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General and Subject Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias provide more comprehensive information than dictionaries. Encyclopedias are used to find factual overviews of topics. They may include descriptions, historical background and other details about the topic.

The CCC Library has both print reference books available in the Reference Stacks as well as electronic reference books available through our online databases. 

collage of covers from several subject encyclopediasGeneral encyclopedias have a broad topic range, as they attempt to provide information on almost all subjects. Articles in general encyclopedias are aimed at making information available and understandable to the general reader. They are an excellent starting point to get an overview on a topic or person.

In the CCC library's Reference Stacks, you'll find The World Book Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana, and The Columbia Encyclopedia. The World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Britannica are available to CCC students online with our databases. 


Subject encyclopedias  concentrate on topics within a specific discipline (e.g., education, philosophy, art, or technology). Articles in subject encyclopedias tend to be more detailed than those in general encyclopedias. They also often provide extensive bibliographies listing other materials for further reading on the topic.

Most college libraries have a wide variety of subject encyclopedias on everything from ethnic groups, music, art, social science, to philosophy, religion, science, medicine, and bioethics.

CCC has hundreds of print subject encyclopedias in the Reference Stacks of the library. You can also find subject encyclopedias using our databases. These give you online access to subject encyclopedias, and include


entry in a science encyclopedia, including bibliographic references


McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology is an example of a subject encyclopedia that has background information on space station technology.

This encyclopedia is available in print in the Reference Stacks and also electronically in the database, Access Science


Chapter 3 — Page 4