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UMass Amherst Libraries

Arch-Des 670

Reference resources

Old books

Reference books are usually encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, atlases, etc. They are intended to provide quick, reliable information, summaries of complex matters, and, very importantly, bibliographies--suggestions for futher reading.

These reference materials are invariably written by experts in their fields, so they are more trustworthy than Wikipedia--all have gone through a process of editorial review. For an illustrated explanation, see the home page presentation, "What is a referred or scholarly article?"

Note: Many reference sources are available full-text, online.

Some e-reference sources

Gale Virtual Reference Library
A collection of several hundred current subject encyclopedias.

Oxford Reference Online
Entries from over 100 Oxford University Press subject and language dictionaries, guides, and concise companions.