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Reference sources: Home

How to find reference sources

There are several ways to find reference sources in the Library collection:

1. Try the Reference Universe search box on this page

2. Try the link to other online reference collections on this page.

3. Use OneSearch. Enter your search, then limit your results using facets:

  • For online sources, look for "Reference Entries" under the Resource Type facet.
  • For print sources, look for "Reference" listed with your library under the Library - Location facet, OR

4. Visit our Quick Reference Online pages listed on this page.

Reference Universe

Reference Universe searches across specialized research encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, etc. Results may be online OR in print at one of our libraries.

Enter your search terms:

Online reference collections: Alternatives to Wikipedia

Why use reference sources?

Reference sources are often the best place to start your research because they:

  • provide a good introduction to a topic.
  • provide brief, factual information.
  • summarize and clarify issues.
  • define unfamiliar terms.
  • identify additional relevant sources such as books and periodical articles.

Common reference sources include:

  • Encyclopedias - Contain concise, factual information on topics or concepts.
  • Handbooks - Contain practical information (e.g., how to do something) on a topic.
  • Almanacs - Contain calendars, basic facts, and statistical information relating to people, places, and events.
  • Biographical sources - Contain biographical information on individuals such as birth and death dates and major achievements.
  • Dictionaries - Contain definitions of terms.

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