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Reference Materials

What is a Reference Source? Reference sources are used to obtain a specific answer to a question or to indicate other sources to use during the research process. Although there are several types of reference sources, they all are categorized as either general or specific in scope. This page contains both general and subject specific reference sources. General reference sources will contain a broad range of subject areas whereas subject specific sources have content that is focused in one particular area of study.If you are looking for more extensive information on a subject, go to one of our Research Guides.



How do I Find...



An acronym is a word formed from the initial letters or syllables of other words to create a short form for a longer name, for example NATO is a short form for North Atlantic Treaty Organization . An abbreviation is a similar concept the full name of a journal is shortened to save space, for example,Am J Sports Med is short for The American journal of sports medicine.


If you need information about the life of a particular individual, his/her accomplishments and achievements a biographical source is a good choice.

Career / Employment

The careers and employment section brings together several resources that will assist in job search strategies and applications.


The Colleges / Universities section provides information about programs of study and entrance requirements.Canada


Country Profiles

If you need a quick overview of a country and its development yearbooks or country reports are a good choice.


A dictionary contains a lot of words in alphabetical order with their meanings explained or written in another language. Dictionaries also contain information about the form and proper pronunciation of the word. Subject specific dictionaries define terminology and concepts specific to the subject in question.English Language

French Language


Subject Specific

See our research guides page.


Directories contain an organized list of names and addresses.


Encyclopedias give background information and overviews of a particular subject person or event. They can be subject specific (e.g. The Columbia Encylopedia of Modern Drama) or general in scope. The subject specific encyclopedias provide background information to a particular subject. They are usually edited by a respected scholar in the field of study and the articles are often written by experts, who give an in-depth overview to a topic. The articles are usually signed and often identify key resources for further reading.General

Subject Specific

Extrance Exams/Tests

The entrance exams / tests section provides registration and general information about a selection of tests. Additionally, these sources provide practice questions and strategies for test taking.


If you need a map of historical events or want to know when a particular event took place these resources are a good place to start.


If you are looking for financial aid that doesn't have to be repaid the following links may be helpful.

Indexes for information about books and journals

Indexes are arranged lists, usually alphabetically or subject related, of information sources (e.g. books, periodicals, etc.). Indexes are created to help users find information that is useful and specific to their topic.

Quotations / aphorisms / lyrics

The quotations / aphorisms / lyrics section contains sources that allow you to either search for quotes by person /artists or by reverse look-up.


The reviews section lists several sources for finding both critical and popular review articles for books, performing arts, and movies. Although only a few sources are listed here, there are several other sources to choose from. For additional sources and information on finding book reviews go to: Guide to Book Reviews

Styles/Writers' Manuals

This guide will show you how to format your paper and references according to specific style guidelines, e.g. APA, MLA, Chicago and other popular styles:


A thesaurus is a reference tool used to look up words with similar meanings.