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The Hulbert Taft, Jr. Library

Senior Research and Composition: History's "Great" Events: Encyclopedias and Reference Books / eBooks

Why Reference?


The print and electronic sources below are encyclopedias and other reference sources that will give you a broad overview of your subject:

Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How

This will allow you to better understand where the specific information you find later fits in the bigger picture.

Make note of terms relating to your topic which you can then use when searching for secondary sources (books and journal articles) and primary sources. Examples: Names of people; important dates; relevant legislation; words or expressions unique to your topic. These are your "keywords."  You will also use these keywords to search in the index of your ebooks.

General Search Tips:

  • Search phrases in quotation marks. For example: "New Deal" or "Great Depression".
  • Look for terms on your search results page indicating overview articles, such as Encyclopedia, Reference, Overview.
  • Look for Filter ResultsFilters, or Document Type and then look for terms indicating overview articles.

Examples of Reference Sources: Almanacs, atlases, bibliographies, dictionaries / thesauruses, encyclopedias, handbooks, and indexes.

Click here for Tips on Citing Reference Sources 

Online Reference Sources

More Reference Sources

Please remember: Print Reference books are for use in the library only.


NOTE Wikipedia's general disclaimer: "Wikipedia cannot guarantee the validity of the information found here. The content of any given article may recently have been changed, vandalized or altered by someone whose opinion does not correspond with the state of knowledge in the relevant fields."


If you have any questions,

see Mr. Padgett, Ms. Taylor, or Mr. Previti

OR email us at

We're here to help!

NoodleTools Tips for Citing Reference Sources

PLEASE NOTE: We recommend that you NOT copy and paste complete citations from electronic sources. NoodleTools cannot generate footnotes from copied and pasted citations.


A Reference Source citation has 2 parts:

  • information about the article you used: author, title of article, and page numbers if available.
  • information about the encyclopedia as a whole: author / editor, encyclopedia title, name of publisher, place of publication, and date of publication.

Reference sources can be cited in NoodleTools using the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) if provided. The ISBN can be found on the back cover of a book, on the back side of the title page, or in the library catalog record. It can also be found in databases containing sources originally produced in print. If you don't find it, we can help you. Books published before 1967 won't have an ISBN.

International Standard Book Number - Wikipedia

If you use the ISBN method, you will still have to fill in the information about the specific article you used because this method only imports the information about the encyclopedia as a whole (title, editor, publisher, etc.).

To cite an encyclopedia / reference source, first choose the NoodleTools option that best describes where you found it:

  • Database = a Taft Subscription Database such as Gale eBooks.
    • Click on the citation tool on your article page to determine if you can export the Chicago-style citation directly to NoodleTools.
    • If you cannot export the citation, choose Book.
    • You must provide the permanent URL for your source. Look for any of the following on the page: permalink, persistent link, stable link, durable link, "Get link", Cite or Citable Link.
  • Website = an encyclopedia found through a search engine such as Google.
  • Print or In Hand = a book found on the shelves of the library's Reference Collection.

Next you will choose the type of source you are citing. In this case, Reference Source.

You will complete both parts of the Reference Source form:

  • information about the article you used: author, title of article, and page numbers if available.
  • information about the encyclopedia as a whole: author / editor, encyclopedia title, name of publisher, place of publication, and date of publication.
  • Information about a web encyclopedia: author of article (if given), title of article, the URL of the article you are citing, and the most recent date (date updated or date of online publication).


If you have any questions,  Mr. Padgett, Ms. Taylor, or Mr. Previti are happy to help!