I’d like to introduce you to something I call the long essay subject encyclopedia. A subject encyclopedia is devoted to a particular discipline or even a specific idea. And the entries are quite different than you might think.
You guessed it, these are long essays (say, 2-10 pages) about narrow but important concepts written by experts. In other words, much longer than just a blurb or definition, but much shorter than an entire book. It’s the equivalent of sitting down with the professor and asking them for an introduction/summation of a subject.
Examples might be theories of recidivism, an examination of the loose political structure of the Phoenician State, the history of the idea of regulatory capture, what regions of Spain sent emigrants to Mexico when and what professions these emigrants usually did, the effects of foreign direct investment on different economies, and the specific group survival strategies of different animal species.
This is where the library really shines over sources like Wikipedia.
These encyclopedias are located both in the reference section and in the regular stacks. The ones in the regular stacks can be checked out.
Recommended for grad students, super users, or advanced undergrads.
LibX is a Firefox extension that provides lets you search the Alkek Library Catalog or search the database WorldCat. WorldCat searches all the library catalogs in the world. It was created by the Virgina Tech University Libraries and Department of Computer Science and then adapted for Alkek Library by our own librarians.