School Assignment Guides
The Library has prepared the assignment guides listed on the right side of this page to help you access information for your school assignments. They provide suggested resources in the Central Library and online that you can use with other sources that you find through your own research. There are four basic types of resources: reference materials, books, articles, and Web sites. Please note that material may not be available for each type of resource in every assignment guide.
Reference materials such as encyclopedias and dictionaries provide background information. Getting a general understanding of a topic is a good way to start your assignment. Use the titles in one of the guides on the right (or from the complete list) or look for other material that allows you to learn about the important aspects of your topic. Be sure to ask a librarian if you're not sure how to use reference materials or for advice on selecting other resources.
Books have more detail than reference materials and are used to develop your answer more fully. It usually takes more time to go through books than reference materials, but your assignment will benefit from the time you set aside for these resources. You can use the books in our guides or use their call number to find similar titles in the Library collection. If you don't know how call numbers work, ask a librarian to show you or look at our help page for call numbers.
Articles in magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals are another source of information. They often are narrower in focus and more current than books published on a topic. Many articles are available electronically through online databases. Each guide lists the databases to use and provides suggested search terms that will help you find relevant articles. Librarians are always happy to help you with your first search.
Web sites complement rather than replace what you find in reference materials, books, and articles. Valuable information from universities, libraries, museums, governments, agencies, businesses, and qualified individuals can be found on the World Wide Web. The sites selected for the guides are from authoritative sources. With care, you can also find other sites that contain accurate and reliable content. To start, try the Internet Public Library; it is a site that organizes good Web content into categories.