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Language learning: Dictionaries & encyclopedias

A guide to Library resources for those learning a new language

Dictionaries and encyclopedias

Use dictionaries and encyclopedias:

  • for definitions
  • for summaries
  • for lists of further reading
  • when starting a project

The Library has a large number of both print and online language dictionaries. Print dictionaries are mainly shelved in the Dictionaries section on the 3rd Floor, with most being non-loan. Some useful titles are listed below; find more on the catalogue. You can also search across multiple dictionaries and encyclopedias using the Summon, Credo Reference and Oxford Reference boxes below.

Oxford Dictionaries

Oxford Dictionaries logo

Fully searchable, comprehensive and easy to use bilingual dictionaries for French, German, Italian and Spanish.

There are also language learning and usage tools and resources, such as downloadable letters, grammar notes, verb tables and cultural information to provide practical help with writing.

Search Summon for definitions and explanations

Find definitions and summaries from a wide range of online dictionaries and encyclopedias by searching the Summon discovery service using the box below.

Search Credo Reference

Use Credo Reference to search across multiple dictionaries and reference works.

Credo Logo

Search Oxford Reference

Use Oxford Reference to search across multiple dictionaries and reference titles, including bilingual dictionaries of French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Latin. If you are off-campus, you may need to log-in to view your search results.

Search Oxford Reference Online

Useful Call Numbers in the Dictionaries section on the 3rd Floor

British Sign Language
419.1

English
DICTIONARIES--DIC 423

German
DICTIONARIES--DIC 433.2

French
DICTIONARIES--DIC 443.2

Italian
DICTIONARIES--DIC 453.2

Spanish
DICTIONARIES--DIC 463.2

Latin
DICTIONARIES--DIC 473.2

Modern Greek
DICTIONARIES--DIC 489.3

Russian
DICTIONARIES--DIC 491.732

Arabic
DICTIONARIES--DIC 492.132

Mandarin Chinese
DICTIONARIES--DIC 495.132

Japanese
DICTIONARIES--DIC 495.632

Using our online resources from home

When you are off-campus we recommend that you follow links from the Library's webpages, Enterprise, Summon, or your subject guide. Following these links will often (but not always) direct you to login straight away with your University username and password.

You login in the same way as for Blackboard - via Microsoft. Just enter your University username followed by @student.reading.ac.uk (e.g. ab123456@student.reading.ac.uk) and your password. If this is the first time you have logged in via this method when off-campus you will be asked to complete a Multi-Factor Authentication

Once you've logged in, you are then identified as a member of the University of Reading, and the book, search engine, or article database knows that you are a member of the University, and are allowed access to the material. You will not normally be asked to login again during that browser session.

Although you can search for information using a general web search, you will often find that you’re not able to access the information that you need – so it’s best to use the Library webpages first. 

If Single Sign On does not appear... 

If you have followed a link from our website or catalogues and you are not able to access the resource straight away you may need to look for a login option. Look for an institutional or shibboleth login option and pick 'University of Reading' from a list of institutions. This will direct you to login as above.

Accessing resources remotely

This series of videos covers accessing books, journal articles and primary sources when working away from campus. They include finding online Library resources and freely available material too.

If you are unable to watch these videos on YouTube they are also available on Stream (University username and password required):

To find a book you will need to use the Library’s Enterprise search – this is the first box on the Library homepage or use the box below. When you have searched, use the filters on the left-hand side to limit to Online only. To access an e-book online, click on the access link, and you will be prompted to login with your University username (e.g. ab123456@student.reading.ac.uk) and password. You can read e-books online, and can sometimes download part or all of a book to keep. 

If the book that you need isn't available as an e-book, please contact your Academic Liaison Librarian, and they may be able to purchase a copy.

Search Enterprise for e-books

 

Watch this short video on finding e-books on Enterprise

If you are unable to view this video on YouTube it is also available on Stream - view the Finding an e-book using Enterprise video on Stream (University username and password required)


Try Google books

If you need access to a specific book it is always worth trying Google Books. Although you won't find the complete text, it might provide the section you need.

To find chapters in books or online journal articles you can use the Library’s Summon search – this is the second box on the Library homepage or use the box below. Once you have run your search use the options on the left hand side to select the information that you need, for example journal articles, scholarly and peer review material. Everything that you see in your results can be accessed online - click the title or the Full Text Online link.  

If the article or chapter that you need isn't available online, please contact your Academic Liaison Librarian, and they may be able to help find alternative access.

Search Summon for online book chapters and journal articles

 

Watch this short video on searching Summon

If you are unable to view this video on YouTube it is also available on Stream - view the Get started with Summon video on Stream (University username and password required)


Finding Open Access research papers

In addition to the Open Access content listed on Summon you might want to try searching the following databases to find Open Access research papers:

Useful reference works: selected titles