Reference Shelf

BBC Country Profiles - includes an overview of major media outlets
CIA World Fact Book – history, geography, economy, and more
Background Notes – (from the U.S. Dept of State) history, political conditions, and foreign relations
NationMaster – compare country stats and generate maps and graphs  

General - SubscriptionAccessing these resources off-campus requires a password/user namePassword list available in the library and in the library's share folder. 

Virtual Reference Library – encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research (including focused sub-collections such as We The People). To include these resources in a Powersearch, click the All Cross-Searchable Products choice under the Find box.  Articles from reference books will be located under the Books tab in your search results. Books in the MLWGS collection include the Encyclopedia of Human Geography, the Middle East Conflict Reference Library, and Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizen’s Rights and Responsibilities

Downloading Articles from Gale Virtual Ref Library to your eReader

Gale Reference Centers - results from Opposing ViewpointsHealthU.S. History in Context and World History in Context are included in a PowerSearch, but you may retrieve more precise results if you search them separately.  To limit your search to articles within a specific reference book (e.g. History in Dispute in U.S. History in Context), use Advanced Search.  Enter your search term(s), click Add Row, choose Publication Title from the drop-down menu, type the title of the desired source (or part of its title - e.g. Dispute) in the box, and click the Search button on the bottom left of the page.

EBSCO eBooks – contains books encompassing a broad range of topics and viewpoints – from technology how-to manuals to books with contrasting perspectives on contemporary issues (be on the lookout for bias).  Introductory and overview chapters in books about a topic are valuable for building your understanding about a topic. All books are full-text; but, only one user at a time may view a book. 

Downloading EBSCO eBooks to read on your computer or eReader

Downloading EBSCO eBooks to your iPad

Salem HealthSalem History, and Salem Science – digitized articles and related content from Salem Press reference books (also available in print on the library’s reference shelves).  Titles include Forensic Science and Global Warming in Salem Science; Psychology and Mental Health and Genetics and Inherited Conditions in Salem Health; and in Salem History, American Immigration, decades resources for the 1950's through the 1990's, History of American Business, and Milestone Documents of World Religions.

General - Free 

Google Books – free books and book previews scanned from university libraries and made available by publishers.  If you use the search feature to find pages in these books that contain your search words, remember to read the introduction and related sections of the book as well so that you develop an understanding of your topic within its broader context. This is a great tool for assessing a book before deciding to purchase it or borrow it from an area library (the Find in a Library link searches WorldCat).

Open CRS - A project of the Center for Democracy & Technology through the cooperation of several organizations and collectors of Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, Open CRS provides access to CRS reports in the public domain.  CRS reports are prepared for legislators by a division of the Library of Congress and do not become public until a member of Congress releases the report.  A PowerSearch of Gale databases includes public domain CRS reports under the Books tab of search results.

Dictionaries and Thesauri
Merriam-Webster – definitions, pronunciation guide, and word origin
Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus – searchable or browseable in Yahoo’s interface
Rhyming Dictionary and Thesaurus – search for rhymes, synonyms, homophones, and more
Word Spy - dedicated to new and emerging words
Wordnik - multiple dictionary entries, plus contextual use examples, and lists of hypernyms (more generic), hyponyms (more specific), synonyms, and even words with the same end rhyme

Subject encyclopedias (by online subscription and in print) – you'll find many subject encyclopedias and specialized reference books in the library's reference section in online databases to which we subscribe: World History in Context, U.S. History in Context, Gale's Virtual Reference Library (if you use PowerSearch, look under the Books tab of your search results), Salem History, Salem Science, and Salem Health. There are also some in EBSCO ebooks.

Encyclopedia of the Earth

Encyclopedia Virginia (VFH)

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - coordinated and hosted by Stanford University, edited by a team of university professors from around the globe.

Wikipedia – collaborative encyclopedia that a 2006 comparison (a bit controversial) found to be about as accurate as traditional encyclopedias in many cases – particularly useful for current events and many science and technology-related topics, and for the reference links at the bottom of articles.

Healthfinder for Teens – information from the National Health Information Center
Medline Plus: Teen Health – virtual library of articles, tutorials, and videos from the NIH
TeensHealth – physician/expert-reviewed health site designed by the Center for Children’s Health Media

Columbia World of Quotations – contains over 65,000 literary and popular sayings
Quoteland – quotes organized into categories such as literary, inspirational, and sports