Library Guide:  Using Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias are:

  • a "reference" tool  and located in the "Reference Collection" of most libraries

  • one of the most useful types of information to know about and use

  • published in print or online

Use Encyclopedias for:

  • reading a short article on any topic

  • finding background or summary information

  • getting information on people, places, things

There are two types of encyclopedias:

1. General Encyclopedias - have articles covering MANY subjects. See examples:

Title Collection Call Number
World Book  Encyclopedia
Reference

AE  5.55    2001 

Encyclopedia Britannica Online

Online from the library home page select "Reference Resources"
http://www.eb.com
Online
http://www.bartleby.com/65/
Online
http://www.encarta.com
Online
http://www.si.edu/resource/faq/

2. Specialized Encyclopedias - have articles on SPECIFIC subjects. See examples:

Title

Collection Call Number
The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic world
Reference

DS 35.53 .O95  1995

Online from the library home page select "Reference Resources"
http://www.sciencedirect.com
/science/referenceworks /0080430767
Encyclopedia of Archaeology
Reference

CC 110 .E54 1999

Encyclopedia of Middle Eastern Mythology & Religion
Reference
BL  1060  .K53  1993
Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion
Reference

BL 458 .E53 1999

Online
http://www.eh.sc.edu/
Online
http://i-cias.com/e.o/

To find a specialized encyclopedia relating to your research topic enter the word encyclopedia and a broad subject in the catalog, for example:

  • type encyclopedia and art to find an encyclopedia on art
  • type encyclopedia and religion to find an encyclopedia on religion

Please ask a librarian for help
whenever you need help finding an encyclopedia or using the library

This page was updated by Carol Hansen on 12 Dec 2005