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Introduction to Research in the University Library (Summer 2018): Finding Context:
Reference Sources

Getting oriented to research in the extensive holdings of the Cornell University Library.


Use the following reference sources to find background information, context, and definitions. For other helpful titles, ask us for suggestions.

Gale Virtual Reference Library: GVRL. (Online)

You can search for background articles in the social sciences and humanities in this full-text database of reference encyclopedias.

Oxford Reference. (Online)

Another full-text database of reliable information from reference works published by Oxford University Press.

Sage Reference Online. (Online)

A searchable, full-text database of reference works that focuses on the applied social sciences.


Discover additional reference works in the Dictionaries and Encyclopedias section of Databases and on our online Subject Encyclopedias page.

Reading Citations in Bibliographies

Learn how to tell the difference between a book, a journal or magazine article, and an article in a book in a reference list/bibliography in this 90-second video. Research Minutes: Reading Citations.

Reference Help

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Michael Engle
106 Olin Library
Cornell University Library

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