Pop Culture Universe

Icons Idols Ideas


Pop culture is more than celebrity gossip, fashion trends, and fads. It's living history—a constantly evolving entity shaped by the world we inherit, our current environment, and our hopes for the future. It's democracy in action, the true face of a society. Pop culture clearly reflects our values and aspirations, and these icons, idols, and ideas bring us together despite our differences.

Print Flyer

ABC-CLIO Solutions

Topics Popular Culture/General
Free Preview
  • Award Winner!



    Call for pricing


Pop Culture Universe: Icons Idols Ideas (PCU) is an irresistible yet authoritative digital database on popular culture in America, both past and present—in a package as dynamic as the topic it covers.

iPhone apps and Facebook fanpages. Internet memes and chatspeak. Movies, television, and music. Comics and graphic novels. Sports and pastimes. Fads, fashion, and fast food. Like it or not, pop culture defines our culture and society—and has a magnetic attraction for children and young adults. No surprise that teachers and librarians increasingly use pop culture to engage students in reading, writing, and research.

Built on hundreds of award-winning titles for all levels of researchers, PCU provides a safe haven for investigating topics that appeal to students—without the bias, advertising, suggestive content, or questionable authorship of commercial or fan sites. The exclusive Perspectives sections help students understand the continuity in human interests across generations and provide everything needed for a lively, historical inquiry lesson.

Winner of the Dartmouth Medal, the most prestigious award in reference publishing, PCU is a research and learning resource like no other, offering the best of traditional scholarship with the convenience of Web technology and the fun inherent in the subject. This database harnesses the universal appeal of pop culture and history to engage young minds, promote information literacy, and greatly enrich and modernize any school or public library.


  • Real-time enhancements to continuously update existing entries and add brand-new content—at no extra cost
  • Provides access to over 3,500 entries adapted, updated, and reedited from award-winning content from Greenwood Press, Praeger Publishers, and ABC-CLIO
  • The Perspectives sections present thought-provoking questions and various viewpoints on each controversial subject
  • "Topics" sections offer informative, at-a-glance articles focused on describing major events and trends in pop culture from the 1900s to the present, from the Gibson Girls of the Gilded Age to the social media of the 2000s
  • Hundreds of photos illustrate all aspects of pop culture


  • Patrons and students, from the daydreaming young to nostalgic adults, will love immersing themselves in the universe of pop culture, bringing generations together
  • Ties to curriculum, supporting the way history, literature, and other areas of social studies and the humanities are taught today
  • Universal appeal draws users in with high-interest subject matter


"The Big Picture: Greenwood has taken one of the most-loved research assignments in high schools to an entirely new level with Pop Culture Universe. No longer will students have to fight over single copies of print reference titles to research a specific decade or the everyday events surrounding historical events. Through Pop Culture Universe, students have immediate access to more than 300 full-text volumes covering the last 100 years of American pop culture. Organized by decade, the database allows students to quickly locate the section they need; within are dozens of topics ranging from music and fashion to politics and religion. In addition to the instant appeal that this resource provides users (young or old), librarians and teachers can be assured that its contents are written by experts (as opposed to a website created by an adoring fan or an excerpt taken from last week's episode of TMZ). Additional resources include a Skills Center that assists students in understanding how to do research assignments, evaluate elements of media literacy, and compare America's history and culture to better understand how these elements affect the world today....For Students and Teachers: For teachers searching for ways to introduce students to periods in history, Pop Culture Universe brings culture, music, entertainment, language, and life into the classroom in a fresh new way. Through the use of subject lists, topic links, and special indexes that provide students with an immediate way to access items of interest, Pop Culture Universe itself becomes a digital form of entertainment (and, of course, information)....Pop Culture Universe provides lesson ideas, subject links, usage ideas, and unique topics that can easily be used to expand areas of history, science, literature, music, art, and government for both middle school and high school students....Report Card: Greenwood's Pop Culture Universe database is not only a fun way to learn about the history of some of our favorite people, places, and things, it's also a great way to learn about America's past and the influence that popular culture has had on our world today. While many librarians try to provide a wide variety of resources dealing with the history and culture of America throughout much of the 20th century, few can provide the wealth of resources that this database provides. Greenwood's Pop Culture Universe database deserves and A+ for making research about our history, culture, and lives much more fun to experience the second time around."—School Library Journal

"How good is it? This site combines the best aspects of web-based information (dynamic visual appeal, deep and broad content, and timeliness) with the best aspects of for-pay knowledge databases (stable, reliable information with a minimum of bias derived from authoritative sources). The result? A supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (oh, yes, it's in there) ten!....Bottom Line: To paraphrase from the file itself, PCU is peachy, the bee's knees, swell, nifty, slick, mean, smooth, the most, cool, neat-o, groovy, far out, dyn-o-mite, rad, bitchin', mint, stupid fresh, dope, fly, en fuego, phat, off the hook, hot, awesome, and highly recommended for all libraries. It will serve every user with a pulse."—Library Journal

"Rarely does a database come along promising not only to inform and keep us up to date but also to entertain and even inspire us."—Library Journal

"Having this much fun with a library subscription database should not be legal. The content in Greenwood's Pop Culture Universe is mesmerizing and intriguing enough that students are sure to investigate interconnected topics. It will be a rich source for assisting students who are interested in determining research topics....Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and general audience."—Choice

"This database covering people and topics that have become known or important via the influence of mass media in Western culture has something for everyone. The home page has a fun vibe that should attract users."—Booklist

"This site contains thousands of topics that will appeal to all levels of students, but without the bias, suggestive content, or questionable sources of most commercial and fan sites. This is a product that combines scholarship with the best in reference Web technology, thereby allowing students easy access to a wide range of pop culture topics, both current and historical. This site was recognized as the leading reference source of 2009, winning the prestigious Dartmouth Medal."—ARBA

"The approach is a departure from the traditional historical offerings of ABC-CLIO, and brings a contemporary and refreshing new look to the website. High school students will find the interface highly motivating."—ComputEd Gazette

"...this database is highly recommended for all levels from high school students to PhD."—Reference Reviews


"Studying popular culture is a high-appeal way to approach important topics--social history, economic trends, cultural zeitgeist--through media that students relate to. Studying American history, literature, and other topics through the lens of popular culture provides a richer understanding of both the day-to-day lives of our parents, their parents, and their parents' parents, as well as the broad sweep of events on the world stage."—Sophie Brookover, Teen Librarian, Library Journal Mover & Shaker^LFounder, Pop Goes the Library blog

"Our pop culture defines more than just our leisure life. It affects our society. You cannot understand today's politics without celebrity activism; you cannot study McCarthyism without Edward R. Murrow and television in the '50s."—Nathaniel Zelinsky, Student, Hopkins School, New Haven, CT


2009 Dartmouth Medal — Dartmouth Medal

Booklist Editors' Choice 2008 — ALA

Best Digital Resource — School Library Journal

2009 EDDIE Award, High School Social Studies Website — ComputED Learning Center

Editor's Choice Award — Library Media Connection

Outstanding Academic Title, 2009 — Choice

2015 Education Software Review Award (EDDIE) - Best Social Studies Website — ComputED Gazette

Series Description

ABC-CLIO Solutions School Editions

Offering effective technology for your library and created specifically for middle and high school students, ABC-CLIO Solutions Schools Edition provides authoritative coverage of essential topics in U.S. history and government, world history, geography, and a range of multicultural and popular culture subjects.

Each online ABC-CLIO Solution includes four innovative components:

A COMPREHENSIVE REFERENCE LIBRARY with content from more than 230,000 primary sources and entries encompassing audio, video, photographs, illustrations, maps, and rich media.

A STANDARDS-BASED CURRICULUM updated daily by a team of subject-specific editorial experts and supported by an extensive range of instructional material.

A DEEP COLLECTION OF MODEL COMMENTARIES from noted scholars that have been specially commissioned to foster critical thinking stimulated by exposure to varying points of view.

AN EDUCATOR SUPPORT CENTER containing valuable professional development tools as well as relevant resources such as discussion points, activities, lesson plans, and research lists.


  • Updated daily with vetted, authoritative content, ABC-CLIO Solutions are always current, making outdated textbooks a thing of the past
  • Each Solutions database include a subject-specific library, a curriculum, unique model commentaries, and a full-featured educator support center
  • They’re online and available for students and educators to access anywhere, anytime
  • More affordable than resources with far less content and fewer advanced features, Solutions databases represent an outstanding value

Other Titles of Interest

Encyclopedia of Urban Legends, 2nd Edition cover imagePop Culture Universe cover imageHip Hop Culture cover image
Beat Culture cover imageSport in American Culture cover imageActing cover image

Product Search

Product Search

Publication Year



Need Help? Try our Search Tips