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Olin Library: Chemistry: Reference Sources

Reference Books

Why choose a reference book?

Reference sources (encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, atlases) give concise introductions to topics.  Use them to:

  • Explore topics for research:

Look at historical events and identify key developments of a topic to help you understand the significance and how you can delve deeper into the research process.

  • Get background information and explain unfamiliar ideas:

Reference sources provide you with basic information and assumes you are just learning about the topic. These sources will also define any key words, special language, or "jargon" that may be associated with the topic.   

  • Identify key people:

Who are the most important people associated with this topic?  Who contributed to this idea?  Finding more information on the person or  people that are affiliated with the topic can help you to better understand the topic. 

  • Find more sources:

Reference sources will provide additional reading usually in the form of a bibliography or reference list.  Use this list to gather more information and to start on your way to researching the topic. 

Reference Databases

The following library resources are available to you electronically.  You can access these from any computer with internet capability.  For these resources you will need to authenticate that you are a Drury University student.  When asked for a login, use your MyDrury login credentials.  For assistance, please contact the library.

Search Tips: Encyclopedias

When searching for articles in an online encyclopedia, type your topic in the search box.  Here are some examples:

  • carbides
  • mRNA
  • nucleotides
  • surface analysis
  • tungsten

Reference Resources