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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Online Reference Collection

Use reference resources like encyclopedias and dictionaries for quick access to reliable facts.

What is a Reference Source

Reference sources are research tools that can be consulted for quick answers, facts, or overviews. They can be used to gather initial information as well as provide sources for additional research. There are a wide range of reference sources available. Use the table below for help selecting the right resource, search through Resources by Subject, or use our Ask A Librarian service for additional help.

looking for words try dictionaries or thesauri. For general information try encyclopedias. For biographical information try biographical dictionaries. For geographical information try maps, atlases or gazetteers. For facts or statistics, try almanacs, factbooks, or yearbooks. For additional sources try bibliographies, indexes or abstracts