Getting Started


Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

It is often helpful to begin your research by reading a basic overview of your subject. Encyclopedias and dictionaries provide such basic overviews, and they often provide helpful suggestions for further reading as well.

  • Encyclopedia of Western colonialism since 1450
    Thomas Benjamin, editor-in-chief. (Detroit, Mich. : Macmillan Reference USA, c2007). Series: Gale virtual reference library
    Also available in print at:
    Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
    Call Number:  R940.8 En2
  • Europe 1450 to 1789 : encyclopedia of the early modern world
    Jonathan Dewald, editor-in-chief. (New York, N.Y. : Charles Scribner’s Sons, c2004). Series: Gale virtual reference library
    Also available in print at:
    Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
    Call Number:  R940.2 Eu74
  • Europe 1789 to 1914 : encyclopedia of the age of industry and empire
    Edited by John Merriman and Jay Winter.  Detroit, Mich. : Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006. Series: Gale virtual reference library.
    Also available in print at:
    Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
    Call Number:  R940.8 Eu7
  • Europe since 1914 : encyclopedia of the age of war and reconstruction
    John Merriman and Jay Winter, editors in chief. (Detroit, Mich. : Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006). Series: Gale virtual reference library
    Also available in print at:
    Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
    Call Number:  R940.9 En2
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library
    Includes online full text of a wide range of encyclopedic works in history, the arts, business, law, medicine, religion, and social science. A number of the encyclopedias linked from this page are included in this database.
  • Historical dictionary of the British empire.
    James S. Olson and Robert Shadle, editors ; associate editors, Patricia Ashman ... [et al.].  2 vols. (Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1996).
    Location (guide): Butler Reference, 301 Butler
    Call Number: R942.07 H62
  • International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences
    Neil J. Smelser and  Paul B. Baltes, editors-in-chief.  (Amsterdam ; New York : Elsevier, 2001).
    Also available in print at:
    Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
    Call Number:  R033 In813
    ---
    Locations:  Barnard Reference & Lehman Reference
    Call Number:  H41 .I58 2001
  • OED online (also known as: Oxford English Dictionary Online)
    The largest dictionary and most complete historical record of the English language. 
  • Oxford Reference Online
    Contains the texts of more than 100 reference titles published by Oxford University Press.