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Encyclopedias: Home

What is an Encyclopedia?

  • Encyclopedias are a type of reference book or source.  Other reference sources include dictionaries and sourcebooks. 
  • Reference sources are designed to provide quick and direct access to general overviews and basic factual information on a topic; including definitions, maps, and statistics. 
  • Reference materials are a great place to start your information gathering, once you have a topic.  They can also be used to explore topics with specific fields of study.

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Where can I find Encyclopedias? 

  • Browse encyclopedias using the Library of Congress Call Number Classification System. Simply review the list of subjects within the LC System to find the letter(s) that are relevant to your topic, then go to the library reference shelves and find that section. View LC Call Number Subjects.
  • Search for online and physical (print) items using the online library catalog, Worldcat. Type in your broad topic and add "AND encyclopedia" to the search. Click search to view the results in the catalog, refine your results, and then click on any title to view more information about the item, including location information.  Go to Worldcat.
  • Online encyclopedias and other reference sources, can be found using a database that provides online access to reference sources like encyclopedias.  Open a suggested encyclopedia database, then search for your topic by keyword, refine your results, and capture relevant entries.  View list of Encyclopedia databases.

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Find Print Reference Books

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