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Reference Online and In Print

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:

Additional Reference Collections at Northwestern University:

  • Architecture Reading Room (Deering) Reference
  • Art Collection (Deering Library) Reference 
  • Galter Health Sciences Library (Chicago) Reference
  • Herskovitz Library of African (5 East) Studies Reference
  • Pritzker Legal Resource Center (Chicago)
  • Transportation Library (5 North) Reference

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.

One effective way to search NUSearch is to browse by subject headings, watching 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.

The browse feature is reached by a link at the top of the screen:

Alternatively, it is possible to use the NUSearch advanced search to search for subject headings liked to the subheadings that indicate a reference work.   Chief among these are Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Bibliography, Atlases, Statistics, and Handbooks.  Here is a way such a search could be set up:



More on NUSearch

When using in NUSearch, it is also possible to identify various types of reference resources by using the facets on the left side of the search results: