Reference Books: The Tools of Research hsas fall 2004! What Are Reference Works?

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Reference Books: The Tools of Research HSAS Fall 2004!

What Are Reference Works?

  • Reference works are tools that are used
  • to find information quickly and efficiently.
  • All libraries carefully select their reference
  • materials to meet the needs of their users.

Familiar Reference Books

  • Each reference work presents special information in pure form. The most familiar types of reference books are: encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Not-So-Familiar Reference Books

  • There are several basic types of reference books. In addition to standard dictionaries and general encyclopedias, we find atlases, almanacs, bibliographies, specialized dictionaries, directories, specialized encyclopedias, handbooks & yearbooks.

Basic Types of Reference Works

  • Atlases
  • Almanacs
  • Bibliographies
  • Dictionaries
  • Directories
  • Encyclopedias
  • Fact/Record Books
  • Guides
  • Handbooks
  • Subject Encyclopedias
  • Subject Dictionaries
  • Yearbooks


  • Hammond Incorporated. Hammond Historical Atlas of the World. Newly revised ed. [Maplewood, N.J. : Hammond Incorporated, 1997. Lehman College Reference Area 1st Floor. Call No. Ref. G1930.H3203 1997
  • WorldSat International Inc. The Cartographic Satellite Atlas of the World. Toronto, Ont.; Los Angeles, Calif. : Warwick Pub., 1997. Lehman College Reference Area 1st Floor South. Call No. Ref. G1046.A4 W6 1997


  • The World Almanac and Book of Facts Lehman College Stacks – 2nd floor
  • Call No.: AY67 .N5 W7 Years Available: 1947-1950; 1953-2002. Current volume is
  • available at the Reference Desk.


  • There are several types of bibliography.
  • Basically bibliographies are lists of book or journal or newspaper or pamphlet titles on a particular topic or theme.
  • Bibliographies can be at the back of a single published article or part of a book. They are placed after the paper.
  • There are whole books that are bibliographies!
  • One of a reference librarian’s tasks is the compilation of subject bibliographies. These are often annotated to assist library users.


  • Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged. Ed. by Philip Babcock Gove and the Merriam-Webster editorial staff. Springfield, MA : Merriam-Webster, 1986. (1st Floor by Elevators)
  • The Concise American Heritage Spanish Dictionary. Boston : Houghton Mifflin, c2001. Lehman College Reference 1st Floor South. Call No.: Ref. PC4640 .C553 2001


  • Federal Depository Library Directory. Washington, DC: Library Programs Service, Supt. Of Docs, US GPO, 1999-
  • Internet Tollfree National Directory. Blue Bell, PA: Volt Information Sciences, 2002- Lehman College Reference.
  • 1st Floor South. Call No. Ref. HE8811.I58
  • Directory of Scholarly Electronic Journals and Academic Discussion Lists. 1st edition. Washington, D.C. Association of Research Libraries, Office of Scholarly Communication, 2000- Lehman College Reference .1st Floor South. Call No. Ref. Z6951.D625

Encyclopedias (General)

  • Academic American Encyclopedia. Danbury, CT: Grolier,1997.
  • 21 v. Lehman College Reference 1st Floor South. Call. No.: Ref. AE5.A23 1997
  • Collier's Encyclopedia : With Bibliography and Index. Edited by Lauren
  • S. Bahr, editorial director; Bernard Johnston, editor in chief ; Louise
  • A. Bloomfield, executive editor. New York : Collier's, c1997. 24 v.
  • Lehman College Reference 1st Floor South. Call No.: Ref. AE5.C683 1997
  • The Encyclopedia Americana. Danbury, CT : Grolier Inc.,1997.
  • Lehman College Reference 1st Floor South. Call No.: Ref. AE5 .E333 1997  
  • The New Encyclopædia Britannica.. Chicago : Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2002. Lehman College Reference lst Floor South Call No. Ref. AE5 .E363 2002

Encyclopedias (Specialized)

  • There are many specialized or subject encyclopedias. If one exists for the topic of your paper, you can find it by using CUNY+ basic search. Type a key word (your subject), followed by the word AND followed by the words ENCYCLOPEDIA OR ENCYCLOPEDIAS.
  • Now, you try this search and see what you find.

Subject Encyclopedias

  • Encyclopedia of the U.S. Supreme Court. Edited by Thomas T. Lewis, Richard L. Wilson. Pasadena, CA :Salem Press, 2001.
  • Lehman College Ready Reference . 1st Floor. Call No : Ref. KF8742.A35 E53 2001
  • Encyclopedia of Computers and Computer History. Edited by Raúl Rojas, editor in chief. Chicago : Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.
  • Lehman College Sci Tech Reference. 3d Floor. Call No.: Ref. QA76.15 .E53 2001
  • Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara. Edited by John Middleton, editor in chief. New York: Scribners, 1997.
  • 1st Floor Reference Area South. Call No. Ref. DT351.E53 1997

Fact/Record Books

  • Anzovin, Steven and Janet Podell. Famous First Facts, International Edition : A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in World History . New York : H.W. Wilson, 2000.
  • Lehman College Reference Area 1st Floor. Ref. AG5 .A69 2000
  • Facts on File [1973 – 2002]
  • Lehman College Reference Area 1st Floor. Call No.: Ref. D410.F3
  • Chase’s Annual Events… Calendar of Events
  • Lehman College Reference Area 1st Floor. Call No.: Ref. GT4803 .C48


  • Robertson, Allen and Donald Hutera. The Dance Handbook. Boston, Mass. : G.K. Hall, [1990], c1988. Lehman College Fine Arts Reference 2nd Floor North.Call No.: Ref. GV1601 .R63 1990
  • Weil, Danny K. School Vouchers and Privatization: A Reference
  • Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2002. Lehman College Education. Call No.: LB 2828.8.W45 2002
  • Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. MLA, 2003. Lehman College Ready Reference Desk. 1st Floor. Call No.: Ref. LB2369.G53 2003 (large-print copy also in Education)


  • Guide to Reference Books. Edited by Robert Balay ; associate editor,
  • Vee Friesner Carrington ; with special editorial assistance by Murray S. Martin. 11th ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 1996.Lehman College Ready Reference 1st Floor. Call No. Ref.Z1035.1.S43 1996
  • American Institute of Architects. AIA Guide to New York City. AIA, 1968. Lehman College Fine
  • Arts 2nd Floor. Call No. Ref NA735.N5A78 1968

Subject Encyclopedias

  • Encyclopedia of Associations. Detroit: Gale, 2003.
  • Lehman College Ready Reference 1st Floor. Call No.: Ref. AS8.E53
  • A comprehensive list of national organizations described briefly, with names, addresses, and telephone numbers. Associations keep track of industry data for their members and may have valuable information on an industry that would not be found in standard business sources. Indexes include name of organization, key word, and geographic area.
  • Organizing Black America : An Encyclopedia of African American Associations. Edited by Nina Mjagkij. New York : Garland Pub., 2001. Lehman College Reference 1st Floor. Call No.: Ref. E185.5 .O74 2001


  • Britannica Book of the Year. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2003.
  • Lehman College Ready Reference. 1st Floor.
  • Call No. Ref. AE5.E364
  • "The Britannica book of the year bridges the gap between editions [of the Encyclopaedia Britannica]."--Introd. Also includes bibliographies.

Biographical Sources

  • Inventions and Inventors. Ed. by Roger Smith. Pasadena, CA : Salem Press, c2002. Lehman College SciTech Reference 3rd Floor South.
  • Call No. Ref. T20 .I59 2002
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Edited by Stanley Sadie ; executive editor, John Tyrrell. London : Macmillan Pub. ; New York, 2001. Lehman College Fine Arts Reference 2nd Floor North. Call No: Ref. ML100.N48 2001

More Biographical Sources

  • American Men & Women of Science. Biographical Directory. New York : Bowker, 1989- Irregular 17th ed.
  • Lehman College SciTech Reference. 3rd Floor. Call No.: Ref. Q141.A474 2003 (older volumes circulate)
  • Dictionary of American Biography. Complete Index Guide: Volumes I-X, Supplements 1-7. New York : Published under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies [by] Scribner, 1981.
  • Lehman College Reference 1st Floor. Call No: Ref. E176.D563

Even More Biographical Sources

  • Who’s Who in America. Chicago:Marquis, 1899- 57th ed. (2003)
  • Lehman College Reference 1st Floor South. Call No.: Ref. E663.W56
  • Who Was Who in America with World Notables. Chicago: Marquis, 1896-
  • Lehman College Reference 1st Floor South Call No.: Ref. E176.W64


  • Have a Happy Day!

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