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Library Orientation: Reference Collection

Use this guide to learn more about Lightner Library and the services and resources that we offer.


Encyclopedias are an excellent place to begin your research project. They can provide a concise overview of a topic in language that is easy to read and understand.  This can be particularly useful if you are working in a subject area that you are not familiar with. 

  • General Encyclopedias provide information about a large number of subjects.  An example of a general encyclopedia is the BritannicaOnline.
  • Subject-Specific Encyclopedias focus on one particular subject area and provide information that is usually not covered by a general encyclopedia.  Examples of subject-specific encyclopedias include the Encyclopedia of Social Work or The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine.

Online Reference Collection

 If you are not in the library and need to access reference materials, Lightner has an online reference collection that you can access anywhere you have a connection to the Internet.

Print Reference Collection

A good place to begin your research is with Lightner's print reference collection.  The resources in our print collection can help you answer many of your research questions and can provide you with background information on your research topic.  Reference sources include:

  • encyclopedias
  • dictionaries
  • almanacs
  • directories
  • bibliographies
  • statistical sources
  • atlases 

Reference Librarian

Linda Park's picture
Linda Park
(315) 279-5208