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HIST 125: The Evolution of Modern Europe

Why Consult a Reference Resource?

Reference resources are a great place to begin your research.  They can help you define terms as well as to find background 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.

Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment
This four volume set largely focuses on British and North American perspectives of the enlightenment.

Six volume set with nearly 1200 entries covering the time period from Italy in 1350 to the early 17th century. Articles range in length from less than a page to 25 (Humanism) and 46 pages (Renaissance). Bibliographies often feature primary sources as well as secondary resources in all languages.

Longman Companions to History (Series)
Stauffer Library (call number varies)

Good starting point for research to a major area of historical study.

Check Omni under title, Longman Companions to History, to get a complete list of titles. Go to Advanced Search....

Designed as a dictionary with brief explanations of persons, ideas, and events, this volume emphasizes culture more strongly than politics. This volume does not attempt to compete with the Encyclopedia of the Renaissance but it stacks up well against other single-volume dictionaries of the Renaissance.
Four-volume set of articles by a team of experts on a wide range of topics.
The "History" collection of reference works is one component in the Oxford Reference Online database, a huge and comprehensive resource which contains the full text of over 120 dictionaries, companions and other reference publications covering the complete subject spectrum.


The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of men and women who have shaped British history and culture, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century.


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 browseable by subject area and keyword searchable. For example, there is a bibliography on the Renaissance and Reformation

There are essays on the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, Industrialization, Russian Revolutions and Civil War, 1917-1921, to name a few. .