Find Reference Sources

Reference sources are the basic, essential tools of research. Use reference sources to find a good introduction to a topic or concept, check facts or rules, get a definition of a word, a short biography of a person, get geographic information, or locate additional sources for your work.

Common Types of Reference Sources
  • Encyclopedias
  • Dictionaries
  • Thesauri
  • Almanacs, Yearbooks, and Collected Statistics
  • Handbooks and Manuals
  • Biographical Dictionaries
  • Chronologies
  • Atlases, Maps, and Gazetteers
  • Directories
  • Bibliographies

Print Reference Collections

In each of our libraries, you'll find reference books on a wide variety of topics. The libraries maintain a core collection of print reference works in each library. Librarians and staff will be happy to help you to find what you need.

Online Reference Resources

Off campus login link

In addition to our print reference collections, the libraries provide access to online reference tools in all subject areas taught at Atlantic Cape.

Britannica Academic Edition

This tool combines the highly respected Encyclopaedia Britannica with Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Britannica is a general encyclopedia, containing introductory essays on all areas of knowledge, written by acknowledged experts. This edition also includes a world atlas, with maps and statistics, as well as a selection of articles from current news sources.

Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia

This general encyclopedia contains articles that are easy to read, but lack the depth of the Britannica articles.

Referencia Latina

A collection of Spanish-language sources, primarily introductory reference books, but also including a variety of popular magazines and a few scholarly journals.

Credo Reference Collection

This collection contains an extensive collection of subject encyclopedias, as well as a selection of handbooks, dictionaries, and other reference tools, including image collections. An excellent place to find background information for starting a research project.

Gale Virtual Reference Collection (GVRL)

This collection includes a selection of subject encyclopedias and other introductory sources, including some valuable core reference titles.

Salem Press

A small but valuable collection of resources. At this time, the collection includes resources for history, health and medicine, and science.

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center

This resource provides a multifaceted collection of opinion essays on many controversial topics. For best results, use the Browse Topics feature. Critical thinking required!

Points of View

This tool is very similar to Opposing Viewpoints, but the topic list is slightly different.

Literary Reference Center

A good place to start research on any literature-related topic.

Small Business Reference Center

This collection contains many tools to help aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Legal Information Reference Center

A basic collection of legal reference sources.

Nonprofit Resource Center

The Nonprofit Resource Center, located in the Mullock Family Library, on the Cape May County Campus, provides access to a suite of databases from the Foundation Center. These tools can be used to identify funding sources for nonprofit organizations. Also included is the Grants to Individuals database, which identifies organizations that fund scholarships and creative or entrepreneurial projects. These resources are available on the Cape May County Campus only; no off-campus access.


This resource is a directory of businesses around the United States. It contains basic information about each company listed.

Authentication for referenceUSA is different from our other databases. Get instructions for logging onto referenceUSA.

Many additional online reference sources can be found in the Ebsco E-book Collections.