<span class="padlock_text"></span> v27 #4 From the Reference Desk

by | Sep 30, 2015 | 0 comments

by Tom Gilson  (Associate Editor, Against the Grain, and Head of Reference Emeritus, College of Charleston,
Charleston, SC 29401)

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues (2015, 978-1452243016, $355) is a new reference that tackles a complex topic of broad interest and concern.  Edited by Ken Albala, this three-volume reference contains nearly 500 articles that attempt “to clarify, present the facts, and inform readers” about issues ranging from nutrition to food processing to government policy.

As Mr. Albala and his contributors make clear, putting food on the table is a far more complicated process than many of us realize.  The issues confronted in this work are myriad, multifaceted, and open to debate.  They include concerns about the actual production of the food via agricultural methods and husbandry; the laws that govern that production; the way we consume our food; and how it is marketed, sold, and transported; the labor that goes into its production, its safety, how its availability and quality impact health, not to mention the environment and ecology that make it all possible.  This encyclopedia addresses each of these concerns and does it in a fact-driven manner grounded in the latest research.  While scholarly in approach, the content is accessible and written in a straightforward and informative style.  Researchers will also appreciate the solid bibliographies at the end of each entry as well as the “see also” references linking associated articles.  Other finding aids include a Readers Guide grouping related articles in categories and a well-designed and easy-to-use general index.  The set is text-rich, so there are few illustrations.  In fact, future editions might benefit from the inclusion of more images, charts, and tables to provide visual complements to the text.

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues is a resource that offers a comprehensive and thorough treatment of significant issues, both those behind the scenes as well as those at the forefront of our concerns about food and the industry that provides it.  By its nature, the Encyclopedia is interdisciplinary, drawing from both the pure and social sciences.  The editors also make a point of discussing many issues from an international perspective.  Academic libraries are the primary market for this set, and those supporting courses on food-related topics will want to give it serious consideration.

As with other SAGE sets, the SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues is also available via the SAGE Knowledge eBook platform at http://knowledge.sagepub.com.


The study of intercultural issues carries with it inherent ambiguities.  The SAGE Encyclopedia of Intercultural Competence (2015, 9781452244280, $375) is a two-volume reference that attempts to offer help understanding and working within these ambiguities.  Editor Janet M. Bennett and her contributors attempt to do that by drawing particular attention to the “attitudes, practices, and policies” that enable people and organizations to identify and develop the necessary competencies useful in clarifying these uncertainties.

A quick look at the Readers Guide will provide an awareness of exactly what is covered.  Numerous entries find a place within key categories that range from diversity and inclusion to globalization; theories and concepts to intercultural training and teaching; and language and linguistics to intercultural conflict and negotiation.  There are also articles that focus on essential elements within the cornerstone discipline of intercultural communications as well as those that provide discussions of current research paradigms and research methods.  Within these categories, individual entries can focus on topics as diverse as multicultural counseling, corporate social responsibility, intergroup dialog, identity negotiation theory, multilingualism, workplace conflict, ethnographic research, acculturation, and communicating across cultures with people from Africa, China, Latin America…

Each entry describes the topic and discusses its relevance, traces its development, and offers examples to help provide context and clarification.  The style, content, and approach are grounded in serious scholarship and intended for an academic audience.  The writing is, for the most part, jargon-free, and when necessary definitions are provided within the entry.  Not only does each article have a bibliography, references to scholarly research are made throughout numerous entries.  The above mentioned Readers Guide combines with “see also” references to link related entries.

Interacting effectively with other cultures has become essential in today’s modern world.  The SAGE Encyclopedia of Intercultural Competence reflects a growing field of inquiry that has evolved to study the skills and practices necessary to make such interactions successful.  As such, it is a timely contribution that also helps shape the discipline by bringing together its various elements into a cohesive whole.

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Intercultural Competence is also available via the SAGE Knowledge eBook platform at http://knowledge.sagepub.com.


American Civil War: A State-by-State Encyclopedia (2015, 978-1-59884-528-0, $189; eBook, 978-1-59884-529-7, call for pricing*) is a recent release from ABC-CLIO edited by Spencer C. Tucker with help from Associate  Editor, Paul G. Pierpaoli Jr.  It is a two-volume reference work that traces the Civil War as it played out in each of the states and territories ranging from where it started at Fort Sumter in South Carolina to where it ended at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia.  All 44 states and territories that existed at the time are included.

Naturally, each state and territory has its own entry and the basic arrangement is alphabetical.  All entries are divided into the same categories, starting with an introduction providing information about population, geography, political sympathies, as well as contributions to the War and the War’s impacts.  This is followed by discussions of the key towns/cities and military facilities after which notable individuals both civilian and military are covered as well as critical battles and campaigns.  Each of these categories ends with a brief bibliography, and each is signed.  As you would expect, the length of entries is determined by the role each of the state/territory played in the War.  As such, there is far more coverage of Virginia and Illinois than of the Dakota or the Colorado Territory.  In order to help locate specific information there is a thorough general index as well as an alphabetical index for each of the entry categories mentioned above.

The coverage is factual and written in a straightforward style that should appeal to lay readers as well as high school and college students.  The alphabetical arrangement of the set coupled with each entry being formatted by the same relevant categories plus a solid index, provides ready access to useful facts and details.

American Civil War: A State-by-State Encyclopedia allows researchers a valuable option for locating core information about what is a seminal chapter in the history of the United States.  The state-by-state approach enables readers to study the Civil War from more than a North versus South perspective.  The approach employed here demonstrates how the War individually impacted specific states and territories and does so in a clear and easy-to-understand format.  It also offers a valuable complement to ABC–CLIO’s five-volume standard, American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection (2013, 978-1-85109-677-0, $625; eBook, 978-1-85109-682-4, call 800-368-6868 (then press 3) for pricing.


Defining Documents in American History: World War II (1939-1946) (2015, 978-1-61925-737-5, $295; e-Book, 978-1-61925-738-2, $295) is another in Salem Press’ series of history references that describes selected documents while also providing the original texts.  Edited by Michael Shally-Jensen, this two-volume set covers 80 speeches, letters, declarations, military orders, and public documents authored during the critical years of the Second World War.

The documents are arranged within nine key topics that reflect not only military themes but ones that address social and political concerns.  They include the Lead-up to the War, Pearl Harbor, Domestic Aliens, Other Demographics, Foreign Policy, War and Victory, the Holocaust, Nuremberg, and the Atom Bomb.  Importantly, these topics emphasize more than the heroics and sacrifice of the War effort.  They also allow the contributors to address uncomfortable domestic realities like the internment of Japanese-Americans, the country’s lack of preparedness, and its serious political divisions as well as the status of women and minorities.

As with the other volumes in this series, each of the entries consists of sections that offer a summary, the defining moment, an author biography, a document analysis, and essential themes, not to mention the document itself.  Organizing entries in this way offers students both a firm foundation for each document as well as a thoughtful analysis that should lead to a better understanding of the document and its importance.  Each entry has a list of further readings, and there is a collected bibliography and a list of relevant Web resources.  In addition, there are value-added features that students will find helpful including a chronological list that arranges all documents by year and a general alphabetical index.  All of these items are located at the end of the second volume.

Defining Documents in American History: World War II (1939-1946) is another in a series of Salem Press references that will be valued by both upper-division high school students and undergraduates.  The documents have been carefully selected and contribute to the stated themes in ways that show the often conflicting elements within the topic at hand.  As with the other sets in the Defining Documents… series, the background and analysis provided in each entry offer explanations and context that should be highly useful to students.  And as with past references in this collection, the present title is suitable for circulation as well as reference.  Given that Salem Press provides the eBook versions of their titles along with a print purchase, a number of libraries use the online version for reference and place the print copies in their circulating stacks.


Extra Servings

Salem Press has a few new titles making an appearance.

  • Defining Documents in World History: Vietnam War (1956-1975) (Aug., 2015, ISBN: 978-1-61925-852-5; e-ISBN: 978-1-61925-853-2, $195) provides readers with a new, interesting way to study the impact of the Vietnam War on American history. Through in-depth analysis of important primary documents from 1956-1975, readers will gain new insight into the causes, issues, and lasting effects of this pivotal time in American history.
  • Forensic Science, 2nd Edition (June, 2015, ISBN: 978-1-61925-729-0; e-ISBN: 978-1-61925-730-6, $364) is a three-volume set that “addresses one of the fastest-growing subjects in academic curricula — the forensic sciences, which are also known as criminalistics. Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of both public and academic interest in the application of scientific techniques to investigations of crime.  Television audiences have developed a seemingly insatiable appetite for shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Cold Case that go into the minutiae of how forensic techniques are used to solve crimes…”
  • Salem Health: Adolescent Health & Wellness (Aug., 2015, ISBN: 978-1-61925-545-6; e-ISBN: 978-1-61925-546-3, $395) is another three-volume set. This new title from Salem Health is “a comprehensive guide for those experiencing puberty or those who want to learn more about the crucial development of adolescents from age 13 to 19.  Adolescent Health & Wellness provides over 600 essays on the most important topics surrounding adolescent health.  Written by medical professionals, these easy-to-understand articles reach across nearly 20 categories of health related issues important to teens…”

SAGE Reference has release a few recent titles that should draw some attention.

  • The SAGE Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America (July 2015, 9781452258218, $375) is two-volume set edited by Mwalimu J. Shujaa and Kenya J. Shujaa that “provides an accessible ready reference on the retention and continuity of African culture within the United States… Entries focus on illuminating Africanisms (cultural retentions traceable to an African origin) and cultural continuities (ongoing practices and processes through which African culture continues to be created and formed)…”
  • The SAGE Encyclopedia of Cancer and Society, 2nd edition by Graham A. Colditz (Aug. 2015, 9781483345734, $495) updates the 2007 edition with “approximately half of the 700 first-edition articles revised and updated and 30+ new entries covering new developments since 2006…”

CQ Press also has interesting forthcoming titles.

  • Guide to Intrastate Wars: An Examination of Civil Wars, 1816-2013 by Jeffery S. Dixon and Meredith Reid Sarkees, (Sept. 2015, 978-0-8728-9775-5, $175) “describes how civil war is defined and categorized and presents data and descriptions for nearly 300 civil wars waged from 1816 to the present. Analyzing trends over time and regions, this work is the definitive source for understanding the phenomenon of civil war, bringing together an explanation of the theoretical premises driving the Correlates of War Project, along with revisions to categories of, and actors in, civil wars that have been made over the years, and data from the Nations, States, and Entities civil war dataset…”
  • Supreme Court Compendium: Data, Decisions, and Developments, (Sept, 2015, 978-0-8728-9775-5, $195) Sixth Edition by Lee Epstein, et al. “provides historical and statistical information on the Supreme Court: its institutional development; caseload; decision trends; the background, nomination, and voting behavior of its justices; its relationship with public, governmental, and other judicial bodies; and its impact. With over 180 tables and figures, this new edition is intended to capture the full retrospective picture of the 2010-2014 terms of the Roberts Court and the momentous decisions handed down within the last four years…”

Oxford University Press is publishing a couple of new ready reference titles.

  • The Oxford Companion to Wine, Fourth Edition (Sept. 2015, 978-0-19-870538-3, £40.00) by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding has “almost 4,000 A to Z entries on a … range of topics, from grape varieties and regions to viticulture, growers, and the history of wine. More than 60% of entries have been comprehensively revised and updated to include the very latest international research and opinion.  Over 350 brand-new entries, including wine apps, aromatics, geosmin, Hong Kong, minerality, natural wine, social media, and tasting notes language…”
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Sixth Edition by Jennifer Speake. (Sept. 2015, 978-0-19-873490-1, £9.99) is a new paperback edition that “contains over 1,100 of the most widely used proverbs in English across the world, including expanded coverage of proverbs of international origin… Thoroughly revised and updated edition, with a greater emphasis on providing helpful explanation of the meanings of proverbs…”

Sign-up Today!

Join our mailing list to receive free daily updates.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest