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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 References
Oxford Biblical Studies Online
Includes 15 English translations of the Bible, reference sources (bible dictionaries and encyclopedias), images of biblical scenes, characters and settings, maps, and useful “Tools & Resources” such as Parallel Texts, Index of Women, etc.
Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Includes Qur'anic studies resources, including two translations of the Qur'an, a concordance, primary source documents with editorial introductions, timelines, and images.
Authoritative guide to reliable peer-reviewed resources and scholarship in African Studies, Buddhism, Chinese Studies, Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies, Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Military History, Music, and Political Science. Bibliographies are selectively curated and annotated by expert academics and offer high-level overviews that provide non-experts with a point of entry into unfamiliar areas of study.
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy by
Call Number: B51 .R68 1998
Publication Date: 1998-05-26
A project on an unparalleled scale: Over 2000 entries ranging from 500 to 15,000 words in length - thematic, biographical and national 10 volumes consisting of over 5 million words of text plus considerable bibliographic material A Chief Editor and thirty specialist Subject Editors from across the world Over 1200 authors from all over the world.
Religions of Tibet in Practice by
Call Number: BQ7620.R45 1997
Publication Date: 1997-03-23
Religions of Tibet in Practice is a landmark work, the first major anthology on the topic ever produced. It presents a stunning array of works (hagiographies, pilgrimage guides, prayers, accounts of visits to hell, epics, consecration manuals, sermons, and exorcism texts) that together offer an unparalleled view of the realities of those who have inhabited the Tibetan cultural domain over the centuries.
Buddhism in Practice by
Call Number: BQ1012.B83 1995
Publication Date: 1995-08-13
This anthology illustrates the vast scope of Buddhist practice in Asia, past and present, by presenting a selection of forty-eight translated texts including hagiographies, monastic rules, pilgrimage songs, apocryphal sutras, and didactic tales from India, China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Burma. Most of these pieces have never before been translated into a Western language, and each is preceded by a substantial introduction by its translator. Together they are designed to do nothing less than reshape the way in which Buddhism is understood.
Publication Date: 2012-01-20
Religious Studies in Contemporary China Collection, Taoism gathers together English translations of seventeen articles originally published in the People s Republic of China between 1947 and 2006, and republished together in 2008 as part of an edited volume of representative works in PRC Taoist studies. While only part of the volume edited by Professor Mou was selected for translation in the present project, the aim remains the same: showcasing representative works of Taoist studies in mainland China, including early articles that were widely influential although they may now be superseded in some aspects by more recent research. Most of the major scholars of Taoist studies in the PRC are represented in this anthology, and many of them have never had any of their work translated into any Western language before;
Digital Dictionary of Buddhism
A compilation of Buddhist terminologies, temples, schools, persons etc that are found in East Asian Buddhist canonical sources. Since much of what East Asian Buddhists have written about is the Buddhism of India, Central Asia, and Tibet, the content of this database/translation glossary is pan-Buddhist in character. Dictionaries and other reference sources are in many different Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Pali, Sanskrit and Tibetan).
The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism by
Publication Date: 2013-11-24
With more than 5,000 entries totaling over a million words, this is the most comprehensive and authoritative dictionary of Buddhism ever produced in English. It is also the first to cover terms from all of the canonical Buddhist languages and traditions: Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Philosophy by
Publication Date: 2007-07-25
The ancient Greeks were not only the founders of western philosophy, but the actual term "philosophy" is Greek in origin, most likely dating back to the late sixth century BC. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Euclid, and Thales are but a few of the better-known philosophers of ancient Greece. During the amazingly fertile period running from roughly the middle of the first millennium BC to the middle of the first millennium AD, the world saw the rise of science, numerous schools of thought, and--many believe--the birth of modern civilization. The Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Philosophy presents the history of Greek philosophy and the philosophers who made it famous. This is accomplished through a chronology, an introduction, a glossary, a bibliography, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on important philosophers, concepts, issues, and events.
The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy by
Call Number: Main Library B41 .C35 1995
Publication Date: 1995-07-28
This authoritative and comprehensive one-volume dictionary of philosophy contains over 4,000 entries, which range in length from 100 to 4,000 words. The Dictionary has been written by an international team of over 350 experts, so, rather than offering the limited perspective of a single writer, it distills the collective knowledge of the professional community of philosophers in an accessible manner. The Cambridge Dictionary clearly and concisely defines both technical terms and crucial concepts, and will promote the understanding of philosophy on all levels and across all fields. It includes substantial explanatory articles on all major philosophers as well as hundreds of minor figures. There are expansive, up-to-date overviews of all the important sub-disciplines such as ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind and logic.
The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy by
Publication Date: 2016-05-01
This bestselling dictionary is written by one of the leading philosophers of our time, and it is widely recognized as the best dictionary of its kind. Comprehensive and authoritative, it covers every aspect of philosophy from Aristotle to Zen. With clear and concise definitions, it provideslively and accessible coverage of not only Western philosophical traditions, but also themes from Chinese, Indian, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy.Entries include over 400 biographies of famous and influential philosophers, in-depth analysis of philosophical terms and concepts, and a chronology of philosophical events stretching from 10,000 BC to the present day. New entries on philosophy of economics, social theory, neuroscience, philosophyof the mind, and moral conceptions bring the third edition of this dictionary fully up to date.Fully cross-referenced and containing over 3,300 alphabetical entries, it is the ideal introduction to philosophy for anyone with an interest in the subject, and it is an indispensable work of reference for students and teachers.
A Dictionary of Hinduism by
Publication Date: 2009-03-25
Covering all the major Hindu practices, festivals, beliefs, gods, sacred sites, languages, and religious texts, this is the most comprehensive Hinduism dictionary of its kind. It contains 2,800 entries on everything from Tantra to temples, from bhakti to Divali, as well as biographicalentries for key thinkers, teachers, and scholars. All entries are clear, concise, up to date, and fully cross-referenced.With its coverage spanning 3,500 years of Hinduism - from the religion's conception to Hinduism in the 21st century - this brand new A-Z also acknowledges the historical interplay between Hindu traditions and others, for example, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, and Islamic. Detailed appendices include maps,pronunciation guide, a chronology, principal sources and further reading, and useful websites. This dictionary is an invaluable first port of call for students and teachers of Hinduism, theology, Asian studies, or philosophy, as well as the related disciplines of history, sociology, andanthropology. It is also an ideal source of reference for all practicing Hindus and for anyone with an interest in Indian religions and culture.