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What are Reference Books?
Reference books are typically encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other general information sources covering the "basics" of a topic. Reference books can be general (i.e. Encyclopedia Britannica) or subject-specific (i.e. Encyclopedia of Social Issues).
Why are Reference Books Important?
Reference books are a great way to become acquainted with a research topic. They often provide a general overview of your topic to introduce you to the basics. When using reference books, remember to pay attention to specific keywords or terminology related to your topic, important names, and any sources listed where you can find more information.
The library subscribes to several online reference databases full of general and subject-specific reference sources (i.e. encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks).