The term itself is quite big and takes up almost all the topics into it. The mostly common things that we normally put into this category are Atlas, Dictionary, Encyclopadia. These things were used as a support system for almost all the streams that we have and from a little child of 4 years to a man of 50 all need the help of reference software now and then. Instead of the manual workout of the person, this software has made the things much more concise and interactive than ever before.
Starting with Britannica, the encyclopedia type reference software has given the best what the dynamic and digital software ever could be. Most of the reference software gets them updated after a specific interval like Britannica 2006 then Britannica 2009 etc. Merriam Webster, just like Britannica brought the CD Rom version of their encyclopedia. As time passed through most of the reference software, are readily downloadable from their respective sites even though the payment is done by the user online. Microsoft Encarta is one another Encyclopedia that has served extensively the students all over as rich reference software. The market is all ready to bring out a newer version of reference software and will continue to serve a large section of the society.
The mapping and similar types of software has already taken over the market by huge demands and will continue to do so. These types of software will contribute to the society by all means with knowledge, instructiveness and enrichment.