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Exploring the Reference Department Reference Sources Reference Collection specific portion of a library’s collection Generally non-circulating [can’t check items out] Usually much smaller than the circulating collection Different scope of information Overview Facts/Statistics

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reference sources
Reference Sources
  • Reference Collection
    • specific portion of a library’s collection
    • Generally non-circulating [can’t check items out]
    • Usually much smaller than the circulating collection
  • Different scope of information
    • Overview
    • Facts/Statistics
    • Not read from cover to cover
reference sources3
Reference Sources
  • Reference books are useful for:
    • The first steps in researching a topic
    • Leading you to more complete information on your topic (e.g. subject bibliographies, encyclopedias).
    • Supplementing your research or term paper, with factual/statistical information
types of reference sources
Almanac

Bibliography

Chronology

Concordance

Dictionary

Encyclopedia

Handbook

Quotation Book

Biographical Sources

Who’s Who

Biography Index

Geographical Sources

Atlases

Gazeteers

Statistical Sources

Types of Reference Sources
dictionaries
Dictionaries
  • Dictionaries (general)
    • Abridged: 130,000-180,000 entries Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
    • Unabridged: over 265,000 entries Webster’s Third New International Dictionary
dictionaries8
Dictionaries
  • Etymological dictionary: gives history of words from date they were introduced into a language
    • Oxford English Dictionary (OED)30 volumes!
  • Bilingual dictionary: definitions of words in one language given in another.
    • Cassells French English English French Dictionary
dictionaries9
Dictionaries
  • Subject Dictionaries:
  • These give definitions of terms used in a particular subject area:
    • Dictionary of Personality and Social Psychology
    • Dictionary of Marketing Terms
  • Search the Library Catalog to find subject dictionaries:
    • biochemistry dictionaries as a LC Subject
    • nursing and dictionaries as a keyword search
dictionaries10
Dictionaries
  • Other types:
    • Abbreviations & Acronyms
    • Rhyming
    • Synonym
    • Slang
    • Usage
encyclopedias
Encyclopedias
  • General Encyclopedias
    • Informational articles covering every field of knowledge
    • Useful for early stages of research
    • Many also available online
  • Foreign Encyclopedias
    • Useful for language practice, another viewpoint
    • Brockhaus Enzyklopadie (in German)
encyclopedias12
Encyclopedias
  • Subject Encyclopedias
    • Coverage is limited to a specific subject area
    • Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • Search the Library Catalog
    • anthropology and encyclopedias
    • economics and encyclopedias
finding subject dictionaries and encyclopedias
Finding subject dictionaries and encyclopedias
  • Do keyword searches in the Library Catalog.
  • "topic" AND dictionaries            botany AND dictionaries
  • "topic" AND encyclopedias        civil rights AND encyclopedias
  • The Library of Congress uses the plural of dictionary and encyclopedia in the subject heading for each of these types of sources.
  • For example, The encyclopedia of civil Rights in America has the following subject headings:
  • African Americans -- Civilrights -- History -- Encyclopedias.
  • Civilrights movements -- United States -- History -- Encyclopedias.
  • Civilrights -- United States -- History -- Encyclopedias.
electronic reference sources
Electronic Reference Sources
  • Reference collection is comprised of both print and electronic sources
    • Periodical databases
    • Online Encyclopedias
    • LexisNexis-Reference
    • Online Almanacs & Directories
      • Use the Find It List on the Library’s home page—Click “Reference Sources”