Database of the Month: Salem Press

Salem Press is a collection of online reference books published by Salem Press, Grey House Publishing, and H. W. Wilson. These 150+ titles provide excellent overviews and set the stage for successful research projects.

Why use Reference Books?

Locating background information in subject specific encyclopedias and other reference resources will help you put information in context.

  • Get an overview of the subject.
  • Note key concepts/developments.
  • Identify significant authors.
  • See a chronology/timeline.
  • Develop a list of search terms.
  • Obtain primary sources.
  • Use the bibliographies to locate other information on your topic.

The Salem Press database is divided into five categories: LiteratureHistoryScienceHealth and Careers.

Researchers can keyword search the whole platform, the individual categories, or just search a specific title.  Clicking the Filter By arrow provides more control over what and where you search.

Unsure of what keywords to choose? Browse a category to a specific title and use the table of contents to help narrow a topic or find additional keywords or the names of significant authors to search.

Need a primary source for a history paper? There is a wealth of primary sources included in the titles on this platform.

Three titles of particular interest right now are:

Staff Favorites

In addition, to the titles highlighted above, our reference librarians have a few additional favorites to share:

Macee’s pick is Masterplots (2011). This fourth edition of Masterplots provides information about English-language and world literature published up to 2010. Each entry includes a synopsis of the story, a critical evaluation essay and suggested further readings.

Dominique’s pick is the “H. W. Wilson: The Reference Shelf” series which provides big picture overviews of topics of current interest such as “Rethinking Work” and “New Frontiers in Space”.

My pick is The Value of a Dollar, 1860—2019 which is a great source for not only seeing price differences of specific consumer goods but also differences in salaries and awards over time. Here are some examples of the kind of information available in this resource:

  • In 1915, a Goodrich Stag golf ball cost $0.29, which equates to $7.30 today’s dollars, and in 2019, a Bridgestone Tour B XS golf ball costs $3.74. (Golf ball, 2019)
  • In 1934, Horton Smith won $1,500 at the Master’s, which equates to $28, 295 in today’s dollars, and Tiger Woods won $2,090,000 in 2019. (Golf Master championship earnings, 2019)

The Value of a Dollar as well as all the other recommended resources above help to give information context. As you incorporate these resources into your papers, remember to cite it right. Salem Press helps by including a citation for each source in MLA 8th, APA 7th, and CMOS 17th format.

If you would like more information about any of these titles, the Salem Press database or recommendations for your specific research needs, please contact a Reference Librarian.

Reference List

Golf ball. (2019). In S. Derks (Ed.), The value of a dollar, 1860—2019. Salem Press.

Golf Master champions earnings. (2019). In S. Derks (Ed.), The value of a dollar, 1860—2019. Salem Press.

Database of the Month provides a very brief introduction to useful library databases, highlighting key features you should know about. If you would like more information about this resource (or any of the library’s databases), please contact us for research assistance. If you would like a demonstration of these resources for a class, please schedule a research instruction class using the instruction request form.