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Tutorials Home: Subject Encyclopedias

A guide for all online tutorials designed and created by Clark Librarians

Subject Encyclopedias

IRIS: Subject Encyclopedias

Subject Encyclopedias
cover one subject in-depth
articles usually written by subject scholars and experts
always cite sources of information
written at college or higher reading level
are usually acceptable sources for college-level papers

General Encyclopedias
cover a little bit on all subjects
articles usually written by journalists or staff writers
rarely cite sources of information
usually written at a 7th grade reading level
are generally not appropriate to cite in college-level papers

Four good reasons to use subject encyclopedias
Get an overview of your topic from a reliable source.
Gather valuable keywords - words, phrases, names, dates and events.
Find related topics using the cross-references.
Find related articles using the sources.
Tips: Subject Encyclopedias
are not meant to be read cover to cover
often have many volumes with hundreds or thousands of pages
often include useful appendices and reading guides, and other“extras”

Find Subject encyclopedias in both print and digital format
Print Subject Encyclopedias are shelved in the reference section
arranged by call number
findable through the library catalog

Digital Subject Encyclopedias
are NOT available free by searching Google or any other search engine
ARE available on the library’s website (because the library buys them for you to access)