To learn more about your topic, start by looking at basic reference materials such as encyclopedias. These resources contain not only fundamental information on your topic, but also include a bibliography, or list of citations, that will lead you to more information. The Encyclopedia Britannica is one well known general source.
A reference librarian can also direct you to more specific encyclopedias in your subject area, such as the Grove Music Online or The Encyclopedia of Energy (print resource - Ref TJ 163.28 E53).
To find background sources on your own, perform a keyword search in Reference Universe -- an indext to thousands of Encyclopedias.
Or refer to the research guides arranged by major and minor and click on print resources.