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Subject Encyclopedias @ The College of St. Scholastica Library

Encyclopedias written by scholars - just like Wikipedia (except the scholar part), only better!


Admit it. You've used Wikipedia. Not that there's anything wrong with that! So you know how valuable a good encyclopedia article can be - it gives you an overview of topic without the length of a book of the specificity of a journal article. This guide is a master list of both our print and electronic subject encyclopedias. A traditional, or general encyclopedia, tries to order all the world's knowledge in a single work - once 20 or so volumes in print, or now an online encyclopedia such as Wikipedia. A subject encyclopedia is different. It is going to focus on one topic, and because it does, it can explore that topic at length, but each facet of the topic gets the same overview that makes encyclopedias so useful. Also, because the subject encyclopedias in this list are created by professional publishers they offer other advantages. 

  • the authors of the articles are scholars in their fields
  • the article are edited by other scholars
  • the editors work to make the encyclopedia cover the scope of a topic
  • lists of articles, indexes and subject guides within the encyclopedia help you follow the related threads of a topic
  • articles have bibliographies or suggested reading lists. This is one of the simplest & most time-effective ways for you to gather more resources on your topic.

When books are too long and journal articles too specific, don't forget the the encyclopedia. It's like Baby Bear's bed - it's just right. Use this guide to find great encyclopedia articles written by scholars from works selected by librarians. Your professors will love it!

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