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Social Science electronic resources: General Reference Works

Except where stated, titles listed here are only available within the Library - access from outside the Library is not available for licensing reasons.

If you do not find the resource you are looking for, see the Library's complete listing of electronic resources in the British Library London Reading Rooms.

Almanacs and Factbooks | Biographical Dictionaries | Collections
Dictionaries - Acronyms | Dictionaries - Language | Dictionaries - Subject
Directories | Encyclopaedias

Almanacs and Factbooks

Title
Brief description
Format
CIA World Factbook Presents basic facts and figures about nation states compiled by the US Central Intelligence Agency.
This site is freely available on the Internet.
Online resource
Information Please Online version of the popular almanac which you can browse by topic or search. Also includes the Random House Websters College Dictionary and the Columbia Encyclopedia.
This site is freely available on the Internet.
Online resource
Keesing's Online Digest of political, social and economic events for all countries of the world from 1931.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Online resource
Statesman's Yearbook Online This site contains the full text of the current edition of The Statesman's Yearbook, regularly updated to reflect recent world events, with search and browse facilities. It provides current political, social and economic information about all the nation states of the world.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Online resource

Biographical Dictionaries

Title
Brief description
Format
Biography and Genealogy Master Index Indexes biographical dictionaries and who's who, subject encyclopaedias, volumes of literary criticism, and indexes which refer the user to bodies of work published elsewhere.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Online resource
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography An illustrated collection of 50,000 specially written biographies of the men and women who shaped all aspects of Britain's past, from the fourth century BCE to the year 2000, with 10,000 portrait illustrations. Updated three times a year. The online Oxford DNB also includes the entire text of the first DNB.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Online resource
Who's Who and Who Was Who Online version of the most recent edition of the British Who's Who together with the complete Who Was Who archive, which contains biographical information for all the people, now deceased, included in previous editions of Who's Who, which was first published in 1849.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Online resource
World Biographical Information System Formerly known as World Biographical Index, WBIS is an index to the Saur biographical archives. Microfiche editions of some of the archives containing the complete texts of the biographical descriptions are available from the Reference Enquiry Desk in the Humanities Reading Room. The digitised version of the British Biographical Archive (series 1 and 2) is accessible via WBIS Online.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Online resource

Collections

Title
Brief description
Format
Credo Reference Credo Reference is an online reference library that provides access to a large number of encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and other reference books. Subjects covered include art, biography, history, music, religion, science and technology.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Online resource
Internet Archive The Internet Archive makes it possible to surf superseded web pages stored in its digital library. It allows you to enter a URL or click on a link to a specific collection to see what the web page looked like in the past. However it does not allow you to do searches from the stored pages.
This site is freely available on the Internet.
Online resource
Oxford Reference Online Collection of language and subject dictionaries.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Online resource
Xreferplus See Credo Reference Online resource

Dictionaries - Acronyms

Title
Brief description
Format
Acronym Finder This site is freely available on the Internet. Online resource
Internet Acronym Server This site is freely available on the Internet. Online resource

Dictionaries - Language

Title
Brief description
Format
Cambridge Dictionaries Online Access to the full text of a collection of Cambridge University Press dictionaries for people learning English. Includes French-English and Spanish-English translating dictionaries.
This site is freely available on the Internet.
Online resource
Credo Reference Credo Reference is an online reference library that provides access to a large number of encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and other reference books. Subjects covered include art, biography, history, music, religion, science and technology.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Online resource
Dictionary.com Online English language dictionary.
This site is freely available on the Internet.
Online resource
Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary Available on the Encyclopaedia Britannica site.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Online resource
Oxford Reference Online Includes a range of bilingual dictionaries (French-English, German-English, Spanish-English and Italian-English) Online resource
Your Dictionary.com Portal linking to English, foreign language and translating online dictionaries and thesauri.
This site is freely available on the Internet.
Online resource

Dictionaries - Subject

Title
Brief description
Format
Credo Reference Credo Reference is an online reference library that provides access to a large number of encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and other reference books. Subjects covered include art, biography, history, music, religion, science and technology.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Online resource
Oxford Reference Online Includes dictionaries of politics, geography, psychology, sociology, history and law.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Online resource

Directories

Title
Brief description
Format
World of Learning Popular directory of universities and other higher education institutions worldwide.
This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room.
Temporarily unavailable.
Online resource

Encyclopaedias

Title
Brief description
Format
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online This is a subscription based service and can only be accessed from the reading room. Online resource