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English Language and Literature

"Reference" means...

...material we "refer" to for:

  • background information
  • getting started
  • checking details
  • definitions and facts

Encylopedia, handbook, dictionary, bibliography, companion and guide are all names given to reference material. This means that in the titles of reference sources, you'll find words like these, which indicate the nature of the contents.

Comprehensive, online reference sources often just use the word reference - as in the databases below.

Some Great Places to Start!


Canadian Reference Centre (Ebsco Host) "Canadian Reference Centre combines Canadian magazines, newspapers & newswires and reference books to create the largest collection of regional full text content available to Canadian libraries. This database includes leading Canadian periodicals and international (U.S. and U.K.) periodicals in full text; full text reference books; 82,968 full text biographies and an Image Collection of 107,135 photos, maps and flags. Provides full text information for over 150 Canadian periodicals and over 400 international periodicals."

Credo Reference Credo Reference (Formerly XreferPlus) is an online reference library comprised of 453 reference books including encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and books of quotations, etc. Click here to view a list of all reference titles included in Credo Reference.

Oxford English Dictionary An unsurpassed guide for researchers in a any discipline to the meaning, history, and usage of over 500,000 words and phrases across the English-speaking world.

Oxford Reference  "The premium collection enhances the 100+ books in the core collection with an expanding range of key titles in the acclaimed Oxford companions series plus the Oxford dictionary of quotations. This collection is updated regularly with new titles, new editions, new entries, illustrations, weblinks and bibliographies."