Generally attempt to summarize topics
and/or assist in finding secondary literature. The purpose
of these sources is to answer short questions, provide background
information, and help you find other sources. Reference works come
in a wild assortment of types on all subjects.
- Good starting points for research, particularly in unfamiliar topic
areas (disciplinary handbooks, subject encyclopedias)
- Good sources for quick facts, contact information, or statistics (almanacs, directories)
- Good for discovering new vocabularies (dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopedias)
- Provide lists of information sources on a topic (indexes, bibliographies)
- Usually tools for finding more in-depth information sources,
rather than being sources themselves.
- Normally are found in the library's
reference section and cannot be checked out. (Some are linked to a library's web page and can be accessed from anywhere.)
- To start serious research, you should know enough about your topic
to talk about it for 1 minute without repeating yourself.
- Target audience: All types
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