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Kreitzberg Library for Online Students

Use Online Reference Sources

Information on the different kinds of online reference resources.

Reference Sources

Reference books are an excellent source of background information on your topic. With a reference book, you will get a general, well-rounded overview of your topic. In some cases, they can also be a good source of statistical information.

The Kreitzberg Library has several online reference sources:

General Encyclopedias

General encyclopedias are designed to cover all areas of human knowledge. As a result, they have a little bit of information on everything. General encyclopedias are only useful for getting a basic overview of your subject and should never be used as a source in a research paper.

Examples

  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • The World Book Encyclopedia

How to Find...

  • The Kreitzberg Library makes the Encyclopedia Britannica available online. To access it, locate the link in the Reference Section  box under the Research Databases tab.

Subject Encyclopedias & Subject Dictionaries

Subject encyclopedias contain longer, more detailed articles and are limited to specific topics (i.e. art, music, terrorism, corrections); they also offer detailed definitions of terms commonly used in specific fields.

Examples

  • The Dictionary of Criminal Justice
  • Encyclopedia of Terrorism
  • Encyclopedia of Business
  • Dictionary of Civil Engineering

How to Find...

  • Credo Reference can be a helpful resource, as it is a collection of over 500 digital reference titles, both general and subject specific. Find the Credo search box under the Research Databases tab. 

Almanacs & Statistical Resources

Almanacs provide basic facts on a variety of subjects. If you need to know statistical information on a specific country or how much states spent on welfare last year, these are excellent tools to use. The government also provides a great deal of statistical information on wide variety of topical areas.

Examples

  • World Almanac
  • CIA World Factbook
  • Vermont Almanac
  • Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios

How to Find...

  • You can find almanacs at all public and academic libraries. Many almanacs are available online. 
  • Many important statistics are available freely online on government websites. Look at your program's library homepage Web Resources list for categories of applicable sites. 

Directories

Directories are lists of groups, individuals, or institutions that are involved in a specific activity or subject area. Directories can help to identify individuals, organizations and government agencies that may be sources of additional information on your subject. They may also provide basic information about these people or organizations.

Examples

  • National Directory of Law Enforcement Administrators, Correctional Institutions, and Related Governmental Agencies
  • Directory of Historical Organizations in the United States and Canada
  • Vermont Almanac
  • Directory of U.S. Military Bases Worldwide

How to Find...

  • If you have a library in your area, whether public or academic, you may be able to find appropriate directories for your area of research in their collection.
  • The Web can also be a valuable place to find this sort of information. Consult your program's library guide and check the Web Resources tab for categories of applicable sites.