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Reference materials such as encyclopedias and dictionaries are often an excellent starting point for research. They offer reliable background information on many issues and topics. The resources below provide a good foundation for understanding broad issues.
Online Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
Background resources for broader topics (definitions of terms, topics, etc):
Full-text encyclopedias and dictionaries.
Provides access to hundreds of online reference books including encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and books of quotations from a variety of publishers. Covers both general reference and subject-specific reference titles for a variety of disciplines. Topic Pages give great background overviews on subjects.
Oxford Reference contains full text dictionaries and encyclopedias from the Oxford University Press. It is easy to search and contains entries on a wide array of topics from business, computing and environmental science to art, biology, literature, religion, and political science.
Gale in Context: Biography
Biography in Context includes over 700,000 biographical entries covering more than 400,000 notable international figures from all time periods and areas of study.