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Starting Your Research - Augustana Library

What Does Reference Mean?

The word "reference" has a few different meanings.

When you're looking for background information, reference sources help you find specific and authoritative facts and information on a topic. Reference sources can include encyclopedias, dictionaries, biographies, and more.

Reference Databases

Are you just starting to research a topic? Do you need to get more context and background information before reading detailed articles and books? Try searching one of the reference databases below to find an overview of your topic.

Online Dictionaries

Use the dictionaries below to look up the definition or etymology of a word.

Subject-Specific Online Reference Books

The library has encyclopedias about a wide variety of subjects. A few key resources are below; you can find more by searching the library catalogue for the word "encyclopedia" along with key terms about your subject area.


Fine Arts and Humanities

Social Sciences

More Information and Resources

For more information about reference sources, visit the Background Reference Sources Guide.

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University of Alberta
Augustana Campus
Camrose, AB T4V 2R3