"...every intelligent person is frequently confronted by the discovery that he lacks understanding of some term, or knowledge of some particular subject. If he is earnest and conscientious, the impression made upon him by such a discovery is that of an unbridged chasm which effectually blocks his advance, or perhaps that of a great blot on the page, which obliterates an important word or passage and makes the meaning of other passages obscure. A book which contains the desired information in concise form is to him a means of bridging the chasm or restoring the passage. To it he refers as he has need; hence it is a reference book....Those works which treat of no particular subject are general; of this class the common English dictionaries and the common cyclopedias are examples. Those which relate to a particular subject are special or technical; in this class would fall a dictionary of music or a cyclopedia of agriculture, for example."
From: Wiswell, Leon O. How to use reference books. New York: American Book Company, 1916. Web. 31 July 2014.
Baker's print reference collection is housed on the short shelves on the second floor of the library. While you can search for relevant reference books using the library catalog, it might be easier to browse the collection for your topic. Since library books are organized by topic, you can narrow your browsing by determining the call number range(s) associated with your topic. Below this box you will find a list of call numbers for general subjects and a more detailed list for call numbers in history. If you would like to more detail of other subject areas, try visiting the Dewey Decimal Classification® summaries page. For instance, if my topic was the Khmer Rouge, I might first go to look at the 950s for Asian history. I might also look in reference works associated with sociology (300s). political science (320s), and economics (330s).
IMPORTANT: The library has decreased the number of print reference materials in recent years in favor of online publications. If you are looking up an event or a development that occurred after 2005, it would be better to refer to the electronic reference resources (in the box above).
000 Computer science, information & general works
100 Philosophy & psychology
300 Social sciences
700 Arts & recreation
900 History & geography
910 Geography & travel
920 Biography & genealogy
930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)
940 History of Europe
950 History of Asia
960 History of Africa
970 History of North America
980 History of South America
990 History of other areas
NOTE: Reference books between 900-909 will be general history topics (most likely covering the history of more than one continent)