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Information Sources: Books

This guide will assist you in choosing the best sources for your information needs.

Scholarly Books

If you are looking for in-depth, comprehensive, scholarly information about a topic, a scholarly book might be your best option.

Definition

Books contain scholarly research on a topic and may address a whole subject rather than just a piece of it. 

Currency 

Information may already be two or three years old. Look for the most recent reference cited in the bibliography to give you an idea when the author(s) were researching and writing. Experimental/observational data that the author(s) gathered may be a year or two older than that.

Where to Find 

Academic libraries in both print and digital formats. 

Reference Materials

Definition

Encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries and almanacs contain a summary of what is known about a topic. They contain facts and figures, dates, names, measurements, statistics, quotations, instructions, equations, formulae, definitions, explanations, charts, graphs, diagrams, and maps. 

Currency

Print reference resources are often updated annually; however, online reference resources are usually updated continuously and contain links and multimedia. Reference resources usually tell you how old their information is. 

Where to Find

Print reference resources can be found in the reference sections of most libraries. Online reference resources, such as Encyclopedia Britannica and Gale Virtual Reference Library, are located on the A-Z Databases web page on the library website.