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Reference Books - Finding Background Information
Reference books, including encyclopedias and dictionaries, can be excellent sources of background information on a topic.
Credo Reference is a collection of online reference books. Use the search box below to find entries related to your research topic.
Borrow From Other Libraries Service
Requesting an Article or Book Chapter:
If an article or book chapter you need is not available online through Dickinson's library, you may request a copy through the ILLiad service. The item will be delivered to you electronically. Please keep in mind that request delivery times will be affected by service and staffing limitations at other libraries.
Requesting Print Books:
Most student requests for book loans from other libraries have been suspended. Exceptions may be made for those in 400-level seminars, engaging in independent study, or working on honors projects after first having a consultation with a reference librarian to find alternative sources. You may contact the librarians through our general reference email.
Creating an ILLiad Account:
First time users of ILLiad will need to register and create a username and password, which is separate from your campus network login More information about ILLiad is available on the Borrow From Other Libraries guide.
JumpStart (which includes the library catalog) is a good first place to search for sources on your topic.
Be sure to try some of these other library databases. Some will be useful to everyone, while others are relevant to just some of your topics. Be sure to read the descriptions to help you decide which are relevant to you.
Covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present. Includes secondary source articles, as well as books and book reviews. Use "Historical Period" on main search page to search for sources ABOUT a particular time frame.
Includes journals published in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean, also journals published in other countries if the topic includes Latin America or Hispanics in the US.
MLA International Bibliography (Modern Language Association) with Full Text
Use this database to find sources related to the study of language, literature, folklore, and film. International in scope. Includes sources in many languages, including Spanish and Portuguese.
SocIndex with Full-Text
Includes sources related to sociology and other social sciences. Includes ethnic & racial studies, gender studies, political sociology, religion, and social structure.
ATLA Religion (American Theological Library Association)
Covers articles, essays in books, and book reviews in the field of religion. Covers all religious traditions, with the strongest coverage in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Coverage: 1949 to present. Citations only.
HathiTrust Digital Library
Contains books and other materials in various languages, including Spanish and Portuguese. Most content dates from the late 18th to the early 20th Centuries. Dickinson’s HathiTrust membership provides full-text access (with downloading) to more than 5.6 million HathiTrust volumes, and bibliographic information on millions more. BE SURE TO LOG IN using our special access instructions
Other Database Lists
Consult these database lists for more ideas about where to find sources relevant to your research.