Reference works are a great place to start research. Often, at the start of a research project, a student may not know much about the topic they have chosen. They need some basic information about what they are interested in order to be able to intelligently define their topic and narrow it to a manageable size. And sometimes you just need some basic facts. It is much quicker to turn to an encyclopedia to find out his information than to slog through a detailed book on the topic.
Gumberg Library subscribes to a number of databases of electronic reference works. These cover all subject areas, and in some cases, contain hundreds of specialized encyclopedias, dictionaries and other sorts of reference works. Most of these databases permit you to search all the reference works contained in them at once. This means you do not have to have in mind a particular book to search. Great for getting started with your research.
Using Wikipedia is an easy and convenient way to begin gaining a working knowledge of a topic. If you choose to use it, be aware that there are two serious flaws with Wikipedia. The first is that anyone can write articles for it. You do not have to be an expert on a subject. The second is that anyone can edit the articles. Again, you do not have to be an expert on the subject. These two points raise doubts as to the accuracy of what you read there. Because of the problems regarding the authority of the writers of Wikipedia articles, gain what information you can from them, but do not use Wikipedia as a source for academic writing.
Click on the title of an electronic reference work to search it. To access these works off-campus, you will need to first enter your Multipass username and password.