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The British in India: Background

A guide to library research


Encyclopedias are great for:

  • choosing a topic
  • quick self-education
  • perspective on a topic
  • variant spellings, vocabulary, terminology
  • bibliography


Reference collections are small enough to browse effectively.

Reference call numbers at Olin, Uris, Africana, Kroch, etc.:

History: D,E,F

Archives: CD

Biography: CT   

Bibliography: Z (particularly Z6000-7000)      

Foreign Language Dictionaries: P

Literature: P

Religion: B

Statistics: HA


Gale virtual reference library Excellent collection of full text encyclpoedias.

Sage Reference Online Excellent collection of full text encyclpoedias.

Oxford Reference Online Outstanding collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and companions.

Oxford Bibliographies Online

Peer reviewed annotated sources in a variety of disciplines:

Oxford Bibliographies Online (OBO)

Language Dictionaries

Cambridge Histories Oline

Cambridge Histories Online: Britain, India, and much more




Dictionary of National Biography Online "The national record of men and women who have shaped British history and culture, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century. The Dictionary offers concise, up-to-date biographies written by named, specialist authors. It is overseen by academic editors at Oxford University, UK."


Selected titles

John Cannon, Oxford Companion to British History (Oxford, 1997) (in print at Olin Reference DA34 .O93x 2002, older editions available for checkout)

Guide to the Sources of Asian History. (series by country) (Kroch Library Asia Reference and stacks)This series is part of a UNESCO project, Guide to the sources of the history of nations, begun in 1959. Includes Sri Lanka and Pakistan and other nations. Use a keyword search in the online catalog (guide sources asian history + country of interest) to find specific titles.

Oxford Bibliographies Online: Hinduism Short articles with extensive annotated bibliographies.

Encyclopaedia of India. ed. Pran Nath Chopra. Delhi : Rima Pub. House, 1992-1994. (30 vols) (Kroch Library Asia Reference +DS405 .E56 1992) The standard encyclopedia of India with articles on people, places, religions. Short bibliographies end most articles. Includes a gazetteer of India.

Banglapedia. National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Dhaka, 2003): used encyclopedia relating to Bengal history. Text edition available in Kroch Reference Library; online version at

Encyclopaedia of South East and Far East Asia. edited by P.C. Sinha. Published: New Delhi, India : Anmol Publications , c2006. Kroch Library Asia Reference DS520.7 .E53 2006

South Asian folklore : an encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. Margaret A. Mills, Peter J. Claus and Sarah Diamond, editors. Published: New York : Routledge, 2003.(Kroch Library Asia Reference oversize GR302 .S68x 2003+)

The Cambridge encyclopedia of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives. editor, Francis Robinson. Published: Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1989. (Kroch Library Asia Reference Call Number: + DS334.9 .C18 1989)

A Dictionary of Modern Indian History, 1707-1947. ed. Parshotam Mehra. Delhi ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1985. (Kroch Library Asia DS433 .M49 1985) About 400 alphabetically arranged entries cover places, events, leaders, parties, etc. Some articles are lengthy and include a brief bibliography. Appendix includes chronology, glossary of Indian terms, list of governors and viceroys.

Asian Historical Dictionaries. (series by country). (Kroch Library Asia Reference and stacks)These one volume dictionaries cover Afghanistan and other South Asian countries. Often with a focus on modern history. Use a keyword search in the online catalog (asian historical dictionary + country of interest) to find specific titles.

Encyclopedia of Islam. (new edition) eds. C. E. Bosworth, et al., Leiden: Brill, 1954- . (on CD-Rom in Olin's Electronic Text Center; in print at Olin Reference DS 37 E56+ 1954) Contains signed articles by scholars in the field, with bibliographies, on subjects in biography, history, geography, and the sciences. Includes entries on foreign countries in which Islam is important. This edition, begun in 1954, is still in progress. (10 vols to date; up to the letter U). Very challenging to use!

Encyclopaedia of the Qur'¯an. Jane Dammen McAuliffe, general editor Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2001-(Also in print at Olin Library Reference BP133 .E53 2001 +)

Encyclopedia of women & Islamic cultures. general editor, Suad Joseph. Published: Leiden : Brill, c2006-  Latest research on gender studies and the Islamic world. Covers the fields of gender studies, Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. v. 1. Methodologies, paradigms and sources for studying women and Islamic cultures -- v. 2. Family, law, and politics -- v. 3. Family, body, sexuality, and health -- v. 4. Economics, education, mobility, and space.

Encyclopaedia of women in South Asia. editors, Sangh Mittra, Bachchan Kumar. Published: Delhi, India : Kalpaz Pub., 2004.  Eight volumes.

Encyclopaedia of Indian women through the ages / Simmi Jain. Published: Delhi : Kalpaz Publications, 2003. (Kroch Library Asia Call Number: HQ1742 .J346 2003)

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