Encyclopedia Britannica Online
Online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica and Merriam-Webster Dictionary & Thesaurus
Virtual Reference Library
A collection of encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research
Composed of high-quality articles from the Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition
CREDO Reference Collection [Link to overview and features ] Was Xreferplus Reference Collection
Contains over 2 million entries from reference books in all major subjects, 65,000+ images (art, diagrams, maps, and photos), and over 93,000 audio pronunciation files.
Background Information gives you an introduction to a topic, issue, or person. It's what you're looking for when you look up "Ancient Greece" in an encyclopedia. Knowing a little bit about something you are researching helps you focus in on what's really interesting to you!
So...get a few facts, details, names and terms about your topic...then decide in what direction your curiosity wil take you.