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. Tip: Call number "D" = general and European history when you're browsing the stacks.
Cambridge Historical Encyclopedia of Great Britain and Ireland
Ref DA34 .C28 1985
Dictionary-style entries about the United Kingdom; includes a brief bibliography.
Historical Dictionary of the United Kingdom
Ref DA34 .P36 1997
Includes bibliographical references.
Bibliography of British History:
Tudor Period, 1485-1603 Ref DA310 .B53 1959
Stuart Period, 1603-1714 Ref DA370 .D385 1970
Eighteenth Century, 1714-1789 Ref DA483 .A1 P37 1951
Medieval France: An Encyclopedia
Ref DC33.2 .M44 1995
Essays by scholars with extensive references and a good index.
Historical Dictionary of the Spanish Empire, 1402-1975
Ref DP56 .H57 1992
Essays with references by scholars; includes a chronology and bibliography.
Chronology of World History
Ref D11 .M39 1999
Covers prehistory to 1998 through a timeline showing politics/government/economics, science/technology/ medicine, arts/ideas, and society; no references. 4 v.
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 (online)
Ref D20 .A55 1995 (print)
Comprehensive critical overview of the best contemporary historical scholarship selected by specialists; contains an annotated bibliography for each section. 2 v.
Encyclopedia of World History
Ref D21 .E578 2001
Gives highlights and then treats major periods and areas in more detail, without references.