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Reference Sources for Research  

Last Updated: Jun 4, 2015 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts
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Biographical Resources


What are reference sources?


Reference sources provide background information on a variety of topics and are a great place to start your research. Users generally consult reference materials on a certain topic and read entries related to that topic.  These sources are rarely read cover to cover.

The sources list on this page are general reference sources.  You can find subject specific reference books under Selected Reference by Subject in the upper left-hand side of the page.

Perhaps the most important reference source is our professional staff, available all hours the library is open and ready to help you with your research while guiding you through our print and electronic resources.


General Reference

  • Oxford Reference Online
    Full text of about 100 dictionary, language reference, and subject reference works from Oxford University Press.
  • Reference Universe
    This database searches the full text of major reference works then presents the titles of articles in those reference works and a link to the library's local catalog to see if the work is in the collection. It does not provide the full text of the articles.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library
    A collection of full text online reference books. Includes works in all disciplines.
  • Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia
    Provides over 25,000 encyclopedic entries, searchable by subject or keywords within the entry.

Dictionaries & Thesauri


  • CQ Almanac  Icon
    Yearly review of major events and legislation related to the U.S. Congress starting in 1946.
  • Old Farmer's Almanac
    Since 1792, the Old Farmer's Almanac has published useful information for people in all walks of life.
  • This Day in History
    From The History Channel, Provides historical reference to events occurring on a specific day of the year.
  • World Factbook (CIA)
    Provides fundamental and factual reference material on countries and issues.

General Statistics

  • Census Bureau
    From the U.S. Department of Commerce, a source for social, demographic, and economic information.
  • Encyclopedia of Statistical Sciences
    Covers topics such as statistics, probability theory, biostatistics, quality control, and economics with emphasis in applications of statistical methods in sociology, engineering, computer science, biomedicine, psychology, survey methodology, and other client disciplines.
    Provides easy access to the full range of statistics and information produced by more than 70 agencies in the United States Federal Government.
  • Historical Statistics of the United States Millennial Edition Online
    This resource provides all types of data reflecting the history of the United States. Although a licensed service free to KSU users, to create custom tables and download standard tables all users must fill out a registration form.
  • Social Explorer
    Users can create statistical reports and map census data for comparison.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States
    Provides access to this important U.S. government document with a comprehensive summary of statistics for w wide array of subjects.

Chat with a KSU Librarian


Ask a Librarian

For additional reference help, please contact a librarian through the Ask a Librarian page.


  • CollegeSource Online
    Full text to U.S. college and university Catalogs.
  • Foundation Directory Online
    Updated monthly, the directory contains information about the largest 10,000 public and private foundations in the U.S. and links to foundation web sites.
  • National Faculty Directory
    Lists faculty information from colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.

Speeches & Quotations


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