This page discusses reference books and their importance in the research process.
What are Reference Books?
What are Reference Sources?
Reference sources, especially dictionaries and encyclopedias, are used early in the research process, before information source seeking begins, and can be used to
In addition to assisting in research, these works also can
To find electronic reference books on a topic, you can either search the Library Catalog, or you can search one of the following databases:
Many academic publishers publish stand-alone print references sources -- dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. -- but some offer entire sets/series of reference books. While portions of these series may be available digitally, rarely are they all, and therefore for complete coverage the print volumes should be consulted as well. Below are links to some of these series. Houston Cole Library may not have all the print volumes in any one set, but the series themselves are well-represented. To find out which volumes of each series the library owns, perform a series search in JaxCat Advanced Search.
Books are digest anthologies
[To these add Shakespearean Criticism and Dictionary of Literary Biography]
Publishes multiple reference encyclopedia series, among which are
Companions, Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Guides, Handbooks, etc. (Reference Sources)
Bibliographies/Indexes (Reference Tools)
Important Reference Tools
Essay and General Literature Index: indexes essays in books and is the only index which covers books exclusively (no journal coverage); useful for researching authors who are being rediscovered
English Novel Explication: citation-only bibliography set which indexes articles, books, and parts of books
G. K. Hall Explication bibliographies: genre-based citation-only bibliographies which index articles, books, and parts of books
G. K. Hall Reference Guides: provides abstracts (annotations) and includes reprints
Garland Annotated Bibliographies: provides abstracts (annotations) and includes reprints
Twentieth-Century Short Story Explication: citation-only bibliographic series which covers 1900-2000 and indexes journal articles and page ranges within monographs
What are Annotated Bibliographies?
Among print bibliographies and indexes, the gold standard is the annotated bibliography. Annotated bibliographies
Additionally, annotated bibliographies
What Role do Annotated Bibliographies Play in Research and Publication?
An academic career in higher education requires research and publication
What are Reference Tools?
In literature, reference tools
Reference tools primarily are used to
JaxCat Advanced Search for Reference Books
There is no perfect JaxCat search for reference books. There is no search guaranteed to bring up all the relevant items and only the relevant items; the most that can be hoped for is a partial harvest of relevant item records. Of the searches available, the simplest would be
Advanced Search top box = person/thing being researched
Scroll down to Add Limits
NOTE: If you are not sure about HCL's reference collection, which for literature would comprise the collection on seventh floor along with parts of the collections on floors six and three, consult the librarian on that particular floor. Better still, become familiar with these collections yourself. While some of these books are traceable through search engines, with very few exceptions the contents of these books are not traceable through anything. You just have to know the books are there . . . and how to use them.