Gale Virtual Reference Library

Open GVRL in another browser window to work through this tutorial side by side.

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) is a library of subject-specific scholarly encyclopedias available through Falvey Library. This interactive tutorial will demonstrate how to select the most suitable articles in GVRL, how to search specific encyclopedias, and how to identify the best publications about your subject.

For the purpose of this exercise our topic will be Calvinism. On the right side of the screen you can see the GVRL search interface. You may have to log in with your ldap password first, if you are off-campus. Use the navigation arrows at the bottom to advance to the next pages.

Click on the right arrow below to start.

Basic Search

Enter “Calvinism” into the search box at the top of the GVRL homepage, execute the search, and take a couple of minutes to review results.

Advance to the next screen when you are done.

Smart Choices

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More than 600 articles in the GVRL library matched the search term “Calvinism.” Although GVRL's relevance ranking works fairly well, the articles listed at the top may not be the most helpful for your project. GVRL comprises encyclopedias from many different disciplines and paying attention to publication titles will save you time. Publication titles are listed directly underneath the titles of the articles.

Which encyclopedia is better suited for a paper about Calvinism in 16th century Switzerland?

Advance to the next screen to continue.

Smart Choices

2 of 2GVRL has great content overall, but some articles are short and mostly factual. The word counts listed after the titles on the results screen indicate which articles cover a topic in depth. Longer articles are generally more helpful.

Identify the longest article among the first 20 results.

Advance to the next screen where we will explore bibliographies.


Open the article about Calvinism from the encyclopedia Europe, 1450 to 1789 by clicking on the title of the article. This is a substantial article with over 4,000 words. Scroll down towards the end of the article and look for the bibliography. Most articles in GVRL include bibliographies and/or further reading lists with the best published research on the topic.

William Monter, the author of “Calvinism” in Europe, 1450 to 1789, recommends a recent book about Calvinism which synthesizes the available research on this topic. What is the title of this book?

How many books authored by Philip Benedict does Falvey Library have?
Open a new tab or browser window and use the library's catalog to answer this question. DO NOT navigate away from the tutorial!

Advance to the next screen.

Research Challenge

If you relish a research challenge, try to answer the next question.

Mistakes often sneak into bibliographies in spite of repeated editing. The title of Philip Benedict’s book about Calvinism is incorrect. Use Falvey Library’s catalog to find the correct title. You have the author and the year of publication to help you.

Advance to the next screen where we will explore See Also references.

See Also References

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Look at the "See also" links listed in Monter's article about Calvinism. You can find them directly above the bibliography. These links refer to related articles in the SAME encyclopedia.

Europe, 1450 to 1789 has related articles about Martin Luther, John Calvin and Geneva as you can see. You have read in Monter’s essay that the protestant movement in Switzerland began with Huldrych Zwingli. Click on the link to the article about Zwingli in Europe, 1450 to 1789.

Advance to the next screen when you are done.

See Also References

2 of 2You will notice that this is a much shorter article by Bruce Gordon, a scholar who specializes in the history of the reformation in Switzerland. 

Gordon cites his book about the subject. What is the title?

Advance to the next screen to explore related subjects in GVRL.

Related Subjects

GVRL makes it easy to find articles about Zwingli in other encyclopedias. Look for the list of related subjects to the left at the top of the screen. Notice that the subject term used on the list of related subjects is “Zwingli, Ulrich” and not “Zwingli, Huldrych.” Take note of this spelling variant of Zwingli’s first name for future use. Click on the Zwingli subject link at the bottom of the list of subjects and review the results.
Remember, that the first article may not be the most suitable for your project.

Which encyclopedia has the longest article about Zwingli?

This short introduction covered the basic navigation features of GVRL. Feel free to further explore advanced search features.

Advance to the next screen and complete the quiz to test your GVRL agility.


Which statement best describes GVRL?

What types of sources are cited in the bibliographies and further reading lists of GVRL articles?

What is the purpose of “See Also” references in GVRL articles?

True or false?
GVRL search results can be narrowed by subject, document type and publication title.

Which GVRL article is likely to be more helpful for a history research paper about humanism in the Renaissance?

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