Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Reference sources have background info
Reference resources - such as encyclopedias and dictionaries - can provide background info on your topic. Reading encyclopedias can also give you search terms to use in the library catalog and databases.
Find hard copy reference books in the library, and online reference resources right here on this page.
How do I find reference resources?
In the library:
Reference books on a vast away of subjects are located in the Library's Reference room, 2nd floor of DLRC. Ask for help in finding what you need.
Using any of the eBook databases below, you can search your topics to find background information from one ore more reference resources:
Britannica Academic (Britannica) This link opens in a new window
Oxford Reference Online Premium (Oxford University Press) This link opens in a new windowDatabase of over 100 dictionary, language reference, and subject reference works published by Oxford University Press. In addition to a facts, figures, definitions, and translations, also includes information across a broad subject range from titles in the Oxford Companions Series. Click "Subjects" for titles under each category.
Funding source: FLVC group license
Very Short Introductions This link opens in a new windowVery Short Introductions (VSI) are hundreds of brief books published by Oxford University Press. eBook Through this database, you can access them as eBooks. VSIs offer. "a bridge between reference content and higher academic work. All titles provide intelligent and serious introductions...written by experts in the field who combine facts, analysis, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make challenging topics highly readable." Broad subjects areas include: Arts and Humanities, Science and Mathematics, Social Sciences, Law, Medicine and Health.
Salem Online (Salem Press) This link opens in a new windowOnline reference materials across a wide variety of subjects.
Funding source: HCC
Reference Websites - selected by HCC librarians
May I cite reference sources?
Your instructor may allow certain reference sources to be cited, especially subject-specific ones - for example, an encyclopedia of art. However, best to ask before including it in your cited sources!