- Libraries & Spaces
See scholarly reference sources like dictionaries, directories, and encyclopedias before books or articles to give yourself a solid background in your subject. They'll contextualize your topic and synthesize a vast amount of information that would otherwise take you a long time to amass. Entries in reference sources usually contain a list of respected sources to launch your research. They're also helpful for brainstorming and learning the vocabulary of the field: you'll get better database search results if you use search terms appropriate for the era.