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What are reference sources and why would I use them?
Reference sources can provide background information about a subject or person, general information regarding a process, and/or definitions of terms or concepts. Types of reference sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, almanacs, handbooks, statistical directories, biographical handbooks, chronologies, and other related materials. Reference sources acquaint you with unfamiliar topics by giving you:
- Substantial overviews of an idea, field, subject or event
- Accurate and easy-to-understand definitions
- Analysis of noteworthy events
- Biographical information
Start My Research
Search thousands of sources available through Auraria Library including databases, journals, articles, media, books, and more. Limit by material type, publication date, author, and more.This is the same as the search box on Auraria Library's homepage.
Discover thousands of digital and print reference books & sites.
- Use the Start My Research search box from the above link.
- Type in a keyword or phrase to describe your topic and combine it with the word encyclopedias, dictionaries, chronology, or handbooks.
- psychology encyclopedias
- philosophy dictionaries
- chemistry handbooks
- Vietnam war chronology
- African Americans encyclopedias
- Click on the search button.
- Limit your Content Type (on left) to books/ebooks.
Aren't "Reference Sources" on the Web?
Yes. Reference resources like encyclopedias, timelines, etc. are also on the Web. If you find one that looks good, just be sure to evaluate it so you know the contents are authoritative.
Best Bets: Multidisciplinary Reference Sources
A collection of subject-specific encyclopedias, timelines, quotations, and subject and language dictionaries. Find substantial topic overviews, in-depth information, as well as short definitions. Content is heavier in the arts and humanities but includes titles in the social sciences and sciences.
Britannica, and the resources bundled within the collection, supply topic overviews, biographies, word and concept definitions, a world atlas, historical timelines, quotations, illustrations, photos, videos, links to relevant articles and websites, primary sources, and the World Data Analyst, supplying customizable charts and tables of statistics on countries of the world. Users can suggest edits and additions to content. Note: Britannica ACADEMIC World Atlas is only available on campus. Check the end of each article for a Citation Exporter.
Cambridge Dictionaries Online
Search in one of five English Language Teaching dictionaries: the Cambridge Dictionary of American English (1999); Cambridge International Dictionary of English (2000); Cambridge International Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs (1997); Cambridge Learner's Dictionary (2001); or Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms (1998).
History Reference Center
Covering both U.S. and world history, the History Reference Center contains full-text historical documents and articles from reference books, history magazines, journals, and newspapers. Additionally, it provides timelines, biographies, maps, photos and video clips.
Science Reference Center
Science Reference Center contains monographs, journals and magazines, and reference works on scientific topics including physical sciences, life sciences, and earth and space science.