Encyclopedia of small business

Encyclopedia of small business

Maxwell, Littleton M

Hillstrom, K, & Hillstrom, L.C. (Eds.). (1998). Encyclopedia of small business. Detroit, MI: Gale Research.

Kevin Hillstrom edited the Encyclopedia of American Industries (Gale Research, 1994), and Kevin and Laurie Hillstrom together edited the Vietman Experience (Greenwood Press, 1998). Their most recent work, the Encyclopedia of Small Business, was designed as a resource for the entrepreneur and small businessperson.

A panel of librarians, primarily from public libraries in areas with a sizeable business population chose the approximately five hundred topics considered in the encyclopedia. The panel did an excellent job in selecting the topics, as did the editors in choosing individuals to define the various entries. Each entry runs approximately two pages of text. Entries are usually divided into meaningful subtopics and items listed for further reading or study, as well as “see also” references. The references for further reading appear to be chosen from standard reference book titles, Small Business Administration publications, and articles from various journals. They are reasonably up to date though they will go out of date to some degree because of constant new developments. New editions will then be required.

Several features enhance the usefulness of the encyclopedia. Terms bolded indicate words or phrases covered in a separate entry. “see also” references appear at the conclusion of many entries and refer the user to other entries in the volumes. Most entries include citations to other works for additional information. There is a master index of major terms in the business areas of accounting, advertising, finance, human resources, management, manufacturing, marketing, operation research, product development, et cetera. Relevant organizations, associations, and government associations as well as meaningful legislation for small business are included.

A few topics were examined in depth as examples. Absenteeism was defined and subdivided into the costs of absenteeism, developing an absenteeism policy, and establishing a system for tracking absences. The cross-training entry includes subheadings implementing a cross-training program and success factors. Several entries that seemed a bit unexpected but useful included nonprofit organizations, non-qualified deferred compensation plans, and nontraditional financing sources. I feel certain that there will be other editions of this useful tool and entries will be added an modified as to current needs.

The two volume Encyclopedia of Small Business is a well constructed, very useful reference work. It should be included in university libraries that serve business programs, public libraries generally, and special libraries that serve small business.

Littleton M. Maxwell

University of Richmond

Copyright Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Mar 2000

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