Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Reference books are a good place to find background information on peoples and cultures. The books listed below are in Chemeketa's library. The books with call numbers are in paper format, the books with link are electronic and you may search and read them online.
When you look at articles in reference books, make sure you note the following: alternate names for the ethnic group ("ethnonym"); alternate spellings of these names, where the group lives, name(s) of the group's language. All these things can help you find more information later. Also note any bibliographic references to books or articles about the group.
Reference Books for Studying Cultures in Their Native Environment
There are also subject dictionaries or encyclopedias on particular countries, regions, or groups of people, e.g., Kodansha encyclopedia of Japan,The African American encyclopedia, Dictionary of Chicano folklore.
Gale in Context: College has additional reference books and articles. Tip: Click "Reference" above the search space before entering a term for the culture you're researching.
Reference Books for Studying Cultures in the United States
Try looking in the Keyword search the library search with the place name or ethnic name followed by "and dictionar*" or "and encyclopedia*." For further advice on finding subject encyclopedias in the library search, see How To Find Specialized Dictionaries & Encyclopedias. A reference librarian can also help you find these works.
Getting Reference Help
- E-mail a Question to Reference
- Phone Reference at 503.399.5231
- Chat reference: Please use the form below
- We recommend that you include an e-mail address so that you can receive a transcript of your chat and so the library can send you any followup help.
Reference & Instruction Librarian