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Reference Sources for Research: General Reference Books

Find encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, thesauri, and more. Use reference books to get background information, facts, and context.

What are reference books?

A reference book (either e-book or print) is a collection of information on a given topic, usually organized alphabetically. Reference books include bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, directories, and indexes.

E-book Collections


The library offers more than 17,000 books in electronic format from various publishers and providers. Our major collections of e-books include:

Encyclopedias / Ready Reference

Reference Universe

Reference Universe searches much of the reference collection—both print and online sources. You can count on these sources to be scholarly and authoritative.

Enter your search terms:

*Results list both links to e-books and print items (note call #s for books on reference shelves) .

Reference Books

Find Reference Books in the reference section of the St. Paul or Minneapolis libraries or in E-Books and Online Reference Sources. These books cannot be checked out.

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