Background reference resources, or often just reference sources, are designed for quick retrieval of specific and authoritative information.
Use reference sources to:
If you need:
|Somewhere to start||multipurpose|
|Meaning of a word or concept||dictionary|
|Background information or summary of a topic||encyclopedia|
|Practical information or comprehensive overview of a topic||handbook, manual, guide or companion|
|Information about a place||map, atlas or gazetteer|
|Data, numbers or facts||statistics or government information|
|Collection of vetted sources on a topic||bibliography|
|Information about a person||biographical|
Subject specific reference sources are a great way to find specialized information in your discipline.
Try searching the library catalogue by adding a type of reference source to your subject area.
eg: psychology handbook; art dictionary; Shakespeare bibliography
Or check your discipline's Subject Guide for recommended sources