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November 2014

Uncovering Reference Books: World Slavery

worldslaveryOne of the most challenging parts of any research project can be narrowing down from a broad topic you’re interested in to a specific aspect that’s manageable for a paper or other assignment. Specialized reference sources can be a great way to get your feet wet with scholarly content that’s accessible, browsable and will give you background information while pointing you in the right direction for more in-depth research.

A Historical Guide to World Slavery looks at the many forms of enforced servitude throughout history and across the globe. If you’re looking into the new Political Science and Global Studies major, or just want to get outside a United States-centric perspective on race relations and enslavement, this book will help you explore slavery, abolition, and their legal and moral dimensions from ancient Korea to colonial Latin America to contemporary debt bondage and trafficking. The index at the back of the book lets you look up a specific person, location or topic of interest, or you can browse the entries, which are alphabetical and mainly delineate broad subjects.

Another neat characteristic of this print source is the inclusion of photographs and primary documents, including broadsides and magazine engravings. If you find something you’re particularly interested in, there are even cross-referenced “see also” sections at the end of each article and bibliographies for further reading. Or dive back into our databases and catalog – and don’t forget the library staff are here to help!

A Historical Guide to World Slavery, eds. Seymour Drescher and Stanley L. Engerman, Call number: R 306.3 H62.

The Library is coming to Hawes!

Drop-in research help will be available outside the Hawes Study on Wednesday, November 19th from 6:00 to 7:00 pm.  Stop by to talk with a Librarian and get help with your projects and papers!


Can’t make it to Hawes on Wednesday?  Don’t worry!  We’ve got you covered!  Drop-in research help is available 7 days a week, from noon to close at the Library Service Desk.  Nowhere near the Library?  We’ve still got you covered!  Email (, call (617-879-2222), or IM chat with us!

Uncovering Reference Books: Art reference sources add color to your day

Are you getting an Arts degree from Wheelock? Doing the Art History program in conjunction with Emmanuel? Need some help on a paper, presentation, or assignment for Marjorie Hall’s class that has you stumped?

Or maybe you aren’t taking classes in art. But have you ever been walking through the MFA, enjoying your life near the arts center of Boston, and found yourself in the contemporary room? And realize you have no idea what you’re looking at? Or maybe you stumbled upon the Jasper Johns: Picture Puzzle exhibition at the MFA and want to know more about his work, such as Target (1974) seen below?

Jasper Johns, Target, 1974

If this sounds familiar, then we have just the reference book to alleviate your confusion and fulfill your curiosity! Contemporary Artists is a two-volume biographic index of contemporary artists that details many aspects of each artists’ life. Read through the biographies of the artists to get a sense of their lives and understand why they are important in the art world. Finding the artist you’re looking for is easy because the set offers an alphabetical index in the beginning of volume one and an index arranged by nationality in the back of volume two.

You can browse through the book to catch glimpses of works from the artists featured within. Although the images are not in color, you can still get an idea of the dynamic and breathtaking art created by these groundbreaking contemporary artists.

And there are even more features. Doing a paper on an artist for class? There are lists of sources about the artists for further research as well as a guide to the artists’ past exhibitions. Or maybe you just want to know what other museums have your new favorite artist’s work. Look at the guide to collections and find another treasure trove of art to explore.

Not into contemporary art? Or maybe you’re taking Women, Art, and Society with Marjorie Hall? Love gender studies or feminism? Interested in seeing the strides women in the United Stated made in art in the twentieth century? Or maybe during that same visit to the MFA, you find a great work by Georgia O’Keeffe, such as Deer Skull with Pedernal (1936) seen below, and want to know more about her and her work?

Georgia O'Keefe, Deer Skull with Pedernal, 1936

If so, you need to check out North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: a Biographical DictionaryThis volume contains biographic entries about influential women in the Untied States over the last century. Read through the text, gleaning information about the artists’ birth, life, and awards as you read about their importance and impact on the art world. See how women have empowered themselves through artistic expression and made strides in a male dominated field.

Like Contemporary Artiststhis book gives you reference for further reading, a resource that is essential when writing research papers! Flip through the book to see the styles and techniques of women artists throughout the 1900s. Maybe even pick up some artists to look for next time you go to a museum.

Whether you’re a scholar or a casual observer, you should browse Contemporary Artists and North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century. You’ll never know what you might discover.

Contemporary Artistsed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Call number: R 709 C76 2002; North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Centuryed. Jules Heller and Nancy G. Heller. Call Number:   R 709.2 N81

Uncovering Reference Books: All Things Austen

Do you love Jane Austen? Are you curious about what she was like? What England was like during her lifetime? Are you trying to impress Marcia Folsom? Or are you just befuddled by the weird customs presented in her books? If you want to know the difference between a chaise and a carriage, whether or not Jane Austen enjoyed dancing, or why Mrs. Bennet had a penchant for sea-bathing, then All Things Austen: An Encyclopedia of Austen’s World is the reference work for you.

This two volume encyclopedia set seeks to uncover the details of daily life in Jane Austen’s life time and how these details manifest in her works. While the series is less expressly about her books—for instance, there is not an entry for “Elizabeth Bennet”—the entries do provide the title and page number in which it is referenced. Thus, if you are curious to know about “pregnancy and childbirth” during the time period but also how it is depicted in Jane Austen’s books, this set provides access to both.

Jane AustenPerhaps one of the most exciting features of the encyclopedia is its inclusion of Jane Austen’s writings. For example, it is typical to think only of Jane Austen’s novels when considering her work—however, she wrote character studies, comedy sketches, novel plans, etc. The breadth of her work is incorporated into the set, thus providing a comprehensive lens through which the facets of Jane Austen’s world can be appreciated by the curious and aficionados alike.

Take a peek into this set to learn about eighteenth-century teatime, taxes, and even dentist appointments. It will be a diverting dip into the life of one of the world’s most celebrated writers.

All Things Jane Austen: An Encyclopedia of Austen’s World, ed. Kristin Olsen, Call: R823 .Au74zOL8a

Where Do You Keep Your “Fun” Books?

Floor 1 by the whiteboard columns and they’re organized by the author’s last name.  It’s our new and exciting Popular Reading Collection!

Not that our children’s lit on Floor2M or our literature books on Floor 4M can’t be fun. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is absolutely filled with hijinx.

The Popular Reading Collection was created in response to our patrons who come to the Library looking for something to read outside of their academic lives. We selected books for this collection based on recommendations written on our whiteboard columns. The books were then purchased with part of the proceeds from Better World Books donations.  You can add further title suggestions to the whiteboard column labelled “Books Worth Reading”.

This Fall, we’ve started the collection out with about 30-something titles. Here are just a few of them:


bookthiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Death tells the story of Liesel, a young German girl, who loves books so much that she steals them. She shares their stories with her family, the Jewish man hiding in her house, and her neighbors, providing respite to the horrors of World War II.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
In a future dystopian Chicago, members of society must dedicate their entire lives to one of five personality-based factions. After taking an aptitude test, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior finds out that she is “Divergent” and does not fall neatly into one group, making her a threat to the status quo.

eleanorparkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
New girl, Eleanor, is overweight, weirdly dressed, abused, and bullied.  Park has always been a bit of a loner. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, the two teenage misfits fall in love over comic books and mixed tapes. Fans of John Green’s Fault in Our Stars may want to check this book out.

Feed by M.T. Anderson
The story takes place in a hyper-computerized future where most people are connected with a computer network through a feed, or transmitter, implanted in their brains. The narrator is a teenage boy, Titus, who has lived his entire life communicating using the feed. He meets a girl, Violet, who has decided that she wants to resist the feed.

knifeofneverlettinggoThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Todd lives in a small dystopian colony where a germ has killed off all the women and as a side effect of the germ, everyone can hear each other’s thoughts, described as “Noise”. One day, Todd discovers a spot of silence.  Once everyone hears about it, they set out to capture him. It turns out that the colony’s past is not what it seems.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
This book contains seven stories that are mysteriously linked and all take place on a Scandinavian island inhabited by Vikings, vampires, ghosts, and a curiously powerful plant.

peculiarchildrenMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
After his grandfather’s unexpected death, Jacob is given a letter that leads him to a Welsh island where his grandfather grew up. He finds an abandoned orphanage where he meets a girl who uses time travel to take him back to 1940. He discovers disturbing facts about the children who were kept there. The author’s incorporation of vintage photos of children really drives the eerie atmosphere.

Paper Towns by John Green
Quentin “Q” Jacobsen has a crush on his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, since they were kids.  Margo shows up one night at Quentin’s bedroom window dressed like a ninja and takes him on an adventure to get revenge on people who have hurt her. She then mysteriously disappears. Q searches for her using clues he believes she has left behind.

Proxy by Alex Londonproxy
The story takes place in a world of wealthy Patrons and poorer Proxies.    When a Patron breaks a law, the Proxy takes the punishment in his place.  When Knox, a Patron, kills someone in a car crash, his Proxy, Syd, is sentenced to death. Syd flees and Knox, realizing how unfair the system is, joins him. Together, they try to beat the system.

Reality Boy by A.S. King
Seventeen-year-old, Gerald Faust, has been struggling to control his anger, a result of suffering from a dysfunctional family. When he was 5, his family signed up to take part in a reality show where a nanny would come teach the family how to behave healthily and properly. The entire world watched as Gerald defecated in anger and he was given the nickname, Crapper. He meets a no-nonsense girl, Hannah, also from dysfunctional family, and she helps him put his anger to rest.