General sources like dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias are great to start with. They provide background information and help get you thinking about a topic.
Use the Advanced Search in the library catalog, and search for terms in specific terms. For example, you might try Faust (as a Subject) and History (as a Subject).
Once you explored a topic, use the tool on the right to help you generate as many terms as possible specific to your topic.
Tip: Refer to our Reference Shelf to find suggested encyclopedia and biography resources, both good sources for background information.
Also, the following titles should get you started:
Credo Reference is an online source of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and much more. It is a great place to explore topics.
You can also check the encyclopedias tab of our Reference Shelf research guide for other reference sources.