Reference Resources

Once you have chosen or have been assigned a research topic, a good place to begin your research is by consulting either print or online reference tools. Reference tools provide factual information in a variety of formats including:










And print reference sources, such as:





Statistical compendia







Because these resources often offer basic definitions, background information, key individuals in the field, and related subject terminology, we recommend that you start research with a relevant reference source.

Using keywords to search reference resources

It's important when using any print or online reference tool to think critically about your topic and the keywords that might be used to describe that topic.


Remember that there are often related or alternate terms that can be used to search an online or print source. For example, if you were researching England, you may also want to search for Britain or the United Kingdom.


 Give me a search word you could use for GUNS


 Give me yet another word for GUNS


 Great - give me one more





Finding Reference Sources

Many reference sources are accessible online through the Internet. Others are available in print. Some of these resources are free and accessible by anyone on the Internet while others are available only to registered students at the College. Collected on the Library's homepage are a number of these online reference resources. This video explains the availability of and access to the Library's online reference sources.



Locating Electronic Reference Sources


Try locating electronic reference materials using online resources:

See if you can find background information on Tapeworm infections.


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Finding Print Reference Sources

Print reference books may be located using the Library's Online Catalog.

View this brief video for an introduction to locating print reference books.



Locating Print Reference Source

Try locating print reference materials using the online catalog:

See if you can find a reference book on a Baltimore baseball team. Open the online catalog in a separate window.

When you have completed your search, take the following quiz:


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If you have difficulty locating or using a reference resource, remember to ask a librarian for assistance.





Take this short sef-assessment to see how much you have learned about Reference Resources


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