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  5. Book about Arctic fishes receives award for outstanding reference of the year

Book about Arctic fishes receives award for outstanding reference of the year

© Reference and User Services Association


The Dartmouth Medal has been awarded since 1974.

January 31, 2019

And the award goes to…Marine Fishes of Arctic Canada! With Oscar season underway, the Canadian Museum is proud to be part of a special recognition with its own golden honour.

This landmark reference book, which was co-written by fish scientists at the Canadian Museum of Nature, has received the award for outstanding reference of the year from the American Library Association (ALA).

Marine Fishes of Arctic Canada was awarded this week the Dartmouth Medal by the ALA’s Reference and User Services Association. Published by University of Toronto Press, the 600-page volume was co-edited by Canadian Museum of Nature scientist Dr. Brian Coad and Dr. Jim Reist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The Dartmouth Medal, established in 1974, honours a reference source of outstanding quality and significance for a given year. The judging committee includes reference subject experts from academic, public, and sometimes school and other libraries. Nominations are received from librarians, editors, and publishers and the committee spends countless hours reviewing copies for consideration.

The committee cited Marine Fishes of Arctic Canada for breaking new ground in documenting the 221 species of fish in Canada’s Arctic waters, including about 30 new species first referenced in the book. The book represents decade’s worth of meticulous scientific research, with illustrations and range maps that enhance the entries. In addition to the classification listings, there are illuminating introductory essays on a variety of topics relating to Arctic fish research. The committee also valued the book’s timely relevance, given the importance of studying the Arctic as the pace of climate change increases.

An honourable mention for this year’s Dartmouth Medal also has a Canadian Museum of Nature connection. Beetles: The Natural History and Diversity of Coleoptera represents the culmination of research by entomologist Dr. Stephen Marshall at the University of Guelph. The chapter about weevils, the family of beetles with the most species known, was co-written by the museum’s weevil expert Dr. Bob Anderson. Now Director of the museum’s Beaty Centre for Species Discovery, he brings more than three decades of experience studying and classifying these insects.

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) is a division of the American Library Association. The 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 at