Speaking broadly, reference sources are sources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and directories. Reference sources can be useful because they often offer general and background information on a topic. It's an excellent starting place to your research. And yes, Wikipedia is a reference sources too.
A few print sources that are available in the CalArts Library:
Stutley, Margaret. An Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984. Print.Oriental Art: A Handbook of Styles and Forms. English ed. New York: Rizzoli, 1980. Print.
The Muslim Almanac: A Reference Work on the History, Faith, Culture, and Peoples of Islam. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996. Print.
Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism. An Encyclopedia of Archetypal Symbolism. 1st ed. Boston: Shambhala, 1991. Print.
Knappert, Jan. The Encyclopaedia of Middle Eastern Mythology and Religion. Shaftesbury, Dorset ; Rockport, Mass.: Element, 1993. Print.
Michell, George. Hindu Art and Architecture. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2000. Print.
Electronic Reference Sources