Dictionaries help you communicate correctly and clearly by providing:
Definitions, and information about pronunciation, usage, abbreviations, and etymology (history of a word).
Parts of speech.
Details about how people use words or terms in specific fields, in specialized dictionaries.
For alternative ways to say something, look for synonyms (words with similar meanings) in a thesaurus.
Encyclopedias provide you with:
Articles about a word, person, place, event, or concept.
Objective (fact-based) articles written by experts in their field of study.
General or subject-specific information.
Access statistical data on sports, astronomical bodies, geography, and more using an almanac.
Information about places—such as roads, climate, and topography—is found in an atlas. Other topics include demographic, political, and historical background, as well as health care, religion, the environment, agriculture, and language.
Consult nonfiction books. (Remember, objective means based on fact, not opinion. Not all of these nonfiction books are objective.)
Research people using biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs.
Learn a new skill with tips from guides and handbooks.
Get exposed to different perspectives on a topic through a collection of essays.
Learn about a specific subject by consulting a monograph.
Magazines are sources for current events, pop culture, business trends, and entertainment.
Up-to-date information, though it may not be the most authoritative.
Articles typically are brief, with little historical context.
Consider the author’s tone as well as the article’s sources.
Use your library to access databases for more scholarly results and better searches than those available on the open web. When using the Library's databases, it is important to select the correct ones for your research needs.
Built-in database tools will help you manage your search results. In most library databases, you can: