Skip to main content

Reference Online and In Print: Home

Reference sources

The Northwestern University Library now has a large collection of online reference books. Below are links to some of the largest collections.

Hard copy reference books (ones that are not online) are located in several places on the Evanston and Chicago campuses. Here are the principal locations for these materials:

  • Architecture Reading Room (Deering) Reference
  • Art Collection (Deering Library) Reference Non-Circulating
  • Galter Health Sciences Library Reference
  • Pritzker Legal Resource Center
Loading

Identifying reference works

The library's rich collection of reference sources are listed in NUsearch.  You may search by title, keyword, or subject heading.

To use the subject search, you must use a valid subject heading.  To find "official" subject headings, you may go to the Library of Congress Subject Heading page.  In the search box, type in your subject, then choose LC subject headings from the drop down menu, and hit enter.  A list of "official" subject headings will appear.

When searching NUcat by subject headings, watch for subheadings that indicate a reference work, such as:

  • Monroe, Marilyn, 1926-1962--Encyclopedias.
  • French language--Dictionaries--English.
  • Palestine--Bibliography.
  • Chicago--(Ill.)--Directories.
  • United States--Statistics.

 

Another tool for located reference works is the database Reference Universe.   This database contains table-of-contents and index information for thousands of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks, allowing you to find an approporiate article on a spectific topic.  Just type in any word or phrase into this box:

Enter your search terms:

When using in NUSearch, it is also possible to identify various types of reference resources by looking at the "Resource Type" facet, in the bottom left-hand side of the screen, as in this search on "Shakespeare":