Reference Sources

Reference materials are often useful as a first step for gathering background information or overviews of unfamiliar topics. Reference materials include dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, almanacs, directories, etc. Reference materials are available in print and online formats.
Many people are only familiar with the general encyclopedias, such as World Book or Britannica. But, subject encyclopedias exist for nearly every major subject area and usually go into much more depth than the general ones. For example:

Encyclopedias and other reference works often contain useful bibliographies (lists of references) of other sources to consult.
Other types of reference sources can provide quick facts, statistics, definitions, or quotations. Of course, Google is often the first place we check for quick information. But, depending on the Web site, the information may not be accurate, updated, or easy to use. You may need to validate the information by using another source.

No matter what the source, be sure to check the date of whatever information you find.
For finding current information, you always need to look for the most up-to-date authoritative source, which may or may not be the online version of a standard reference source.
Just because a book was published in 2010 doesn't mean the information in it is any more recent than 2007. You also need to check the date on whatever data you find within the book.
iDevice icon Think about it ...
If you completed the Information BASICS module, you learned that information can be subjective or objective.
Subjective = opinions, personal viewpoints
Objective = facts, unbiased reports

Which of these characteristics would apply to most reference materials?

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