Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
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
Hundreds of dictionaries, general reference, language reference, and subject reference works from Oxford University Press.
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy was founded in 1995 as a non-profit organization to provide open access to detailed, scholarly information on key topics and philosophers in all areas of philosophy.
The Oxford dictionary of philosophy, 2nd ed., rev
This dictionary covers all areas of philosophy and contains terms from the related fields of religion, science, and logic. Furthermore, this edition includes 500 biographies of famous and influential philosophers and covers the most recent terms and concepts from Western philosophical traditions, as well as Chinese, Indian, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy. An essential resource for students and teachers and an ideal introduction for anyone with an interest in philosophy.
Encyclopedia of aesthetics
Surveys "the full breadth of critical thought on art, culture, and society --from classical philosophy to contemporary critical theory"; includes coverage of international aesthetics, modern aesthetics, new media such as computer art, and areas such as neuroaesthetics. Featuring articles by "distinguished scholars from many fields and countries, the Encyclopedia is a comprehensive survey of major concepts, thinkers, and debates about the meaning, uses, and value of all the arts-from painting and sculpture to literature, music, theater, dance, television, film, and popular culture."
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
A dynamic reference work which includes articles on people, concepts, books, and other topics in philosophy. All entries and updates are refereed by the members of an editorial board before they are made public.
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy by
Call Number: B51 .R68 1998
Publication Date: 1998-05-26
The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy is the most ambitious international philosophy project in many years. Edited by Edward Craig and assisted by thirty specialist subject editors, the REP consists of ten volumes of the world's most eminent philosophers writing for the needs of students and teachers of philosophy internationally.
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.