Monday, July 12, 2010

Almanacs, yearbooks, handbooks, etc.


  • Annual publication
  • Calendars, astronomical info
  • Tabular information
  • Lists
  • Some brief articles

Originally from the Greek, almenikhiaka (ephemeris)
ODLIS: Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science

An annual compendium of facts and statistics, current and retrospective, of practical use to readers. Almanacs may be general (e.g. World Almanac and Book of Facts) or related to a specific field or discipline (example: Almanac of American Politics). Originally, a book introduced by the Moors to Spain listing the days, weeks, and months of the year, with information about festivals, holidays, astronomical phenomena, etc.

Almanacs are often biased toward a particular country and present

  • Retrospective statistics and facts
  • Information about popular culture (e.g. sports and entertainment)
  • Addresses

Almanacs answer such questions as:

  • What is a hurricane?
  • How many calories are in a tablespoon of butter?
  • Where was Sir John A. McDonald born?
  • What is the address of the Canadian Library Association?
  • Who invented the stethoscope?
  • What is the population of Winnipeg?
  • How many home runs did Hank Aaron run?
    Compendium ODLIS: Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science

A work which presents in condensed form the principal points of a larger work, or treats a larger subject or whole field of knowledge briefly, often in the form of an outline, and is prepared by someone other than the original author.

Yearbook ODLIS: Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science

An annual documentary, historical, or memorial compendium of facts, photographs, statistics, and other information about the preceding year, often limited to a specific country, institution, or subject (e.g. Supreme Court Yearbook, published by Congressional Quarterly). Some encyclopedia publishers offer an optional yearbook. Libraries usually place on continuation order and shelve them in the reference collection. Yearbooks of historical significance may be stored in archives or special collections. Synonymous with annual.

General yearbooks include a chronology of the year, biographies of newsmakers, obituaries, sports news, current statistical data and articles about events of the year. Information such as the following can be found in general yearbooks:

  • Obituaries of significant people who have died during the year
  • Description of disasters occurring during the year
  • Winners of sporting events for the year
  • Discussion of current controversial social problem
  • Chronology of a political happening

Almanacs and yearbooks serve purposes such as:

  • Recency (although dated with the current year, e.g. 2004, actual coverage is for the previous year)
  • Brief facts
  • Trends
  • Informal index
  • Directory and biographical information
  • Browsing

    Handbook ODLIS: Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science

A reference book of compact size which provides useful factual information on a specific subject, organized for quick and easy reference. Statistical information is often published in the form of a handbook (example: Statistical Handbook on the American Family). Synonymous with manual.

  • Originally a handbook was a book designed to be held in the hand, so of necessity it needed to be limited in content.
  • A handbook usually treats one broad topic in a brief fashion or presents a survey of a subject.
  • Exists for a variety of topics e.g.
    o World records
    o Holidays and anniversaries of the world
    o Writing and citation style
    o Etiquette
    o Description of diseases or disorders
  • Handbooks answer such questions as:
    o Are there any adverse side effects to this drug?
    o What historic events happened on January 25?
    o How do I format a bibliography?
    o Is the CN Tower the tallest free standing structure?
    o What do I wear to a formal evening wedding?

    Evaluation and selection
  • Format
    o Print copies are relatively inexpensive but readability is very important
  • Source
    o Is it comprehensive within stated scope?
    o Is information compiled in a unique way not available elsewhere?
  • Authority
    o Does resource have a long-standing reputation?
    o Are official sources identified in enough detail to lead to original resource?
  • Accuracy
    o Are facts right most of the time?
  • Currency
    o Is current info included?
    o Works of this type should undergo frequent revisions
  • Indexing and searchability
    o If in print, how useful is the index?
    o If electronic, how easy is it to search for information?

No comments: