Reference resources are a great place to begin your research. They can help you define terms as well as to find basic information about a topic, a chronicle of its history, theories, key people and sometimes a bibliography of additional sources.
There are many different types of reference sources, which include dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri, bibliographies, handbooks, style manuals to name a few.
Oxford Reference Online - History
♦ Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium
♦ Dictionary of British History
♦ Oxford Dictionary of Islam
♦ Oxford Dictonary of the Renaissance
♦ Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages.
Atlas of the Crusades
G1034 .R5 1991 (Maps & Air Photos)
Dictionary of the Middle Ages
REF D114 .D5 1982 plus supplement
New Catholic Encyclopedia
REF BX841 .N44 2003
The older edition (1907-1912) can be found online.
The Routledge Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages (series)
Key Figures in Medieval Europe: an Encyclopedia
REF D115 .E56 2006
The titles in Cambridge Histories Online will give you scholarly overviews and enhance any aspect of historical research. Includes the following titles:
Oxford Bibliographies offers peer reviewed annotated bibliographies which will help you to narrow the vast number of citations to the best scholarship on a given topic.
Bibliographies are browsable by subject area and keyword searchable.
For example, there is a research guide on Medieval Studies as well as an essay on The Crusades and within that essay, there is a section on major Primary Source Collections and Primary Source Collections in Translation.