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Online Reference Tools

Encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, and more!

What is a reference resource?

"Reference" is a term that derives from the Latin referre "to carry back." A reference resource is something that we refer back to for information. Common examples are dictionaries, encyclopedias, and thesauri. These are tools that people want on hand to find quick information, to check a fact, or to gain a background knowledge of a topic.

In the past, reference resources were usually books. These days, they're just as often online. This guide lists some useful online resources, but we have many more great resources in print - the librarians at Albertsons Library will be happy to help you find resources on your topic, just ask!


You've probably used the Encyclopedia Britanica or another general encyclopedia before and you've certainly used a dictionary, but have you heard of the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture or the Dictionary of the Internet? We have access to dozens of subject encyclopedias and dictionaries through the sources listed below. Encyclopedias are a great way to get background information on your topic or to find topic ideas.

Word tools: Dictionaries, Thesauri, and Quotations

Library Resources