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DNP - Library Resources: Reference Resources

Reference Resources

The encyclopedia as a reference tool has a rich history, dating back to the eighteenth century (Cassell 73).  Designed to provide "succinct, user-friendly information" about a wide range of topics, the encyclopedia is the place where a researcher comes to access a broad overview and general description of a particular subject (Cassell 73).  

The encyclopedias listed below are considered specialized subject encyclopedias (Cassell 87). They tend to focus on a particular subject area, such as medicine, nursing, or children's health, and provide insight through the lens of that particularly field of study.  These works supply "relatively in-depth information on a highly specific topic" (Cassell 87).   

Encyclopedias are arranged alphabetically by subject term so knowing what topic you are searching for aids in the usefulness of this resource.  

Cassell, Kay Ann, and Uma Hiremath. Reference and Information Services. American Library Association, 2013.


 

Designed to provide users with each word's "meanings, usage, pronunciation, grammatical provenance, and syllabication,"  dictionaries serve one primary purpose, provide definitions (Cassell 121).  

The dictionaries listed below are considered subject dictionaries (Cassell 132). They focus on a particular subject area, such as nursing, epidemiology, or public health, and provide definitions through the lens of that particularly field of study. Though you may be able to look up the definition of a particular word in a general dictionary, subject dictionaries provide a more in-depth definition, are more reliable as they are created by specialists in the field, tend to be more current, and "complete gaps in coverage for relatively smaller fields" (Cassell 132).   

Dictionaries are arranged alphabetically by term so knowing what word you are searching for aids in the usefulness of this resource.  

Cassell, Kay Ann, and Uma Hiremath. Reference and Information Services. American Library Association, 2013.


 

Handbooks are reference books that focus on a specific subject area (Lamb).  Unlike encyclopedias and dictionaries that are arranged alphabetically, handbooks are typically arranged by subject which makes browsing them more informative and research friendly (Lamb).

Lamb, Annette. "Reference Sources." Advanced Information Sources Cluster, 2017, http://eduscapes.com/cluster/4.htm. Accessed 26 Jun 2017.


 

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