Reference experts announce annual Outstanding Reference Sources list for adults

NEW ORLEANS – The most noteworthy reference titles published in 2022 have been named to the 2023 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 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:

Book: Free Speech and Censorship: a Documentary and Reference Guide

Author/Publisher: Cari Lee Skogberg Eastman / Greenwood An Imprint of ABC-Clio, LLC

Book: Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American Foreign Relations

Annotation: This 3-volume encyclopedia set has a classic A-Z layout, including sections such as “Journalism and US Foreign Relations” and “The Third World and the United States.” In this world of easy travel and American foreign relations, access to world news, this collection will have its use at the academic library.

Author/Publisher: Mark Atwood Lawrence (Editor in Chief), Michael R. Anderson (Associate Editor) / Oxford University Press

Book: Chocolate: a cultural encyclopedia

Annotation: This book provides an overview of the history of chocolate and its place in culture. It includes a timeline, recipes, , and short entries on different aspects of chocolate. This is an easy to read reference resource. It would be a good addition to any academic library.

Author/Publisher: Ross F. Collins / ABC-Clio An Imprint of ABC-Clio, LLC

Book: Exercise and Physical Activity: From Health Benefits to Fitness Crazes

Annotation: This book looks at a variety of exercise related topics that cross over 5 broad themes: anatomy, exercise science, sports and activities, health benefits and risks, and exercise and society. The book is easy to use and read. Entries include history of the topic as well as health benefits and risks as appropriate for the entry.

Author/Publisher:  R.K. Devlin (Editor) / Greenwood An Imprint of ABC-Clio, LLC

Book: Handbook of Dynamics and Probability

Annotation: A handbook of critically important mathematical concepts with broad utility in the applied and social sciences as well as pure sciences. Due to its applicability to a variety of disciplines this volume will likely see use in a wide array of academic institutions.

Author/Publisher: Peter Müller / Springer

Book: Nitrate Handbook: Environmental, Agricultural, and Health Effects

Annotation: This handbook is of great use in areas of chemistry, biology, ecology, agriculture, environmental sciences, and various health sciences tying these topics together and tracing processes through them with implications for policy and regulation as well as further research.

Author/Publisher: Christos Tsadilas (Editor) / CRC Press is an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

Book: Annelida

Annotation: An encyclopedic treatment of the annelid phylum within depth discussions of morphology, physiology, natural history, and systematics for each part of the phylum. A fantastic volume for those studying biology and ecology.

Author/Publisher: Greg Rouse, Fredrik Pleijel, and Ekin Tilic / Oxford University Press

Book: Insectpedia: A Brief Compendium of Insect Lore

Annotation: This portable volume contains a plethora of brief entries related to insects from information about various species and entomologists to information about insects in culture such as insects in the bible and film festivals. In touching on so many aspects related to insects it is a broadly useful reference work.

Author/Publisher: Eric R. Eaton / Princeton University Press

Book: Bob Dylan: A Descriptive, Critical Discography and Filmography, 1961-2022, 3rd edition

Annotation: An extensive analysis of Bob Dylan’s writing and recording career. Detailed entries include album information, outtakes, and reviews of the album and individual songs. Later chapters include Dylan’s speeches and media appearances. Additional resources include recommended readings, annotated bibliography, and album chart positions.

Author/Publisher: John Nogowski / McFarland & Company

Book: Vaccination: Examining the Facts

Annotation: This reference is organized as a series of questions, a total of 36, such as “Do vaccines cause side effects?” Each question includes the answer, the facts, and more readings for that specific question. The chapters break these questions up into ideological sections, such as controversies, functions, and future.

Author/Publisher: Lisa Rosner / ABC-Clio An Imprint of ABC-Clio, LLC

The Outstanding Reference Sources selection committee consists of Valerie Freeman, Charlotte AHEC, chair; Jean-ann Stump, Alamogordo Public Library; Joshua Newport, Illinois State University; Jodie Borgerding, Amigos Library Services; Carleigh Hill; Rebecca Freeman, University of South Carolina Lancaster.

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