Reference experts announce 2022 Outstanding Reference Sources List for adults

CHICAGO – The most noteworthy reference titles published in 2021 have been named to the 2022 Outstanding References Sources List, an annual list selected by experts of the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of ALA. The list was announced today at the Book & Media Awards Virtual Ceremony.

The Outstanding Reference Sources Committee was established in 1958 to recommend the most outstanding reference publications published the previous year for small and medium-sized public and academic libraries. The selected titles are valuable reference resources and are highly recommended for inclusion in any library’s reference collections.

The winners are:

Galapagos: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture

Annotation: This encyclopedia of the Galapagos Islands contains captivating thematic essays and concise topical entries on the archipelago’s cultural history and distinctive biology.  The inclusion of a primary source collection, chronology, and informative appendices makes this a comprehensive source for learning about the Galapagos.

Author/Publisher: Randy Moore / ABC-Clio

America’s National Anthem: “The Star-Spangled Banner” in U.S. History, Culture, and Law

Annotation: This well-organized volume about the national anthem of the United States of America contains alphabetical entries with a thematic guide for enhanced discoverability.  This reference work helps to shed light upon lesser known aspects of the anthem, such as verses and parodies used during historical social movements.

Author/Publisher: John R. Vile / ABC-Clio

9/11: The Essential Reference Guide

Annotation: This aptly titled reference work presents information essential to examining the events of September 11th, 2001.  In addition to alphabetical entries, this work contains essays describing the impact on various facets of social life, an excellent primary source collection, a highly-detailed chronology, and an annotated bibliography for further reading.

Author/Publisher: Stephen E. Atkins (Ed.) / ABC-Clio

Documents of Japanese American Internment

Annotation: This collection of primary sources sheds light on Japanese American internment through the voices and perspectives of those who experienced it and the policy behind it. The book provides readers with a wide range of resources that help them better understand the events of this unfortunate period of American history.

Author/Publisher: Linda L. Ivey & Kevin W. Kaatz (Eds.) / ABC-Clio

Booker T. Washington: A Life in American History

Annotation: Booker T. Washington was an integral figure who successfully transitioned from a life in slavery and poverty to a position among the Black elite. This presents a profile of him as someone who did all that he could to improve the lives of African Americans through self-determination and institution building

Author/Publisher: Mark Christian / ABC-Clio

Science in the Ancient World: From Antiquity through the Middle Ages

Annotation: This reference work provides a fascinating look at science as practiced from prehistory through the Scientific Revolution with topically themed sections and essays.  The global chronology offers a comprehensive view of scientific occurrences, while the geographically-organized bibliography allows for deeper research into particular practices, advances, or concepts.

Author/Publisher: Russell M. Lawson / ABC-Clio

Encyclopedia of Easter Celebrations Worldwide

Annotation: Easter is a very important holiday across the Christian world. This book explores these and scores of other unusual and sometimes bizarre international Holy Week customs, both sacred and secular from ornate religious processions to children dressing as “Easter Witches” to dousing women with water on Easter Monday.

Author/Publisher: William D. Crump / McFarland & Co.

Cooking Through History: A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Food with Menus and Recipes

Annotation: This 2-volume set is an examination o f cooking and food from 20,000 BCE to 1800 in volume one, and 1800 to the present in volume 2 and across cultures including a mix of recipes, menus, and essays on the contexts around food and eating for that place and time.

Author/Publisher: Melanie Byrd and John P. Dunn, editors / Greenwood

Epidemics and Pandemics: From Ancient Plagues to Modern-Day Threats

Annotation: This 2-volume set is an overview of the biological and medical aspects of disease and an overview of the sociological and historical aspects of disease as well as historical records of epidemics and pandemics from ancient Rome through the present.

Author/Publisher: Joseph P.  Byrne & Jo N.Hays / Greenwood

The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Engineering

Annotation: This massive (768 p.) single volume is an important foundation for engineers or those becoming engineers of the ideas and thoughts that underpin engineering as a field including, but not limited to, the evaluation of claims and evidence, ethics, and considering what the future of engineering may be.

Author/Publisher: Diane P. Michelfelder and Neelke Doorn, eds./ Routledge

The Outstanding Reference Sources selection committee consists of Valerie Freeman (Johnson & Wales University, Chair); Joshua Newport (Illinois State University); Jeff Schwartz; Kristin E. C. Green (Pennsylvania State University); Jean-Ann Stump (Alamogordo 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