Handbooks and Companions
Between dictionaries and encyclopedias lies a species of reference book in which concise surveys of terms and topics relating to a specific subject will be found. They are referred to as handbooks or companions and their articles are generally longer than dictionary entries but more concise than those in a standard encyclopedia.
They can be a great help in clearing up questions that a research project might generate. What is fabianism? What is the novel Bleak House about? What films have been made about angels? Which animals practice mimicry as a defense mechanism?
Check with a reference librarian to see if there are specialized handbooks on your topic. The following list provides an idea of the variety you may find in your library:
- Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought
- Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature
- Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
- Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery
- Dictionary of the Vietnam War
- Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion
- Oxford Companion to Animal Behaviour
- Oxford Companion to English Literature