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What are tertiary sources?

Tertiary sources provide information which is a distillation and collection of primary and secondary sources. They located primary or secondary sources.

Some examples of tertiary sources includes:

  • Textbooks (also secondary sources)
  • Reference books, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases (also considered secondary sources)
  • Bibliographies (also considered secondary sources)
  • Chronologies
  • Almanacs
  • Directories
  • Fact books
  • Guides
  • Indexes, abstracts
  • Manuals


Tertiary sources in materials that check out

Do a subject search in the Library Catalog or use a tertiary source as a search word.  For example, encyclopedias, guides, almanac, or directories.

If you have a question, ask a librarian. 

Online Library Encyclopedias

Use encyclopedias for short, reliable background information, for short biographies, facts, statistics, and biographies. 

Print Library Encyclopedias

Print Reference encyclopedias are located on the second floor.  Below are few a  examples.  

Dictionary and Thesauruses

Print dictionaries and thesauri are located on the second floor.