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Why background info?
You are assigned a research topic that you know almost nothing about, and Wikipedia isn't helping. What do you do? Find a subject encyclopedia!
Background sources (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.) provide summary and factual information. They generally contain well-established knowledge that provide a basic understanding on subjects. Use background sources to:
- find basic concepts and viewpoints of the topic
- get the historical context and relationships to other topics
- identify and define specialized terms used to discuss the topic
- find or verify data, facts, formulas, etc.
Online Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
Contains the most frequently used data in science, including the periodic table of the elements, basic constants and units, thermodynamic and spectroscopic data; electric, magnetic, thermal and structural properties of solids, key data from nuclear science, astronomy and geophysics; and up-to-date health and safety information. Limited to 10 simultaneous users.
Print Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
Encyclopedia of Physics by
Call Number: OSF Reference QC5 .E545 2005 (2 vols.)
Third completely revised and enlarged edition provides current, precise information on both classical and recent concepts in physics.
Handbook of Physics by
Call Number: OSF Reference QC61 .T3713 2002
The physicists' "veritable toolbox for everyday use" with easy access to important concepts, formulas, rules and theorems.