The winner of the 2017 Dartmouth Medal for most outstanding reference work, an annual award presented by the expert reference and collection development librarians of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is the “Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World” published by Bloomsbury Academic and edited by Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood. The winner was announced at the RUSA Book and Media Awards ceremony on Sunday at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta.
The “Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World” is a unique and exceptional reference work. It is both an anthropological and historical source discussing the relationships of identity and adornment and a tool for learning about the craft of embroidery. It is aesthetically and organizationally pleasing with beautiful full-color illustrations, useful appendices, and an index and chapter organization that allow access to topics by country, religious group, cultural event, or ceremonial use. The presentation of this print volume lends itself to browsing, brief consultation, and deep-reading. The “Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World” is an entry point to the topic for varied educational levels with interest in adornment, craft, history, and culture.
This year the committee selected as an Honorable Mention the “Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography” published by Oxford University Press and edited by Franklin W. Knight and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This well-researched work extensively addresses biography in an area of the world that has not historically received much attention. This will be an enduring work in both its standalone print format and as additional content for those libraries subscribing to the Oxford African-American Studies Center online.
The Dartmouth Medal, established in 1974, honors the creation of a reference source of outstanding quality and significance. The award is given to the best new reference source published in the previous year (more precisely, the previous December 1 to December 1, as the source needs to be available for a sufficient amount of time to be adequately reviewed). It is awarded to a new publication, not a new edition.
The Dartmouth committee, made up of reference subject experts from academic, public, and sometimes school and other libraries, receives nominations from librarians, editors, and publishers and spends countless hours reviewing copies throughout the latter half of the year.
The Dartmouth Medal selection committee includes: M. Kathleen Kern, National Defense University Library, chair; Janice Derr, Eastern Illinois University; Sara Duff, Gulf Coast State College; Kathleen Gallagher, University City Public Library; Patricia L. Gregory, St. Louis University.