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Finding and Using Reference Sources

There are a number of ways to find reference sources on your topic:

  • Visit the Reference Desk at the Library and ask a librarian for suggestions.
  • Use the library's Online Catalog to discover and locate reference books. (Reference books are organized by Call Number in the Reference Stacks)
  • Search the library's Databases to find electronic reference books (e.g. Credo, Gale Virtual Reference Library, Oxford English Dictionary Online and Access Science) 
  • Check to see if your instructor has provided you with a list of appropriate reference sources for your topic.

Reference sources are not usually read from cover to cover. They are meant to be consulted quickly. Most reference sources provide useful indexes and/or tables of contents to look up specific information.

Remember that reference sources cannot be checked out of the library, so they are always available.

Chapter 3 — Page 7