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What are "Reference Books" and why should I use them...
Reference Source Types
- Almanac - usually a single volume compilation of facts and statistics on a topic.
- Atlas - book of maps and geographical information.
- Historical Atlas - maps about changes and developments in a place over time
- Subject Atlas - contains maps relating to a specific topic
- Bibliography - list of sources (books, articles, and other information sources) about a specific subject or author
- Chronology - presents information organized by dates
- Concordance - gives an alphabetical list of the principal keywords or phrases contained in a book with citations of the passages
- Dictionary - A Collection of words listed alphabetically with usage information, pronunciation and other information. There are several types of dictionaries:
- Abridged dictionary - defines selected words and terms, confirms spelling, definition and pronunciation, gives how words are used, helps to locate synonyms and antonyms
- Bilingual dictionary - define words and terms used in foreign language(s)
- Biographical dictionary - short summary of the lives of people
- Etymological dictionary - gives the history of words and how their meanings change
- Subject dictionary - focuses on the vocabulary of a subject or discipline
- Unabridged dictionary - defines every word and term, confirms spelling, definition and pronunciation, gives how words are used, helps to locate synonyms and antonyms
- Digest - compilation: something that is compiled: a short account
- Directory - gives contact information such as names, addresses, telephone numbers
- Encyclopedia - covers knowledge or branches of knowledge in a comprehensive, but summary fashion; useful for providing facts and giving a broad survey of a topic
- Gazetteer - geographical index or dictionary that contains no maps
- Guidebook - provides detailed descriptions of places that is intended primarily for the guidance of strangers or visitors, giving a description of the roads, places, or objects of interest to be found there, geographical facts and possibly maps
- Handbook - gives a brief survey of a topic
- Index - lists citations to periodical articles, books, and proceedings, and tells where they can be found
- Manual - tells how to do something, such as how something operates or the inner workings of an organization
- Subject Encyclopedia - includes articles/information only on topics in a specific subject area
- Yearbook - covers the trends and events of a specific year; may be general in coverage, limited to one subject, or restricted to one geographical area
The above definitions were compiled September 2007 from library websites and one book.
http://library.uncfsu.edu, http://lib.nmsu.edu & Bolner, Myrtle & Gayle Poirier. The Research Process Books and Beyond. page 125 Kendall Hunt Pub, 1997.
K. Swetland Sept 2007