Background reading is an essential starting point to any research project. The purpose of background reading is to get an overview of your topic, and to begin to become acquainted with the key terms, names and events associated with your topic.
A good place to begin your background reading is to find and read an article in a subject-specific reference book. Perkins Library collects reference books in both print and online formats.
*Note: Reference books are considered tertiary sources and are not typically referred to or cited in research papers.
Perkins Library has many reference books on various subjects. They are worth a trip to the library in order to get a concise, authoritative overview of your History topic as you begin your research. This list represents just a sampling of the many print reference books available in the Library. Search the library's catalog, or browse the C through F section of the Reference collection to find more history reference books.
Of course, you might need to think outside of the history box to find the necessary sources for your research. The Library has many reference books in a multitude of subject areas. Some will be found in the Reference collection, while others have been put in the main collection on the lower level. You will also find many reference books online, especially those in the Gale Ebooks collection mentioned above, but there are a few in the EBSCO eBook collection and the ProQuest's Academic Complete collection.
Other sources of reference or secondary books are available. For instance Black's Law Dictionary is available in the Westlaw Campus Research database.