Chemistry: Reference Works

Guide for Library Research in Chemistry

Why Reference Works?

Scholarly reference works are useful for the following:

  • An overview of a topic
  • Topic ideas for a paper topic or narrowing your topic
  • Finding keywords for searches 
  • Bibliographies for further research

Reference works are good starting points for research, but are rarely cited in research as secondary sources. 

Online Resources

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias provide excellent background/overview information and are an excellent place to begin research. They contain articles written by experts for a somewhat more general audience. They provide indexes indicating scope of coverage of a topic and point to articles in which a concept will be discussed. They also provide bibliographies for further reading.