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ENGL 01A Epstein-Corbin: Reference Databases & Reference Books

College Composition and Reading

General Reference Databases

You will need to run searches for specific concepts, events, and people, e.g., private prisons, prison reform, mass incarceration, Angela Davis, etc. Consider that your searches should resemble searches you would do in a resource like Wikipedia.

The results from these databases are from electronic encyclopedias and other types of reference books.

Research Tips

  • Although students can pick up regular library books they have put on hold while the library building is closed for regular services, print reference sources don't leave the library. If you think one of the print reference sources featured in your guide could be helpful, contact the library faculty. We can do some browsing and send you a scan of a potentially relevant entry.
  • Use an encyclopedia's index to learn if the subject you're interested in is covered in the source.
  • Located at the back of a book, the index is an alphabetical list of the specific subjects covered in the book, along with the corresponding page numbers. Browsing an index is a great way to identify exactly where relevant information is located in a book.
  • Electronic encyclopedias often have a searchable index.
  • Some encyclopedia entries have individual authors, and some don't. If there is an author, you can usually find a name either at the beginning or very end of an entry. Encyclopedias are usually compiled into a book or several volumes by an editor or editors. This impacts the way you cite an encyclopedia entry.

Index Example

Screenshot of a book index

Reference Books