Reference: Memorial Day
What does "general reference" mean?
One category of information in the library is what we call "general reference."
In the days before the internet, "reference" resources meant books like encyclopedias and dictionaries--something users could quickly "refer" to that would provide basic information about a topic.
Encyclopedias, typically coming in multiple volumes, would contain articles usually arranged alphabetically. Sometimes they would offer more in-depth information on a particular subject.
Now that there is so much information available online, there are digital encyclopedias and dictionaries, but it may be harder to distinguish their content from other kinds of articles.
In the library, however, we still call them "general reference" works because they provide general information or topic overviews.
What are the library's general reference online resources?
The WCC Library subscribes to several online reference databases. These are not available on the public web, but you can log into them using your MyWCC account info.
Since Memorial Day is coming up, let's look at some related articles in these databases.
Contains "reference entries, magazine articles and primary sources. Academic research tools such as the World Atlas and the the World Data Analyst (Country statistics and comparisons)."
Example article: Memorial Day
One nice feature of Britannica is the option to translate the article into another language. Click on the globe in the upper right corner of the article to translate it via Google Translate.
"Background information to explore your topic: subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, images, videos and much more."
Funk & Wagnall's New World Encyclopedia
"General encyclopedia and biographical articles. Searchable by subject or keywords within the entry;" via the EBSCO company's platform.
Example article: Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), the "organization that instituted the observance of Memorial Day" in 1868.
EBSCO eBooks: Encyclopedias
Part of a larger database of "keyword searchable full-text scholarly and popular eBooks;" also via the EBSCO company's platform.
The image above links to an example search for encyclopedias within this database. Try adding a topic to the search terms to see if there are any encyclopedias about it.
Example: Encyclopedia of War and American Society (SAGE Publications, 2005)
You can create an EBSCO account to download eBooks, or most publishers will allow you to save, email, or print up to a certain number of pages. This publisher allows 100 pages at a time. You can experiment with searching the content of this eBook by clicking "PDF Full Text" on the left. Then, you can browse the book's table of contents or click "Search Within" to do a keyword search.
Biography Reference Center
"Comprehensive collection of biographies and biographical narratives. You can also search by occupation, nationality, activity, gender, lifespan and more."
Example: Try searching for Memorial Day. Then, in the results, click on John A. Logan, "commander in chief of the GAR" who first suggested decorating soldiers' graves with flowers in 1868.
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