Home » Research » Library » Collections » Reference Collection

Reference collection


The Library Reference Collection contains a selection of general and subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, subject and national bibliographies, yearbooks, a wide range of language dictionaries, biographical sources and citation and editorial style resources available online


Printed reference works

Reference resources in print are located primarily on the Top Floor of the Library.

Online reference works

Below is a guide to selected online reference tools and databases, grouped by resource type. At the end of each section find guided searches to assist users in locating related print and online resources.

Abbreviations & acronyms

  • Abbreviations.com - Directory and search engine for acronyms, abbreviations and initialisms
  • Acronym finder - Database of acronyms, abbreviations and initialisms with 206,000+ definitions
  • The acronym server - Searchable index of over 15,000 acronyms related to all disciplines from University College Cork (Ireland)

Search the Catalogue for "abbreviations" to locate both printed and online works

Search the Catalogue for "acronyms" to locate both printed and online works


Citation and editorial style

  • Chicago Manual of Style Online - Guide containing recommendations on editorial style and publishing practices for the digital age. It includes the full contents of the 16th and 15th printed editions.

Search the Catalogue for style guides


Dictionaries & Thesauri

  • Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Free access to several Cambridge online dictionaries including the Cambridge International Dictionary of English, the Cambridge Dictionary of English, and the Cambridge Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs
  • Merriam-Webster - Online dictionary and thesaurus
  • Oxford English Dictionary Online dictionary. In addition to the search function it is browsable also by category, timeline, source and historical Thesaurus. 
  • Oxford Dictionaries Online - Online dictionary and language reference service of modern British, American and world English. It includes full content from Oxford's largest current English dictionaries and thesauruses, extensive examples of real English usage, detailed writing, grammar, and spelling support, as well as specialised tools for professional writers and editors.
  • Oxford Reference Online - Select "Dictionaries" from the "Resource Type" menu to browse English and Bilingual Dictionaries.
  • Portail lexical - Portal from the Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales (CNRTL) which offers a rich set of functions for exploring French vocabulary. From the Portail lexical tab, users can search or browse the database for french words and through a system of tabs, view their morphology, definitions, pronunciation (with audio) etymology, synonyms, antonyms and related words. The Portail lexical is a project of the ATILF whose objective is to promote language resources of different research projects within a single portal.

Search the Catalogue for additional Online dictionaries & encyclopedias



  • Directory of bodies of the OECD - Includes official information on OECD committees and working groups, the International Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency. It is updated annually.

Search the Catalogue for directories


Encyclopedias & biographies

  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - Searchable collection of more than 57,000 specially written biographies of the men and women from around the world who shaped all aspects of Britain's past. 
  • Oxford Reference Online - Cross-searchable database of over 200 reference works including dictionaries, general reference and specialised encyclopedias on a broad range of subjects and titles from the acclaimed Oxford Companions series.




Page last updated on 05 March 2021

Back to top