Yearbooks, handbooks, almanacs, manuals and news summaries are all reference sources that contain miscellaneous facts, and are used mainly to answer ready reference enquiries. These sources frequently duplicate information found elsewhere, but their arrangement facilitates speedy access to the information.
Although they vary in layout and content, most have the following points in common:
• Information is presented in abbreviated form, with an emphasis on statistical information.
• The arrangement reflects the specified purpose and intended use. It may be alphabetical, chronological or topical.
• They usually include extensive indexes.
A yearbook is an annual publication containing current information in brief descriptive and/or statistical form.
Yearbooks fit into the following types, based on their purpose:
• supplements to encyclopedias published once a year to update the main body of the encyclopedia
• summaries of recent developments in a subject area – e.g. Yearbook of technology and education
• yearbooks, including almanacs, which provide miscellaneous facts – e.g. Whitaker’s almanac
• those which contain information for a particular trade or profession – e.g. Bowker annual of library and book trade information
• those which contain statistical information relating to one or more countries – e.g. Statesman’s year-book. Most countries publish an official yearbook – e.g. Year book Australia. The tables of statistics often cover a longer time span than one year, and are useful for making comparisons.
A handbook is a concise ready reference source of information for a particular field of knowledge.
Handbooks, which treat broad subjects in a brief fashion, are a useful source of information on a field of knowledge such as science, or an occupational area such as librarianship. Examples include The law handbook and Handbook of occupational hygiene.
An almanac is an annual calendar with astronomical information and other data; a miscellany of useful facts and statistical information.
Almanacs compress a wealth of facts and figures, both current and retrospective, into one volume. Information is often presented in condensed form in lists or tables. The more detailed almanacs include citations to the original sources, and some may include longer, signed articles covering particularly newsworthy developments such as wars and elections. Examples include Whitaker’s almanac and Australian sports almanac.
Almanacs were originally calendars of months and days including special dates and anniversaries, forecasts of weather and astronomical calculations. They now include more miscellaneous facts, and cover similar subjects to yearbooks.
A manual is a book of instruction on doing, making or performing something.
Manuals give instructions, rules or procedures. They cover a wide range of subjects including first aid, car maintenance, how to run meetings, etc.
News summaries are weekly or monthly looseleaf digests or news events, which are designed for storage in binders in chronological order. These summaries are updated and cumulated at regular intervals and include detailed indexes. Examples include Keesing’s record of world events and Facts on file.
Choose examples of yearbooks, handbooks, almanacs and manuals from the list below. Fill in the details for as many as you can locate (at least five). Photocopy the headings if you need additional space.
Book of Australia SBS world guide
Cambridge factfinder Statesman’s year-book
Europa world year book Style manual
Far East and Australasia Whitaker’s concise almanack
Parliamentary handbook Year book Australia
Place, publisher, date
Intended user group
Using sources you are familiar with suggest a type of yearbook, handbook, almanac or manual which is likely to provide the answers to the following questions – e.g. an Australian statistical yearbook. (You do not need to give the exact title or bibliographic details.)
1. How many people are employed as dental nurses in Australia?
2. When was Senator Margaret Reid, Senator for the ACT, first elected to the Senate?
3. What are the functions of the World Health Organisation?
4. What is the currency used in Ghana?
5. I am trying to find the date of the Australian federal election held in 1943.
6. What are the principal crops grown in Portugal?
7. Where would I find some information on political organizations in Korea?
8. When was the Rt Hon Sir Isaac Isaacs the Governor-General of Australia?
9. I need to find a listing of the most popular athletes in Australia.
10. What is the address of the Bank of England in London?
11. What is the significance of the date April 23rd?
12. Who is the ruler of Saudi Arabia?
13. Who is the Chairman of the British Tourist Authority?
14. What is the proportion of Australians born overseas?
15. Where would I find advice on how to use gender-inclusive language?
16. Who was the King of England in 1770?
17. What are the principal towns in Malaysia?
18. Where would I find a list of the Seven Wonders of the World?
19. I want some statistics on births, marriages and deaths in Italy.
20. What are the names of the main islands of Japan?
Find the answer to the following questions using yearbooks, handbooks, almanacs and manuals. Name the source and give its bibliographic details.
1. How many Australians travelled abroad in 1996?
Yearbook Australia no. 80, Canberra, Australia Bureau of Statistics, c1998, p. 591
2. Where is the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) located?
Statesman’s Yearbook 1998-1999, 135th ed., London, Macmillan, 1998, p. 27
3. What are the principal crops grown in Singapore?
plants, vegetables, orchid flowers
Europa World Yearbook 1997, 38th ed., London, Europa Publications, c1997, vol. 11, p. 2897.
4. Where would I find information on the history of Tonga?
Far East and Australasia 1996, 27th ed., London, Europa Publications, 1996, p. 842.
5. Is Kakadu National Park a World Heritage site?
The Cambridge Factfinder, 3rd ed., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998, p.44.
6. How many kilometers of road are there in Malta?
SBS World Guide, 6th ed., South Yarra, Vic., Ausinfo, c1998, p. 488.
7. What is the address of the Indonesia Tourist Promotion Board?
Bank Pacific Building, 4th floor, Jalan Jenderal Sudirman, Jakarta
Far East and Australasia 1996, 27th ed., London, Europa Publications. 1996, p.404.
8. When should I use an apostrophe when writing a report?
Style manual for authors, editors and printers, 5th ed., Canberra, AGPS, 1994, p. 98.
9. What percentage of Australians were overweight in 1995-96?
Yearbook Australia no. 80, Canberra, Australia Bureau of Statistics, c1998, p. 286.
10. Where would I find a list of the world’s longest bridges?
The Cambridge Fact Finder, 3rd ed., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998, p. 586.
11. What minerals are produced in Ethiopia?
Gold, cement and soil
Statesman’s Yearbook 1998-1999, 135th ed., London, Macmillan, 1998, p. 523.
12. Where would I find some information on the Western Christian calendar?
Whittaker’s Concise Almanack 1998, London, The Stationary Office, 1997, pp. 82-84.
13. When were the Australian Country Music Awards first presented
The book of Australia 1997-98, Rev. Ed., Balmain, N.S.W., The Watermark Press, 1997, p.520.
14. Which countries belong to the Nordic Council of Ministers?
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden
Europa World Book 1997, 38th ed., London, Europa Publications, c1997, vol. 1, p.193.
15. Where would I find a list of symbols used when proofreading a manuscript?
Style manual for authors, editors and printers, 5th ed., Canberra, AGPS, 1994, pp. 312-315.
16. Who is the President of Guatemala?
Alvaro Enrique Arzu Irigoyen
Europa World Book 1997, 38th ed., London, Europa Publications, c1997, vol. 1, p.1493.
17. I want some information on the Port of London Authority.
Whitaker’s concise almanack 1998, London, The Stationary Office, 1997, p.333
18. What are the floral emblems for the states of Australia?
The book of Australia 1997-98, Rev. ed., Balmain, N.S.W., The Watermark Press, 1997, p. 94.
19. What languages are spoken in Tajikistan?
SBS World Guide, 6th ed., South Yarra, Vic., Ausinfo, c1998, p.729
20. Please find a list of the Leaders of the Opposition in the Australian Parliament since 1901.
Parliamentary handbook of the Commonwealth of Australia, 26th ed., Canberra, AGPS, 1993, p. 452.