Answers with Authority

Bringing together 2 million digitized entries across Oxford University Press’s Dictionaries, Companions and Encyclopedias, Oxford Reference is the premier online reference product, spanning 25 different subject areas.

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The Collections: What's Inside?

As you browse through Oxford Reference, you may find results that range from short-entry, general reference to more in-depth articles on specialized subjects. See below for more information on the services and collections available through this resource.

For an overview of each subject on Oxford Reference use the links in the left-hand pane.


A core foundation of 160+ academic subject, language, and quotations dictionaries providing carefully vetted, trusted short-entry content.

  • A monthly updating program--led by Oxford University Press’s experienced reference staff, external academic advisors, and based on user feedback--checks and revises articles for top levels of accuracy and timeliness
  • Regular content releases add new titles and editions
  • Available by annual subscription to individuals and institutions
  • New exclusive, online-only dictionaries widen the coverage of areas of study and research

   > Best For: Checking a fact or finding key, trusted information on a person, concept, or term





240+ in-depth, specialized titles from Oxford University Press’s award-winning Encyclopedias and Companions, and a selection of partner publishers’ scholarly works.

  • New titles and editions are added throughout the year, as they publish in print
  • Title-by-title purchasing options allows institutions to build and customize their collections with the subjects they need.
  • Includes some of Oxford University Press’s most well-known, most visited titles including The Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd edition and the Oxford Classical Dictionary, 4th edition

   > Best For: Conducting more comprehensive research on a specific topic, drawing from in-depth articles




OXFORD REFERENCE PREMIUM (Premium Package for Institutions)

Let your students and researchers get the best of both collections! Subscribe to the Oxford Reference Premium package and receive all the titles in the foundational Quick Reference plus a selection of more in-depth, single-volume works from Reference Library, many of them being Oxford Companions.

  • Provides the best Oxford University Press content for both quick fact-checking and deeper research
  • All 25 core subject areas represented across hundreds of titles
  • Includes all the continuous updating and exclusive online-only content provided by the Oxford Quick Reference collection, together with a critical selection of Oxford University Press's more specialized titles.





Key Features: Researching with Oxford Reference 


  • Library widget: Log in to Oxford Reference quickly and easily, and choose whether to see results from all of Oxford Reference or only full text entries available via your library
  • Annotation Functionality: Select text to highlight and annotate with your own notes. Sign into your Personal Profile where your annotations can be stored and managed under “My Work”.
  • Oxford Dictionaries Online widget: Double click a word and see the free definition in Oxford Dictionaries Online
  • Discoverability tools: MARC 21 records are available at title level, and Open URL increase discoverability and usage of library resources
  • The Oxford Index Underbar: The silver tool at the bottom of your browser offers free search and discovery by generating links to related content from across Oxford University Press’s online resources. For more information about the Oxford Index go to oxfordindex.oup.com


  • Tools to Refine Your Search: Narrow your search/browse results with a multitude of subject or reference type filters and select “Book” or “Entry” to see your results displayed in your preferred format. Choose to see “Full Text Results Only” by checking the box on the search results page.
  • Options for Customization: Keep your research organized by saving your research journey, favourite titles, and entries in your “Personal Profile,” located in the top right-hand corner.
  • Share Content: With integrated tools including social bookmarking, email, and citation export
  • Leave Feedback: You can now leave feedback about how useful you found entries in Oxford Reference using the box at the bottom of every entry


Even if you’re not a subscriber, you still have full access to the tools below:

  • Overview pages: Over 300,000 pages defining each unique term in Oxford Reference, helping you to begin your research journey, with links to related entries
  • Timelines: 270 historic timelines organized by time period, area, and theme, with each event linked to a free entry in Oxford Reference
  • Quotations: Oxford Essential Quotations is always unlocked and accessible to global users
  • 'Did you know?' feed: sends facts and quotations straight to your email

Stay up-to-date with Oxford University Press  

You can opt in to receive information from Oxford University Press in several different ways: