Reference Books for Literature
In the fields of literature and the other humanities, reference books can be broadly subdivided into two types: reference sources and reference tools. Each type has its particular role in the research process. The print reference collections on floors 2, 3, 6, and 7 of Houston Cole Library are particularly fine. Given the cross-disciplinary nature of contemporary scholarship, a walk through these reference sections is worth the time expended.
These for the most part are dictionaries, encyclopedias, reader's guides, handbooks, and manuals, and their defining characteristic is that their content is arranged in paragraphs. Reference sources
Additionally, reference sources can
NOTE: Reference sources are included among the records indexed in Discovery Search and JSU's online databases. However, the population of such records is comparatively small and sometimes does not represent the best sources available.
Primarily these are (print) bibliographies and indexes. (An online database that offered full text would be a hybrid source/tool.) The role of reference sources is to help define, refine, and contextualize a topic. The role of reference tools is to direct the researcher to in-depth scholarship on that topic.
NOTE: As with databases, in using indexes the approach to the researched subject can be important in selecting which index(es) to consult. No single index is comprehensive in scope. As part of the front matter, the index should list the subjects it covers and the journals it covers. These limiters should apply to the databases as well.
Searching JaxCat for Reference Works by Content Type
Example 1: victorian literature <as a phrase>
Example 2: victorian
NOTE: These searches will harvest both circulating and reference books. To filter the results to only reference, in the "within" dropdown box type a limiter such as "subject" or "title." These are examples of the most common types of searches, but they will not harvest everything. For example, they will miss records with outlier terms like "cyclopedia" or "bio-critical."
facts on file <as a phrase> (Facts on File is a gold standard publisher of reference sources on literature.)
Searching JaxCat for Reference Works by Location
Since it can block circulating materials from the search results, the Location search is more precise and delivers a "cleaner" set of results which also is shorter than would be a similar search by Content Type. However, nether singly nor in tandem can these searches harvest item records for all the reference books on literature, and this fact is what makes advisable a walk-through of the reference collections in Houston Cole Library..