Reference works can save you a lot of time. They have done the work of compiling information about a person or topic for you and can help you frame your research question. They also have useful bibliographies that can jump start your research process.
> Guides to Reference Materials and Research
> Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
> Biographical Information
> Biography of Contemporary Composers
Oxford Reference Online is a fully indexed, cross-searchable database of about 100 dictionary, language reference, and subject reference works published by Oxford University Press.