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History: Dictionaries & encyclopedias

A guide to finding information in history. Includes links to key resources and sources of help.

Use encyclopedias:

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

Some useful titles are listed below. Find more on the catalogue by searching for "history encyclopedias".

You can also search across multiple dictionaries and encyclopedias using the boxes below.

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.

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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

Oxford Bibliographies

A combiniation of a dictionary and annotated bibliography, Oxford Bibliographies provide up-to-date references on a variety of subjects, including Classics, Philosophy and Medieval studies.  

Search Oxford Art Online

Oxford Art Online
Search Oxford Art Online

Use the link above to search Oxford Art Online, which includes the Grove dictionary of art.

Limited to 5 simultaneous users

Institutional login required to access this resource via a search engine when off-campus (select 'Login with Athens/Access Management Federation')

OED (Oxford English Dictionary)

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language.  As well as finding present-day meanings, you are able to view the history of individual words, and of the language, traced through 3 million quotations.

Useful reference works: History selected titles

Useful reference works: History of Art selected titles