Reference Short Takes

Danilov, Victor J. America’s College Museums: Handbook & Directory. 2d ed. Grey House. 2011. 689p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781592376742. $185. Online: Ebrary, Gale, MyiLibrary, NetLibrary, OverDrive REF

Danilov (Hands-on Science Centers) opens this update to the 1996 edition with a brief historical overview of American academic museums. The seven following chapters provide a quick reference to types of institutions, administrative structures, mission standards, collecting practices, programming, facilities, and recent openings and closures. The museum directory has more than doubled and now includes 1,736 museum-like research centers affiliated with 822 academic institutions. The fully indexed profiles are organized first by 24 collection specialties, such as paleontology or sports, and then alphabetized by academic institution, and they each provide a two-paragraph sketch of facilities, holdings, attendance numbers, hours, and contact information. VERDICT This comprehensive directory is recommended for museum studies collections.

The Environmental Resource Handbook. 6th ed. Grey House. 2011. 978p. illus. index. ISBN 9781592377398. pap. $155. Online: Grey House GOLD database REF

This update to the 2010/2011 edition is the most current and comprehensive guide to field contacts and ecological data currently available, but entries are occasionally marred by misspellings. The content is presented in two major segments. The first section, devoted to resources, is subdivided according to 15 media and organization types, including government agencies; print, online, and legal publications; and educational programs. The book’s second half presents regional statistics for 17 ecological variables, from air quality to hazardous waste. VERDICT Despite sporadic typographical errors, the guide remains a solid, comprehensive resource for environmental studies and policy collections.

Federal Regulatory Directory. 15th ed.CQ Pr. 2011. c.938p. ISBN 9781608717392. $195. REF

Prompted in part by two major 2009 policy initiatives, this edition reflects new regulatory legislation. Following the objective, highly informative chapter on federal regulatory history and purpose, the editors detail 100 federal organizations in four main segments: major agencies, supplementary commissions, departmental agencies, and regulatory-oversight divisions. Logically organized by alphabetized umbrella agency, such as Justice, and then by division, like Antitrust, each multipage profile lists office location, personnel contacts, published titles, and defining legislation. An extensive appendix offers feedback methods and relevant acts and documents the language of ten related Executive Orders. VERDICT A meticulously compiled, one-stop subject reference.

International Monetary Fund. Balance of Payments Statistics Yearbook 2011. 2 vols.IMF. 2011. 1746p. IMF. illus. ISBN 9781616351472. $153. Online: Balance of Payments Statistics Online, reF

Volume 1 of this set offers tables listing outgoing payments and, when possible, international investment positions‚ something determined by assets and liabilities‚ for nearly 200 International Monetary Fund (IMF) member countries. Numbers are based on country-reported information, dating no later than August 2011. Where data was unavailable, the IMF estimated figures based on its World Economic Outlook database. The second, more slender book contains crib sheets on country assets and liabilities, and it offers for each country a multipage explanation of data sources and calculation methodologies. VERDICT A vital if quickly obsolescent guide for financial institutions and global traders.

International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics & Country Notes 2011. 2 vols.IMF. 2011. 1030p. illus. index. ISBN 9781616351465. $217. Online: International Financial Statistics Online, REF

The IMF here offers multiple pages of comparative financial data for nearly 200 countries for each year between 1999 and 2010. Included in each alphabetized nation table are 13 major variables, like IMF position, consumer prices, GDP, central bank deposits, and international liquidity. The comparatively short companion volume Country Notes details, by nation, the precise date of IMF membership and any national economic alterations, such as currency changes. Also essential are explanations of data sources for the 13 aforementioned variables. VERDICT This serves as a practical complement to IMF’s forward-looking Public Sector Debt Statistics, reviewed below.

International Monetary Fund. Public Sector Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users. IMF. 2011. 219p. illus. index. ISBN 9781616351564. $35. REF

Spurred by the recent international debt crisis, this first global guide has been compiled by the IMF and representatives of nine international organizations‚ including the European Central Bank and World Bank‚ to establish a new universal accounting system for recording government statistics and determining countries’ fiscal viability. Although slight, the guide is packed with ten chapters of clearly worded guidance that define institutional sectors, data-collection methods, public sector debt issues, and analytical tools. Opening with abstracts that plainly define purpose, chapters offer helpful subheadings for easy comprehension. VERDICT A necessary resource for financial analysts and policymakers.

Landis, Andy. Social Security: The Inside Story, 2012 Edition. 3d ed.CreateSpace. 2011. 276p. illus. index. ISBN 9781467970419. pap. $21.95. REF

Updated to incorporate changes since the previous edition’s publication, this clear, comprehensive guide has undergone further editing to ensure accuracy and clarity of information on a highly complicated subject. Contents are divided into 17 segments, including a sample retirement computation and a valuable glossary. Case explanations are straightforward and accessible, while Landis’s (founder, Thinking Retirement) use of subheadings, bulleted lists, sidebar explanations, italicized terms, clarifying charts, and notes on potential reforms facilitate readers’ understanding of eligibility and related caveats. VERDICT Well organized, clear-cut, and eminently readable, this slim yet information-rich guide will make eligibility and application issues significantly less daunting for retirees and survivors and their consultants.

Profiles of Texas. 3d ed.Grey House. 2011. 884p. maps. ISBN 9781592377718. $149. Online: Ebrary, Gale, MyILibrary, NetLibrary, OverDriveREF

Touted as the most comprehensive portrait‚Ķof the state of Texas, this guide lacks photographs but provides a useful profile of the state via six major variables. The volume presents the most up-to-date demographics for 1,784 census-recognized locales and all 254 counties. This is followed by two chapters on state educational statistics, referencing dropout rates and national test score rankings, and quantified facts about residents’ ancestry. Two additional chapters are devoted specifically to the origins of Hispanic and Asian populations. A visually informative final segment details climate and weather activity and presents 18 maps with topographical, demographic, and political significance. VERDICT This wealth of contemporary data will be invaluable in Texas libraries.‚ Savannah Schroll-Guz, formerly with Smithsonian Libs., Washington, DC

About Savannah Schroll Guz

Savannah Schroll Guz, formerly with Smithsonian Libs., Washington, DC