By Lauren Pressley and Audra Eagle Yun

You have probably i found it that many cg-tower.comraries have actually a separate ar of the building committed to recommendation sources and also services. Yet have you ever been said what renders those publications special or reasons them come be cure differently? recommendation sources space authoritative works that assist you locate information about people, facts, and also ideas. These resources can aid you find the day of vital event, significant achievements the an individual or organization, or a definition of a term or concept. These publications are frequently used come find details facts, fairly than created to be review cover-to-cover, for this reason they are frequently held in a special component of the cg-tower.comrary come be used for a short duration of time quite than watched to a user end a duration of days.

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This ar of the cg-tower.comrary often likewise has a desk that is staffed by a reference cg-tower.comrarian. Reference cg-tower.comrarians can assist you v a number of steps that the research procedure from coming up through a great question to ask, to finding valuable sources, to assessing websites. Further, as cg-tower.comraries add electronic version of referral sources, a cg-tower.comrarian can aid you navigate both the print and online recommendation collections to discover just the piece of info you need.

Reference sources are generally used in two various ways. One use is to get background details on a topic the you room researching. For example, if you use Wikipedia to find out the general history of an occasion you will be writing about, you room using Wikipedia as a reference resource to find out the paper definition of the topic you space researching. This is not info that you’ll paraphrase, quote, or require to cite in your work, together the research study you space doing in ~ this suggest in the procedure is much more to aid you learn what info you’ll need to find along the way. cg-tower.comrary-owned reference sources often provide this same kind of information, yet often in academic sources and with a higher level the reliability.

The other means references resources tend to be supplied is to find specific facts to support a allude being make in a paper. For example, if you essential to discover the portion of mothers period 20-25 who have actually a university degree, girlfriend would need a trustworthy source, and also a referral cg-tower.comrarian could help you situate it and also cite it. If you to be to look on the open up web, you could find a number friend would take into consideration using, but you would probably still require to check with a referral cg-tower.comrarian to verify the resource is reputable and also trustworthy.

With these two philosophies to referral sources you will certainly often discover yourself in the reference department as you begin a paper, in search of the general context for her topic, and at the really end of creating your paper, as you watch for particular details to bolster your argument. This thing will explain the varieties of resources you are most likely to find.

Why reference Sources?


Reference sources can be a good place to begin your research since they provide quick, authoritative introductions to a topic. They offer summarized, factual details in a clear and also organized way. Typical reference resources that administer this kind of info are encyclopedias and also dictionaries. Referral sources, such together encyclopedias or literature criticisms, will often cite additional sources such as periodical articles and also books. Further, lock often administer a an excellent bibliography for you to check out in her research.

What renders them different from various other sources?

One unique feature of reference sources is that they are not supposed to be review from cover come cover; in fact, they space written for easy discovery of specifically the facts and also figures you desire to know! recommendation sources often incorporate an index by topic and also online referral sources are basic to search making use of keywords.

What are some examples?

There room many species of recommendation sources, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri, directories, and almanacs. An ext broadly, reference sources can likewise include bibliographies, manuals, handbooks, atlases, and gazetteers. Girlfriend can uncover these sources in print and online.


Encyclopedias are more varied 보다 you might think. You can have provided a general one in elementary institution or high school. You can have heard civilization refer come Encyclopedia Britannica together the “gold standard” for encyclopedias. However, you could not have come across a subject-specific encyclopedia before. You can discover encyclopedias on nearly any technique from philosophy to american popular music culture. The thing that every encyclopedias have actually in usual is that they incorporate brief, factual information around topics or concepts. Castle often administer images and also references to additional works. Many are several volumes long, though periodically a very particular one could have just enough content for one or 2 volumes. Another option, Wikipedia, i m sorry is a web encyclopedia with user-contributed entries, is a good starting ar for her research because it points to other reference sources.


Dictionaries are like encyclopedias, however instead of offering a contextual background come a subject, a thesaurus list terms in alphabet order and gives every word’s meaning. Some dictionaries include equivalent words in an additional language, such together an English to Spanish dictionary. Others space subject specific, diving into the minutiae that discipline-specific language. Many dictionaries are just one volume long, however some begin to look more like encyclopedias. The Oxford English Dictionary, for example, consists of 20 volumes, but is yes, really a dictionary. In addition to the an interpretation of every word, the OED contains all the definitions a indigenous has had over time and also references to the first couple of times any type of word has been documented as used.


Thesauri provide synonyms for words with connected meanings. You might select to usage a thesaurus as soon as you room looking for alternative definitions come words you discover yourself making use of frequently. Thesauri often include antonyms, or words with the opposite definition of the one girlfriend look up, i beg your pardon can additionally be helpful when trying come determine alternate ways to say the exact same message.


Bibliographies help provide information around various ideas by offering references to books, films, or recordings that attend to the topic. Bibliographies generally include citations that recommendation the work, author, publisher, and also place that publication. Sometimes they encompass annotations, or quick summaries that the works they cite as well. This details is not something friend would mention in your very own research, but is rather an ext like a roadmap that points you to the resources that will certainly be valuable in her research.

Handbooks and also Manuals

Handbooks and Manuals contain valuable information on a topic. You might think that this very book to it is in a type of handbook or hand-operated on how to execute research. Handbooks on academic disciplines space gateways right into the reasoning of the field. Manuals are similar in the they contain valuable information, however they are more instructional in nature. Manuals come with many electronic tools that you purchase, yet you might also find manuals explaining exactly how to use specific resources or exactly how to strategy skill-based occupational in various fields.


Almanacs encompass calendars, an easy facts, and also statistical information around people, places, and events. These resources contain specific, in-depth information you might need to have to mention in a paper. For example, if you were creating a paper on Tibetan culture and wanted to discover a perform of the holidays commemorated there and when they occur, you can look because that a Tibetan almanac. If you want to discover how numerous women live above poverty for a sociology paper, you can want to look because that an almanac of the united States.

Biographical sources

Biographies and also other biographical resources contain biographical information about individuals such together birth and death days and significant accomplishments in a details field. If you have a paper to create on a theory or a suggest in history, you can use biographical sources to discover background info for a subargument or allude in your paper. If you room writing an entire file on an individual, you will likely need an ext information 보다 you’d uncover in a biography in the referral section. However, a biography in the referral section will certainly contain recommendations to other sources the you would find valuable in your study process.

Atlases and Gazetteers

Atlases and also Gazetteers space two sources that you deserve to primarily think about as pertained to geography. Both carry out a selection of maps and also historical geographic information. This are useful if you need to recognize where miscellaneous is located in the world, but can additionally be helpful to see exactly how lines have been redrawn end time. For example, if you were creating a file about a details county end time, utilizing atlases native the previous or atlases that display shifting lines with time would aid you know if you additionally need to it is in researching neighboring counties because at one suggest in time the ar you space interested in covered that land area. Gazetteers likewise include geographical dictionaries to define places and also locations.


Due come the internet, directories space less typical than they offered to be, however sometimes quiet answer inquiries you can’t prize on the web. Directories encompass information about people or establishments such as addresses, contact information, agency services and also products, and also sometimes biographical information, or agency histories. This deserve to be advantageous if you space trying to understand what institutions exist that resolve the concern you are researching or if you recognize you will should find dedicated information and also you need to recognize what groups exist that could be able to provide it.

How perform I discover reference sources?

Your cg-tower.comrary has actually reference products online and also in print. Print reference collections are generally made easily accessible near the recommendation desk. Some reference sources room shelved near the desk, wherein you can find them yourself if you’d like, and also others may be behind the reference desk. Although most printed referral sources execute not circulate (they cannot be confirm out), you can quickly photocopy or digitally scan and save the info you need.

You will certainly also notification that there room some reference publications shelved in the main cg-tower.comrary bookshelves, or stacks. These can frequently be checked out. These space shelved v the key cg-tower.comrary books since the cg-tower.comrarians have figured out that those particular books room not crucial to most of the reference questions that civilization ask, due to the fact that they will be an ext useful if civilization are able to check them out, or due to the fact that there is a newer version that the source that is maintained in the referral department.

You can find reference resources by law a search in the cg-tower.comrary directory for a specific title or kind of recommendation work. Friend can additionally limit your brochure search so that your search location is “reference.” because that a refresher on how to search, examine out chapter 4. The key thing to store in psychic when looking for a reference source is to begin with a much wider search than you would certainly if friend were trying to find a regular book. This is since the collection of publications in the recommendation department is lot smaller than the full collection. If you were to search with a certain search string that returned, say, 10 publications from a collection of over a cg-tower.comrary’s arsenal of million books, using that exact same search wire to find the lot smaller referral collection of, say, 50,000 publications might not find any that right the find string.

Another reason to search for a vast term is that countless reference publications are really general, however contain certain information. These publications can’t be listed in the directory under every specific thing the they covering in detail, for this reason they’re just listed generally. If i were interested in learning much more about a feminist strategy to social epistemology in philosophy, I deserve to guarantee i won’t discover a reference source on the topic using the search string feminist and “social epistemology” and also philosophy. However, if I search for philosophy, or maybe also “social epistemology,” I’ll discover an encyclopedia ~ above the general topic that contains a section on specifically my topic.

Further, numerous reference sources are going online. Online reference sources are usually noted on the database web page of her cg-tower.comrary’s website. These aren’t databases in the common sense the a database that scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. These room in databases of recommendation sources. For example, you deserve to use the Encyclopedia Britannica in paper in the reference department, or you deserve to use the online variation of Encyclopedia Britannica. The online variation will actually have different information. It have the right to be updated more regularly to be an ext current, incorporate newer topics, and also can go into more detail since there is no room constraint.

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Some online recommendation databases will certainly search across multiple resources. For example, you have the right to search for “Maya Angelou” quickly and also easily throughout multiple biographical reference sources online, rather of looking one printed biographical reference resource at a time. For an ext information on utilizing databases, check out thing 7.