Understanding Reference Universe: 1975-2019

Reference Universe is an academic database providing researchers with scholarly, authoritative introductions to topics of interest by using your library’s specialized reference collection. It is the only service which offers access to both full text versions, as well as detailed, index-level access to your library's vast printed collection as well.

Reference Universe allows you to begin research with confidence, using the same resources experienced librarians and scholars use.

New Interdisciplinary Discoveries

36 million links to more than 50,000 specialized encyclopedias, compendia & scholarly handbooks.

Find the best introductory articles, from the world's top scholars.

Combines detailed analysis of both electronic versions and print collection details.

The First Stop…

Reference Universe is a great place to start your research when you don’t know where to start. Not only will you be pointed to a proper, well—sourced introduction, it can also lead you in a direction you hadn’t intended on taking, opening the pathways to serendipitous research.

Just search ‘consciousness’ and you’ll see what we mean!

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'Walk the Stacks'

With the See Similar Titles feature users are able to virtually “walk the shelves” of your library’s online and print reference collection. This type of browsing can bring attention to a nearby title not previously considered.

Another benefit of browsing by shelf, is that users can search for titles by their category classification. If you don’t have a specific search term in mind but know the area of study you’d like to research, category and sub-category browsing can be of use.

Analyzing Your Reference Holdings

More and more research libraries are looking to relocate, remove, or remodel their collection of Major Reference Works (MRW’s). Over the years, Paratext has collected valuable information from our customers’, allowing us to provide a unique Collection Analysis utility to our Reference Universe libraries.

The Reference Universe Collection Analysis program will allow library administrators to assess these non-circulating MRWs with great detail.

  • Compare coverage of your e-Reference titles with that of your legacy print collection.
  • Compare MRW holdings with peer and other institutions.
  • Align your MRW collection more closely with emerging areas of research at your institution.
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What Our Customers Say ...

My advice is to subscribe to Reference Universe, use it, and teach its use regularly. Users will be amazed at the quantity and quality of information they can find at your reference collection! - Managing the 21st Century Reference Collection
Reference Universe has allowed the University of Maryland Libraries to maintain access to and awareness of useful reference titles during an extensive weeding project of our very large reference collection. Reference Universe offers one stop shopping for a collection that is now spread around the libraries and the Web. - University of Maryland
We don’t know what’s in our reference collections, print or electronic. Reference Universe makes the connection for us. - Don Hartman, University at Buffalo (SUNY)

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