Database of the Month: Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)

Gale Virtual Reference Library

What is Gale Virtual Reference Library?

The Gale Virtual Reference Library is a database of encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources, searchable all at once. Think: authoritative and quick information for beginning your research.

When to Use Gale Virtual Reference Library (instead of Google or Wikipedia)

GRVL answers such questions as:

  • the percentage change of discretionary income in the Northeast from just before the onset of the 2008 recession as compared to the following year (ANSWER: consult GVRL’s American Incomes: Demographics of Who Has Money)
  • a brief biography of composer Leonard (actually Luis) Bernstein for a public speaking class (ANSWER: consult GVRL’s Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians)
  • the background of a particular ad campaign (ANSWER: consult GVRL’s Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Campaigns for a topical overview of – for example – Apple Computer’s Think Different ad campaign)

Think you need to trek to the library to consult a reference book, that dictionary or encyclopedia? Think again.

What Makes Gale Virtual Reference Library such a Great Resource?

With so many different titles all in one (searchable) spot, think of GVRL as your authoritative go-to source for learning introductory, general information about a wide range of topics. With full-text access to electronic reference books, including titles in the arts, business, the environment, history, literature, medicine, multicultural studies, geography, and science, GVRL should be your first stop in quick stats, fact checks, and topic overviews.

Sample Title List

Bentley Library’s subscription to Gale Virtual Reference Library comes with access to over 150 different titles (complete list here). Below are a few examples:

  • American Incomes: Demographics of Who Has Money
  • Encyclopedia of Gender in Media
  • Encyclopedia of Small Business
  • Guide to U.S. Foreign Policy
  • The Millennials: Americans Born 1977 to 1994
  • West’s Encyclopedia of American Law

Locating Information in Gale Virtual Reference Library

Simply browse reference titles from different subject areas on the home page and view an eBook without performing a search. Of course, if you’d prefer to enter a search term, there are both basic and advanced search options available.

Did you want to share what you found with others? Gale now offers InfoMarks functionality, allowing users to copy, bookmark, or email a persistent URL of nearly every page!

Final Notes

Librarians thought GVRL was such a fantastic resource that it was chosen as Library Journal’s Best Overall Database in 2012! Gale Virtual Reference Library is available through the Bentley Library’s Databases A to Z listing.


Database of the Month provides a very brief introduction to an important research database, highlighting key features of the database that you should know about. If you would like more information about this database (or any of the library’s databases) please Ask a Librarian. If you would like a demonstration of this database for a class, please contact our Coordinator of User Education, Elizabeth Galoozis.