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Authoritative Reference Sources vs Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a great resource for getting general info about something, but because anyone can contribute or change its content it is considered unreliable. College faculty typically do not consider Wikipedia a credible information source.
Instead, use the library's print or electronic encyclopedias, dictionaries, or other reference books to backup the basic information of your research paper. These resources have gone through an editorial process to check for accuracy. To the right and below are some resources that may be of use.
Encyclopedias and More
The electronic version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. An excellent starting point for almost any topic of research, the Britannica offers both concise descriptions, and longer, more comprehensive articles on a wide variety of topics.
Oxford Reference Online
100 well-known and trusted dictionaries and reference books combined into a single cross-searchable web database.
Dictionary of Literary Biography
The Dictionary of Literary Biography is a massive set of volumes that offers biographical and critical essays on the world's significant writers from all eras and genres. Available in print and online; the print volumes are located on the first floor of the library on low shelves between the liaison librarians' offices. Below are some examples of volumes that might be of interest:
Below are key reference books that provide a general overview
of a topic or help identify synonyms, related terms, or basic data. These sources often include
references and lists of further readings.
What librarians can do for you...
Subject librarians are here to help with your research!
You can set up an individual research consultation with a subject librarian for research help. Here are a few other things that we can do for you:
- Show you the best places to begin your research.
- Help you develop effective search strategies.
- Locate the information you need within our library.
- Obtain books, articles, cds, etc. from other libraries.
- Find additional information from citation lists/bibliographies.
- Judge the quality & reliability of information.
- Use information ethically (e.g. plagiarism).
- Cite information correctly (e.g. APA style).
- Demonstrate how to use citation resources.
- Tell the difference between various literature types.
- Determine whether something is peer-reviewed.
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