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Reference Tools

This is a helpful guide for those getting started with research.


Do you need basic info on a topic you are considering for a research project? 

Not sure which keywords to plug in to a library database to find sources?

Or maybe you just need to find a basic fact, like the population of a country or the definition of a word?

Reference tools can help you answer these questions and more. Popular sources like Google and Wikipedia are fast & easy, but they don't always have the right answers. For college-level work it is especially important to get the best information you can find, and the tools featured in this guide can help you do just that. Keep in mind, though, that reference sources are generally not "scholarly sources" and don't replace scholarly journal articles and books in your papers.

What does "reference" mean, anyway?

The word "Reference" is used several different ways. In the world of libraries and research, it has 3 different meanings:

1. A service that helps people find needed information.

2. Books or other works that contain facts and other useful information, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, yearbooks, handbooks, manuals, directories, maps, or atlases.

3. A citation to a work is also known as a reference.

The duPont-Ball Library can help you with all 3 types of "reference." The focus of this guide is on the 2nd definition listed above. Need a print reference work? These can be found on the main floor of the library.

Have a question? Ask a librarian! Email Call or text 386-747-9028.