Historical research is often informed by reference materials from many disciplines. Reference online and in print brings together some of the library's many reference works while providing tips on how to locate others. The types of works profiled in this guide include dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri, grammar and usage guides, biographical sources, sources for quick facts, directories and bibliographies, across the disciplines.
Reference resources come in several formats. Online resources will be shown by title in NUsearch. Print resources are also listed in NUsearch, by title. Print resources which do not circulate are available in the main library periodical room. For more information, send us an IM, email or call us.
Garraty, John Arthur, and Mark C. Carnes. American National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. The standard historical U. S. biographical dictionary in 24 volumes, and an example of a major national historical biographical set.
Matthew, H. C. G., and Brian Howard Harrison. Oxford dictionary of national biography: in association with the British Academy: from the earliest times to the year 2000. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. The standard historical British biographical dictionary in 60 volumes. Similar resources will exist for other countries.
K.G. Saur Verlag. World Biographical Information System. [Farmington Hills, Mich.]: Thomson Gale, 2004. Index to and full text of thousands of biographical works in many languages.
Oxford Bibliographies Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Online bibliographies of topics in Atlantic history, political science, and much more. Offers peer-reviewed annotated bibliographies on specific topics in a growing range of subject areas.
Boyer, Paul S., and Melvyn Dubofsky. The Oxford Companion to United States History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. (Available in Print Only)
Cannon, John. The Oxford Companion to British History. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Gale e-books. Searchable database of several hundred subject encyclopedias and other reference works across all subject areas, but with particular strengths in the social sciences and humanities. It includes a number of major reference works, and is Northwesterns largest single collection of reference materials. A good source for authoritative background information.