Using and Evaluating Print Resources
Lesson 5

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Using Reference Resources

Introduction

Reference books form a kind of structure within the literature of a subject area. Each is tailored to answer certain kinds of questions. Knowing about reference source options can greatly increase the efficiency of your searches by enabling you to focus your questions in the types of literature most likely to answer them.

Reference books provide important background information on a topic, provide specific details, and point to other useful sources of information. Reference books point the way into the core literature of a topic contained in books, journals, reports, and many other types of publications. They can also summarize, digest, or review the literature on a topic in ways that save you time and energy.

You can structure your searches in the library online catalog to locate specific types of reference sources. The remainder of this lesson will introduce you to specific types of reference books and how to search for them in library online catalog.

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