Brackman is best known for her Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns (1979), which identified 4216 pieced quilt patterns, and Encyclopedia of Applique (1993), which identified 1795 appliqued quilt patterns. Both books are based on quilt collections and published sources from roughly 1800 to 1970. These books have also been released in electronic form under the title BlockBase (DOS version in 1995, Windows version in 2000). Clues in the Calico, published in 1989, was one of the first studies to use an anlaytic approach to identifying vintage quilts and other textiles on the basis of their color and design attributes. Brackman has also been active in debunking the fanciful myths surrounding the so-called "underground railroad quilt code".