Vol. 8, No. 3, November 2005

General Reference

[Updated 7/09/12]


Internet Public Library Reference Collection

A project run by librarians at the University of Michigan's School of Information, this site provides links to an exhaustive array of general reference sources. Links are included to almanacs, biographies, directories, dictionaries, encyclopedias, calendars, quotation resources and calculators. In addition to the general reference resources, subject collections are available, including Arts & Humanities, Business, Education, Social Sciences, Health, etc. Users may send reference questions to the IPL via a reference form on the Web.

The Library Spot

This website links to vast collections of reference materials, such as almanacs, maps, phone books, calculators, statistics, encyclopedias, and dictionaries and also connects you to more than 3,500 newspapers around the world. The Library Spot is a gateway to more than 5,000 libraries worldwide, with links to law libraries and medical libraries, and also provides access to more than 50,000 book reviews.


It's easy to spend hours at this site which is packed with links to everything from Roget's Thesaurus, stock quotes, People Search, the Yellow Pages, to a calculator that converts distances, temperatures, etc. There are links to news sources and weather sites. This is a busy site receives hundreds of thousands of hits each day and is ranked among the top favorite reference sites on the Internet. Interesting sites are featured through the daily "Site of the Day."

Ask Jeeves!

Ask Jeeves, named for P.G. Wodehouse's ideal butler, is a great search engine for pinning down specific bits of information residing on the web. It allows you to type a question in natural language and click "ASK!" For example, the query, "Who is the Attorney General of Florida?" returns a link to Florida's Attorney General homepage. The Smart Answers feature also delivers basic factual information in addition to traditional search engine results.


This free, online encyclopedia is a collaborative project of the site's users, to state "what is known." Volunteers contribute articles on a myriad of different subjects. The result is a frequently updated and usually reliable source of information. While the nature of the project makes the information potentially suspect, the efforts of the contributors serve as a form of peer review. Extensive descriptions of this process and its safeguards are available. Articles are available in several languages.


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