A Guide to Finding Reference Materials

Find quick facts, definitions, standards, reviews and more!

Reference collections at UNB Libraries provide thousands of dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, guides, bibliographies, atlases, and more, offering some of the best places to start your research:

  • Definitions: Choose from hundreds of language- and subject-specific dictionaries;
  • Facts: Get names, places, dates, keywords and terms;
  • Topic overviews: Specialist encyclopedias, guides, and handbooks can provide detailed overviews of subjects and important issues;
  • Bibliographies and reading lists: Many reference articles point to additional books, articles, and other materials.

Explore the Reference Universe

Reference Universe searches through article titles and back-of-the-book indexes from over 20,000 print and electronic reference works at UNB Libraries and beyond. Search results from Reference Universe will provide you with quick links to UNB WorldCat (to locate print materials on the shelf) and to many of our online reference materials.


Due to system limitations, Reference Universe is not available to off-campus students at UNBSJ.

On the Web

  • Reference Materials: search/browse hundreds of online reference materials available through UNB Libraries.
  • E-Books: UNB Libraries provides access to e-Books from ebrary, Springer, MyiLbrary and others, which include many reference titles. See e-Books for a listing of available collections.

Subject Guides

Look for subject-specific reference materials (encyclopedias, etc.) in both printed and electronic format in your Subject Guide.

On the Shelves

Thousands of print reference materials are available throughout the library's collection and can be located using UNB WorldCat. Try including the keywords dictionaries, handbooks, or encyclopedias along with other broad search terms (i.e. Africa and encyclopedias). Your search results may include both print and electronic reference titles.

There are several reference collections within the library system, including specialized collections at the Engineering, Harriet Irving, Science & Forestry, and Hans W. Klohn Commons (Saint John) libraries. With UNB WorldCat's Advanced Search, you can limit your search to a specific location using the label "b8" in your search (as in "b8:HIL-REF"). For example, a search for materials on the subject of Shakespeare in the Harriet Irving Library's reference collection (HIL-REF) would be entered as follows:

Image of UNB WorldCat Advanced Search screen

The most common reference locations are:

A full list of library locations is also available.