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Bloom's Literary Reference Online
This Infobase database examines great writers, important works, memorable characters, and influential movements and events in world literature.
Oxford English Dictionary
An electronic version of the OED, 2nd edition, published in 1989 and updated quarterly with new entries and revisions.
About "Reference" Resources
Reference sources are online or print encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases or any other source designed to provide a concise yet authoritative overview of a topic.
Reference sources are excellent sources to use when you are starting your research, because they provide:
- general background information
- brief and factual overviews
- explanations of terminology and definitions of terms
- a list of authors who are experts in the field
- bibliographies of sources for further reading
Find an article on your topic in one of our reference resources. Pick any two sources suggested in the bibliography and use the Find Books and Find Articles tabs to locate them. A good reference article will lead you to other useful material on your topic. If you find yourself stuck, ask a librarian!
What about Wikipedia?
Wikipedia is an online resource that can be edited by anyone who has access to the internet.
It has been subject to much criticism by librarians and faculty in academia because:
- there are no guarantees that the writer(s) of the articles are qualified to write about the subject matter
- there is the real possibility that the author(s) could post misleading information
- the lack of any quality controls of the content in Wikipedia (i.e. fact-checking)
Wikipedia does have its good points:
- the content in Wikipedia is updated on a continual basis
- it does provide introductory information to a topic
- the bibliographies at the end of the articles can point readers to genuinely authoritative resources
Because of its open nature most librarians and scholars have reservations about Wikipedia.
If you decide to use any resources found in a Wikipedia bibliography you should make sure that that resource is authoritative.
For more information on assessing online resource, please see the "Evaluating a Website" page.