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CLST 205: Ancient Humour

CLST 205: Ancient Humour

Finding Background Information

Specialized encyclopedias, bibliographies, dictionaries, handbooks and companions provide a useful starting point to find background information on your topic. 

The types of information that a background search in a specialized reference work can provide include:

  • Broad overview of the subject
  • Definitions of the topic
  • Introduction to key concepts/issues
  • Names of people who are authorities in the subject field
  • Major dates and events
  • Keywords and subject-specific vocabulary terms that can be used for database searches
  • Bibliographies that lead to additional resources


Consult biographical dictionaries to find brief information about people, dates and events. 


Consult bibliographies to find a comprehensive list of sources on a specific topic or a selective list of key works on a topic.


Oxford Handbooks Online. Full text access to handbooks in Archaeology and Classics.


The Library has various Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World. Select from a range of Companions on specific topics.