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A selective guide to information resources in Philosophy at Queen's University Library.

Online Reference Collections

Oxford Reference Online: Philosophy
The Philosophy 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. Includes The Oxford Companion to Philosophy and The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy.

Oxford Handbooks Online: Scholarly Research Reviews
An outstanding collection of the best handbooks published by Oxford in 14 subject areas, including philosophy. The Handbook series contains in-depth, articles that review key issues and major debates.

The Importance of Background Information

Finding background information at the beginning of your research is especially important if you are unfamiliar with the subject area, or not sure from what angle to approach your topic. The types of information that a background search in a specialzed 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

In addition to the sources listed here, you can also search Omni using the keywords of your topic combined with the type of reference work you're looking for, such as: encyclopedia, dictionaries, companion, bibliography, or handbook.

General Encyclopedias

Encyclopedia of Concise Concepts by Women Philosophers
Produced by the Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists at Paderborn University, Germany.

Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2006 edition, D. Borchert ed. (for earlier editions, search Omni)
Lauded for its clear and accessible presentation of wide-ranging philosophical subjects, the Encyclopedia has earned its place as a first-stop resource for general readers, students and educators.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The IEP provides open access to key topics and philosophers in all areas of philosophy. Entries are authored by philosophers, identifiable by the author's name at the end of the article.

 Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy 
The REP Online is the largest and most comprehensive resource available for all those involved in the study of philosophy, providing access to over 2,800 articles that have been edited for level and consistency by a team of renowned subject experts. 

Presents the very best of the acclaimed ten volume Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy in a single volume.

 A dynamic and authoritative online encyclopedia for the study of philosophy.


Consult bibliographies to find a comprehensive list of sources on a specific topic or a selective list of key works on a topic. 
Lists books, journals, primary documents, web resources, and multimedia in various discipline-based subject modules, including Philosophy.
Bibliographie de la Philosophie/Bibliography of Philosophy
B30.I61 non circulating, compact shelving
International Philosophical Bibliography
REF Z7127.R42 from 1949 - 2014


Blackwell Companions to Philosophy (Series)
Call number varies in SL Books, for editions available online, search Blackwell Reference Online
This reference series offers a comprehensive survey of philosophy as a whole. Each volume provides coverage of key figures, terms, and movements of the main subdisciplines of philosophy. Each essay is cross referenced and is supported by a selected bibliography.
Cambridge Companions to Philosophy (Series)
Call number varies in SL Books
Each volume of this series of companions to major philosophers contains specially commissioned essays by an international team of scholars, together with a substantial bibliography.
Cambridge Histories Online
Historical reference compendium allows access to the texts of the Cambridge Histories series, including eight volumes in the Philosophy Series.
"Surveys the foremost philosophy from all parts of the world."
Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Race
The Companion synthesizes current philosophical understandings of race, providing 37 chapters on the history of philosophy and race as well as how race might be investigated in the usual frameworks of contemporary philosophy.