Monday, August 16, 2010

Almanacs, yearbooks, handbooks and manuals: representative titles and websites

Required reading
“Just the facts: a look at almanacs,” Christine Bulson. Booklist, May 15, 2003. (link no longer valid)
Also available on Academic Search Premier


Canadian Almanac & Directory Ref AY 414 .C35
Canada’s oldest almanac (1847-). Arranged in ten sections. Almost 90% directory rather than almanac type information. Includes directories of organizations, government, arts and culture, business and finance, health, education, and legal.

Canadian Global Almanac: A Book of Facts Ref AY 414 .C381
Included in Electric Library Canada’s online subscription database. Modeled on the World Almanac. Provides information on Canada’s geography, history, population, government and economy. Large sections are devoted to arts, entertainment and sports. Section summarizing past year’s news events. A third of the almanac is devoted to world history and geography.

Canadiana Quick Reference
Online source from National Library of Canada. Provides answers to some of the “quick reference” questions that the National Library receives regularly. (link no longer valid)

Scott’s Canadian Sourcebook Ref AY 414 .C67
Formerly Canadian Sourcebook, previously the Corpus Almanac and Canadian Sourcebook. Annual source of government information, demographic trends, and statistics; also provides directory information, for government departments and associations. Divided into 19 sections including general information, geography and natural resources, travel and tourism, health care, people, religion, education, communications, business, industry and trade, science and technology in Canada, etc.

Other Daily Almanac
Online almanac. Features daily news highlights, future events, and a list of famous occurrences for every day of the year. Includes chronological archive.

Farmer’s Almanac
Includes weather forecasts, gardening, astronomy, best days, household tips, recipes, etc.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac
This Website is based on the print version of The Old Farmers’ Almanac. Provides weather forecasts for the year, information on sunrises, sunsets, and tides, recipes, gardening tips, and additional information. Also gives facts on today in history, advice, a puzzle, and a question of the day.

The Time Almanac
Continues Information Please Almanac. Assembly of facts and statistics on just about anything – famous people, demographic data, geography, history, and more. American bias. Available on the Web as Information Please Almanac.
Online kids version available on Fact Monster site.

Whitaker’s Almanack. Ref AY 33 .W4
British. British and Commonwealth bias. More detail on Europe than U.S. almanacs. Includes info on British nobility. Publisher’s Web site

World Almanac And Book Of Facts Ref AY 67 .N5 W7
Started in 1868 by New York News newspaper. A basic reference source. Includes some colour photographs. Available electronically through FirstSearch and other database providers. Includes miscellaneous facts of all kinds, population figures, awards, weights and measures, capsule histories, vital stats for states, countries, major U.S. countries. Updated via monthly World Almanac E-Newsletter.

World Almanac for Kids Online at Companion site to print volume.

Bowker Annual: Library and Book Trade Almanac PS Z 471 .A47
Almanac of stats, legislation, grants, directory info, short articles on topics of current interest to library and publishing fields, etc. Since 1994 trends and issues in library and information services in Canada have been identified in an annual report in the Bowker Annual.

Annual Register: A Yearbook Of World Events Ref D 2 .A7
Published in Britain. Includes year’s events in areas of politics, economics, international relations, religion, arts, law, science, etc. Overviews of countries, reports on U.N., European Union and other international bodies. Obituaries, stats, text of documents, abstracts of important speeches included in last chapter.

Canada Yearbook Ref HA 741 .C3
From Statistics Canada. Contains 15 chapters in 4 thematic sections: the environment, the people, the economy, the nation. Standard Canadian statistical reference source. As of 1980-1981 edition, published biennially.

Europa World Year Book Ref JN 1 .E85
Two volume set covering international organizations, then A-Z by country name. Gives introductory survey, statistical survey, the government, political parties, the constitution, judicial system, diplomatic representation, religion, press, publishers, radio/tv, finance trade and industry, transport and tourism.

Statesman’s Yearbook Ref JA 51 .S7
Smaller print and fewer stats than Europa but much cheaper. Initial section on international organizations then countries covered A-Z but more emphasis on U.K. and U.S. Includes general climate, area, population, brief history, finance, etc.

Handbooks and manuals
Anniversaries and Holidays / Bernard Trawicky. Ref GT 3930 .T73 2000
Includes calendars of fixed and moveable days. Section on calendar systems plus selective list of references.

Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia Ref PN 41 .B4
Biographical notes on writers, artists, musicians, philosophers, historical figures; plot and character synopses. Includes legends, allusions, literary terms, etc.

Brewer’s Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable Ref PN 43 .B65 2000
Covers mythological references, fictional characters, colloquialisms, proverbial phrases, etc., plus all kinds of miscellaneous info. 1898 edition on Web at

Chicago Manual of Style Ref Z 253 .U69 2003
MLA Handbook For Writers Of Research Papers LB 2369 3G53 2003
Publication Manual Of The American Psychological Association Ref BF 76.7 .P83 2001
See Ithaca College Library Ready Reference: Online Style Manuals Web page which provides links to APA, MLA, Turabian/Chicago, CBE, and others.

Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties: The Canadian Reference for the Health Professionals

1993 ed. Ref RS 141.23 .C6
Commonly called CPS. Standard work used by pharmacists and doctors for info on drug products available in Canada both prescription and non-prescription. Gives uses and side effects. Info is provided by pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Country Profiles
From the BBC, full profiles provide an instant guide to history, politics and economic background of individual countries.

Country Reports
Wealth of information on all of the countries of the world. Up-to-date information on population, geography, economy, history and politics. Audio clips of national anthems (by subscription) and links to current weather reports.

Emily Post’s Etiquette. 16th ed. 1997.
If you’re wondering when to put a napkin in your lap and which foods may be eaten with fingers, the information’s still there. But situations Emily never dreamed of--matters of e-mail, cellular phones, step parents, fourth weddings, and in-line skating--are considered.

Familiar Quotations: Collections of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature. 16th ed. Alternate title: Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. Ref PN 6081 .B27
The most famous book of quotations. Quotations date from ancient to modern times. 1919 10th ed. online at

Famous First Facts: Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, And Inventions In American History / Joseph Nathan Kane. Ref AG 5 .K34
Covers 1st happenings: events, discoveries, inventions in the U.S. Index by year, date, subject, personal name, geographic location.

Guinness Book of Records. Ref AG 243 .G94
Began publication in 1956 to help settle arguments in bars. Biggest, tallest, most, etc. Web site at

Allows you to view and compare statistical data for all UN member states. You can select up to five countries for comparison from the menu. Statistics and indicators are provided by the United Nations Statistical Division, from the World Statistics Pocketbook, Statistical Yearbook and Demographic Yearbook 1995.

New York Public Library Desk Reference Ref AG 6 .N49
Done by a “book packager,” Stonesong Press, whose editors interviewed librarians and hired writers for each section. Provides answers to commonly sought questions, based on questions asked of librarians at NYPL. Divided into 26 categories including household tips, math and science basics, etc. Language is clearer and simpler than that found in most almanacs.

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. 5th ed. Ref PN 6080 .O95 1999
Quotations are arranged alphabetically, by author. There is also a full thematic index, starting with Administration, Age, and America, and running through to War, Weather, and Youth. It is followed by a comprehensive keyword index.

Robert’s Rules of Order.
Scott, Foreman Robert’s Rules of Order. 9th ed. 1999 Ref JF 515 .R692
Webster’s New World Robert’s Rules of Order: Simplified and Applied. Robert McConnell Productions. JF 515 .W75 1999
Guide for parliamentary procedure. Numerous versions exist. 1915 version on Web at
A free Web resource at Contains more than 2,500 Western signs arranged into 54 groups according to their graphic characteristics.

The World Fact Book
Array of facts and statistics on more than 250 countries. Produced by CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence. Available on Web at

For links to other Internet sites see:

Fast Facts: Almanacs/Factbooks/Statistical Reports and Related Reference Tools
From Gary Price. An excellent guide to sites containing quick facts on a wide range of social, economic and political topics. US focused but does have international coverage including Canada, the provinces and other countries around the world. No longer updated.

Miscellaneous Reference Sources
Internet subject guide from Mount Royal College in Calgary. Covers Almanacs, Clocks and Calendars, Numbers and Measures, Science and Technology, Symbols and Trivia.

Internet subject guide from Mount Royal College in Calgary.

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