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Research Strategies

What are Reference Books?

Reference books include encyclopedias, almanacs, handbooks, guides, and style manuals. They can help you find quick factual information and are a good place to get background information.

Finding Reference Books

Finding Online Reference Entries  

For reference entries on a specific topic in a dictionary, encyclopedia or handbook: 

  1. Type in your topic or keyword into the OneSearch box. 
  2. Limit your results on the left by clicking reference entries under the resource type facet (you may have to click show more). 
  3. Click online access to get to the full text of the reference entry (if you are off campus you'll need to login using your CSUN ID and password. 

Finding Print & Online Reference Books

  1. Use the Advanced Search in OneSearch, choose subject from the "any field" box, then type in your overarching subject or topic, then on the second line type in encyclopedia or dictionary
  2. In your search results you will see results for both print and online reference resources. The online books will say "online access" and the print books will say "available at Main Stacks Learning Commons, Stored or floor location". 
  3. You can also browse our most current print collection on the first floor of the library near the Ask a Librarian desk in our Learning Commons. 

If the location is "Main Stacks Stored" login to OneSearch and then click request under "Get It." 

Note: Reference books cannot be checked out of the library (there are exceptions for Faculty and Staff), but you can copy or scan the pages you need.