Reference and Resource Websites
First Came the Library
I used to spend hours at my local library. Overwhelmed with delight, I'd look at every book within a section, if the topic interested me. Somehow, it always did. Whenever I heard or read something interesting, I would always want to know more and then for no other reason than I wanted to, I'd research it almost to death. I'd check out a giant stacks of book and have trouble deciding which one to dive into first when I got home. It was a pleasant yet excruciating problem.
I'm the world's biggest fan of libraries. I always inhale deeply when entering their muted depths, I love that smell. Libraries smell like books and I love books - the texture of their covers and the strong look of their spines as they stand aside other elegant tomes. They all put out a siren call to be read.
Yes, the library is a wondrous place. The only thing complaint I have is the disappearance of the card catalogue. I love flipping through card catalogues and I miss them dearly.
Then Came the Internet
Although I adore libraries and believe they will always endure, there are times when a trip to the library is impractical. We live in a fast paced, online society and we need to be able to access information quickly, 24 hours a day. That's where the following links come in handy.
Writers, students and well, anyone who needs to find information or satisfy a curiosity can make fine use of these reference and resource websites. If one doesn't have what you're looking for, some of the others are bound to.
The really neat thing is that all the links are together, here in one place. You may want to bookmark the page, to make it easier to return.
Reference and Resource Websites You'll Find Here
- General Reference
- Law Library
- Drug Index
- Bible Resource and Reference
- Telephone, Address and Zip Code
- Currency Converters
- Cost of Living Calculator
More References & Resources Than You Can Shake a Stick At!
iTools - You may not need to go any further than this first link. This site has everything - search, language, research, currency conversion, maps and people locator.
Library Spot - This one has an absolute TON of reference information! Just like a real library but without the great smell. There is way too much to list here, I strongly urge you to check it out, it's pretty amazing. You can find zip codes here, as well.
One Look Dictionary Search - It's a dictionary and search engine in one. Plunk in a word or phrase and it will find the definition and translation, if you ask.
Encyclopedia Britannica - Everyone knows who this is! I read that it now costs you if you want to read a full article. *** Update - Web authors are being given free access to Encyclopedia Britannica. You can sign up at http://signup.eb.com/Pages/Register.aspx. Hub profile URLs are accepted. A huge thank-you to Uninvited Writer for this information.
RefDesk.com - This site promotes itself as a fact checker. There are lots of different search engines, daily facts, sites, thoughts, etc. Pretty much any fact you want to look up is available via Refdesk.
Answers - I think this is a Wiki site. It boasts being, "The World's Leading Q & A Site." Type in a phrase or question to find or elicit an answer.
Wikipedia - Most internet searches have at least some familiarity with Wiki. Although some people claim that there are inaccuracies in some of the content, it can be a good resource.
Roget's Thesaurus - For anyone who loves thesauruses as much as I do, you'll likely want to take this one for a test drive. It works just like the book, only you type in your word instead of looking in the index.
Information Please Almanac - Another feature rich site, here. There's a dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, encyclopedia, biographies and more.
Bio - Bio devotes itself to biographies of celebrities. You can also watch episodes of Biography on this site.
Travlang - The Travlang site is a pretty cool concept. It is actually a website of translating dictionaries.
Babel Fish - Another cool site. You can get translations for web pages and text files in 75 different languages.
Bartleby.com - You get unlimited access to books and information on Bartleby.com, including (are you listening up, writers?) The Elements of Style. This one is a reader's delight, showcasing fiction from Harvard, The Bible, Gray's Anatomy and various famous authors and titles.
C.I.A. - The World Factbook - The Central Intelligence Agency gives you access to everything you'd want to find out about 266 different countries, including the country's history, population, economy, etc. Flags and maps can be viewed, as well. This is probably a great site for kids' to get info for their projects.
World Wide Web Virtual Library - The oldest catalogue of the web and highest quality guides to specific sections of the web.
IngentaConnect - Their tagline reads, "The home of scholarly research." Type in what you're looking for and the IngentaConnect search engine will find it.
The Merck Manuals, Online Medical Library - If you're looking to do some medical research, this should be a big help. In addition to a lot of varied topics, you can access some really helpful resources.
RxList - As an internet drug index, RxList has it all - A-Z drugs, diseases, supplements, it's all here.
LawGuru - Need free legal advice, want to look up facts or find a lawyer? This is the place to go.
BibleGateway.com - A seachable online bible in over 100 versions and 50 languages.
I.R.S. - All Americans know what this one is. Heck, I'm Canadian and I know what this is, it's famous. When you want to get forms or try to make sense of taxes or check the status of your return, click on this link.
C.R.A. - Just to make sure that my own country is represented, the C.R.A. is our version of the I.R.S., a site to get information for your income tax. The initials stand for Canada Revenue Agency.
National Geographic, MapMachine - Insert an address and it spits out a map and/or directions to any U.S. location only.
Rootsweb - Fill in the form to access the Social Security Death Index. If you are trying to look up someone who was a U.S. citizen, you may be able to trace them here.
Oanda - This is a Forex multilingual currency converter for over 164 currencies and 3 metals.
ConvertIt.com - Touted as a Conversion & Calculation Center, this site offers you measurement conversions, exchange rates, time zones, calculators and more.
Cost-of-Living Calculator - This one's fun! It's offered by the American Institute for Economic Research and it lets you compare dollar figures from any two years.
InfoSpace - A one stop search engine, Infospace lets you browse through its Superpages for web information, people, businesses, videos, images and news.
The following is a list of directories for finding phone numbers, addresses, zip/area codes and for doing reverse searches:
Well, that's it for now, that's all I've got at this moment. If you know of any great reference or resource websites and want to share, just let me know in the comments and I'll add them to the list.
Happy hunting, I hope this helps. Even though you can get an abundance of information online, please try to show your local library a little love from time to time and pay it a visit. If you don't want to check out a book, why not just stand amid the stacks and inhale deeply....ahhh!
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