Reference Short Takes | May 1, 2012

The Directory of Architectural and Construction Information Resources. Grey House. 2012. c.193p. ed. by Richard Gottlieb. ISBN 9781619250000. $69.95. REF

This slender guide is a register of industry organizations and publications rather than a rolodex of business contacts. Gottlieb ( Food & Beverage Market Place ) divides the organizations‚ which include societies, publishers, and national trade shows‚ into six facets of the construction industry, such as Architecture and Plumbing, listed alphabetically. Within each industry-specific segment, entries are organized first by type (newsletters) and then by proper name. Entries include headquarters address, principals, and a content or mission summary. There is no index, and the omission of essential subfields like reclaimed materials and custom cabinetry narrows the directory’s scope. VERDICT Access and scope issues make this register of only limited use to business collections.

The Directory of Mail Order Catalogs. 26th ed. Grey House. 2011. c.1300p. ed. by Richard Gottlieb. index. ISBN 9781592377633. $395. Online: Grey House GOLD Database REF

This updated 26th edition of a resource that is published annually and features only print catalogs boasts 100 new entries. Gottlieb (see the review of The Directory of Architectural and Construction Information Resources , left) divides the 10,863 profiled resources according to target audience. Section 1 covers consumer catalogs, which are organized by 43 specialized interests such as Aviation and Handicrafts. Section 2 on business catalogs is divided into 39 categories such as Healthcare and Sanitation. Alphabetized profiles detail contact information, company principals, web presence, and specialties. Multiple indexes ease access.VERDICT A no-nonsense, comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs and product vendors.

Ernst, Carl H. & Evelyn M. Ernst. Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico. Vol. 2: Crotalus. 2d ed. Johns Hopkins. 2012. c.424p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780801898761. $75. REF

Preceded by last year’s fully revised Volume 1, this second edition of Volume 2 by Ernst and Ernst (coauthors, Snakes of the United States and Canada ) incorporates the newest research, focusing on 21 rattlesnakes of the genus Crotalus . Chapters are essay-style, run 30 pages on average, and are organized by helpful subheadings. Included among 15 total species-specific traits are exact descriptions of form and markings, possible confusing species, chromosomal characteristics, fossil evidence, distribution, habitat, and venom qualities. A 92-page bibliography offers a wealth of research leads. VERDICT A current, vital addition to herpetology collections.

Headquarters USA 2012: A Directory of Contact Information for Headquarters and Other Central Offices of Major Businesses and Organizations in the United States and in Canada. Omnigraphics. 2011. c.2500p. ed. by Julia Leeper. index. ISBN 9781934228524. $216. REF

Leeper (chief operating officer, Rich’s Information) offers a genuine one-stop guide to the central offices of 113,000 U.S. and Canadian corporations, nonprofits, professional organizations, post-secondary and cultural institutions, and government offices. Volume 1 opens with a time-zone map and two lists of area codes, the first in numerical order, the second organized by state. It continues with business listings alphabetized by name. Volume 2 offers the same material but organizes it first by alphabetized product or service and then by state. Each organization’s entry includes street address, phone and fax numbers, website, and‚ when applicable‚ stock symbol(s). VERDICT An easily navigable resource, useful to public library patrons.

Sweets Directory ’12. Grey House. 2011. c.950p. ed. by McGraw Hill Construction. illus. index. ISBN 9781592378500. pap. $125. REF

McGraw Hill Construction (SmartMarket Report ) has created an extensive directory to commercial and residential construction products. Manufacturers are divided by 21 product types, including Concrete, Transportation, and the vaguely described Specialties. The directory is then organized by the industry-specific numerical classification system MasterFormat®. Without prior knowledge of this system, readers may have difficulty locating manufacturer profiles, which include full-color product images, contact information, and manufacturer mission. The trade name index does not provide genuine assistance, as it merely reiterates product descriptions rather than provides MasterFormat® numbers or specific page listings. VERDICT While the content here is useful, it is too difficult to find.

Wearing, J.P. American and British Theatrical Biographies: An Index. 2d ed. 2 vols. Scarecrow. 2012. 1214p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780810882386. $225. Online: NetLibrary, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF

This revision and expansion of the 1979 edition amends previous inaccuracies and adds performers who have joined the theatrical world in the last 32 years. Wearing (English, emieritus, Univ. of Arizona; The London Stage series) opens with a nine-page listing of alphabetized source material, which is cited, by abbreviation, at the conclusion of each biographical listing. The contents are alphabetized by performer surname and each double-line entry details age (or, when known, birth and death dates) along with theatrical specialty and abbreviated source listings. VERDICT For performing arts collections, a quick-reference springboard to additional biography resources.

Weiss Ratings Guide to Banks and Thrifts: A Quarterly Compilation of Financial Institutions Ratings and Analyses; Spring 2012. 85th ed. Grey House. (Financial Ratings). 2012. c.374p. ed. by Weiss Ratings, Inc. index. ISBN 9781592378821. $249. Online: REF

Like its sister publication, Guide to Credit Unions, this reference analyzes institutions based on their financial viability, presenting more than 9000 U.S. banks and thrifts alphabetically. Within every full-page table, a single data row is devoted to each institution. Ratings mimic the academic grading system, running from A to E and bearing plus or minus gradations. They are determined by 22 variables, including Non-Performing Loans and Net Interest Spread. While one closing segment lists Weiss’s ratings-based recommended institutions, 16 pages catalog specific bank failures since 2008. VERDICT A truly relevant guide to the postbailout era.

Weiss Ratings Guide to Credit Unions: A Quarterly Compilation of Credit Union Ratings and Analyses; Spring 2012. 5th ed. 2 vols. Grey House. (Financial Ratings). Dec. 2011. c.359p. ed. by Weiss Ratings, Inc. illus. index. ISBN 9781592378449. pap. $249. Online: REF

Although slender, this fully updated fifth edition by Weiss Ratings, Inc. ( Ultimate Safe Money Guide) is filled with valuable consumer and investor information. The financial stability of more than 9000 alphabetically organized U.S. credit unions are rated on an academic-style scale, from A to F. Ratings are based on 22 data variables, including total assets, net income, and return on equity. Arrows next to each institution’s data indicate whether the rating is an upgrade or downgrade, pointing to trend. Other significant segments include a glossary and listings of highly rated institutions. VERDICT A field-defining resource for financial and public collections.‚ Savannah Schroll-Guz, formerly with Smithsonian Inst. Libs.

About Savannah Schroll Guz

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