Background Information

Contents of this page:

Basic information

Encyclopedia articles give a broad overview and background information. Each article, written by a subject specialist in the field, provides an introduction to the subject and includes a selective bibliography of books and articles on the subject. A general encyclopedia is often the best place to start research because it contains information on almost every subject. Specialized encyclopedias are focused on specific subject fields.

Selected list of general encyclopedias

  • Britannica Online
  • Encyclopedia Americana, 1995 (REF 031 En19)
  • Collier's Encyclopedia, 1997 (REF 031 C69)
  • World Book Encyclopedia, 1998 (REF 031 W893 1998)

Selected list of specialized encyclopedias

Social Sciences
(Psychology, Political Science, Law, Sociology, Education)

  • Encyclopedia of Psychology. (REF 150.3 En196)
  • Encyclopedia of Human Behavior. (REF 150.3 En19h)
  • Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America. (REF 305.800973 G131)
  • Encyclopedia of Marriage and the Family. (REF 306.803 En29)
  • Encyclopedia of criminology and deviant behavior. (REF 364.03 En1946)
  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Russia and the Former Soviet Union. (REF 947.003 C144 1994)
  • Encyclopedia of the Third World. (REF 909.09724 K965)
  • West's Encyclopedia of American Law. (REF 349.7303 W529 2004)
  • Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations. (REF 327.73 En193)
  • Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations. (REF 903 W893 2004)
  • Encyclopedia of American Social History. (REF 301.03 C318e)
  • Encyclopedia of Sociology. (REF 301.03 En197 2000)
  • The Encyclopedia of the United States Congress. (REF 328.73003 En19)
  • Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. (REF 342.73 En197 2000)

(Biology, Geology, Environment)

  • McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology (REF 503 M178 2002)
  • The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes. (REF 551.203 R51e)
  • Wiley Encyclopedia of Energy and the Environment. (REF 333.7903 W648)
  • Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. (REF 590.3 G929g 2004)

(Literature, History, Religion, Philosophy, Art, Music)

  • The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (REF 809.103 P935 1993)
  • Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century(REF 803 En19)
  • Encyclopedia of the Renaissance (REF 940.2103 En197)
  • The Oxford Companion to American Literature (REF 810.3 H251o 1995)
  • The Oxford Companion to English Literature (REF 820.3 Ox24 2000)
  • Dictionary of the Middle Ages (REF 909.07 St82d)
  • Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (REF 103 C748)
  • The Encyclopedia of Religion REF 200.321 En19r)
  • Dictionary of American History (REF 973.03 D561 2003)
  • Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. (REF 973.0496073 En19)
  • Encyclopedia of World Art (REF 703 W893)
  • Grove Dictionary of Art (REF 703 D561)
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (REF 780.3 N42 2001)


  • Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. (REF 616.003 G131 2002)
  • Encyclopedia of Bioethics. (REF 174.95703 En193)

Find a specialized encyclopedia in the Online Catalog

  • Search by Keyword for Dictionaries and Your subject
    Example: dictionaries and psychology

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