Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Paperless Research

Best of Reference 2010: Thrifty Reference


Knowledge is power, and in hard times, finding the best information can be even more important. These books, websites, and electronic resources, available through your local library, can save you both time and money! 

Selected and presented by librarians from all three NYC library systems, Best of Reference is sponsored by The New York Library Association's Reference and Adult Services Section.

Coupon Clipping

Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend
Anthony S. Mercatante and James R Dow, eds. Facts on File. 
NYPL / WorldCat / ISBN: 9780816073115
This revised and expanded 2- volume encyclopedia is organized alphabetically. In addition to over 3000 cross-referenced entries it contains a general index, a categorized index of entries by culture, geographic area and ethnicity, as well as essays examining the influence of myths and legends on art, music and literature.
Atlas of the North American Indian
Carl Waldman. Facts On File. 
NYPL / WorldCat / ISBN: 9780816068586  
Through the extensive use of maps, photos, illustrations, and art this volume comprehensively discusses various tribes, their culture, geography, and politics.  Several appendices include a chronology from 30,000 BCE through 2008, a catalog of nations and linguistic groupings, state by state listing of Reservations in the U.S., names of tribes by Canadian province, listing of relevant place names, and a museum directory.
Concise History of Science and Invention: An Illustrated Time Line
Jolyon Goddard, ed. National Geographic. 
NYPL / WorldCat / ISBN: 9781426205446
This richly illustrated volume covers scientific and innovative achievements over ten chronological eras beginning with the Origins of Science through the Modern World.  Year by year timelines for four major disciplines of science plus current world events are broken down into geographic regions. Over 40 topical essays highlighting momentous discoveries and brief biographies are sprinkled throughout. 
The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
This impressive website is a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the worldwide history of art, as illustrated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collections.  Students, scholarly researchers and the general public will find this a useful tool that can be browsed or searched by time, place, type of medium, subject of art, artist, and more.  With in-depth thematic essays this site richly illustrates humanity’s creative history. 
Created by OMB Watch (a nonprofit organization promoting government transparency) this highly usable tool will benefit students, general researchers, community groups and interested citizens.  The intuitive search interface allows users to search for federal contracts, assistance, and Recovery Act spending, as well as rank top recipients and contractors.  Data is searchable by state, agency, recipient, and congressional district, and is complemented by an interactive map, and in-depth essays.

Belt Tightening

Genetics Home Reference
Genetics Home Reference is the National Library of Medicine's website for consumer information about genetic conditions, genes, and chromosomes.  It is a substantial starting point for patients, their families, and students interested in learning about human genetics and inherited disorders.  The site includes an online book and a glossary as well as searchable and browseable topics.
Herbal Medicine Trends and Traditions: a Comprehensive Sourcebook on the Preparation and Use of Medicinal Plants
Charles W. Kane. Lincoln Town Press. 
WorldCat / ISBN: 9780977133321
This scholarly study of folk and natural medicines profile over 100 plants and contains several useful appendices such as plant Family groupings, weights and measures, and helpful worksheets.  Also included are a bibliography and an extensive glossary.  The content is clear enough for the layperson and comprehensive enough for the practitioner with balanced coverage of this complicated subject.
Encyclopedia of Life
The Encyclopedia of Life has the lofty goal of classifying and describing all 1.9 million living organisms known to science and is loaded with technical data, scientific terminology, geographic distribution, genetic information, hundreds of colorful images and videos, and links to other trusted Internet sources.  The strength of this resource is the collaboration between the amateur taxonomist and the scientific community in the form of respected Institutional partners such as the Field Museum of Natural History, Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, and the Smithsonian Institution. 
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
This unique online source offers peer-reviewed, scholarly content with free access in the broad subject of philosophy. Signed entries are accessible through keyword searching or browsing on the alphabetical Table of Contents.  Most entries average over 20 pages and contain dynamic cross-references as new articles are published, Useful Internet resources, and lengthy bibliographies to scholarly print articles.
War: From Ancient Egypt to Iraq
Saul David, ed. DK Publishing. 
WorldCat / ISBN: 9780756655723
This source dramatically tells the tale of warfare, including eyewitness accounts through art, maps, photos, images and illustrations, charts, and timelines. Organized chronologically, with extended essays on special topics and a 150 page catalog briefly covering every known military campaign in history.

Penny Pinching

The Dickson Baseball Dictionary
Paul Dickson. W.W. Norton & Co. 
NYPL / WorldCat / ISBN: 978039306681
A comprehensive survey of baseball terminology including the etymology of popular and obscure terms and phrases. This substantially revised third edition includes many terms introduced recently by the popularity of sabermetrics, the mathematical analysis of baseball. Dickson's will be helpful to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the colorful vocabulary and history of baseball's language and culture.
Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-First Century
Paul Finkelman. Oxford University Press. 
NYPL or Access Electronically / WorldCat / ISBN: 9780195167795
This companion title to the previous Oxford release covering 1619-1895 resumes with the death of Frederick Douglass and the historic Plessy v. Ferguson decision.  With over 1,000 biographical and topical entries, its scope, breadth and accessibility make it an essential resource for students, general readers and educators looking for a comprehensive historical encyclopedia of the post-Reconstruction African-American experience in politics, law, business, arts and entertainment.
Political Encyclopedia of U.S. States and Regions
Donald P Haider-Markel and Michael A Card, eds. CQ Press. 
WorldCat / ISBN: 9780872893771
The two-volume set shines as a one-stop resource for student and general research on state politics, government and policy.  Organized into four parts (topical essays; regional and state profiles; state politics A-Z; and statistics), the signed entries explain important terms, concepts, and issues, and are complemented by maps, bibliographies, and a substantial section of statistical tables.
Galaxy of Images
This website showcases thousands of images from printed books and manuscripts in the varied collections of Smithsonian Institution Libraries including illuminated Initial Letters, Butterflies, Natural History museums, and much more.  New collections are added regularly.
Student Loan Borrower Assistance
A resource aimed at borrowers, their families, and advocates, this nonprofit site provides up-to-date information about student loans, including repayment, forbearance, and deferment.  Detailed attention is paid to students' options and legal rights regarding financial hardship and debt cancellation with a nonjudgmental tone. 

Bargain Hunting

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
A valuable resource on the Atlantic slave trade for students, educators and genealogical researchers covering voyages made during the years 1514 - 1866, with ship manifests, maps, lesson plans, images from manuscripts, essays, and statistical estimates that assist in bridging data gaps.  The database is searchable by name of ship, name of captain, date of voyage, geographic region, country of origin, and more.  A special feature allows users to construct custom charts, graphs, and data tables and compare voyage statistics.
Daily Life Through World History in Primary Documents 
Lawrence Morris, ed. Greenwood Press. 
WorldCat / ISBN: 9780313338984
This source offers readers an opportunity to understand the Ancient World, the Middle Ages and the Modern World through the use of primary documents. Each chapter thematically covers aspects of daily life in seven broad categories: domestic, economic, material culture, political, recreational and religious. Included are a chronology of important world events, an appendix of brief biographies, and a comprehensive index.
Encyclopedia of Islam
Juan E. Campo. Facts On File. 
NYPL / WorldCat / ISBN: 9780816054541
A single volume covering basic knowledge about Muslims - their culture, religion and politics.  Alphabetically arranged and cross-referenced, this title spans the eras from the birth of Mohammed to the assassination of Pakistani leader Benazir Ali Bhutto in 2007.  The volume is concluded by an in-depth, topically arranged bibliography with additional Internet resources, and a comprehensive index.
Biography Resource Center
NYPL / also available offsite with your NYPL card
Biography Resource Center is your one-stop authoritative source of bibliographical information on over 380,000 people.  Browse by dozens of categories including athletes, world leaders, multicultural groups and more with the ability to further narrow a search by a specific set of facts such as occupation, nationality and birth place.
NIH Senior Health
This Senior-friendly Website developed by the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine contains authoritative, easy-to-understand and topical health and wellness information.  Each page features a variety of accessibility controls such as adjustable text size, color contrast, text to speech option, and keyboard shortcut navigation.  Of special interest to Librarians is a lengthy section with an online Toolkit to assist in creating public programs. 
Best of Reference is an annual list of books, websites, and electronic resources selected by a committee of librarians for their usefulness in branch reference collections. Selection criteria include value and appropriateness for community library collections, organization of materials, style of presentation, and authority of authors and editors.
These sources were selected by the following committee members from the staff of the Brooklyn Public Library, The New York Public Library, and Queens Library: Courtney Bennett and Jennifer Gellmann (BPL), Aliqae Geraci and Marianna Vertsman (QL), and Hyacinth Persad (NYPL). Special thanks to Jennifer Zarr, Advisor (NYPL).


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Biography Resource Center

Thanks for using us! -- the Biography Resource Center team,

Thanks for posting this!

Sorry I missed the presentation.

BOR - 2010

Thanks for posting it this year, Jenny.


Thank you for compiling this list. We will likely use some of them in a changing display of thematic web site/database features.

Post new comment