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Background & Overviews
Tertiary sources, such as subject encyclopedias and textbooks, are excellent starting points in your research. Use them to find:
- Helpful overviews of key facts: who? what? when?
- Bibliographies of especially key scholarly works.
- Identification of important primary sources.
- Brief descriptions of main scholarly arguments: how? why?
At Collins Library, you can access subject encyclopedias in a variety of formats: print, ebook, or via larger digital collections.
Print encyclopedias are located on the first floor of the library, across from the Learning Commons. An example:
American Countercultures by
Call Number: Print Reference HM647 .A44 2009
Publication Date: 2009
This three-volume set explores countercultures in America from colonial times to the present in colorful detail.
Online encyclopedias can be accessed via PRIMO, the library's discovery platform. Some examples:
Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements
Comprises over 400 entries about major social and political movements and related collective phenomena throughout segments of history and across the world: from the antislavery movement, to the Tiananmen Square student protests of 1989, to the Arab Spring.
Social History of the United States by
Call Number: Click the title above for online access.
Publication Date: 2009
"Social History of the United States" is a cornerstone reference that tells the story of 20th-century America, examining the interplay of policies, events, and everyday life in each decade of the 1900s
Encyclopedia of American Social Movements by
Call Number: Click title for online access.
Publication Date: 2004
Includes sixteen units covering the historical origins, practices, and ideologies of American social movements.
Large digital collections of subject encyclopedias can be accessed via several publisher-based platforms:
ABC CLIO eBooks
This eBook Collection contains encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and guides from ABC-CLIO, Greenwood Press, Libraries Unlimited, and Praeger.
Provides full text online access to Gale electronic books, including encyclopedias and other reference resources.
Literature Resource Center
Contains articles from academic journals and literary magazines as well as excerpts from scholarly monographs, literary correspondence and diaries.
Contains the complete texts of many Oxford companions, encyclopedias, dictionaries and other reference titles in a fully indexed, cross-searchable database. Included in addition to articles are images, maps, timelines, bibliographies, photographs and much more.
The social sciences platform for SAGE and CQ Press books, reference materials and other content.