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The Hulbert Taft, Jr. Library

Senior Research and Composition: Biographical Research Project: Encyclopedias and Reference Books / eBooks



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, also called keywords, relating to your topic. Examples include names of people; important dates; relevant legislation; words or expressions unique to your topic.  You can use these keywords when searching for secondary sources (books and journal articles) and primary sources. 

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

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!

More Reference Sources

Please remember: Print Reference books are for use in the library only.
Great Lives From History

The 18th Century, 1701-1800. Ref CT 118 .G74 2006 2 vols (also an online ebook)

The 19th Century, 1801-1900. Ref CT 119 .G69 2007 2 vols (also an online ebook)

The 20th Century, 1901-2000. Ref CT 120 .G687 2008 10 vols (also an online ebook)

African-Americans. Ref E 185.96 .G736 2011 5 vols (also an online ebook)

American Women. Ref CT 3260 .A44 2016 3 vols (also an online ebook)

The Incredibly Wealthy. Ref HC 79 .W4 G74 2001 3 vols (also an online ebook)

Inventors & Inventions. Ref Ref T 39 .G75 2010 3 vols (also an online ebook)

Notorious Lives. Ref HV 6245 .G687 2007 3 vols (also an online ebook)

Scientists and Science. Ref Q 141 .G7667 2013 3 vols (also an online ebook) 


Great Events From History

The 18th Century, 1701-1800. Ref D286 .G74 2006  2 vols (also an online ebook)

The 19th Century, 1801-1900. Ref D358 .G74 2006  4 vols (also an online ebook)

The 20th Century, 1901-1940. Ref D421 .G629 2007  6 vols (also an online ebook)

The 20th Century, 1941-1970. Ref D421 .G6295 2008  6 vols (also an online ebook)

The 20th Century, 1971-2000. Ref D421 .G6296 2008  6 vols (also an online ebook)

Discover what contemporaries said...

NoodleTools Tips for Citing Reference Sources

PLEASE NOTE: Do not copy and paste complete citations from electronic sources. NoodleTools cannot generate footnotes from copied and pasted citations.


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 or on the back side of the title page. 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 about 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 in Context: Biography.
    • Click on the citation tool on your article page to determine if you can export the Chicago-style citation directly to NoodleTools.
    • 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 print 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!