Oxford Reference

Oxford Reference

This guide will introduce you to Oxford Reference, a collection of over 300 dictionaries and encyclopaedias.

You can print or download this Oxford Reference helpsheet [876 KB].

Oxford Reference covers a wide range of subjects, from film, music and literature to medicine, science and technology. It can be useful for fact checking but also for homework and study. It is available in all West Sussex libraries and at home to library members.

How to use Oxford Reference

Go to eInformation: Online Reference Library and click A-Z of electronic resources.

Screenshot of Online Reference Library Tiles

Then scroll down to Oxford Reference.  If accessing the website on your own device you will need to enter your library card number on the Oxford Reference homepage.

Screen snip of link to Oxford Reference

For general information you can choose to search across the whole of Oxford Reference. Simply type your keywords into the search box at the top right of the homepage. This will retrieve detailed articles on the topic as well as passing mentions. Note: make sure to put phrases in quotation marks for a more accurate set of results.

Screenshot of Oxford Reference home page

Another way to search is to browse using the Explore By Subject tiles and click on the image of the one that best matches your search. The screenshot below shows Art and Architecture.

Screen shot of Art and Architecture Result

Below you can see the results of a search for “European Union”.

Screenshot of search results

Note that the list of results is prefaced by a summary definition of European Union (click on the title link for the full entry). This may be all the information that you need.

If you do need a longer entry you can either browse the results or refine the list by subject, from the Reference Type toolbar shown here on the left of the screen. The [+] symbol shows a topic that can be expanded.

Screenshot of expanded results

Each result has information to help you decide if it is relevant or not, for example: Title of the source, Type of source and Subject (Dictionary, Overview page, Subject Reference) and Length of article in words.

Click on the article title or thumbnail book cover to view the article in full. To print, save or email information from Oxford Reference click on one of the icons at the top right of the article.

Screenshot of print options

Other ways we can help you find the information that you need:

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This guide has been produced by West Sussex County Council Library Service © 2020.

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