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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

Mathematics: Getting Started

Reference Books

A great way to start your research is by reading overviews and summaries of a potential topic.  Reference books, like encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks, provide this type of authoritative information in a very condensed format.   Reference books will:

  • include helpful introductory information
  • contain citations to other sources
  • list statistics, dates and facts
  • provide reviews, biographies and definitions

Don't cite these materials. The reason you don't cite reference books is that they don't provide any original information.  They only give you a condensed summary of what other people have said about a topic. Use these materials to give you ideas for a topic, write down relevant facts and keywords, and then search Quest or the library databases to locate books and articles.  

Formulae and Tables

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