Annual list of Best Historical Materials selected by RUSA’s History Section experts

BOSTON—The annual list of Best Historical materials was announced by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) Book and Media Awards Ceremony at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston on Sunday.

The list recognizes the evaluation and effectiveness in coverage of historical resources in all fields of history and promotes enhanced availability of historical works and information. Published in Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ), these sources are selected by the Historical Materials committee that seeks to improve the usefulness of bibliographies and indexes in the field of history and shared among bibliographers, indexers, publishers and professional associations.

The list includes:

NPSHistory, Harry A. Butowski and Randall D. Payne

http://npshistory.com/

The National Park Service Electronic Library at: http://npshistory.com/ is a portal to National Park History and curates historical documents, videos, and other e-resources that inform visitors of a comprehensive view of the NPS (National Parks Service). The portal, while not the the official .GOV site, provides what the site creators describe as an “American history textbook”(http://npshistory.com/about_us.htm). The value of the NPSHistory site is that it provides images and documents in a hierarchical, directory-file structure under the link “Digital Library” that is sub-divided by kind of documentation and includes: books, periodicals, brochures, and reports/studies.

Digital Irish Famine Archive. Jason King.

http://faminearchive.nuigalway.ie/

Arguably the worst famine to occur in 19th century Europe, the Irish Famine was also known as the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1849. The Archive is simple and easy to navigate. Its holdings have been divided into four sections, each containing the aforementioned accounts. Each section contains downloadable PDF’s and summaries accompanied by images related to the tragedy. Overall, the Archive will be an excellent resource for high school and college students in need of primary and secondary sources about the efforts made to help the Famine’s emigrants to Canada.

Free People of Color in Louisiana, LSU Libraries

http://lib.lsu.edu/sites/all/files/sc/fpoc/

Free People of Color in Louisiana is an NEH funded project that brings together disparate archival collections of personal and family papers, documenting the lives of people of African descent who were either born free or who escaped from slavery and lived freely in the United States, prior to 1865. The site is designed to facilitate easy access to the original catalog records and finding aids for the collections from their source libraries and archives, while presenting the digitized documents together on one searchable platform. The project represents an ambitious collaboration among its contributing institutions and will be of remarkable value to legal, cultural, social, and political historians and scholars of the U.S. and of the Atlantic World more broadly.

Wooster Digital History Project, College of Wooster

http://woosterhistory.org/

Presented by the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, the Wooster Digital History Project combines resources from the college’s own Special Collections, the Wayne County Historical Society, and the Wayne County Public Library to provide a variety of online resources on the town’s history.  Included are app-based walking tours, exhibits on topics such as settlement, agriculture, social movements, and civic development, and a town map with locations linked to pages on the site.  The four tours can be viewed via either web or mobile sites. This easily navigable, appealing site provides an excellent example of well-presented local history.

The Best Historic Materials selection committee consists of Matthew J. Wayman, Penn State Schuylkill, chair; Martin Firestein, Harper College; Susan L. Malbin, American Jewish Historical Society; Sue A. McFadden, Indiana University East; Kathleen M. Monti, Harrisburg Area Community College; Alexa L. Pearce, University of Michigan; Paul Victor, Jr., Eastern Washington University; and Mary Wilke, Center for Research Libraries.

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more about RUSA’s Book and Media Awards at www.ala.org/rusa/awards.

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