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WR115 Oldham: Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

This guide is for students in Greg Oldham's WR115 class. It is a guide to using library resources to complete the Library Worksheet -- Using and Documenting Sources assignment.

General and Specialized Reference Books

Reference books include encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, manuals, directories. almanacs and atlases.  Reference materials can be general or field specific. A general reference book can be used for doing research on lots of different topics.  Field specific reference books are used for doing research in a specific subject area like medicine, psychology, literature, history or science. Field specific reference books may also be referred to subject or specialized. 

Specialized encyclopedias can be an excellent source for an introduction to a subject.  They can also help you focus your interest to a topic within a larger subject area.  For example, instead of trying to write about a large subject like posttraumatic stress disorder you might browse in the Encyclopedia of Trauma and Traumatic Stress Disorders and decide to focus your interest on imagery rehearsal therapy in treating PTSD. Specialized encyclopedias are a great source for key terms you can use to search for further information on your topic.  Key terms can include names of people associated with a subject, specialized terminology used to describe concepts in that subject, names of organizations, and so forth.

Specialized dictionaries can help you understand scholarly books and articles. Scholarly literature usually includes a lot of specialized terminology.

 

General and Specialized Reference Book Examples

General Reference Books Field Specific Reference Books

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Worldbook Encyclopedia

Encyclopedia of Body Adornment

Encyclopedia of Science & Technology

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

Mosby's Medical Dictionary

Multicultural Dictionary of Literary Terms

Dictionary of Multimedia and Internet Applications

Goode's World Atlas Atlas of American History
   

Finding More Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

To see how you can find more specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries, see Encyclopedias & Dictionaries: Finding Individual Encyclopedas Or Dictionaries.

Online General Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

The online resources listed below are subscribed to by Chemeketa Community College. They are not free-web resources. You will be prompted to enter your My Chemeketa username and password for off campus access.

Online Specialized Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

The online resources listed below are subscribed to by Chemeketa Community College. They are not free-web resources. You will be prompted to enter your My Chemeketa username and password for off campus access.

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