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Encyclopedias & Other Reference Sources

Reference resources, such as encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries, are great starting points for research and finding background on any subject.  Visit our online Reference Guide for a complete list of resources.

Recommended Resources

Credo Reference

A collection of hundreds electronic encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, statistical sources, biographical tools, thesauri, books of quotations, image collections, and subject-specific titles covering everything from art to technology, from music to medicine. Also included is a "Research Mapper," a visual map that displays the connections between search results and topics in an interactive format. 

CQ Researcher

This weekly publication provides in-depth reports on current and controversial issues of the day with complete summaries, insight into all sides of the issues, bibliographies and more. A good starting point for pro/con topics. 

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Encyclopaedia Britannica provides encyclopedia articles and multimedia items including video and audio files, maps, illustrations, photos, primary source documents, ebooks, and recommended websites.

Salem Press

Online reference books covering a variety of disciplines including careers, history, biographies, literature, primary documents, science, and health.

Gale Virtual Reference Library

A collection of specialized reference sources in a variety of academic areas including Asian studies, Religion, History, Food & Nutrition, and Biology.

Oxford English Dictionary

The OED contains the complete contents of the 20-volume Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary and three Additions volumes published from 1993-97. It also includes quarterly releases of work in progress from the complete revision of the OED which is currently underway. Each of the 616,000 entries contains the etymology, definition, part of speech, date of origination, pronunciation, cross-references, and quotations.

Other Tips

  • Search your broad topic in Search@UW.  Then refine your results by limiting the resource type to "Reference Entries."
  • Search your broad topic in Search@UW.  Limit the scope to "Books & Media (UWSP)" and add the term ​encyclopedia to your search.
  • Ask Us! for help.
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