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Magnifying glass  Reference Sources

Using Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

The Fitzgerald Library has a strong collection of reference materials both online and in print volumes located on the main level of the library.

Use these resources at the start of your research process for good background information and to get in touch with the leading scholars and experts in your field of study.


Comprehensive online encyclopedia with access to 650+ full text e-Book titles with link outs to articles in our databases for deeper coverage.

Salem History

Provides online access to the Milestone Documents of American Leaders reference set, a compilation of primary documents from notable Americans with commentary and analysis and The 50 States set which offers up-to-date information on individual American states.

1754–current | Full text e-Books

Salem Literature

Provides access to various volumes from the following sets:
Magill’s Literary Criticism–Yearly Essay-Review of 200 Outstanding Books
Salem Critical Insights–a distillation of both classic and current literary criticism of some of the world’s most-studied literature

Full text e-book

New Advent Encyclopedia Online

The New Advent Encyclopedia is the first result for an online Catholic encyclopedia. It was published in 1917 and, while it can have very good information, it is missing a century of events and their interpretation. In general, treat its articles as historical documents. The encyclopedia gives the reader a sense of how early 20th century theologians reflected on particular topics. The most current Catholic encyclopedia is available in print in the Reference Collection and now online.

reference books

Why Use Reference? 
  • Authoritative publishers
  • Articles are written by well respected scholars/experts in the field
Background Information:
  • Efficient method to identify key terms, dates, people, theories
Search Terms:
  • Find key words to more efficiently search for articles in databases
  • Find leads to new sources in books and journals
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