Given that I want to be a food librarian, the process of identifying and assessing tools for researching food. It don’t want to be too snobby about it so I want focus on popular and academic tools. This will be a good exercise for me to stay abreast of what’s out there and hopefully it will also help food researchers at various levels.
Here’s the first round:
It’s a tool from OCLC Experimental. It’s a prototype that provides access to cookbooks and other food-related stuff in libraries around the world. It is not available to the public for widespread use. It’s impressive because you can search by author, type of food, ingredient, and title. If you are just searching for cookbooks of a specific cuisine, a basic search can take you to records to all the cookbooks in the system written on that particular style/type of cooking. It also provides suggestions for other related books that might be of interest. The records are then linked to Worldcat. Very streamlined, very inclusive so that even the more obscure books turn up in search records. Basically it’s a cookbook database of Worldcat records. A cool thing, indeed.
Food History News
This is an older website and a great tool brought to the world by Sandy Oliver, the woman who brought us the now defunct food journal Food History News.
The site, though no longer updated, has lots of information on historic foodways, primarily European and American.
Agricola is the National Agricultural Library run by the USDA. It is one of my favorite things because I am a botany nerd. If I was willing to start over I’d be a botanist. Anything you can imagine, journals, books, images, everything about agriculture and issues related to food production is available here. If you play around you’ll be able to access special collections, digital collections and so much more. It is wonderful. You can also, as with any library connect with librarians with research questions, after all, if you live in the United States, it is your library. If you don’t live in the United States, no one will turn you away, it’s an excellent resource for everyone. Amazing.