Encyclopedias and handbooks can be useful for an overview of a topic. While you would not use information from an encyclopedia or handbook in a written or oral research or essay paper, you can use them to get information on a topic you are not familiar about, or want to learn more about it before you start your paper.
The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature by Dinah Birch (Editor); Katy Hooper (Editor)
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) provides a guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. It traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources.
Locate background information
Books can give you an overview of your topic. You do not necessarily have to read the entire book, just enough to support your assignment. Many of our (print) books will have a link to the table of contents or summary of what the book is about to help you determine if it will be useful. For e-books, you can download individual chapters or entire books (depending on what ebook database you are using).
If you have a specific title or author you are looking for, use the library catalog to locate books or media (e.g. DVD's) on your topic. Books in our collections are a mix of print (paper) and electronic (e-book). From the main library webpage, clikc the tab.