Answered By: Brandy Bourne
Last Updated: Jun 21, 2018     Views: 25

Good question! Yes, we have thousands of encyclopedias and other reference-style resources available in Ramsey Library. These are similar in style to Wikipedia articles but are more credible thanks to the fact that they are professionally edited, non-anonymously attributed, and their content is stable unlike Wikipedia. In other words, they are highly regarded by academics such as your professors and are more acceptable to use in your scholarly research than Wikipedia and other similar online sources. Regardless, Wikipedia is still a wonderful place to find references (at the bottom) and keywords/ideas to search on for your scholarly research.

Ramsey Library has both print and online encyclopedias/reference sources available to you. The more recently published ones tend to be e-resources, so searching in our Online Resources is often a good place to start. You can find our full list of Reference Databases by clicking on 'Online Resources' in blue on our homepage, then on 'Reference' under the 'All Database Types' drop-down option. This list is long, so the 3 that I recommend starting with for general research are Credo Reference, Gale Virtual Reference Library, and CQ Researcher. 

To find print encyclopedias, the library's Books and Media search is usually the best bet. I often like to search 'Encyclopedia* AND [some very broad version of a piece of your topic]' It pays to try different many different searches e.g., if my topic is, 'Jewish cultural identity in post WWII United States,' I might search any one of the following in the library: 

Encyclopedia* AND Jew* (adding * to the base of a word in our catalog gives you results for all endings of it, including Jew, Jews, and Jewish in this case)

Encyclopedia* AND "United States" (putting words you want to stay together in double quotes makes sure that they will be searched as a phrase and not individual words)

Encyclopedia* AND "World War II"

and then we can get even more creative, such as:

America* AND ethnic* AND encyclopedia* 

or

cultur* AND America* AND encyclopedia* 

If you need further help or have other questions, don't hesitate to contact us here: libanswers.unca.edu