Reference information sources can be helpful when beginning the research process. They can give you a working knowledge of your chosen subject area.
There are many different kinds of reference information sources, and each is useful for finding a certain type of information.
Reference information sources are available in print in the reference sections of libraries that have physical collections.
They are also available online. There are e-book versions of many reference books (which you can find in our library's Catalog and there are also databases devoted to reference information sources, such as Credo Reference and Gale Virtual Reference Library, which you can find in our library's Dictionary and Encyclopedia Subject Guide.
There are also reference information sources freely available on the Web. Just be sure to evaluate these the way you would any other source before basing your research on them.
Do not cite reference books, such as dictionaries or encyclopedias, or textbooks because they do not contain original research. They are what we call tertiary sources (more on that later), which means that they are based on original research from multiple sources. When you are writing a paper, you should be citing original sources, not sources based on them.
Please note: If you need to request accommodations with content linked to on this guide, on the basis of a disability, please contact Disability Services by emailing them at Disability.Services@esc.edu. Requests for accommodations should be submitted as early as possible to allow for sufficient planning. If you have questions, please visit the disability services website http://www.esc.edu/disabilityservices.