Reference books can be a valuable source of background information on many research topics. The Library has thousands of specialized encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, handbooks, and many other types of reference works. These books often include bibliographies of additional research resources on topics of interest, so they can be a good starting point for your research. And of course, the Library has all the general reference sources like Encyclopedia Britannica (print and online).
If you are ready to jump right in, here are the main places to start: