16 reference works you never knew existed

by Laura Hale Brockway

Being a science and medical writer at my day job, I often end up spending more time researching an article than I do writing it. And after 14 years, I’ve come to relish the research phase.  When else can I so freely indulge my inner knowledge hound?

One of the greatest joys of researching is discovering unusual and obscure reference works. If you look hard enough, you’ll find a wealth of information about even the most obscure topic. Here are some of my favorites:

    •  Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia — referred to as “the supreme reference on world literature,” this encyclopedia contains 10,000 entries on everything from author biographies to plot synopses.







    •  TV Sets: Fantasy Blueprints of Classic TV Homes — features “extrapolated” blueprints from shows such as The Brady Bunch to the Adams Family. “Incredibly, all the plans are drawn to be architecturally feasible; that is, one could actually build from them.”






    •  Dictionary of Symbols — a dictionary of 2,500 graphic symbols including each sign’s history, meaning, and classification system.




    •  Shakespeare’s Bawdy — a discussion of sexual and non-sexual expressions and allusions in the works of William Shakespeare. This reference book “puts the nudge and wink back in Shakespeare.”



Readers . . . any unusual reference books you’d like to share?


This article was first published on Ragan Communication’s PR Daily.




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