Library Basics

Reference Books

The Libraries’ reference collection consists of specialized encyclopedias, statistical handbooks, guides, indexes, and other tools. Reference books provide an introduction to a topic, terminology, and issues, as well as facts such as statistics.

  • Example: specialized subject encyclopedias available online through our subscription database Credo literati

Of all information resources, reference books are generally considered the most “objective” sources because they incorporate many different sources and viewpoints.

In addition, the CQ Researcher is a good example of a subscription database because it contains:

  • Background on a topic
  • Statistics
  • Differing viewpoints on an issue
  • Bibliography of additional sources

The CQ Researcher is a particularly good reference source for preparing debates or writing a paper on a controversial issue. Each week a new report is produced on a topic of public interest. Skimming through the index or the reports can help you pick a topic.

Reference books can be found using the library catalog. Reference databases can be found using the popular databases webpage. Ask a librarian for assistance in searching for a reference book for your topic.

Library Basics Links    Previous   Next