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Home >> Research & Instruction >> Research Services Blog >> GVRL - Gale Virtual Reference Library
Thumbnails of books in GVRL

Gale Virtual Reference Library

What could be better than sorting through stacks and stacks of heavy encyclopedias (that don’t even circulate) to find background information for a project? No, the answer is not Wikipedia. Although Wikipedia is a good website for quick ready reference, Wikipedia is not a reliable academic source to cite in a paper. Even they say so. But there is something better, way better. With over 13,000 authoritative academic reference e-books in its collection, the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) has everything you need to start your research. This e-book platform has an easy to use interface, is highly searchable, and is available 24/7 from the comfort of your own computer, tablet, or mobile device.


Much like any good reference collection, GVRL covers a vast range of subjects including art, business, education, engineering, general reference, health & medicine, humanities & social sciences, law, science, technology, and more. It offers text-to-speech technology and on demand translation which allows you to listen to the text and to download mp3 audio files, in over 30 languages. GVRL is accessible through the Library website ( From the homepage, select Databases in the menu above the search box and then select Databases A-Z, Search for Gale Virtual Reference Library either by name or alphabetically.

Search Features

GVRL is optimized for search and discovery and includes basic and advanced search functionality. Search by subject or publication, or search within an e-book or even between volumes. There are many options to help narrow down your topic including the abiltiy to limit to sources with images or videos, by content level, document type, publication title, subject, or language. There is also a topic finder data visualization tool which analyzes the words and subjects related to a given text. Its graphic display can help you make connections between topics or narrow down your search. 

Special Tools

GVRL has useful and time saving citation tools and collaboration tools. GVRL automatically generates citations in MLA 9th Edition, APA 7th Edition, and Chicago 17th Edition and exports bibliographic data to a variety of citation management systems including EndNote. It also outputs to Google Drive and OneDrive and to nearly 200 different apps and social media sites such as Facebook, Evernote, and Mendeley. GVRL gives you the option to highlight and annotate text within articles and to view your highlighted text and notes in a neatly formatted sharable chart. GVRL also links directly to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and can save your searches and selected articles.

The Gale Virtual Reference Library is a one-stop-shop for credible online reference anytime, anywhere. And with subject coverage this comprehensive, you'll definitely find what you're looking for. Now that’s better than flipping through volume after volume of the Library's reference books. Way better!

Questions? Contact the Research Desk at for help.


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Phone 619.594.6728  Text: 619.567.9743

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