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: a general online encyclopedia, such as The Columbia encycopedia
Of all information resources, reference books are generally considered the most “objective” sources because they incorporate many different sources and viewpoints.
Online reference sources serve students no matter where they are. Credo Reference is a collection of more than 400 reference books, with searchable full-text content.
The CQ Researcher is a good example of a reference book because it contains:
- Background on a topic
- 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.
Reference books can be found using the library catalog. Ask a librarian for assistance in searching for a reference book for your topic.