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Reference sources are perfect tools for helping a researcher gain a basic understanding of a topic. They're also great for starting a topical bibliography because they can direct you to additional sources for further reading. Reference sources take several forms here at Musselman Library. This guide will help you understand.
Most of our print reference book collection resides on the shelves in the Reading Room, on the library's main floor. Many can be checked out of the library for short, 3-day loans. Watch for the "BLUFFTON READING ROOM" designation in the library's online catalog.
With our connections to OhioLINK, Bluffton University subscribes to hundreds more reference sources online. Their keyword searchability makes them ideal as a starting point for your research.
Need help with a reference source? Ask Us!
Reference Sources online
Reference Tools list
The most up-to-date list of all online reference sources, in one place. Accessible on- and off-campus.
Online encyclopedia of science and technology containing articles, dictionary terms, biographies, research updates, and science news.
Britannica Online Academic Edition
General reference database designed for the needs of college and university researchers.
EBook Center (OhioLINK)
Thousands of scholarly and reference eBooks covering the humanities, sciences and social sciences.
Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia
Provides over 25,000 encyclopedic entries. Searchable by subject or keywords within the entry.
Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO)
Provides information on Anabaptist-related (Amish, Mennonite, Hutterite, Brethren in Christ) topics, including history, theology, biography, institutions, and local congregations.
Literary Reference Center Plus
Provides users with a broad spectrum of information on thousands of authors and their works across literary disciplines and timeframes.
Oxford Art Online | Grove Art Online
Comprehensive visual arts resource.
Oxford English Dictionary
Historical dictionary of the English language.
Oxford Music Online | Grove Music Online
Comprehensive and authoritative online resource for research into all aspects of music.
Provides coverage for 25 subject areas with over 2 million entries from Oxford dictionaries, companions, and encyclopedias.
World Book Online
Suite of research tools including World Book Advanced for university level along with foreign language and K-12 resources.
Print Reference Sources in the library
Reference sources are arranged by call number in the library's Reading Room. Call numbers beginning with A are shelved to the left on entry to the Reading Room, just past the bulletin board. Shelving continues clockwise around the room, ending with Z call numbers near the archway toward the Red Room.
Selected examples of print reference sources in our collection include: