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Library Reference Resources

Knowing about reference resources, or reference materials, is a key to being literate and library "savvy."

Reference materials, whether online or in print, normally fall into the following categories:

Encyclopedias
Indexes and Abstracts
Bibliographies
Dictionaries
Yearbooks
Manuals and Handbooks
Biographical Resources
Geographical Resources
Almanacs
Directories
Government Documents
Subject Specific Resources

You will want at least a passing familiarity with each of these types of reference resources. Depending on their purpose, they can vary drastically in what they have to offer and how they can help you. The only way to know where to get the help they offer is to go to the library and look through them.

This section of the course, therefore, will require that you go to the library and learn the differences between the various reference materials. Get your hands on the books, open them and find out how one varies from another. One biographical source may cover only dead people, another only living people. One dictionary may tell you how to use a word, another may not.

Having said that, let's begin with the encyclopedias...


NEXT: General Encyclopedias



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Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS

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