Why use dictionaries and encyclopedias?
A dictionary is a resource that lists the words of a language (typically in alphabetical order) and gives their meaning. It can often provide information about pronunciation, origin, and usage. Dual language dictionaries provide an equivalent word in a different language.
An encyclopedia is a book or set of books giving information on many subjects or on many aspects of one subject and typically arranged alphabetically.
Use these resources to get an overview of your topic or issue, learn the definitions of terms and concepts, and/or identify keywords to use in searching for additional information.
Dictionaries, general or subject encyclopedias, handbooks, etc. are sometimes called "Reference" books.
Search for dictionaries and encyclopedias
Frequently-Used Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online - Academic Edition
Concise, scholarly articles on a wide range of subjects.
Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
Covers words from across the English-speaking world with etymological analysis, lists of variant spellings and shows pronunciation.
Search Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
Use Reference Universe to search for specific entries in reference books. If the reference book isn't available online, you'll be directed to MNCAT to find the book in the Libraries.
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Search across multiple reference sources in many subjects, including art, biography, business, cultural studies, education, the environment, history, religion, science, and social science.
Oxford Reference Online
Search over 100 language and subject dictionaries and reference works.