Reference books (e.g., encyclopedias) can be a great place to start research and get a quick background on a topic. But don’t think just Encyclopedia Britannica! I’m talking about specialized reference materials, like the Encyclopedia of archaeology, Berkshire encyclopedia of extreme sports, Encyclopedia of beat literature, Encyclopedia of film noir, Developmental psychopathology, Europe: A continental overview of environmental issues, Elections A to Z, Bilingual education: A reference handbook… and many, many other titles. But how do you find the right reference titles for your topic?
It’s possible to search everything in our Reference Collection at once for your topic, using the Reference Universe database.
For example, a search for gangsta rap will find 13 reference titles with content on this topic. Clicking the link to view index entries shows you which page(s) to look at in the book. Click on the title of a reference work to get its call number and Library location from the Library Catalog (most, but not all, of these titles are in the 2nd-floor Reference Collection). Ask a Librarian for more about this resource.