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Communication: Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Search for Topics in Print and Online Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Reference Universe is a research tool that provides a single search across more than 43,000 specialized subject encyclopedias and scholarly compendia.  The database contains more than 26 million citations to articles in both print and online versions of specialized encyclopedias from all major and minor reference publishing houses.

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Basic Reference Sources

Sources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks are good starting points for obtaining basic information about issues, events, and concepts in the field of communication.
International Encyclopedia of Communications
Main Library General Collection P 87.5 .I5 1989
A good starting point for introductions to a broad range of topics in communication.
Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, 46th ed.
Main Library Reference PN 4783 .A83 2011
An essential tool for all journalists, news editors, and public relations specialists, providing guidelines on spelling, capitalization, grammar, punctuation, and usage, with special sections on business and sports. Included is a section on media law, with practical guidelines on libel law, privacy, copyright and access to places of information.
Censorship: A World Encyclopedia
Main Library Reference Z 658 .W675 C38 2000
Pesents a comprehensive view of censorship, from Ancient Egypt to those modern societies that claim to have abolished the practice. For each country in the world, the history of censorship is described and placed in context, and the media censored are examined: art, cyberspace, language, literature, the press, popular culture, radio, television, and the theatre. Also included are surveys of major controversies, and chronicles of resistance.
The Communication Handbook: A Dictionary
Main Library General Collection P 87.5 .D46
Briefly defines more than 2,000 terms related to communication theory and practical communication activities such as public speaking.
The Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising
Main Library Reference HF 5803 .A38 2003
A three-volume set covering agency, brand, and marketing histories.
Encyclopedia of American Journalism
Main Library Reference PN 4728 .P35
Attempts to cover all aspects of the field: history of journalism, types of media, the news-gathering process, people, organizations, styles, court cases.
Encyclopedia of Consumer Brands
Main Library Reference HF 5415.3 .E527 1994
A three volume set that covers the advertising and marketing campaigns of over 600 popular brands.
Encyclopedia of International Media and Communications
Main Library Reference P 87.5 .E532 2003
A four-volume set that contains 219 articles written by scholars on a wide variety of media and communications topics such as "advertising and Promotion," "Future Role of Books," "Cross-Cultural Communication," and "Internet as Political Advocacy Forum." Also includes articles on the status of media in individual countries. Bibliographies appended to all articles as well as extensive cross-references.
Encyclopedia of Journalism
Main Library Reference PN 4728 .E48 2009
Covers all significant dimensions of journalism, including print, broadcast, and Internet journalism; U.S. and international perspectives; history; technology; legal issues and court cases; ownership; and economics. The set contains more than 350 signed entries. The last two volumes contain a thorough listing of journalism awards and prizes, a lengthy section on journalism freedom around the world, an annotated bibliography, and key documents.
Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Campaigns
Main Library Reference HF 5837 .E53 2000
Provides an overview of major marketing campaigns.


Encyclopedia of New Media: An Essential Reference to Communication and Technology
Main Library Reference QA 76.575 .E5368 2003
"...Explores the evolution and revolution in digital communications and human-computer interaction from an interdisciplinary, historical, social, and global perspective" (book jacket).


Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition: Communication from Ancient Times to the Information Age
Main Library Reference PN 172 .E53 1996
Provides descriptions, essays, and articles on the major periods, peoples, concepts, and applications related to rhetoric and composition. Useful for historical explanations of rhetorical concepts.


Encyclopedia of Semiotics
Main Library Reference P 99 .E64 1998
"A comprehensive reference guide to concepts in semiotics, sign theory, and cultural studies. Three hundred entries by leading scholars in a variety of fields — from anthropology and literary theory to linguistics and philosophy — survey the study of signs and symbols in human culture. The articles cover key concepts, theories, theorists, schools of thought, and issues in communications, cognition, and cultural theory" (publisher's description).


Encyclopedia of Television, 2d. ed.
Main Library Reference PN 1992.18 .E53 2004
A three-volume set with about 1,000 signed, lengthy essays on programs, people, and general subjects. While the emphasis is on American, British, Canadian, and Australian topics, there are entries offering historical and descriptive discussions of television in other countries and regions around the world.
Facts on File Dictionary of Television, Cable, and Video
Main Library Reference PN 1992.18 .R44 1994
Contains approximately 3,000 entries on companies, organizations, awards, and advertising and technical terms.
The Froehlich/Kent Encyclopedia of Telecommunications
Main Library Reference TK 5102 .E646 1991
The principal focus of this 18-volume set is the technical and scientific basis of telecommunications, although it also has articles on the social and legal issues in the field.
History of the Mass Media in the United States: An Encyclopedia
Main Library Reference and General Collection P 92 .U5 H55 1998
Examines the growth, development, and societal effects of media, covering prominent events, organizations, technology, and persons.
International Dictionary of Broadcasting and Film
Main Library Reference PN 1990.4 .B64 2000
A comprehensive guide to professional filmmaking and broadcasting terminology. Entries include information on professional organizations, festivals and awards, international television and film standards, frequencies and channels, and a list of national and international news agencies and their standard abbreviations.
Lesly's Handbook of Public Relations and Communications
Main Library General Collection HM 263 .L472 1998
Defines and describes public relations activities and techniques in short articles.
Contains over 20,000 descriptive definitions of the vocabulary used in radio, television, cable, film, newspapers, magazines, book publishing, direct mail, outdoor advertising, and other subjects related to the mass media.
Webster's New World Dictionary of Media and Communications
Main Library Reference P 87.5 .W45
Covers technical and historical terms, jargon, and slang used in broadcasting, film, marketing, journalism, film, book publishing, graphic arts, advertising, printing, and other areas of media. Also a good source for explanations of abbreviations, associations, and prominent company names related to media and communication.

About Reference Sources

Reference sources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks, provide summary and factual information. These sources generally contain well established knowledge and can provide a basic understanding on which to build. Use reference sources to:

> Find basic concepts of a topic;

> Get historical context and relationships to other topics;

> Identify and define special terms used to discuss the topic; or

> Find or verify data, facts, formulas, etc.