UCB Libraries

How do I... find encyclopedias?


  • Overview
  • Types of Encyclopedias
  • Finding Encyclopedias
  • Searching Chinook

Are you beginning research on a topic new or unfamiliar to you?
If so, an excellent way to begin is to consult an encyclopedia.

Encyclopedic Sources

The ideal starting place if you are a non-specialist on your topic. They will typically provide:

  • an overview and background information on a topic
  • the established knowledge on a topic
  • the most important facts about a topic
  • the key figures, places, or events related to your topic
  • a list of recommended readings on a topic

Benefits & Considerations


  • They have gone through an editorial process
  • They are often written by specialists in the field
  • They do not use jargon
  • They tend to be short and concise


  • They are intended as an overview and are not the best source for up-to-date developments
  • They are not a complete look at the scholarship and research on a topic
  • They are a good starting point and a great place to establish keywords and research leads



General Sources


Encyclopædia Britannica online CU

Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia CU
Gale Virtual Reference Library CU
Oxford Digital Reference Shelf CU

Sage eReference CU

ABC-Clio eBook Collection CU

Specialized Sources


Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology CU

Oxford African American studies centerCU

Zedlers Grosses vollständiges Universal-Lexikon Online



Berkshire Encyclopedia of World Sport

Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Encyclopedia Latina

Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy

Encyclopedia of Children, Adolescents, and the Media

Encyclopedia of Ethical, Legal, and Policy Issues in Biotechnology

Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues

Encyclopedia of Film Themes, Settings and Series

Globalization: Encyclopedia of Trade, Labor, and Politics

International Encyclopedia of Sexuality

Women in the Third World : an Encyclopedia of Contemporary Issues

International Sources

+ Arabic/Islam

Online Encyclopedias


Print Encyclopedias


  • Islamic civilization : history, contributions, and influence : a compendium of literature (see 1)
  • Encyclopedia of Arabic language and linguistics (see 1)
  • Notable Muslims : Muslim builders of world civilization and culture (see 1)
  • Encyclopedia of the Palestinians (see 1)
  • Modern Arabic literature in translation : a companion (see 1)
  • Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim world (see 1)
  • The Muslims : encyclopaedia of Islam : including entries prepared by a number of leading orientalists and modern Islamic scholars. (see 1)
  • Encyclopedia of Arabic literature (see 1)
+ French

Online Encyclopedias


Print Encyclopedias


  • Encyclopaedia universalis (see 1)
  • Petit Larousse: Dictionnaire Encyclopédique Pour Tous (see 1)
+ German

Online Encyclopedias


Print Encyclopedias


  • Der Grosse Brockhaus : In 12 Bd (see 1)
  • Brockhaus Enzyklopädie In Zwanzig Bänden. / Siebzehnte Völlig Neu Bearb. Augl. Des Grossen Brockhaus (see 1)
+ Italian

Online Encyclopedias


Print Encyclopedias


  • La Piccola Treccani : Dizionario Enciclopedico (see 1)
  • Gli Strumenti Del Sapere Contemporaneo (see 1)
+ Japanese

Online Encyclopedias


  Print Encyclopedias


  • Dai Nihon hyakka jiten CU
  • Koji ruien古事類苑CU
  • Modern Japan : an encyclopedia of history, culture, and nationalism CU
+ Portuguese

Print Encyclopedias


  • Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean literature, 1900-2003 (see 1)
  • Concise Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature (see 1)
  • Dictionary of the Literature of the Iberian Peninsula (see 1)
+ Spanish
  • El Pequeño Larousse Ilustrado (see 1)
  • Enciclopedia Hispánica (see 1)
  • Enciclopedia Universal (see 1)
  • Encyclopedia of Caribbean literature (see 1)
  • Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean literature, 1900-2003 (see 1)
  • Diccionario Espasa literatura española (see 1)
  • The feminist encyclopedia of Spanish literature (see 1)
  • Concise Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature (see 1)
  • Diccionario enciclopédico de las letras de América Latina (see 1)
  • Diccionario de literatura española e hispanoamericana (see 1)
  • Dictionary of the Literature of the Iberian Peninsula (see 1)




Reference Universe

Reference Universe is a searchable database that indexes information from specialized subject encyclopedias. It searches both the titles of reference articles as well as the encyclopedia / dictionary indexes, providing a thorough level of access to materials and potential sources. CU


SEARCH your topic in Reference Universe, enter your topic in the search box below:

Watch a quick tutorial on how to use this resource!


Research & Subject Guides

Subject Guides

There are numerous subject-specific research guides available that list core recommended resources. These guides often point to encyclopedias and other reference sources.


Chinook is the catalog for materials owned by the CU Libraries. There are two ways to search Chinook, the library catalog, for encyclopedias.


By Keyword

EXAMPLE: [your topic keyword] AND encyclop*


NOTE: You may also try searching dictionary, handbook, or guide

By Subject Heading

Choose to search by LC Subject Heading and enter:

[subject heading]-Dictionaries
[subject heading]-Encyclopedias
[subject heading]- [Geographic subdivision]-Dictionaries
[subject heading]- [Geographic subdivision]-Encyclopedias

Immigrants -- Encyclopedias
Immigrants -- United States -- Encyclopedias

Created7/07 CBS, Updated 7/08, Updated 3/11 AC & CS

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