Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reference Books

Periodically, the librarians who work at the Idaho State University Reference Desk meet together to talk about reference books. It gives us an opportunity to understand what we have in our collection that may be of interest to students and faculty. This post seeks to highlight some of these resources and their strengths. Look in our catalog to verify call numbers and locations.

1. The Worldwide History of Dress includes many color images and descriptions of mostly traditional and non-western clothing. Each of the ten sections focuses on major geographical areas in the world. Images portray brightly-colored costumes with ornate dragons, flowers, animals, etc. Dimensions of the articles of clothing appear next to the images.

Reproductions of historical documents also appear that emphasize the clothing theme of various cultures. Entries also detail basic histories of the peoples who have created the articles of clothing, the materials used to make the clothing, and a little bit about the process required for creating them.

It includes a full glossary of terms, an extensive bibliography, and a lengthy index. You may wish to have a magnifying glass on hand when you consult these appendices.

Students and faculty in the fields of anthropology, theater, dance, and history may be the most interested in this book. Call Number: GT511 .A63 2007.

2. For those who are more interested in contemporary clothing The Complete Fashion Sourcebook may be just what you are looking for. This reference resource shows how styles of clothing changed from year to year in the twentieth century. Unfortunately, it does not cover all of the decades of the 20th century, nor does it show all of the styles, since it focuses mainly on upper-class fashions. For the everyday styles you might have better luck searching through old Montgomery Ward or Sears Roebuck catalogs.

Again, this book shows images, includes an index, and may be most useful to students of anthropology, theater, dance, and history. Call Number: GT596 .P393 2005.

3. The Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion was another interesting resource. Call Number: GT507 .E53 2005. It has three volumes and likely fills in a lot of the gaps left by the previous two resources discussed, while it may repeat some of the same things.

While I had hoped to discuss the other books in this post, it appears I am out of time tonight. Most reference materials turn out to be interesting to me as evidence by my experience tonight. Once I open them up I end up looking at them longer than I originally intended.

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