A reference source is a work used for looking up specific information.
Purpose: Reference works are typically used to look up specific information, and are generally not read from cover to cover like a novel.
Scope: Reference works usually present broad information overviews and/or quick summaries with limited detailed analysis. Some reference books cover broad topics, such as a dictionary of English language, while others cover more focused topics, such as a dictionary of transportation logistics terminology.
Format: Reference works are available in print, media, and electronic format.
Organization: Reference works are arranged in a specific order (such as alphabetical, chronological, topical, etc.) and/or provide tools (indices, hyperlinks, cross-references, etc.) to help the user find information efficiently.
The research databases below are best for topic overviews, background info, brief facts, statistics, definitions, etc. from subject-specific and general encyclopedias, textbooks, dictionaries, and other reference sources. They cover a broad array of topics, and may also include additional resources beyond reference materials.