Chicago — The winner of the 2021 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 ALA, is the The Cold War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection, edited by Spencer C. Tucker and published by ABC-CLIO.
From the German invasion of Poland in 1939 until the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 31, 1990, what has come to be known as the Cold War raged on a global scale and became the defining ethos of the twentieth century. Here, the preeminent military historian of our time, Spencer C. Tucker, three editors, and a cast of 227 contributors from more than 25 countries combine talents to describe the incidents and key players from around the world that defined this half century of “east-west” struggle for world domination. In addition to its clear and authoritative articles, volume 5 of the set introduces and describes 119 primary documents that altered the course of history, from Ho Chi Minh’s 1945 Declaration of the Independence of Vietnam to Civil Defense Instructions for Home Fallout Shelters in 1980. A detailed chronology, glossary of military terms, 47 maps, an extensive bibliography with many international web sites, and several thoughtful opening essays contribute to make this the outstanding reference source of 2020.
Honorable mentions were:
Daily Life of Women: An Encyclopedia from Ancient Times to the Present (Greenwood) presents thoughtful and comprehensive look at women’s lives through history and across civilizations, arranged in five broad themes: the arts, economics and work, family and community life, recreation and social customs, and religious life.
A Beachcomber’s Guide to Fossils (University of Georgia Press) represents the culmination of decades of collecting and research along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. This beautifully illustrated and carefully produced book sets the standard for field guides for professionals and amateurs alike.
Spiders of the World: A Natural History (Princeton University Press) is a gorgeously illustrated and well-researched exploration of over 100 families of spiders across the globe. It is an invaluable tool for anyone interested in the fascinating world of arachnids.
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.
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 is: Barry Trott, Williamsburg (VA) Regional Library, chair; Donald Altschiller, Boston University; Brian E. Coutts, Western Kentucky University; Lauren Seegmiller, Denver Public Library, and Kaite Mediatore Stover, Kansas City Public Library. The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more at www.rusaupdate.org.