Reference (or background) sources: What they are and when to use them
Use reference books (also called reference or background sources, or resources) to get quick specific facts or information or an overview of a subject.
Some examples of reference sources are: dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, almanacs, directories, atlases, and handbooks. These can be online or in print.
Print reference books
Print reference books are often shelved alongside other books on the same subjects in the Library stacks, or in Reference Collections near Library service desks.
Many -- but not all -- can be borrowed.
Online reference sources (background information)
For 24-hour access to reference resources on any subject and from any location, see Background reference sources.
For discipline-specific resources, search by subject via the Library's research guides, then click on the "Background information" or "Facts and data" tab for recommendations from our subject expert librarians.