Encyclopedias are great for:
Reference collections are small enough to browse effectively.
Reference call numbers at Olin, Uris, Africana, Kroch, etc.:
Bibliography: Z (particularly Z6000-7000)
Foreign Language Dictionaries: P
Statistical Background Sources
International Historical Statistics: Europe, 1750-1993. 4th rev. ed. London: Macmillan Reference Ltd., 1998. (Olin Reference HA 1107 M5x 1998)
International Historical Statistics: Africa, Asia, and Oceania 1750-1993. 3rd rev. ed. London: Macmillan Reference Ltd., 1998. (Olin Reference HA4675 .M552x 1998)
International Historical Statistics: the Americas, 1750-1993. 4th ed. London: Macmillan Reference Ltd., 1998. (Olin Reference HA175 .M55x 1998)
Historical statistics of the United States. Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2006- Millennial ed.
Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970. 2 vols. Washington: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1975. (Olin Reference and Olin Reference HA 202 A385+ 1976) Now online as pdfs: Volume 1 Volume 2
Statistical Abstract of the United States. (1878-1959) Washington: Bureau of the Census, 1878- . Print volumes available in Olin. Latest volume in Reference. Also available in most other libraries. (HA 202) (1960-2012, here) The standard annual summary of statistics, designed to serve as a convenient volume for statistical reference and is a guide to other statistical publications and sources.
Antiquity (Olin Reference call numbers DE)
Middle Ages (Olin Reference call numbers D-DF)
Europe (Olin Reference call numbers D-DF)
Asia (Kroch Asia Reference)
United States (Olin Reference call numbers E-F)