Cover image for Fundamental reference sources
Fundamental reference sources
Sweetland, James H.
Personal Author:
Third edition.
Publication Information:
Chicago : American Library Association, [2001]

Physical Description:
xii, 612 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Rev. ed. of: Fundamental reference sources / Frances Neel Cheney and Wiley J. Williams. 2nd ed. 1980.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z1035.1 .C5 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Completely updated and revised, this authoritative reference on reference features the best available materials in all media for general library collections. Credible and comprehensive, this handy manual outlines what it takes to easily locate, evaluate and select the best information sources for a wide variety of needs. Speaking to the heart and soul of every library, Fundamental Reference Sources is a guide through the shifting landscape of reference sources, new electronic formats and remote systems that are supported through the Internet and World Wide Web. Use it to locate data sources to provide better, faster and more complete answers for reference patrons, and to: develop practical guidelines for evaluating reference works; meet the needs of a multicultural audience using non-English sources, biographical listings of under-represented populations, and bilingual dictionaries; discover more electronic and nonprint media, government publications, collective indexes and abstracts to broaden search capabilities; and identify current electronic resources for each reference category to stay on top of the wired generation.

Author Notes

James H. Sweetland is professor in Library and Information Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Based on the standard guide edited by France Neel Cheney, this is a new edition of a classic work. As the introduction points out, major changes have occurred in reference work since the second edition (1980). Although this edition holds place as an introduction to selected sources of bibliographical, biographical, linguistic, statistical, and geographic works, it reflects changes in reference philosophy and format. Including current editions and old standbys, emphasis remains on English-language works published in the US, but there is an increase in Spanish and French, and Canadian and Mexican, titles. New to this edition are works in electronic format. The first chapter discusses the practice and theory of reference work, with special attention to evaluation. The remaining eight chapters cover specific material types--e.g., bibliographies, indexes and abstracts, directories, and geographic aids. Each chapter gives an overview of the material type and annotated critical entries for specific titles. Packed with good information on basic reference sources, this volume will be best for small libraries with limited resources and should also be welcome to those libraries that own earlier editions. J. P. Burton West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
1 The Nature of Reference and Information Servicep. 1
Definitionsp. 2
Searchp. 9
What Is a "Reference Source"?p. 12
What Is a "Fundamental" Reference Source?p. 13
Guides to Reference Sourcesp. 15
Current Reviewing Sourcesp. 18
Evaluation of Reference Sourcesp. 19
2 Sources of Bibliographic Informationp. 21
Definitionsp. 25
Library Catalogsp. 31
National Library Catalogsp. 33
Union Catalogsp. 40
National Book Bibliographiesp. 43
Bibliographies of Other Publications and of Audiovisual Materialsp. 58
Subject Bibliographiesp. 87
Selection Aidsp. 93
Current Selection Toolsp. 97
Bibliographies of Bibliographiesp. 99
Summaryp. 102
3 Indexing and Abstracting Servicesp. 103
General Periodical Indexing and Abstracting Servicesp. 106
Citation Indexesp. 118
Table of Contents Servicesp. 119
Subject Indexes to Periodicalsp. 122
Newspaper Indexing and Abstracting Servicesp. 138
Other Indexes and Concordancesp. 143
Summaryp. 169
4 Directoriesp. 170
Handbooksp. 172
Bibliographies and Directories of Directoriesp. 172
General Directoriesp. 173
Specialized Directoriesp. 178
Alternative Directoriesp. 178
Summaryp. 209
5 Sources of Biographical Informationp. 210
The Nature of Biographical Sourcesp. 210
Bibliographiesp. 214
Indexes to Biographyp. 215
International Biographical Sourcesp. 225
Current Sourcesp. 229
National Biographical Sourcesp. 231
Professionsp. 243
Summaryp. 261
6 Sources on Wordsp. 262
Why a Dictionary Is Madep. 263
Unabridged Dictionariesp. 266
Abridged Dictionariesp. 275
School Dictionariesp. 284
Etymological Dictionariesp. 287
Usagep. 289
Synonyms and Antonymsp. 296
Pronunciationp. 299
Slangp. 300
Dialectp. 303
Abbreviationsp. 304
Visual Dictionariesp. 306
Special Fieldsp. 310
Foreign-Language Dictionariesp. 318
Summaryp. 332
7 Encyclopediasp. 333
The Making of Encyclopediasp. 336
Multivolume Adult Encyclopediasp. 352
Encyclopedia Supplementsp. 362
One- to Three-Volume Encyclopediasp. 363
Children's and Young Adults' Encyclopediasp. 367
Electronic Encyclopediasp. 376
Foreign Encyclopediasp. 378
General Reference Features of Encyclopediasp. 385
8 Sources of Statisticsp. 386
Statistical Reference Service and Evaluation of Statistical Sourcesp. 387
Terminologyp. 396
General Sourcesp. 400
General Collections of Datap. 407
Subjectsp. 417
Other Types of Statistical Sourcesp. 445
Summaryp. 454
9 Sources of Geographical Informationp. 455
General Reference Worksp. 463
Cartographic History and Map Librarianshipp. 474
General World Atlasesp. 481
School Atlasesp. 489
National Maps and Atlasesp. 493
Thematic Maps and Atlasesp. 497
Gazetteersp. 510
Directories and Encyclopediasp. 513
Dictionaries of Geographical Termsp. 518
Travel Guidesp. 519
Acronyms and Initialismsp. 529
Appendix Guidelines for Particular Types of Reference Worksp. 535
Indexp. 547