Reference resources supply background information on a subject or person, general information regarding a process, and definitions of terms or concepts. Types of reference materials include encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, almanacs, handbooks, statistical directories, biographical handbooks, chronologies, and other related materials.
Reference resources acquaint you with unfamiliar topics by giving you:
Researching an unfamiliar topic?
Here are the types of resources that can quickly orient you to a topic!
Subject specific encyclopedias.You're probably familiar with general encyclopedias - which are useful. But specialized encyclopedias are often perfect for really zeroing in on a subject, person, idea, or event.
Specialized dictionaries. The Library offers print and digital foreign language dictionaries, basic English language dictionaries, and numerous specialized dictionaries.
Chronologies or timelines.These reference books and webpages summarize the advancement of an event or happening by supplying brief milestones in the progression of the event. The summaries will be presented day-by-day, year-by-year, or by another chronological breakdown.
Handbooks or Manuals. Handbooks and manuals contain compiled information on a specific topic, which can be anything from writer's manuals to biomedical engineering handbooks.Handbooks and manuals are usually designed for quick and easy reference, and cover areas relating to the topic that might include general information, research in the field, methodologies, policies, procedures, and/or instructions.
Biographical Information. Biographies contain accounts of a person or multiple people's lives, that are written by someone other than the subject of the biography. Sometimes biographies can focus on an object or a concept as their subject as well. For more information, see the Biography guide.
Discover thousands of digital and print reference books & sites.