Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Notable Reference Titles at the Library

APA Dictionary of Psychology

In 2007 the American Psychological Association (APA), the largest association of psychologists in the world, published its first dictionary. Although the APA has always been concerned with collecting and clarifying the terms of its discipline—as early as 1898 forming a “Standing Committee on Psychological and Philosophical Terminology”—it did not begin work on a dictionary until 1997, when it acquired the rights to the Longman Dictionary of Psychology and Psychiatry. Using this dictionary as its foundation, while consulting various other sources, the APA reference staff, in conjunction with a lexicographic team from Market House Books, compiled the first edition of the APA Dictionary of Psychology. With approximately 25,000 entries covering concepts, processes and therapies, as well as appendices which include information about notable individuals, institutions and organizations, the APA Dictionary is an essential resource for students and practitioners of psychology; additionally, it serves as an invaluable tool for those in law, education, social work and other such fields which occasionally cross boundaries into mental health.

Available in the College Library Reference Collection. APA Dictionary of Psychology, edited by Gary R. VandenBos, et al. American Psychological Association, 2007. Reference Collection call number BF 31 A65.

The Encyclopedia of World History

Peter N. Stearns and thirty other prominent historians have worked for a decade to produce the sixth edition of The Encyclopedia of World History, a reference work that over the years has earned the reputation of being as indispensable as it is authoritative.

This latest edition contains more than 20,000 entries covering prehistory through the year 2000. Coverage of Western European history has been reduced to make way for additional material on Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In addition, coverage of traditional historical fields like national histories has been updated, and new historical fields such as women's history, social and cultural history, technology, and international government have been added.

Content is divided into broad time periods, from “Prehistoric” to “Contemporary.” Each section starts off with a global survey. This is followed by regional divisions within which individual countries or cultures are treated. By and large, information for each region and country is presented chronologically, although there are also some narrative overviews. The extensive table of contents and index are essential tools for finding one's way. Appropriately placed throughout the text are 57 black-and-white maps and 66 genealogy tables.

Thorough and up-to-date, this work will benefit anyone interested in our constantly changing, remarkably diverse human story.

Available in the College Library Reference Collection. The Encyclopedia of World History, edited by Peter N. Stearns. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001. Reference Collection call number D 21 E578.

Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895

Paul Finkelman, editor of the Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895, explains in his introduction that his goal is “not only to educate and teach people about black history, but, more importantly to show users of these volumes how the history of America is, to a great extent, the history of race and race relations.” Arguably, this goal is achieved with the encyclopedia's more than 700 alphabetically arranged entries, covering aspects of daily life (“Childhood,” “Food,” “Work”); concepts (“Acculturation,” “Perfectionism”); events (“American Revolution,” “Harpers Ferry raid”); institutions (“Democratic Party,” “Howard University”); movements (“Great Awakening”; “Slave resistance”; “Suffrage, women's”); and places (“Brazil,” “Detroit,” “Kentucky”) as well as topics in the arts (“Minstrel shows,” “Oratory and Verbal Arts”); law (“Jim Crow Car Laws,” “Missouri Compromise,” “Voting Rights”); religion (“African Methodist Episcopal Church,” “Baptism,” “Black Theology”); and more.

Entries range in length from 500 to 1,200 words, and each includes a bibliography. Composite articles, among them “Black Nationalism,” “Native Americans and African Americans,” and “Slave Narratives,” contain subentries with separate bibliographies. In Volume 3 readers will find the directory of contributors, a list of entries arranged under broad topics, a chronology, and a detailed index. Approximately 300 black-and-white images are scattered throughout the text.

Unrivalled in breadth and scope, this encyclopedia is the preeminent source of information on African American history and is destined to become a trusted reference source for years to come.

Available in the College Library Reference Collection. Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895: From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass, edited by Paul Finkelman. Oxford University Press, 2006. Reference Collection call number E 185 E545.