The Grove Dictionary of American Music. 2d ed. 8 vols. Oxford Univ. 2013. 5592p. ed. by Charles Hiroshi Garrett. bibliog. ISBN 9780195314281. $1595. REF
Much has happened in the world of American music since the first publication of this resource in 1986. Garrett’s (musicology, Univ. of Michigan; Struggling To Define a Nation: American Music and the Twentieth Century) “AmeriGrove,” as it is affectionately referred to by researchers, aims to cover a wide spectrum, including entries on ethnomusicology, publishing and printing, librarianship, music trades, music technology, prominent music schools, and musical groups. As in the first edition, “American” refers both to the geographical area of the modern United States as well as to U.S. and foreign artists who have influenced this country’s music culture. The entry on gamelan, for example, focuses on the Indonesian ensembles’ influence on American arts and culture. All abbreviation lists (general, discographical, bibliographic, and library) are included at the beginning of each volume, easing use in a classroom setting. Many entries are expanded from those in the four-volume first edition, and 4,835 new ones have been added. Entries are written by scholars in their respective fields and include bibliographies, and, when relevant, lists of selected works, sound recordings, and writings. The material is arranged alphabetically rather than divided by genre or area. Thus the entry on rap duo Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth is followed by one on Broadway star Bernadette Peters, which is followed by a piece on publisher C. F. Peters. The reference is available in two formats, print and online; both are expensive, possibly placing this valuable research tool beyond the reach of those with a smaller budget. VERDICT Essential for research institutions with a music program, and, if affordable, for secondary school programs as well.
Morgan, George G. Genealogy at a Glance: Ancestry.com Research. Genealogical. (Genealogy at a Glance). 2013. 4p. ISBN 9780806319834. pap. $8.95. REF
Ancestry.com, while extremely popular and fairly user-friendly, is massive in scope and can be overwhelming to navigate, especially for the new user. Following the standard series format, this quick-reference guide to the website offers a wealth of information distilled to its most salient points and organized within a four-page foldout. Though brief, this packed guide aims to help users understand what content is available in the database, how it is organized, how to search effectively, and how to evaluate results. Highlighted on the first page is a list of contents and “Quick Facts” that provide a general orientation to the website. An overview of database collections describes how the information is organized, and is followed by a large section devoted to search strategies. Step-by-step instructions illustrate how to perform a basic “all records” search, how to narrow a search by using “exact match” features, and how to view and interpret results. Browsing by location and searching the card catalog are explained, and tips for using wildcards are provided. Final sections cover message boards, the Learning Center, and how to determine source information. (Note that although this guide is for Ancestry.com as a whole, the search strategies and content described are also applicable to the database’s subscription-based Library Edition.) VERDICT This clearly written, well-organized overview will help users understand the basics of Ancestry.com and become familiar with the tools and tricks of this leading resource.
Encyclopedia of Media Violence. SAGE. 2013. 456p. ed. by Matthew S. Eastin. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781412936859. $295. REF
With this volume, editor Eastin (advertising and public relations, Univ. of Texas at Austin; coeditor, Handbook of Research on Digital Media and Advertising) aims to give readers a broad understanding of the subject of violence in media. The resource differentiates itself by discussing every topic in relation to each medium as well as more broadly in relation to psychology, sociology, and communication. The 135 entries, listed alphabetically, range from 1,000 to 3,000 words in length and are grounded either in a theoretical perspective or in core literature from the media studies field. Each includes cross-references and suggested readings. Contributors come primarily from universities across the United States. A reader’s guide groups entries into seven general topic categories: “General Aggression,” “Media Content,” “Media Effects,” “Media Policy,” “Research Process,” “Society and Media,” and “Theories of Media Influence.” The volume concludes with a resource guide and index. While a plethora of other titles examine specific issues in relation media (e.g., Encyclopedia of Gender in Media), this is the only one that focuses solely on media violence. The entries, which are up to date and refer to current issues in online and mobile environments, do a good job of covering numerous types of media as well as of tying into broader disciplinary and theoretical discussions. VERDICT This resource provides strong and current coverage of a topic of perennial interest. Its concise style is suited to those with some background knowledge of the subject, but it is a worthwhile addition to undergraduate reference collections.
Clarkson, Janet. Food History Almanac: Over 1,300 Years of World Culinary History, Culture, and Social Influence. 2 vols. Rowman & Littlefield. (Studies in Food & Gastronomy). 2013. 1360p. ISBN 9781442227149. $195; ebk. ISBN 9781442227156. REF
Al Manhal. Al Manhal; Almanhal.com
Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography. 3 vols. Berkshire. 2013. 1750p. ed. by Kerry Brown. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781933782669. $595. REF