Background sources are written for a general audience and are intended to give an overview of a topic, fill gaps in the reader’s knowledge, and provide context for deeper understanding. Examples include Wikipedia, introductory textbooks, and reference works such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks. They can be a useful place to start your research and can assist in selecting a topic for a research project, locating basic information and key facts, defining important words and concepts, and getting suggestions for additional sources to consult.
Typical characteristics of background sources:
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Can't find a book at Oberlin? Find and request materials held at 120 OhioLINK libraries. Requested items are delivered to the circulation desk on the first floor of Mudd Center, typically within 3-5 business days. The OhioLINK catalog describes over 46 million items, including books, periodicals, maps, music scores and audiovisual materials.