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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:
Encyclopedia of the Renaissance
Call Number: Print Reference CB361 .E52 1999
Publication Date: 1999
This set of volumes treats the full period of the Renaissance, from 1350 to 1650, encompassing Italy and the rest of Europe in the context of the broader world. It contains topical entries and biographies, and alphabetically arranged articles on culture, literature, philosophy, religion, economics, politics, science, and the arts, - revealing how people thought, what they believed and how they lived."
Online encyclopedias can be accessed via PRIMO, the library's discovery platform. An example:
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.