacy. Several new titles in journalism regarding ethics, research practices, and verification of facts should help the newest generation of reporters.

There are also many fun and quirky titles to pique browsers, including Visible Ink’s books on aliens, Area 51, cover-ups, and ghosts, as well as sumptuously illustrated selections from DK on the human body, ecology, and aquarium and pond fish.


There are many developments on the database front, too, including some particularly exciting new resources. Credo View provides instructional videos supporting student learning on information literacy, communication, and critical thinking. Alexander Street’s Nursing & Mental Health in Video database has more than 220 videos to help nursing students assess mental disorders. SAGE has a Research Methods suite to help students learn about research and assessing results.

Many existing databases are making changes. Credo’s ­InfoLit Modules, now called Instruct, give users a greater ability to analyze student progress. Gale’s core products, such as In Context and Primary Sources, will be getting new interfaces that have updated search and reading tools for users. Bloom’s Literature will have thousands of new author profiles and hundreds of audio author interviews with redesigned pages and APA citations. All of Infobase’s resources have merged into one comprehensive Admin Portal that adds HTTPS, improved MARC records, and Google Analytics. Access Video on Demand has enhanced navigation and will soon offer custom homepages for subscribing libraries.

From books on learning new languages to titles on proper research methods, this year’s reference releases run the gamut for librarians in all fields.

Jason Steagall was previously a Library Instruction & Reference Specialist, Gateway Technical College, Elkhorn, WI. He now resides in Denver.

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