Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Researching a topic
Few of us are experts on any given topic. As a general rule, looking for background information on your topic helps provide you with context and facilitates the process of research. There are databases that contain reference works like encyclopedias, handbooks, or guides. Others contain eBook collections or citations to publications. These are great for researching histories of topics or exploring general works on a specific subject.
Keep in mind that many such works are indexed in online collections or "reference databases" and may be available in full-text online. Of course, finding credible sources for background information can be tricky but here are some relevant online reference sources to get you started:
Famed Encyclopedia Brittanica, covering all topics, with enhanced features.
Encyclopedias and dictionaries on a wide variety of subjects.
EBSCOhost eBook Collection
Multidisciplinary searchable collection of eBooks.
Digitized books, journals, and government documents from all countries and time periods.
Text-mine (full text search)
over 10 million digitized works and create customized collections. Contact your liaison librarian
for more information.
Articles in important academic journals from all disciplines (latest few years not available); also eBooks from leading academic publishers.
Oxford Reference Online
Over 100 language and subject dictionaries and reference works.
SPIE eBooks Collection
Provides instant access to world class expertise in optics and photonics. SPIE eBooks Collection (1989 to current) contains over 200 books that provide engineers and scientists with access to an exciting online collection spanning a wide range of technologies.
Catalog of books and other materials in libraries worldwide.