There are many handbooks, dictionaries, and encyclopedias that provide basic information for historical studies. If you are selecting a topic, build a framework by consulting definitions or a quick overview found in these resources and then focus on your topic by searching for more specific information. These materials and many more for all geographic areas are to be found in the Reference Room. (Call number "D" = general and European history, "E" and "F" = American history, and "C"= the auxiliary sciences of history, such as archeology.)
Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing
Ref D13 .G47 1998
Essays on historians, approaches to writing history, and treatment of historical events; includes texts and references. 2 v.
American Historical Association's Guide to Historical Literature
Comprehensive critical overview of the best contemporary historical scholarship selected by specialists; contains an annotated bibliography for each section. 2 volumes online via ACLS Humanities E-Books
Cambridge Historical Encyclopedia of Great Britain and Ireland
PRINT DA34 .C28 1985
Dictionary-style entries about the United Kingdom; includes a brief bibliography.
Historical Dictionary of the United Kingdom
PRINT DA34 .P36 1997
2 volumes. Includes bibliographical references.
Bibliography of British History:
Eighteenth Century, 1714-1789 Ref DA483 .A1 P37 1951
1789-1851 Ref DA520 .B769 1977
1851-1914 Ref DA530 .H355 1976
1914-1989 Ref DA566 .R63 1996
Annotated entries arranged by subject and usually indexed by author and title.
Twentieth Century Britain: An Encyclopedia
PRINT DA566 .T835 1995
Essays on people and some topics with brief bibliographies for each article.
Medieval France: An Encyclopedia
Essays by scholars with extensive references and a good index.
Encyclopedia of the Third Reich
PRINT Ref DD256.5 .G76313 1991
Entries with some essays by scholars; includes a bibliography but no individual references.
Encyclopedia of Russian History
Entries cover from ancient events to the present; includes bibliographical references. Online via Gale Virtual Reference
Historical Dictionary of the Spanish Empire, 1402-1975
PRINT Ref DP56 .H57 1992
Essays with references by scholars; includes a chronology and bibliography.
Chinese History: A Manual
PRINT Ref DS735 .W695 2000
Detailed overview of research tools, both secondary and primary, with excellent indexes and references.