Finding scientific information: Reference works

Reference works

An encyclopaedia is an extensive compilation of information. It may be general, containing information about a large amount of different topics, or it may focus on a particular subject matter such as medicine or engineering. Some encyclopaedias concentrate on offering information from a certain cultural or national point of view. An encyclopaedia may be arranged according to headings, either in an alphabetical order or by subject matter. Alphabetical order is the most common, particularly in general encyclopaedias. Articles in encyclopaedias may vary in length from a few sentences to several pages, depending on the encyclopaedia.

A dictionary is a kind of reference work that presents words, usually in alphabetical order, chosen according to some particular criteria. In monolingual dictionaries, explanations are given for the words; other dictionaries offer foreign language equivalents of the words.

A handbook is a kind of reference work that presents central information from a particular subject field. Handbooks are useful sources of factual information, which provide help in solving practical problems. They may contain for instance tables, constants and standards, and often they offer references to other sources of information.

A table is a numerical or other such presentation of information in a list format, usually using several columns (e.g. mathematical tables, physics and chemistry tables, statistics).

Finding reference works

You should begin looking for reference books in Oula-Finna by title or by subject with the word 'hakuteokset', 'encyclopedia', 'handbook'. The Holdings display will give you the basic information on the publication, with its location and status. Call Number link shows the location of a call number on a library map. Books that are out on loan (charged) can be put on hold for you. For items that are not on loan you can place requests.

E-Book links provide access to electronic books. You can find more information about e-books in the E-books guide.

Log in with your University of Oulu user ID for off-campus access to electronic resources. 

It's also possible to search from the contents of the books in e-book databases. This for example makes it easier to search for the definition of a certain term.