Library Research Guides > Help Guides > Finding Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Finding Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Students and faculty have access to:

  • Print and electronic Dictionaries, Encyclopedias and other reference books in Primo and databases.

Why Use Reference Books?

This video explains common uses for encyclopedias and dictionaries.

  • Basic definitions and facts of a topic
  • Test assumptions about the topic
  • Find Keywords for searches
  • Narrow your topic
  • Find secondary & primary sources on your topic

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Search Primo for encyclopedias & dictionaries.

  1. Combine topic keywords and the word dictionary or encyclopedia in CUW Library Search

    Primo search for biology dictionary with books selected2. In the search results, under Format, choose the best options and Apply filters.

Format filter with dictionaries and dictionary checked

There are 3 possible locations in the library: CUW Main stacks, CUW Reference, or Online

Book with location CUW Main Collection

Dictionary with location CUW Reference

Encyclopedia with location Online

Note: CUW Reference Books are for in-library use only. 

Online Reference Books

Online encyclopedias & dictionaries come in a few formats.

  • Some online encyclopedias & dictionaries will provide an alphabetical table of contents. Open the list and select an entry: Table of contents with show subsections link marked in red
  • Some reference books provide a search box to find topics. Search for keywords and choose the best entry from the results.

OR Click the date hyperlink to see a list of entries. 

Hyperlink that says January 1, 2008, Vol 7

Databases with Encyclopedias

To find entries, use the same search technique as Primo:

Advanced Search for civil war in the first box and encyclopedia in the second box

Then, click on an entry title from the search results.

Again, it might be helpful to filter your source type to Reference books:

Source type filter with reference books checked

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