Ready Reference

Virtual Libraries Dictionaries, Thesauri & Encyclopedias Quotations
Style Manuals Directories: Finding People & Places Maps & Directions
  Miscellaneous Reference Works  

Virtual Libraries

  • ipl2: Information You Can Trust
    ipl2 merges the collections of resources from the Internet Public Library (IPL) and the Librarians' Internet Index (LII) websites. It offers annotated links to high quality web sites organized by topic.

  • Digital Librarian
    This site offers ready access to numerous Web pages organized by subject areas. "Airlines," "Dinosaurs," "Judaica," "Parenting" and "Railroads & Waterways" are just a few examples of the subject areas available.

  • LibrarySpot
    A one-stop ready reference site offering such things as almanacs, associations, biographies, calculators, maps, phone books, style guides, 'best of' and "top 100" lists, etc.

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Dictionaries, Thesauri & Encyclopedias

  • A Web of On-line Dictionaries
    This Web site offers more than 800 dictionaries of over 150 different languages. Truly one of the most megasites focusing on multilingual dictionaries, specialized dictionaries, language identifiers, acronyms and thesauri.

  • Merriam-Webster Online
    This site offers access to Merriam-Webster's WWWebster Dictionary and WWWebster Thesaurus. Other features found on this page include "Word of the Day," "New Words and Meanings," and slang as well as information about other Merriam-Webster products.

  • OneLook Dictionary Search
    A conglomeration of 112 dictionaries, this site includes older editions of standard titles, English-foreign language dictionaries, free online dictionaries, and nondictionaries that happen to contain word lists or definitions. A great place to start your word search.

  • ARTFL Project - Roget's Thesaurus
    The ARTFL Project from the University of Chicago, and Micra, Inc. present this online version of Roget's Thesaurus. The site provides access to approximately 50,000 entries which include definitions, pronunciations, synonyms and near synonyms.Roget's is also available at

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica
    The Encyclopaedia Britannica is now free on the Web! In addition to offering the latest U.S. and World news, weather and sports information, Britannica online also provides access to the Encyclopedia Britannica and Britannica-selected Internet sites.

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  • Library Spot - Quotations
    The Library Spot (© 1997-2000, StartSpot Mediaworks,Inc.) provides links to eight quotation-related sites. In addition to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, users will find sites featuring Biblical, Shakespearean and movie quotations as well as general sites offering numerous quotations organized by subject.

  • Bartlett's Book of Familiar Quotations
    The Bartlett's site offers familiar quotations from a wide range of passages, phrases and proverbs. Searching is straighforward, by keyword or author. Also included is a list of author's names whose quotes are used.

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Style Manuals

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Directories: Finding People & Places

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Maps & Directions

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Miscellaneous Reference Works

  • AlternaTime
    This site features a large collection of timelines organized under the categores: History & Cultures, Science & Technology, Arts & Literature, Popular Culture & Current Events, and Science Fiction.

    This online conversion utility provides a calculator for converting between metric and U.S. standard (imperial) units for length and weight. Additional conversion options include temperature, time, energy, and volume.

  • ConvertAuto
    Use this site to convert "just about anything automatically". It includes tools for converting currency, fuel efficiency, pressure, temperature, weights, and a variety of measures.

  • DiRT: Digital Research Tools Wiki
    This wiki listing of Web-based tools and commercial software is geared to humanities/social sciences researchers. Users can identify tools for specific research tasks. Reviews follow a template with bulleted lists/brief paragraphs for highlights, drawbacks, and tips.

  • Google Scholar
    A subset of Google, Google Scholar provides access to scholarly journal citations from a wide range of subject areas, with the strongest coverage in science & technology. Google Scholar is not valued as a repository for free full text articles, because many items are not available in full text. The real value of this site is its citation index – a handy research tool that allows users to easily establish which documents cite a particular research article. It is an excellent tool for verifying citations and locating similar articles. To access the citation index, look for the “cited by” link. Please check with an Alverno reference librarian BEFORE paying for an article. Note: Google Scholar is still in development and may have some inconsistencies.

  • How Stuff Works
    Created by Marshall Brain and targeted towards a general audience, this site offers a wealth of information explaining how different things work. Learn anything from how a cell phone or an air conditioner works to how a power grid, hurricane, a clock or how dental school works. Some explanations are more technical than others.

  • Public Agenda
    Public Agenda was founded in 1975 and is a “nonpartisan opinion research and civic engagement organization helping Americans explore and understand critical issues.” The Web site contains much original research that is well organized and easy to navigate. Public Agenda’s reports provide important additional research material for both students and faculty on a broad range of topics in the social sciences.

  • Wolfram|Alpha
    Wolfram|Alpha is a free computational knowledge engine developed by Stephen Wolfram and the Wolfram Research team, creators of the computational software program Mathematica. Rather than returning lists of Web pages for searchers to wade through, Wolfram|Alpha computes answers to queries. For those searching for quantitative, fact-based data, Wolfram|Alpha is a better choice than Google.

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