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Reference Tools

Your one-stop for reference sources such as encyclopedias, abbreviations, biographies, dictionaries and more.


Reference sources contain similar information than can sometimes be found on the Internet, but the key advantage is that the information is more reliable, authoritative and trustworthy.

You can trust this information in your works more reliably than an Internet page. Many of the resources and databases will also provide auto-formatted citations for easy citing.

How to Use

How do I use reference tools?

Reference tools are also known as background sources or reference sources. They are designed for quick retrieval of focused information. They provide great background for getting started with papers or projects, or can be used to answer a quick question. If online they can be searched using keywords, if print they often come with a thorough index.

What are some example questions I could answer with reference sources?

  • What is the definition of the term "capricious"?
  • What is the history of yoga?
  • What was Beethoven like as a teenager? What was his character like?
  • Who said the quote "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."?
  • What was the historical development of New Zealand as a country?
  • What are other words that are similar in meaning to "develop"?

What types of reference tools are available?

  1. Multipurpose reference sources (See below)
  2. All other types of reference sources (See Overview)

Multipurpose Reference Sources

Multipurpose, or general, reference sources are a compilation of many individual sources. They are suitable for answering a variety of questions and are often the best place to start.