- Good starting points for research, particularly in unfamiliar topic areas (disciplinary handbooks, subject encyclopedias)
- Good sources for quick facts, contact information, or statistics (almanacs, directories)
- Good for discovering new vocabularies (dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopedias)
- Provide lists of information sources on a topic (indexes, bibliographies)
- Usually tools for finding more in-depth information sources, rather than being sources themselves.
- Normally are found in the library's reference section and cannot be checked out. (Some are linked to a library's web page and can be accessed electronically from anywhere.)
- To start serious research, you should know enough about your topic to talk about it for
1 minute without repeating yourself.