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Finding Background Information: Reference Materials
Reference books (both in print and electronic versions) include
dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, directories, manuals, handbooks,
and much more. Reference books can help you to:
- Explore a topic: find out what has been said about this subject, trends, issues, etc.
- Identify unfamiliar terms or people in your reading
- Find references to other books and articles on the subject
- Find specific keywords to use in online searches
- Oxford Reference Online
Contains online versions of dictionaries and encyclopedias previously published in paper by Oxford University Press.
- Oxford English Dictionary Online
The Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the
evolution of the English language over the last millennium. It is an
unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over
half a million words, both present and past.
- Reference Resources on British History
See librarian Agnes Widder's guides to various periods of British history for specific reference resources.
- Resources for American Studies
Librarian Mike Unsworth's subject guide includes reference resources.
- Gale Virtual Reference Library
Includes the full-text book reference works on many topics,
including history of sciences. Especially see AMERICAN DECADES series
for in-depth coverage of American material culture. Also: ENCYCLOPEDIA
OF CLOTHING & FASHION. IMAGES can be copied.
- Blackwell Reference Online
Blackwell Reference Online contains online versions of
authoritative reference publications in Philosophy, Religion,
Literature, Cultural Studies, History, Business, Economics, Sociology,
Psychology, and Linguistics.
- Interdiscplinary Books in Reference:
For quick look-ups, and overviews that contain citations for other resources. Use the Advanced keyword search in the catalog
and limit location to Main Library Reference for more general overviews
and encylcopedias about world cultures and epochs throughout history.
Many resources for Theatre History are also in Fine Arts.