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Getting Started & Organized
Research Guides (By Subject)
Very Short Introductions
Reed Library has an extensive
Very Short Introductions published by Oxford University Press. These books provide succinct introductions (usually under 200 pages) to hundreds of subjects.
Explore the full collection or those available online!
It is always a good idea to do some preliminary research, or background research, to help familiarize yourself with a new topic. Reference works, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, almanacs, etc., are great places to start. The resources provided here are just a sampling and not an exhaustive list of resources you could consult.
Use these as alternatives to Wikipedia:
Britannica Academic This link opens in a new window
Articles from the Encyclopedia Britannica for college students.
Gale eBooks This link opens in a new window
A database of encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research.
MasterFILE Premier This link opens in a new window
This multidisciplinary database provides full text for general reference publications, primary source documents, and an image collection of over 453,000 photos, maps, and flags.
Oxford Reference This link opens in a new window
Includes nearly 300 language and subject reference works from the Oxford Companions and Oxford Dictionaries series, plus the Visual English Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, and Encyclopedia of Mammals.
Salem Reference This link opens in a new window
Online encyclopedias and other reference works for health, history, literature, and science.
Opposing Viewpoints in Context This link opens in a new window
Full text articles on social issues. Includes topic overviews, primary sources, statistics, photographs, and podcasts.
Points of View Reference Center This link opens in a new window
A full-text database designed to provide students with a series of essays that present multiple sides of a current issue.
Academic OneFile This link opens in a new window
A source for peer-reviewed, full-text articles from the world's leading journals and reference sources. Has extensive coverage of the physical sciences, technology, medicine, social sciences, the arts, theology, literature, and more.
Academic Search Complete This link opens in a new window
Find information on almost any topic. Contains the full text of over 4,450 magazines, journals and newspapers, and indexing for many more, with coverage dates back to 1975 for many publications.
Google Scholar This link opens in a new window JSTOR This link opens in a new window
Provides a comprehensive backfile of major scholarly journals in the arts and sciences, business, ecology, language, literature, and music.
Wikipedia: An Overview
"Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model." - Wikipedia
Wikipedia is one of the most popular reference websites online, with millions of visitors every month. There are more than 19 million articles and 82.000 active contributors.
Common Knowledge?: An Ethnography of Wikipedia by
Publication Date: 2014-05-01
With an emphasis on peer-produced content and collaboration, Wikipedia exemplifies a departure from traditional management and organizational models. Dariusz Jemielniak draws on his academic expertise and years of active participation within the Wikipedia community to take readers inside the site, illuminating how it functions and deconstructing its distinctive organization.
Wikipedia U by
Publication Date: 2014-11-01
Wikipedia U offers vital new lessons about the nature of authority and the opportunities and challenges of Web 2.0. Leitch regards Wikipedia as an ideal instrument for probing the central assumptions behind liberal education, making it more than merely, as one of its severest critics has charged, "the encyclopedia game, played online."
Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia by
Publication Date: 2010
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, is built by a community--a community of Wikipedians who are expected to assume good faith when interacting with one another. In Good Faith Collaboration, Joseph Reagle examines this unique collaborative culture.
The Wikipedia Revolution by
Call Number: Bookstacks ZA4482 .L54 2009
In The Wikipedia Revolution, Andrew Lih details the site's inception in 2001, its evolution, and its remarkable growth, while also explaining its larger cultural repercussions. Wikipedia is not just a website; it's a global community of contributors who have banded together out of a shared passion for making knowledge free.
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