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Reference Sources

Everybody wants info to make choices, to reply questions, or to be taught one thing new, and everybody desires that info to be correct. Books have all the time been and proceed to be treasure homes of solutions. Each truth and fiction books train us issues we've by no means recognized about individuals, locations, and issues. On this sense all books reply questions and supply info for us—these written particularly for that function are referred to as reference books. With advances in expertise, the content material of many books, particularly reference books, together with a lot of human information, has been digitized and is on the market on-line by means of the Web. When people want correct info, their finest avenue is to show to reference sources whether or not they're in print or on-line.

Reference sources fall into numerous teams together with: Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Thesauri, Atlases, Indexes, Handbooks and Manuals, Directories, Bibliographies, and Almanacs and Miscellany. Good sources in every of those teams are present in all public libraries, and most libraries provide entry to on-line variations when accessible. If individuals perceive these teams and know examples in most, they've a key to the solutions of many questions.

At one time reference sources had been primarily accessible solely in print, however the creation of digital content material and database software program on-line and accessible by means of the Web means reference sources are obtainable not solely in libraries but in addition from any laptop with Web entry. Public library programs and academic establishments on the regional or state stage typically buy main on-line reference sources and provide them to their patrons or members, typically for a charge. Customers or patrons sometimes are given a person identify and password with a purpose to entry the sources from residence, faculty, or work. The web reference sources could also be books (probably with the identical content material because the print model) or databases, that are collections of information or information organized, saved, and accessed by means of software program designed for that function.

Studying easy methods to use reference sources is a vital a part of training. Some individuals specialize on this talent and after years of coaching spend their lives working as reference librarians. Many individuals assume that reference librarians know all of the solutions. They don't, however they do know the place to search out the precise reply. Questions attain the library reference desk immediately from individuals visiting the library, by phone, by mail, and by e-mail. The librarians do their finest to reply all questions appropriately and shortly.

Few individuals must know as a lot about reference supplies as a librarian. With some examine and searching, or assist from a librarian, anybody can be taught to make use of lots of the reference sources. Figuring out the place to search for reference books in libraries and easy methods to use them will often result in the precise reply. Discovering correct info on-line might be tougher. Anybody with some fundamental laptop abilities can create a Net web page or publish content material in numerous methods to the Web, however that content material just isn't all the time dependable. Customers should be capable to acknowledge and consider on-line sources for authenticity, accuracy, and timeliness. These analysis abilities are taught in most colleges and are vital for successfully utilizing on-line reference sources. Assist with on-line looking out additionally could also be obtained by means of the general public library.


All good reference sources have one thing in frequent: they're correct. If a reference useful resource provides the unsuitable reply continuously, it doesn't should be labeled reference materials. One of the best reference supplies are those who give up-to-date info written in comprehensible language with out editorial opinion. Authority and equity are two different essential components which can be frequent to good reference sources.

Nobody useful resource makes an attempt to reply all questions. The nice reference useful resource furnishes the correct info that must be discovered inside its scope. Readers or customers shouldn't look forward to finding info within the discipline of mythology in a chemistry handbook—they need to, nevertheless, look forward to finding the solutions to chemical questions.

Different essential components in reference supplies are group and readability. Readers utilizing a reference useful resource look forward to finding a truth shortly. Effectively-organized sources allow them to do exactly that. Dictionaries and encyclopedias are often organized alphabetically, atlases by continent and nation divisions. Statistical handbooks often divide the tables by broad topics and complement them with an alphabetical index. On-line sources must be straightforward to navigate with each easy and superior search capabilities and have on-line assist available. Key phrase and pure language looking out is useful for customers with much less subtle search abilities.

It's equally essential that the info themselves be simply understood. Irrespective of how a lot authority has gone into the preparation of a reference useful resource, it's of little worth if the fabric just isn't readable. One of the best reference works are rigorously edited for each accuracy and ease of studying. For print materials a well-made, enticing e-book is nice to make use of, and the weather of design and format are essential. Analysis helps Net designers perceive easy methods to design participating, readable, and simply used Net pages. In each print and on-line sources, illustrations are getting used increasingly more to assist clarify the textual content. On the proper level within the textual content, a photograph, diagram, or desk could save paragraphs of rationalization. Phrases about distant locations, discoveries, and processes many instances come to life solely when they're recognized by means of clear maps, diagrams, or footage. Effectively-designed supplies with interesting format—all kinds of illustrations plus readable and well-spaced sort—contribute to a useful resource’s usefulness.

Bibliographies in a reference useful resource are of double significance. Primarily, these lists of supply materials point out the place the editors have discovered the info which have gone into the useful resource. As well as, they're worthwhile in guiding the reader to further info.

Simply as with print sources, on-line reference supplies additionally have to be rigorously edited for authenticity, accuracy, and timeliness. Know-how has introduced quite a few modifications to the world, and it's altering the face of reference sources from a principally print-based world to an digital world. One such change is within the space of reference sources the place expertise helps Net-based initiatives reminiscent of Wikipedia, a so-called open-source encyclopedia made up of content material contributed by guests to the location. These contributors want no particular {qualifications} and will add any content material they want, correct or inaccurate, so long as it meets modifying insurance policies. Wikipedia’s hope is that wrong info will likely be corrected by one other contributor—shortly. Within the space of reference sources, it is a controversial idea, primarily as a result of reference sources by definition are held to excessive requirements, together with authenticity and accuracy.


Many individuals consider encyclopedias as the one reference useful resource. To a level that is right as a result of, as a gaggle, encyclopedias are crucial reference instruments. No library can get alongside with out current editions of the higher units and entry to some on-line variations. By definition an encyclopedia contains in a single publication information of significance to people in many various fields. In one of the best print encyclopedias this info is introduced in articles of assorted lengths, organized alphabetically by topic and supplemented with a cautious, detailed index. Due to the vary of information right now, the good encyclopedias prolong to many volumes. There have been a couple of makes an attempt to current one-volume encyclopedias, however these have proved of restricted use.

The preparation of a very good encyclopedia entails years of exhausting work on the a part of a whole lot of individuals. Students in all kinds of topic fields put together the unique articles. Editors rework these articles to suit the type and format of the encyclopedia. Librarians and analysis employees recheck the accuracy of the info. Artists and typographers work carefully with the fabric to find out the ultimate design of the print volumes. Net designers work on interesting and user-friendly Net web page format if there may be to be a web based model. Indexers comb the articles for main topic materials and important small info. These are then identified for the good thing about future readers by means of quick entries within the alphabetical index or on-line variations of cross-references and associated matters.

If all through this labor of preparation the best requirements have been maintained, the publication deserves the title of encyclopedia. Even after publication the writer’s accountability continues. In successive variations, new info, concepts, and theories deserve locations within the set. To maintain the encyclopedia updated one of the best publishers have arrived on the follow of steady revision. This implies fixed rewriting and re-illustration of articles to report contemporary information.


Even when encyclopedias comprise lots of the needed solutions, these solutions are most accessible to individuals who have discovered easy methods to use the useful resource correctly. One of the best ways to learn to use an encyclopedia, and a great way to guage the standard of it, is solely to follow with it. Choose an attention-grabbing broad topic. With a print encyclopedia the help of the index and cross-references will help with monitoring down all the data within the encyclopedia associated to that topic. College librarians train college students easy methods to be good researchers in each print and digital codecs. On-line encyclopedias often present entry to a “assist” part, which presents directions and ideas for changing into more adept in utilizing their search course of.

If the search proves to be comparatively straightforward and productive, the encyclopedia might be considered a very good reference work. If in such a search the person fails to search out all the data simply or runs into blind alleys, the worth of the encyclopedia is lessened.

In print encyclopedias indexes differ; some are in a single quantity, whereas others are part of every quantity of the set. Good indexes rigorously accumulate all references within the set below topic headings, with easy instructions to quantity and web page numbers. In on-line variations having the ability to search by key phrase and topic is vital.

The type of cross-references in encyclopedias additionally varies. One form, a “see” reference, directs the readers to that time within the useful resource the place they will discover the data they need (Physiography, see Bodily Geography). The opposite form, a “see additionally” reference, directs the readers to associated materials within the useful resource (Bodily Geography, see additionally Earth; Glaciers; Volcanoes). Training with any encyclopedia results in familiarity with these variations and to an understanding of the mechanics of the useful resource. Will probably be simpler to make use of that encyclopedia the following time.


The concept of an encyclopedia dates from when people first considered recording and passing on information. The phrase itself comes from an historical Greek phrase that means the “entire circle of information.” The work usually thought-about as the primary encyclopedia is the Roman scholar Pliny’s Pure Historical past, compiled in the course of the first century. In 37 volumes Pliny introduced some 20,000 info gathered from 2,000 books written by 100 authors.

The well-known printer William Caxton revealed the primary English language encyclopedia in 1481. It was a translation from the French and appeared in English as Myrrour of the World. Credit score for first utilizing the phrase encyclopedia as a title goes to Johann Heinrich Alsted, a German, for his work below that identify revealed in 1630.

The primary alphabetically organized reference work in English was written by John Harris. It was revealed in 1704 below the title Common English Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. Impressed by this work, Ephraim Chambers revealed in 1728 his Cyclopaedia or an Common Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. This publication is traditionally essential for 3 causes: it was the primary to emphasise using many authorities as contributors; it launched cross-references; and, most essential of all, it served because the inspiration for the good French Encyclopédie.


John Mills, the English author on agriculture, started the interpretation of the Chambers’ encyclopedia into French. After an argument with the writer, he withdrew from the mission, and the work was turned over to the French thinker Denis Diderot. Beneath Diderot’s course, such males as Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jean le Rond d’Alembert, and Montesquieu contributed to the Encyclopédie. This 28-volume set and dietary supplements had been revealed from 1772 to 1780. The revolutionary spirit of the interval was mirrored in lots of the articles. Judged by fashionable requirements of equity and accuracy, the encyclopedia was not a perfect one however due to its affect, it grew to become acknowledged as the primary main nationwide encyclopedia.

The best of the early nationwide encyclopedias grew to become the one with the longest uninterrupted publishing historical past—Encyclopædia Britannica, which began publication in Edinburgh in 1768. With its ninth version, accomplished in 1889, encyclopedia making reached a brand new peak of scholarship. The standard of this version led to world recognition of Britannica. Shortly afterward the publishing workplaces had been moved to London and, in 1920, to america. Since then Britannica has exchanged its British taste for a broader base because the premier encyclopedia of the English-speaking peoples. That is very true of the fifteenth version, revealed early in 1974; its full reorganization and intensified worldwide focus set a brand new commonplace for world encyclopedias.

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A significant revision of The New Encyclopædia Britannica was revealed in 1985. The historic fifteenth version was restructured and expanded to 32 volumes, together with a brand new two-volume index. On the identical time a brand new and extra complete yearbook, the Britannica World Knowledge Annual, was launched. By the Nineties Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., had produced or was at work on encyclopedias and different instructional supplies in Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Italy, France, Spain, Latin America, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, and elsewhere.

Britannica was an early chief in digital publishing and new media. In 1981, below an settlement with Mead Knowledge Central, the primary digital model of the Encyclopædia Britannica was created for the Lexis-Nexis service. In 1994 the corporate developed Britannica On-line, the primary encyclopedia for the Web, which made your entire textual content of the Encyclopædia Britannica accessible worldwide. In 2002 Britannica launched Britannica On-line College Version, a complete reference and training service specifically designed for elementary and secondary faculties.


Some important American contributions to encyclopedias have been made within the faculty and younger individuals’s discipline. John Newbery’s Circle of the Sciences (London, 1745) could also be considered the primary try to publish a youngsters’s encyclopedia, however it's in america that such encyclopedias have been developed. One of many earliest was the Scholar’s Cyclopedia. Frank E. Compton bought it in 1912. The necessity for and success of that set led to the planning and publication of Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia, first issued in 1922. The emphasis upon illustrations is one in every of Compton’s many contributions to good encyclopedia follow. Footage had been utilized in instructional books earlier than, however no encyclopedia previous to Compton’s had ever included so many and such a wide range of illustrations.

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., acquired Compton’s in 1961, and in 1989 the primary multimedia CD-ROM encyclopedia, Compton’s MultiMedia Encyclopedia, was launched. The disc contained all 35,000 main-text and Reality-Index articles in Compton’s Encyclopedia, a lot of the illustrations, and your entire Webster’s Intermediate Dictionary. A number of the options of the world’s first true multimedia encyclopedia included distinctive accessing applications, animated illustrations, and sound. At this time Compton’s is a part of the Britannica On-line College Version.


A dictionary might be described as an alphabetically organized checklist of phrases and their definitions. 4 sorts of dictionaries are present in U.S. libraries: English language, supplementary language, international language, and topic dictionaries.

The earliest English dictionaries had been compiled to clarify troublesome and international phrases. Simple phrases weren't included as a result of it was felt that everybody knew them. The primary English dictionary, Robert Cawdrey’s A Desk Alphabeticall (1604), was little greater than an inventory of phrases in Latin and French texts.

As dictionaries developed, the straightforward phrases had been included with the exhausting ones. Even then no try was made to incorporate all of the phrases within the English language. Nathan Bailey, who gave the English individuals An Common Etymological English Dictionary (1721), made it clear that he had included solely these phrases in good standing. When Dr. Samuel Johnson was requested to organize an English dictionary he readily accepted, happy to have the ability to function a literary dictator in selecting the right phrases.

Johnson’s nice Dictionary, with a Grammar and Historical past of the English Language appeared in 1755 and was reprinted numerous instances within the following century. It may be present in most giant libraries right now in a single version or one other however is considered a literary curiosity. Lots of Johnson’s definitions had been too sophisticated. For instance, he outlined “community” as “something reticulated or decussated at equal distances, with interstices between the intersections.” Many definitions included the creator’s private opinions (see Johnson, Samuel). Even with these faults, when his dictionary first appeared it was a landmark in dictionary making.

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The primary nice American dictionary was produced by Noah Webster in 1828. Titled An American Dictionary of the English Language, it included about 70,000 phrases and emphasised variations in meanings and utilization between america and England. This quantity too included solely phrases in good standing. For the reason that publication of Webster’s first dictionary, his identify has been linked with American dictionary making. There are numerous fashionable dictionaries that use the Webster identify, however these which can be closest to his spirit of scholarship are generally known as Merriam-Webster dictionaries (see Webster, Noah).

At this time’s idea of a dictionary was the results of a scholarly paper learn to the members of the Philological Society in London. It was in 1857 that Richard Trench, Dean of Westminster, appeared earlier than that group to report his pondering “On some Deficiencies in our English Dictionaries.” His most important level was that “it's no process of the maker of it to pick the good phrases of the language.” He went on to clarify that the true job of the dictionary maker is to report all of the phrases which can be utilized by the individuals.

It was this concept that led on to the best of all English dictionaries, A New English Dictionary on Historic Ideas. Publication in components started in 1884, and the ultimate half didn't seem till 1928. Ten years after publication began, The Oxford English Dictionary was added to the unique identify. This great mission, which got down to report all phrases within the English language and the way they're and have been used, concerned 70 years of analysis. A thousand British and U.S. students collected 5,000,000 quotations from 5,000 writers. The OED will likely be completely worthwhile as a scholarly historic report of the English language. It additionally has helped repair perpetually the concept that dictionaries have to be primarily based on utilization.


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© Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Good dictionaries can be found right now in any respect studying ranges. A number of the easiest ones have been ready for the early elementary grades at school. The most important ones are the unabridged works which can be often present in libraries and are consistently consulted due to their authority in relation to right phrase utilization.

The shorter, or desk, dictionaries right now will not be restricted by the previous thought of together with solely the “exhausting” or “good” phrases. They're constructed on the scientific foundation of frequency of utilization. This concept, promoted within the glossary research of Dr. Edward L. Thorndike, is predicated on really counting how typically phrases are utilized in on a regular basis writing. These phrases used most frequently are included within the desk dictionaries. Solely the unabridged dictionaries are compiled with out contemplating frequency of utilization, however even these don't embody many technical and out of date phrases. The usual unabridged dictionaries embody roughly 400,000 phrases. Desk dictionaries seldom embody greater than about 125,000 phrases.

All these dictionaries provide quite a lot of details about every phrase. The phrase itself is appropriately spelled, divided into syllables, and marked to point out an appropriate pronunciation. The supply of the phrase is indicated and its a part of speech recognized. A number of meanings of the phrase are listed within the order of utilization. Synonyms and antonyms are sometimes equipped, and lots of the phrases are illustrated by drawings.

The highschool dictionaries are smaller. These often embody 45,000 to 70,000 of the extra frequent phrases. Subsequent are the intermediate dictionaries, which can embody 30,000 to 40,000 of probably the most generally used phrases. On the most basic stage is the first dictionary, with fewer than 5,000 phrases. In these the phrases are defined by means of footage or by means of use in easy sentences.

On-line dictionaries provide the identical info as print variations. Many free on-line dictionaries are available, together with English language, medical, international language, science, and slang. Know-how has allowed many publishers of on-line sources to construct in a dictionary to assist customers higher perceive the content material. For instance, in Britannica’s on-line encyclopedias a double click on on any phrase brings up the dictionary definition together with an audible pronunciation of the phrase. That is extraordinarily worthwhile to anybody making an attempt to realize new information.


The dictionaries generally known as supplementary language dictionaries serve totally different capabilities. They cope with particular phases of language. An excellent instance is a utilization e-book, Author’s Information & Index to English, by Porter G. Perrin and Wilma R. Ebbitt. It solutions questions on punctuation, spelling, paragraphs, sentences, and grammar—solutions not often discovered within the extraordinary dictionary. One other essential supplementary language e-book is the handbook of synonyms. It provides shades of variations in that means amongst phrases that imply roughly the identical factor. Using this sort of e-book can add coloration to writing and helps to keep away from monotony in phrase selection.

Nonetheless different language reference books are dedicated to abbreviations, phrase origins, rhymes, slang, and technical and international phrases. Bilingual international language dictionaries are useful to individuals who should talk in a language unknown to them. These dictionaries are constructed to not give the that means of phrases however to offer the international language equal of the native language phrase. Most of those dictionaries are dedicated to a single international language reminiscent of English to French or French to English.


Whereas a dictionary presents definitions and pronunciations, a thesaurus accommodates synonyms and antonyms. The thesaurus was created to assist individuals higher specific themselves by having the ability to choose one of the best phrase to offer voice to their ideas. It additionally differs in association from alphabetically organized dictionaries. In a thesaurus entries are listed by classes or ideas branching out to associated phrases. A thesaurus permits customers to think about alternate options for his or her authentic phrase, maybe even phrases, to precise precisely what they imply. One of the best-known thesaurus was revealed in 1852 by Peter Roget, an English doctor, and was appropriately referred to as Roget’s Thesaurus.

At this time there are thesauri specializing in particular topics reminiscent of historical past, agriculture, music, structure, and far more. A thesaurus is an especially worthwhile reference useful resource for anybody who writes or desires to be exact of their communication whether or not for varsity, for work, or for pleasure. On-line thesauri are straightforward to make use of and are sometimes only a hyperlink away when wanting up phrases in a web based dictionary.


By definition an atlas is a group of maps revealed in a single useful resource. The phrase atlas originated when one of many early collections included, as ornament for the maps, the Greek mythological determine of the enormous Atlas supporting the world on his shoulders. The atlas group contains the widest number of publications. An atlas in its easiest kind could also be pocket measurement, offering street or road instructions. In its most elaborate print kind an atlas is giant sufficient to wish a studying stand to help it. The wealth of maps within the giant atlases presents the recognized geographic info of the present world.

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Good atlases often embody 100 or extra particular person maps. These are often introduced in geographic sequence, with maps masking the entire world first, adopted by maps organized by continent, nation, area, and smaller areas. An index helps to find locations on the maps shortly and infrequently provides populations. By finding unusual place names and studying the info about these locations, the information reviews from world wide might be higher understood.

As with dictionaries, free on-line collections of maps are simply accessed. They'll embody bodily maps in addition to satellite tv for pc maps, pure sources maps, climate maps, and journey planning maps. New applied sciences enable customers to zoom in on their very own geographic space as if seeing it from house.

Data of the association of a person print atlas is critical earlier than it may be used efficiently. A very powerful info is the sequence by which the maps themselves seem. The second main truth in relation to the atlas is the association of the index info. In some atlases the index to locations is printed on the again of the maps themselves. In others, all of the place names are collected in an alphabetical checklist in an index part of the amount.

No matter index system is used, the place names will likely be adopted by one in every of two discovering units. The standard system locates a spot by giving its precise longitude and latitude. A second and equally in style methodology entails numbered and lettered sections separated by grid strains on the map. The index locates factors by naming the realm with a quantity and a letter.

A 3rd essential aspect within the clever use of any print atlas entails figuring out the form of map projection used within the atlas. For the reason that Earth’s spherical floor must be represented on a flat web page the presentation is all the time distorted. Within the historical past of map making, many various sorts of projection have been developed, of which the Mercator projection is finest recognized (see Maps and Globes). Anybody or a mix of those could also be utilized in a contemporary atlas. You will need to know which one is getting used and to know the ensuing distortion.

Atlases, like dictionaries, are revealed in all kinds. Easy ones can be found to be used in elementary schoolwork. On the different excessive, extremely advanced atlases can be found for using the scientific geographers of the world. There are additionally many particular forms of atlases. On this group are atlases involved with such topics as climate circumstances, animal distribution, location of mineral deposits, inhabitants facilities, and the geography of the Bible.


UNESCO has outlined an index as a “systematically organized checklist giving sufficient details about every merchandise to allow it to be recognized and traced.” With out the wealth of index materials accessible right now, reference librarians couldn't do their jobs. A lot of this materials comes from a single firm, the H.W. Wilson Firm, which in the course of the twentieth century developed the artwork of indexing to its highest stage.

All their quite a few indexes are revealed in components, by a particular schedule by means of the 12 months. All of them additionally use a system of cumulation (gathering) that helps the reader find all present info with the least potential effort. One of the best recognized of the Wilson indexes, Readers’ Information to Periodical Literature, offers a graphic instance of this method. The print and on-line database variations function topic guides to articles in additional than 400 of the most well-liked U.S. magazines. Lower than a month after the looks of the magazines, all the topic articles have been analyzed and added to the index.

Different Wilson indexes are involved with particular topic fields: utilized science and expertise, artwork, biography, biology and agriculture, e-book evaluations, enterprise, training, humanities, legislation, library, and social sciences. As soon as the method of utilizing the fundamental index is discovered, these particular indexes, in-built the identical method, assist find materials in a whole lot of periodicals in particular quite than in style fields. Some skilled organizations publish indexes in their very own fields.


This classification of reference supplies might be probably the most troublesome to clarify as a result of the sources in it have so little in frequent. They, nevertheless, have all been written or compiled to furnish details about a particular topic shortly. That topic could also be child care, etiquette, or easy methods to construct a ship within the basement. In every of those fields and in a whole lot of others there are handbooks and manuals that assist.

Studying to make use of these sources relies upon upon two of the weather which can be essential in relation to encyclopedias. The primary is the scope of the useful resource, and the second is the association or group and the convenience of use. A examine of the introduction, an thought of what's coated, and easy methods to entry the data of any good handbook or handbook is all that's mandatory to realize the important thing to its straightforward use.

The a whole lot of sources on this group can not all be listed. Dialogue of some of them will point out how worthwhile they're to find the precise info.

Well-known quotes and sayings from the humorous to the inspirational might be discovered within the group of citation sources. One of the best of them are constructed in order that regardless of the analysis strategy could also be—looking for the creator, topic, or citation—the reply is simple to search out. Whether or not it's a “rose is a rose is a rose” or a “rose by another identify,” the creator’s identify and the precise citation might be discovered.

There's additionally a big group of sources to assist customers determine when all forms of occasions occurred. Some of the attention-grabbing is Joseph Nathan Kane’s Well-known First Details: A Report of First Happenings, Discoveries and Innovations in america revealed in print and on-line by H.W. Wilson. One other fascinating useful resource is the American E book of Days, which, together with its companion quantity, the Worldwide E book of Days, information day-by-day main holidays, native and regional historical past, and birthdays of essential individuals.

College students and adults alike are sometimes interested by numerical information or statistical info. One excellent instance of such a reference useful resource is a publication of the U.S. authorities, the Statistical Summary of america. That is issued annually and offers extra statistical information than another single publication.

Different sources on this group assist individuals determine easy methods to do one thing. The wanted info could vary from easy methods to run a membership assembly to easy methods to know which fork to make use of for salad. Alternatively, it might be involved with easy methods to shield your self whereas elevating bees for revenue or easy methods to administer synthetic respiration. Regardless of the query there's a useful resource with the reply.


One of many largest teams of reference questions is about individuals, individually or in teams or organizations, and an entire library of directories has been compiled to reply these questions. On the only stage, a phone e-book might be thought-about as a biographical listing. On the different excessive lie the in depth biographical reviews, full with footage and quick lists of references, which can be present in Present Biography. There are directories for finding enterprise info, authorities sources, e-mail addresses, or faculties and universities. The scope is diversified and directories could give info in relation to an area area or could also be international of their protection. Figuring out what particular info is being sought and discovering the precise useful resource will result in profitable outcomes.


Bibliographies are carefully associated to indexes inasmuch as they too function discovering lists. The chief variations lie in the truth that bibliographies are continuously extra specialised of their scope and are selective to the purpose of figuring out one of the best accessible materials. A bibliography might be as temporary because the e-book lists included on the finish of this text or in depth sufficient to be revealed in a number of volumes. Each reader, whether or not his curiosity is informal or scholarly, can prolong his information by means of using the hundreds of accessible bibliographic sources. (See additionally Bibliography.)


No dialogue of reference sources might be full with out this sort of grouping of some main titles that defy straightforward classification. Almanacs, great catchalls of miscellaneous info, clearly can't be categorised. They're among the many oldest forms of reference sources and initially had been easy calendars with notes about principal holidays, climate predictions, and astronomical observations.

Essentially the most well-known of the early American almanacs was Poor Richard’s Almanack. The literary product of Benjamin Franklin in the course of the interval 1732–57, it was continued by others till 1796 (see Franklin, Benjamin). The oldest steady publication on this discipline first appeared in 1792 as The Farmer’s Almanack . . . for the 12 months of Our Lord 1793. At this time the direct descendant of that publication, The Outdated Farmer’s Almanac, remains to be broadly learn and can be accessible on-line. The 2 in style fashionable American almanacs are The World Almanac, which has been revealed yearly since 1868, and the Data Please Almanac. The latter, a product of the quiz program of the identical identify, has been revealed yearly since 1947. Each of them embody such numerous info as political historical past and baseball batting averages, and each provide a youngsters’s almanac.

A reference e-book that can not be ignored is the Holy Bible. It's referred to very often, and examples exist of each number of reference work primarily based on its material. The entire Bible library contains the assorted licensed variations of the Bible in addition to encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, handbooks, directories, indexes, concordances, and bibliographies involved solely with Bible lore (see Bible). One other main spiritual reference supply is the Koran, which is the central textual content of Islam. As with the Bible, many reference sources have been created across the Koran.

Essentially the most specialised of all reference supplies are sources about reference sources. By using three fundamental publications of the American Library Affiliation (ALA), the reference works of the world might be situated. These are the revised and expanded model of the ALA’s Information to Reference Books, which with its twelfth version will start together with a web based companion; Basic Reference Sources, by James H. Sweetland; and the subscription e-book evaluations in The BooklistReally helpful Reference Books in Paperback, compiled by Jovian P. Lang and Jack O’Gorman, is revealed by Libraries Limitless. From such reference works, and people they function, most questions might be answered.


With the ever-increasing quantity of knowledge accessible on the Net and the variety of print sources with digital variations, librarians and others are contemplating the way forward for reference sources. Using print reference sources is on the decline as using digital sources will increase. With faculties, public library programs, and state associations making reference sources simply accessible to patrons and customers, having a house assortment of print reference sources is much less and fewer wanted. Librarians are confronted with choices about what print reference supplies are actually wanted in native public and college libraries. At this time customers nonetheless have entry to, and use, print reference sources. Subsequent generations which have grown up with the Web are much more prone to rely on digital reference sources.


The next reference sources signify a number of the finest accessible. Lots of the print sources are additionally accessible on-line.

Encyclopedias Collier’s Encyclopedia, 24 vols. (Macmillan Academic Co.). Compton’s Encyclopedia, 26 vols. (Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.). The Encyclopedia Americana, 30 vols. (Scholastic Library). Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, 29 vols. (Funk & Wagnalls, Inc.). The New E book of Data Encyclopedia, 21 vols. (Scholastic Library). The New Encyclopædia, 32 vols. (Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.). New Normal Encyclopedia, 20 vols. (Normal Academic Corp.). The World E book Encyclopedia, 22 vols. (World E book, Inc.).

Dictionaries American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed. (Houghton, 2006). Cassell’s Dictionary of Overseas Phrases and Phrases (Cassell, 2002).Churchill Livingstone Dictionary of Sport and Train Science and Medication (Churchill Livingstone, 2008). The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (Routledge, 2007). Concise Oxford English Dictionary, eleventh ed., rev. (Oxford Univ. Press, 2006). Funk & Wagnalls New Worldwide Dictionary of the English Language, 2 vols. (Literary Guild, 2005). Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, eleventh ed. (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Merriam-Webster’s Intermediate Dictionary (Merriam-Webster, 2004). The Oxford Dictionary of Overseas Phrases and Phrases (Oxford Univ. Press, 2000). The Oxford English Dictionary, 20 vols. (Oxford Univ. Press, 1989). Random Home Webster’s Faculty Dictionary (Random, 2005). Webster’s New World Faculty Dictionary, 4th ed. (Merriam-Webster, 2004). Webster’s Third New Worldwide Dictionary of the English Language (Merriam-Webster, 2002).

Thesauri Merriam-Webster’s Intermediate Thesaurus (Merriam-Webster, 2004). Oxford Thesaurus of English, 2nd rev. ed. (Oxford Univ. Press, 2006). Roget’s Worldwide Thesaurus, sixth rev. ed. (Collins, 2003).

Atlases Britannica Atlas (Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1996). The Columbia Gazetteer of the World, 3 vols. (Columbia Univ. Press, 1998). Goode’s World Atlas, twenty first ed. (Rand, 2006). Google Earth, Hammond Gold Medallion World Atlas (Hammond, 1992). Merriam Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, third. ed. (Merriam-Webster, 2007). Nationwide Geographic Atlas of the World, eighth ed. (Nationwide Geographic, 2004). Rand McNally Atlas of World Geography (Rand, 2005). The Occasions Complete Atlas of the World, twelfth ed. (Collins, 2008).

Indexes A–Z Index of U.S. Authorities Departments and Companies, Biography Index (Wilson, annual). Readers’ Information to Periodical Literature (Wilson, annual).

Handbooks and Manuals American Purple Cross. American Purple Cross First Assist & Security Handbook (Little, 1992). Bartlett, John. Bartlett’s Acquainted Quotations, seventeenth ed. (Little, 2002). Benét, W.R., ed. The Reader’s Encyclopedia, 4th ed. (Collins, 1996). FedStats, U.S. Federal Authorities Statistics, Guinness World Data (Guinness, annual). Hart, J.D., and Leininger, Phillip. The Oxford Companion to American Literature, sixth ed. (Oxford Univ. Press, 1995). Kane, J.N. Well-known First Details, sixth ed. (Wilson, 2006). Occupational Outlook Handbook (U.S. Dept. of Labor), Publish, Peggy. Emily Publish’s Etiquette (Collins, 2004). Robert, H.M., and others. Robert’s Guidelines of Order, Newly Revised (Da Capo, 2000). The Statesman’s 12 months-E book (Macmillan, annual). Statistical Summary of america,

Directories American Males and Ladies of Science (Gale, 2008). Present Biography (Wilson, month-to-month). Dictionary of American Biography (Scribner, 1928–37; dietary supplements, 1944– ). Oxford Dictionary of Nationwide Biography, 60 vols. (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004). Merriam-Webster’s Biographical Dictionary (Merriam-Webster, 1995). Random Home Dictionary of World Biography (Random, 2005). Who’s Who (St. Martin’s, annual). Who’s Who in America (Marquis, biennial with annual complement). Who’s Who of American Ladies(Marquis, annual).

Why use reference sources?

Reference sources embody dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri, directories, and different supplies offering basic details about a wide range of topics.  Whenever you want the "backstory" on a topic, reference sources are the primary supply for who, what, when, the place and why questions.  Search the library catalog or the reference part of the library databases to search out and find sources for you writing task. 

The reference assortment is discovered on the primary ground of Accokeek Corridor Library. 

Your professor has given you a writing task. This is among the many writing assignments you'll do whereas attending school. However you’re questioning, why do I must learn to write?  I wish to be a nurse; lawyer; doctor; or skilled athlete. Do you know that world class athletes do crunches, run 5 miles a day, and raise barbells in order that they are often in one of the best form to play sports activities? Equally, writing a analysis paper (crunches) develops abilities that allow you to succeed not solely in school however in your life. Due to this fact; you will need to get this talent below your belt. 

You marvel, the place do I start?

First, learn the task fully and spotlight the necessities: What's the matter? What number of pages or phrases should the paper be? When is the paper due? What quotation type is appropriate?

When you’ve selected a subject, then you could do some background studying. This can allow you to perceive the subject extra deeply. Furthermore; it offers you some perception into the way you wish to strategy the subject. 

Ask your self, what context do I wish to take into account this matter by means of? For instance, it's possible you'll wish to take into account tradition, society, historical past, well being or a selected self-discipline?  This can allow you to FRAME the subject and make it extra significant. 

When you’ve answered the questions, then you will have to do some background looking out basically reference supplies with a purpose to discover and find details about your matter. When you try this then you will see that sources that present:

  • A broad overview of the subject
  • Definitions of the subject
  • Introduction to key points or concepts
  • Names of people, organizations or which can be specialists within the topic discipline
  • Main dates and occasions
  • Key phrase and topic particular vocabulary phrases that can be utilized in a database
  • Bibliographies that result in further sources

Now that you just perceive the importance of doing background analysis, you ask your self, the place do I start looking out? The reply is within the GENERAL REFERENCE MATERIALS. However what are they?

Normal and Topic Encyclopedias and Dictionaries are essential sources to think about when initially researching a subject.

Particularly, CREDO REFERENCE is a wonderful database compilation of encyclopedias, dictionaries in addition to topic encyclopedias.    

So, you perceive Normal Reference Supplies, however what different authoritative sources are good for background studying?

Newspapers are dependable sources that offer you updated historic info on a wide range of matters, occasions and points.

You may search and find the newest premium U.S. information content material within the NEWSTAND database.

Lastly, relying in your professor, it's possible you'll use factual and authoritative web sites that assist present background info. 

Sometimes, informational web sites such because the Federal:, and Native authorities web sites present a wealth of authoritative information and knowledge on many matters.

Academic web sites like Prince Georges Neighborhood Faculty:

Associations and Organizations present helpful info on matters of particular curiosity. Moms in opposition to Drunk Drivers (MADD) is one such group. 

Bear in mind the extra background info you collect, the higher ready you may be to write down an inte