Use this guide to perform background research to refine a research topic, confirm terminology, and get a general understanding before finding books and articles to support a research project.
Search or browse across 13 subject encyclopedias and dictionaries with over 80,000 entries. References are linked via Get VText.
Grzimek's Animal Life is the online version of the authoritative, 17-volume print encyclopedia. It is an image-rich, dynamic online resource with more than 4,000 species categorized by Amphibians, Reptiles and Birds, Fish, Insects, Mammals and Simple Aquatic Life and includes information on evolution, habitat, behavior, range and more. This work includes illustrations, photos, maps, a glossary, contact information for organizations, and a geologic time scale. Content presented in HTML and PDF.
Birds of North America is a comprehensive reference covering the life histories of North American birds with detailed scientific information for each of the 716 species of birds nesting in the USA and Canada. This is an updated online version of the print series of the same name. Each encyclopedic entry includes a list of references and may include images, audio, and video.
The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories. Fact Sheets provide brief descriptions of a plant, its uses, and cultural recommendations. Plant Guides are similar but more extensive. Both are provided as PDFs. The database also includes an image gallery of photos and line drawings of U.S. plants plus cultivated or foreign taxa.