Encyclopedia articles, especially those in specialized encyclopedias, can be great places to get a quick introduction to a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper on Catherine the Great, search for something like the Encyclopedia of Russian History. Articles in these types of publications often have a "further reading" section at the end that can help you find more in-depth resources.
Other reference works, such as the Cambridge Histories Online, contain brief, scholarly essays for general readers and are good ways to quickly familiarize yourself with a topic.
Major encyclopedias in selected subject areas are listed on the tabs above. To locate additional reference sources, do an advanced search in Discovery on the library homepage and then limit your search to encyclopedias or reference books under "Publication Type."