Find Background Information with the Gale Virtual Reference Library

Uploaded by aldenlibrary on 26.02.2010

This video will show you how to do background research on your topic using the Gale Virtual Reference Library.
The OU Libraries subscribe to many different online encyclopedias and reference sources
that can be really valuable when you're just starting out with your research and need background information.
Generally you can trust these reference sources more than an open web source like Wikipedia
because the authors are chosen for their knowledge in that area rather than being just someone who wants to edit a page.
To get started, go to the OU Libraries home page
click on the link for Info Tree Subject Resources
In the General section is a link for Encyclopedias
and the Gale Virtual Reference Library is the first choice that comes up.
On the first screen you can see that you have the option to search all of the encyclopedias and reference sources available in this database
and this is generally a good place to start, especially if you're not sure where your topic falls.
I'm going to do a search for 'social welfare'
and click search
I can see that I get results from more than 1300 different reference sources.
which range from "The International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences..."
to the "Encyclopedia of Modern China"
and the "Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood."
So these are all different kinds of reference sources in different subjects...
about social welfare.
To read an article, click on the title.
And then you will always have the full text available right there.
You can scroll through the article to read it and see your search terms highlighted in red.
And you have some tools up here at the top, including a PDF download
which is helpful for printing and having page numbers.
You can print, email and download the article here, and even find some citation information.
All of the citation information is included here on the first part of the article.
So that's been a quick introduction to the Gale Virtual Reference Library
If you need help finding background information or have any other questions
remember to return to the OU Libraries home page and use the link to Ask a Librarian.