Reference tools provide background information, the who, what, where and when -- and a bit of the how and why -- for any historical topic. They include subject and biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias, almanacs, chronologies, directories and atlases. Many, especially dictionaries and encyclopedias, are now available online. Many others, especially historical atlases and chronologies are still only available in print.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica online
- Oxford reference online Premium
- CQ Press Political reference suite of online editions
- CQ researcher
- CQ Supreme Court collection
- Wikipedia can be a great quick help in identifying the "who, what, when and where" of any given issue especially relating to popular culture -- subject to later verification. Librarians use it all the time. However, it can be very suspect about "how and why" questions -- especially conflicts situations. Use it -- but use it with caution!
- For example - see article, "Little Rock Nine"
- Google - "google" a name, phrase or topic (same disclaimer as Wikipedia, check sources)
- United States Supreme Court decisions, 1778-1996 : an index to excerpts, reprints, and discussions, 1980-1995. HESB Ref. Coll. KF 101.6 .G83 2001
- Encyclopedia of American civil liberties. HESB Ref. Coll. KF 4747.5 .E53 2006
- The African-American Atlas - HESB Ref. Coll. E 185 . A79 1998
- Historical Statistics of Black America - HESB Ref. Coll. E 185 .H543 1995