Monday, May 1, 2006

Gale Virtual Reference Library

Before beginning any academic research it is helpful to obtain a good overview of your topic to help you identify key terms, names, and dates as well as give you a solid grasp on your subject matter. A great resource for this initial pre-research is an encyclopedia. The Empire State College online library includes several encyclopedias in its collection, such as Oxford Reference Online, Encyclopedia Brittannica and Gale Virtual Reference Library.

The Gale Virtual Reference Library is a searchable electronic book collection of almost 60 subject encyclopedias, handbooks and guides, covering many subject disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and science and technology. Articles in subject encyclopedias are usually written by experts in that particular field and often include useful bibliographies that can lead you to additional sources on the topic. The Gale Virtual Reference Library includes subject encyclopedias covering topics such as:
  • Business (e.g. Business Plans Handbook, Business Information Handbook, Encyclopedia of Small Business)
  • Culture (e.g. Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, Countries and Their Cultures, St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture)
  • Health Issues (e.g. Macmillan Encyclopedia of Death and Dying, Encyclopedia of Public Health, Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer)
  • Religion (e.g. Encyclopedia of American Religions, New Catholic Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World)

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