The "official" MPEG Audio FAQ is linked from the URL
A good resource for data compression compiled by Mark Nelson that includes libraries, documentations, and source code for MPEG audio and especially MP3.
Prof. Barry Truax is an expert on electronic music. His acoustics handbook is at
MPEG-4 Audio implements "Tools for Large Step Scalability", meaning allowing the decoder to decide how many tools to apply and at what complexity, based on available bandwidth. An excellent reference is given by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft research institute, "MPEG-4 Audio Scalable Profile", from link
An interesting list rating the quality value of many commercial audio codecs is at