Reference materials are items in the library that contain useful background information and/or brief descriptions on a selected topic, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, or handbooks. Starting your research with reference materials can help you clarify your search terms and identify key authors and major themes within an area of study. You can think of reference materials as being like Wikipedia, but better! Since these materials are authored by experts in their field, the information you find in them will be more reliable and credible. Check out some of our resources below!