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Reference Books: Print & Online

Finding Information from a Reference

Reference materials are compilations; a "reference" connects a researcher to background information in a way that is intended to be found quickly when needed. Reference materials can be dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, handbooks and guides, catalogs, atlases and maps, directories, almanacs – even the internet.

Using OU Libraries' Catalog

Although the library guide you currently read is considered a reference material, the following lists are not comprehensive. Check the OU Libraries Discover catalog to connect to even more resources. Think about the keywords you would use to search the catalog; for general books containing definitions of terms or overviews of a subject, search for your keywords plus "encyclopedia" or "dictionary." Want reference assistance? Reach out to the STEM Services team at

Looking for a reference on citation style? Visit the Citations page of the guide.

Finding Books in the Library by Call Number

Books are located in Bizzell Memorial Library in the following call number locations.

Library of Congress Call Numbers for Geography & GIS:

Call Number Range Topic
G General, Atlases, Maps
GA Cartography
GB Physical Geography
GE Environmental Sciences
GF Human Geography
GN Anthropology
HF 1000s Economic Geography
JC 300s Political Geography
QH 84 Biogeography

What's new about the catalog? See if the library has a copy of your class's textbook! 

Textbooks on Reserve and course reserve materials are now searchable by course code (ex. HIST 3403), course name (ex. Modern Israel), title (ex. Quiet Street), or author. Some materials are searchable by professor last name (ex. Seidelman). Students can search the catalog or the new Textbook Search Scope (located under the Search Scope drop-down menu).

Screenshot of OU Libraries catalog website, "Search Scope" dropdown menu showing textbooks

References in Geography Subdisciplines: Physical Geography resources include physical, biological, and environmental resources.  Human Geography resources include anthropology and cultural resources.


Human Geography

Physical Geography & GIS

Maps, Atlases, and Gazetteers

Maps are primarily located at the Youngblood Energy Library. Search the OU Catalog for more!

Finding Atlases in Bizzell

Atlas, starting with call number G 1000, are located:

  • On the Atlas Stand in Reference
  • G 1000's in Reference Collection
  • G 1000's in Main Stacks
  • Oversize area far east end of the Main Floor

Digital Maps