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Basic Reference Sources Script. Library Instruction Lovejoy Library Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Revised 09/07. BANNER ID Number Cougar Card (insert graphic). Hours slide. Types of Research Questions. Quick-answer In-depth. Who won the 1955 World Series?.

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Basic Reference Sources Script

Library Instruction

Lovejoy Library

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Revised 09/07

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BANNER ID NumberCougar Card (insert graphic)

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Types of Research Questions

  • Quick-answer

  • In-depth

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Who won the 1955 World Series?

Quick-Answer Research Questions

  • The Brooklyn Dodgers SOURCE: Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball

  • What day did Apollo 11 land on the moon?

  • July 20th, 1969 SOURCE: Chronology of World History

  • What is a parable?

  • A short and simple story containing a moral. SOURCE: Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory

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In-Depth Research Questions

  • What are the treatments for schizophrenia?

  • What events led to the fall of the Roman Empire?

  • What changes occur in plants during photosynthesis?

  • What are the major themes of The Great Gatsby?

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Location of Reference Sources

  • Reference Collection

  • Ready Reference

  • Copiers

Wireless Internet

Access Available


P Philology & Linguistics

PA Greek & Latin

PB Modern European

PC Modern Romance

PE English language

PF German

PG Slavic

PM Artificial LanguagePN Journalism

PQ Romantic Lit

PR English Lit

PS American Lit

PZ Fiction







Computing area

A General Works

B Philosophy, Psychology, Religion

C History and Auxiliary Sciences

D History (except America)

E-F History & Geography of the Americas

G Geography and Anthropology

H Social Science

J Political Science

K Law

L Education

M Music

N Fine Arts

P Language and Literature

Q Science

R Medicine

S Agriculture, Plant & Animal Industry

T Technology

U Military Science

V Naval Science

Z Books in General

Reference Collection

Study Area

Quiet Study Area







P Starts

A Starts

Quiet Study Area



Study Area


Library Instruction Classroom

ROOM 1050

Music Listening


M Music

MT Instruction & Study



SelF Copy

Browsing Collection


Information Literacy





InterlibraryLoan ROOM 1045G


Information Desk





Book Collection

L Education

N Fine Arts

{Charge Value to your Cougar Card }

Self Checkout









Basement Entrance



Main Entrance


Fire Extinguisher

Help Phone

Revised Sept 28, 2006

Fire Alarm

First Floor

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Characteristics of Reference Sources

  • Frequently updated

  • Provide information in a concise manner

  • Cannot be checked out of the library

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Determining the Scope of Reference Sources

  • Examine the table of contents

  • Examine the index

  • Check the publication date

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Important Features of Reference Sources

  • Bibliographies –

    a list of articles and/or books that appear at the end of an entry and indicate material the author has utilized or recommends for additional research.

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Signed Articles

are written by experts in the respective fields and indicate the authoritativeness of the information in the reference source.

Important Features of Reference Sources

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Types of Reference Sources

  • Dictionaries

  • Encyclopedias

  • Almanacs and Yearbooks

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  • Dictionaries -

    list the words of a particular language with the correct:

  • spelling

  • definition

  • pronunciation

  • grammatical usage

  • Types of Dictionaries

    • General

    • Specific

    • Subject

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Dictionaries (General)

  • Abridged Dictionaries–

    list only a selection of words in a particular language.

  • Unabridged Dictionaries–

    attempt to include all of the words in a particular language and often provide extensive information for each entry.

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Abridged Dictionaries

  • Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary-

    an abridged dictionary that includes the definitions, etymology, pronunciations, usage dates and notes, and cross-references for over 75,000 words.

(Webster’s is also available in an electronic format)

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Unabridged Dictionaries

  • Oxford English Dictionary (OED) –

    an unabridged dictionarythatis the accepted authority on the English language and an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, usage, and pronunciation of millions of words, taken from both the present and past.

(The OED is also available in an electronic format)

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Other Categories of Dictionaries

  • Specialized Dictionaries-

    approach the study of words from a different perspective or examinespecial categories of words.

    Subject Dictionaries -

    are devoted to a specific field and provide definitions for terms and subjects associated with that field.

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Specialized Dictionaries

  • Bartlett’s Roget’s Thesaurus –

    A thesaurus is a specialized dictionary that organizes words and concepts thematically. For each word contained in a thesaurus, a list of words with similar or opposite meanings has also been provided.

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Subject Dictionaries

  • Twentieth-Century Literary Movements Dictionary –

    a subject dictionary that provides definitions for and examples of over 500 different 20th century literary movements and schools and identifies individuals associated with each school.

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  • Encyclopedias –

  • attempt to cover knowledge in a comprehensive manner.

  • provide general facts and an overview of a topic or subject.

  • contain articles written by specialists in their fields.

  • include bibliographies and illustrations with some entries.

  • Types of Encyclopedias

    • General

    • Subject

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Encyclopedias (General)

  • Encyclopædia Britannica -

    a general encyclopedia considered to be one of the most comprehensive and respected reference products available.

(Britannicais also available in an electronic format)

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Subject Encyclopedias

  • Encyclopedia of Precolonial Africa –

    a subject encyclopedia containing articles that provide information on all aspects of precolonial Africa. Each article is signed and includes a bibliography of additional reference material.

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Almanacs and Yearbooks

  • Provide information in a concise form

  • Provide statistical information

  • Provide coverage of events of the previous year

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Almanacs and Yearbooks

  • Almanac –

    annual publication containing statistics and information about the events of the previous year.

  • Yearbook –

    report of statistics or facts published on a yearly basis

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  • World Almanac

    (and Book of Facts)–

    contains statistics and information about various nations around the world.

(World Almanac isalso available in an electronic format)

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  • Statistical Abstract of the United States–

    contains thousands of statistical tables for the United States covering a variety of social and economic subjects.

(Statistical Abstract is also available in an electronic format)

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Ask if students they have any questions.

Encourage them to feel comfortable asking for assistance either at the Information Desk, contacting the Instruction Office, or via our Ask a Librarian service if they are having difficulties.

Reassure them everyone is willing to assist them!