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Databases for Finding Background Information
Biography (Gale in Context)
Offers authoritative reference content alongside magazine and journal articles, primary sources, videos, audio podcasts, and images. Covering a vast array of people from historically significant figures to present-day newsmakers, it’s continuously updated to ensure that students have access to the very latest information.
Biography Reference Bank
Offers comprehensive in-depth, original biographical profiles from the Current Biography and World Authors series, the thorough periodical coverage of Biography Index, and the specialist biographical content of Junior Authors & Illustrators, this database contains biographical full text articles, page images and abstracts from today’s leading magazines and journals—providing the most current coverage of an individual’s life and work.
Delivers fast and easy access to high-quality, comprehensive information. The rich combination of the insightful Encyclopædia Britannica plus Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, magazines and periodicals, and many other research tools provides the variety of reliable sources that students need to consult when conducting thorough research—all from one resource.
Covers every major subject, from art to medicine, psychology to history, and technology to literature. The award-winning titles in Credo Reference include general and subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, biographies, bibliographies, chronologies, handbooks, atlases, and more. Credo's collections are continuously updated to reflect the most relevant, up-to-date content.
Gale General OneFile
Provides access to magazines, newspapers, and reference books through one easy interface. This general interest database offers the latest content covering current events, popular culture, the arts and sciences, sports, hobbies, and more.
Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary
America’s largest, most comprehensive dictionary is revised for today’s students, teachers, and librarians. With updated vocabulary, enhanced content, a fresh modern layout, and exciting new features, Merriam-Webster Unabridged is an essential source of information on the English language.
Oxford English Dictionary
Widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words, past and present, from across the English-speaking world. This historical dictionary traces the history of individual words—and of the English language—through 3 million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to films scripts and cookery books.
Offers a wide variety of full-text interdisciplinary content on virtually any subject area to tackle assignments, papers, projects and presentations. The database includes thousands of full-text proprietary titles from Gale and more than 80 strategic publishing partners, including the complete contents of Drama for Students, Epics for Students, Novels for Students, Poetry for Students, and Short Stories for Students.
World Book Advanced
World Book Advanced is a powerful reference tool that includes encyclopedia, multimedia, e-book, and primary source databases, fully integrated in a single search.
Why Conduct Background Research?
To gain familiarity with your topic.
To narrow your topic by finding specific aspects on which to focus.
To provide historical and social context.
To identify experts related to the topic.
Common Types of Reference Materials
A good reference collection includes the following types of items: