Reference books

Reference books


Looking for some quick answers? Information from websites may not be accurate, up-to-date or appropriate. Try some reference books instead.

Advantages Disadvantages
Usually written by experts Unlikely to contain the latest research
Good starting point if you know very little about a topic Coverage of topics will be brief
Good for definitions of words/brief explanations of a topic

Electronic reference works

A large number of reference books are available electronically. If working from home use your network log in to access services.

  • Credo Reference - a set of electronic reference books which may be searched individually and simultaneously. It includes many specialist titles including works on: children and young people, ageing, sociology, social sciences, law, politics, government, medicine and psychology.
  • Oxford Reference Online - a collection of electronic reference books from Oxford University Press which may be searched simultaneously or individually. There are specialist reference resources on: law, medicine, politics, psychology, sociology, statistics, government, education and religion.
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica - this famous reference source contains more than 73,000 articles - both brief and book length on every subject. It also contains links  to video clips, websites and magazine articles. Use this in preference to Wikipedia!

Printed reference works

See the Library reference shelves (on level 1 at both Polhill Library and Park Square LRC) for books such as encyclopaedias, dictionaries and directories. There may also be lending copies of these books available on the main shelves.

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