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What is a background source?
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:
- intended to be informative
- provide context, background, or summary information
- present shared information and established facts; information is uncontested
- offer suggestions for additional sources of information on the topic
Encyclopedias and Thesauri
Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture by
Publication Date: 2011-08-31
An authoritative reference work that defines the spiritual and intellectual concepts and religious movements that distinguish Judaism and the Jewish experience. Entries discuss secular and political movements and achievements and delineate Jewish endeavors in literature, art, music, theater, dance, film, broadcasting, sports, science, medicine and ecology.
Encyclopedia Judaica by
Publication Date: 2006-12-12
Provides an exhaustive and organized overview of Jewish life and knowledge from the Second Temple period to the contemporary State of Israel, from Rabbinic to modern Yiddish literature, from Kabbalah to "Americana" and from Zionism to the contribution of Jews to world cultures.