Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Child Online Protection Act Overturned

A federal appeals court struck down as unconstitutional a Clinton-era law that would have forced websites with adult material to verify visitors' ages, dealing another blow to the government in a 10-year court battle over net censorship.

The 3rd U.S. Circurt Court of Appeals upheld on Tuesday a 2007 lower-court decision that the Child Online Protection Act violated the First Amendment since it was not the most effective way to keep children from visiting adult websites.

This Cuban library lends DVDs about state torture

A government critic's collection includes Bibles, books by Cuban defectors, and positive biographies about Fidel Castro. THE ERNEST HEMINGWAY LIBRARY: That’s what Carlos Serpa, a government critic, calls his home library in Isla de la Juventud, Cuba. His collection includes Bibles, books by Cuban defectors, and positive biographies about Fidel Castro and “Che” Guevara.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

They Used -What- as a Bookmark? by birdie

Always good as a conversation starter...the things people leave in books that are not traditional bookmarks. Thousands of dollars, a Christmas card signed by Frank Baum, a Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card, a marriage certificate from 1879, a baby’s tooth, a diamond ring and a handwritten poem by Irish writer Katharine Tynan Hickson are just some of the stranger objects discovered by booksellers. And then there's the strip of bacon.

Abebooks has a listing of these items...some mundane, some bizarre, some deeply personal. What have you found?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Guide of the Week: Federal Budget Process

There are few things more complicated than the US federal budget process. This week's guide:

U.S. Government Documents: The Budget Process (Jerry Breeze, Columbia University, 1999) Last Updated sometime in 2008

Can help you untangle the fiscal knots that is the United States Budget. This selective guide points to information about the current budget, including state by state budget impacts as well as historical data and background materials.

This guide also has a federal budget calendar which can help you see when different budget publications becomes available. Finally, Jerry provides a section on News and Commentary which draws from non-governmental sources.

The next time you are faced with a concerned citizen or a student writing about an aspect of the US budget, point them to this guide. Then see what else is available from the Handout Exchange. Don't see the subject you're looking for? If you're a documents librarian why not research the subject yourself, put a guide together and link that to the Exchange? Or build a guide on the Exchange wiki itself?

Keep Up With Technology, Keep Up With Teens

Since 2002, there has been a 15 percent increase in circulation and a 40 percent increase in visits, so reports the Conshocton Tribune(Central Ohio).

Young adult librarian RoseMary Honnold explains: "That grew out of a meeting I had with a tech club that I specifically put together to see what teens would be interested in. They asked for free Internet time and we talked about gaming. We acquired funds from various sources and add equipment as we go." Currently the library has a Nintendo Wii, a Playstation 2, the game Rock Band for the PS2, ten laptops and laptop games. Games can be projected on a movie screen through the use of a projector.

"I just come down to have fun. I check my MySpace, I play Rock Band, I hang out with my friends," said Justine Givens, 16. "It's a great place for teens to hang out."

$1 Million to study video games

by School of Information Awarded $1.2 Million from IMLS for The Study of Digital Librarianship, Video Game Industry

"The School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin has received $1.2 million from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) to prepare students for librarianship in a digital world..."

Aren't library schools supposed to prepare students for librarianship in whatever world exists at the time? So up to the point of awarding this grant, library schools have only been preparing students for librarianship in the Bronze age world? the Stone world? the strange World of Sid and Marty Krofft?

"The project will focus on providing doctoral students with a deep understanding of digital librarianship..." Oh, they have money for the new nerds. Nerd 2.0.

"Assistant Professor Megan Winget was awarded $255,040 to advance her research in the video game industry's methods, behaviors and attitudes for the purpose of building more meaningful models of collection and preservation of complex, community-built digital creations."

Preservation of video games? Yeah, they're called Ziploc bags. I think the one-gallon size will hold a Sony PlayStation. Buy some kitchen garbage bags for a PS3. For $250,000, you should be able to stock up.

Why are they studying the video game industry for preservation? The industry's view has never supported backwards compatibility, hence no preservation, only disposal and the purchase of new hardware. The only preservation in the gaming world is done by individuals and fans of video games.

The story says that part of the grant is to educate professors on archival storage, which I guess means to teach them to not touch the contacts on the Atari 2600 game cart. I can see these archivists discussing the best way to bag that Intellivision console, whether the controllers should be bagged individually or in pairs, and in what temperature to store it all for future generations. I wonder if they know about the landfill piled high with ET: the Extra-Terrestrial Atari 2600 carts.

Tell them to call me if they want a box of Atari ST or 3DO games. Yeah, 3DO; I even owned stock in the company. Yeah, I'm a dope.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Library confrontation points up privacy dilemma

Library Director Amy Grasmick sits in the Kimball Public Library's children's room where public access...

RANDOLPH, Vt. - Children's librarian Judith Flint was getting ready for the monthly book discussion group for 8- and 9-year-olds on "Love That Dog" when police showed up.

They weren't kidding around: Five state police detectives wanted to seize Kimball Public Library's public access computers as they frantically searched for a 12-year-old girl, acting on a tip that she sometimes used the terminals.

Flint demanded a search warrant, touching off a confrontation that pitted the privacy rights of library patrons against the rights of police on official business.

"It's one of the most difficult situations a library can face," said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of intellectual freedom issues for the American Library Association.

Investigators did obtain a warrant about eight hours later, but the June 26 standoff in the 105-year-old, red brick library on Main Street frustrated police and had fellow librarians cheering Flint.

"What I observed when I came in were a bunch of very tall men encircling a very small woman," said the library's director, Amy Grasmick, who held fast to the need for a warrant after coming to the rescue of the 4-foot-10 Flint.

Library records and patron privacy have been hot topics since the passage of the U.S. Patriot Act after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Library advocates have accused the government of using the anti-terrorism law to find out — without proper judicial oversight or after-the-fact reviews — what people research in libraries.

But the investigation of Brooke Bennett's disappearance wasn't a Patriot Act case.

"We had to balance out the fact that we had information that we thought was true that Brooke Bennett used those computers to communicate on her MySpace account," said Col. James Baker, director of the Vermont State Police. "We had to balance that out with protecting the civil liberties of everybody else, and this was not an easy decision to make."

Brooke, from Braintree, vanished the day before the June 26 confrontation in the children's section of the tiny library. Investigators went to the library chasing a lead that she had used the computers there to arrange a rendezvous.

Brooke was found dead July 2. An uncle, convicted sex offender Michael Jacques, has since been charged with kidnapping her. Authorities say Jacques had gotten into her MySpace account and altered postings to make investigators believe she had run off with someone she met online.

Flint was firm in her confrontation with the police.

"The lead detective said to me that they need to take the public computers and I said `OK, show me your warrant and that will be that,'" said Flint, 56. "He did say he didn't need any paper. I said `You do.' He said `I'm just trying to save a 12-year-old girl,' and I told him `Show me the paper.'"

Cybersecurity expert Fred H. Cate, a law professor at Indiana University, said the librarians acted appropriately.

"If you've told all your patrons `We won't hand over your records unless we're ordered to by a court,' and then you turn them over voluntarily, you're liable for anything that goes wrong," he said.

A new Vermont law that requires libraries to demand court orders in such situations took effect July 1, but it wasn't in place that June day. The library's policy was to require one.

The librarians did agree to shut down the computers so no one could tamper with them, which had been a concern to police.

Once in police hands, how broadly could police dig into the computer hard drives without violating the privacy of other library patrons?

Baker wouldn't discuss what information was gleaned from the computers or what state police did with information about other people, except to say the scope of the warrant was restricted to the missing girl investigation.

"The idea that they took all the computers, it's like data mining," said Caldwell-Stone. "Now, all of a sudden, since you used that computer, your information is exposed to law enforcement and can be used in ways that (it) wasn't intended.'"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Art Garfunkel's Favorite Books

[Thanks to Anonymous for this post]

Since the 1960's, Art Garfunkel has been a voracious reader. Since 1968, Mr. Garfunkel has been keeping a list of every book he has read.(Index of Books). We also present the following list of books which have been designated by Mr. Garfunkel as his favorites. The books are indexed here in the order in which they were read.

1. Jun 1968 Jean-Jacques Rousseau The Confessions 1781 606 pp.
2. Jun 1968 Erich Fromm The Art of Loving 1956 146 pp.
3. Oct 1968 P.D. Ouspensky In Search of the Miraculous 1949 389 pp.
4. Feb 1969 L.N. Tolstoy War and Peace 1869 1444 pp.
5. May 1969 Philip Roth Portnoy's Complaint 1969 274 pp.
6. Sep 1969 Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights 1847 320 pp.
7. Jan 1970 Johann Wolfgang Goethe The Sorrows of Young Werther 1774 199 pp.
8. Mar 1970 Garrett Mattingly The Armada 1959 402 pp.
9. Mar 1971 Bill Moyers Listening to America 1971 342 pp.
10. Jul 1971 Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre 1947 477 pp.
11. Jan 1972 L. N. Tolstoy Anna Karenina 1873 852 pp.
12. Mar 1972 Albert Schweitzer J.S. Bach, Vol. 1 1911 428 pp.
13. Oct 1973 Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice 1797 430 pp.
14. Oct 1974 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 1892 248 pp.
15. Feb 1975 Robert A. Caro The Power Broker 1974 1162 pp.
16. Jun 1975 Henry James Portrait of a Lady 1881 545 pp.
17. Dec 1976 John S. Shelton Geology Illustrated 1966 424 pp.
18. Jan 1977 Saul Bellow Humboldt's Gift 1973 472 pp.
19. May 1977 C.G. Jung Modern Man in Search of a Soul 1933 244 pp.
20. May 1977 Charles Chaplin My Autobiography 1964 497 pp.
21. Sep 1977 Stephen King The Shining 1977 447 pp.
22. Jul 1977 Bulfinch Mythology 1855 236 pp.
23. Apr 1978 Charles Darwin The Origin of Species 1859 460 pp.
24. Apr 1978 Robert M. Persig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 1974 406 pp.
25. May 1978 Erik Erikson Childhood and Society 1950 424 pp.
26. May 1978 Marcel Proust Swann's Way 1928 325 pp.
27. Jul 1978 Plato The Last Days of Socrates Euthyphro, The Apology, Crito, Phaedo 390 b.c. 199 pp.
28. Aug 1978 Fydor Dostoevsky The Idiot
642 pp.
29. Sep 1978 Robertson Davies Fifth Business 1970 268 pp.
30. Dec 1978 Jack Kerouac On the Road 1955 310 pp.
31. Aug 1979 Jean Rhys Good Morning, Midnight 1974 190 pp.
32. Sep 1979 Richard Price Ladies' Man 1978 264 pp.
33. Sep 1979 Jean Rhys Voyage in the Dark 1934 159 pp.
34. Nov 1979 Thomas Hardy Jude the Obscure 1896 164 pp.
35. De 1979 Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels 1726 360 pp.
36. Jan. 1980 Isaac Bashevis Singer The Slave 1962 287 pp.
37. Sep 1980 Jean Dorst The Life of Birds, vol. 1 1971 341 pp.
38. Sep 1980 Marcel Proust Within a Budding Grove 1920 386 pp.
39. Feb 1981 Edward Gibbon The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Abridged) 1787 713 pp.
40. Feb 1981 J. P. Donleavy The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman 1977 402 pp.
41. Mar 1981 James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 1916 253 pp.
42. Jun 1981 Gary Zukav The Dancing Wu Li Masters 1979 332 pp.
43. Jul 1981 David Halberstam The Powers That Be 1979 1027 pp.
44. Oct 1981 Saint Augustine Confessions 398 a.d. 347 pp.
45. Jan 1982 Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Don Quixote 1604 940 pp.
46. Jan 1982 Virginia Woolf A Room of One's Own 1929 118 pp.
47. Feb 1982 Baldesar Castiglione The Book of the Courtier 1518 345 pp.
48. Mar 1982 D.M. Thomas The White Hotel 1981 240 pp.
49. Apr 1982 Leon Edel Henry James - The Middle Years: 1882--1895 1962 389 pp.
50. Jun 1982 Johan Huizinga The Waning of the Middle Ages 1919 335 pp.
51. Jun 1982 Honoré de Balzac The Black Sheep 1842 339 pp.
52. Oct 1982 Robert G. Weisbord Ebony Kinship 1973 220 pp.
53. Feb 1983 William James The Varieties of Religious Experience 1902 500 pp.
54. Mar 1983 Thornton Wilder The Bridge of San Luis Rey 1927 124 pp.
55. Jun 1983 Emil Ludwig Napoleon 1926 682 pp.
56. Aug 1983 Henry David Thoreau Walden 1854 247 pp.
57. Aug 1983 Peter Gay The Enlightenment (The Rise of Modern Paganism) 1966 419 pp.
58. Sep 1983 W. Somerset Maugham The Razor's Edge 1944 314 pp.
59. Sep 1983 Vladimir Nabokov Lectures on Literature 1980 382 pp.
60. Jan. 1984 James Joyce Ulysses 1921 783 pp.
61. Mar 1984 J.D. Salinger Nine Stories 1953 198 pp.
62. Ap. 1984 Thomas Mann The Confessions of Felix Krull Confidence Man (The Early Years) 1955 378 pp.
63. May 1984 L.N. Tolstoy What is Art? 1896 191 pp.
64. Oct 1984 Iris Murdoch A Severed Head 1961 205 pp.
65. Jan 1985 William M. Thackeray Vanity Fair 1847 636 pp.
66. Feb 1985 Thornton Wilder The Ides of March 1948 204 pp.
67. Mar 1985 Constantin Stanislavski An Actor Prepares 1936 295 pp.
68. May 1985 Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin 1852 590 pp.
69. Jun 1985 Lucretius On the Nature of the Universe c. 54 bc. 256 pp.
70. Jul 1985 Marcel Proust The Guermantes Way 1925 425 pp.
71. Aug 1985 Lao Tsu Tao Te Ching 6 Cent. bc. 81 pp.
72. Sep 1985 L.N. Tolstoy Confession 1879 93 pp.
73. Oct 1985 Richard Ellmann James Joyce 1959 744 pp.
74. Oct 1985 Herodotus The Histories 446 bc. 624 pp.
75. Nov 1985 Edith Wharton The House of Mirth 1905 329 pp.
76. Jan 1986 Virgil The Aeneid 30-19bc. 336 pp.
77. Ap. 1986 Julian Jaynes The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind 1976 446 pp.
78. Sep 1986 William Kennedy Ironweed 1983 227 pp.
79. Nov 1986 Vladimir Nabokov The Enchanter 1939 95 pp.
80. Dec 1986 Harold C. Schonberg The Lives of the Great Composers 1970 627 pp.
81. Dec 1986 David A. Stockman The Triumph of Politics 1986 411 pp.
82. Jan 1987 Thomas Hobbes Leviathan 1651 729 pp.
83. May 1987 Carrie Fisher Postcards from the Edge 1987 218 pp.
84. Jun 1987 Marcel Proust Cities of the Plain 1913 378 pp.
85. Oct 1987 Rudyard Kipling Just So Stories 1902 158 pp.
86. Oct 1987 Peter Ladefoged Elements of Acoustic Phonetics 1962 108 pp.
87. Nov 1987 Mark Twain Life on the Mississippi 1882 352 pp.
88. Feb 1988 Fyodor Dostoevsky Notes from the Underground 1864 158 pp.
89. Apr 1988 George Eliot Middlemarch 1872 908 pp.
90. Jun 1988 Francis Parkman The Oregon Trail 1849 286 pp.
91. Jan 1989 Charles Dickens Bleak House 1853 975 pp.
92. Mar 1989 E.L. Doctorrow Billy Bathgate 1989 323 pp.
93. Jul 1989 Brenda Maddox Nora - The Real Life of Molly Bloom 1988 381 pp.
94. Aug 1989 Sanche de Gramont Epitaph for Kings 1969 428 pp.
95. Oct 1989 Sigmund Freud Civilization and Its Discontents 1930 104 pp.
96. Jul 1990 Mark Twain Innocents Abroad 1867 492 pp.
97. Jul 1990 Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar 1963 216 pp.
98. Nov 1990 Thomas Mann The Magic Mountain 1927 716 pp.
99. Nov 1990 Fredric Dannen Hit Men 1990 327 pp.
100. Feb 1991 Will and Ariel Durant The Story of Civilization VIII: The Age of Louis XIV 1963 74 pp.
101. Mar 1991 Thomas L. Friedman From Beirut to Jerusalem 1989 525 pp.
102. Apr 1991 Marcus Aurelius The Meditations 177 ad. 129 pp.
103. May 1991 Marcel Proust The Captive 1921 289 pp.
104. Au. 1991 Oscar Hijuelos The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love 1989 407 pp.
105. Nov 1991 John Updike Rabbit, Run 1960 249 pp.
106. Nov 1991 William Styron The Confessions of Nat Turner 1966 429 pp.
107. Jan 1992 H.G. Wells A Short History of the World 1922 357 pp.
108. Feb 1992 Swami Prabhavananda The Sermon on the Mount according to Vendanta 1963 126 pp.
109. Apr 1992 Nathaniel Hawthorne The House of Seven Gables 1851 245 pp.
110. Dec 1992 Camille Paglia Sex, Art and American Culture 1992 287 pp.
111. Fe. 1993 Hermann Hesse Demian 1919 179 pp.
112. May 1994 Franz Kafka The Trial 1920 256 pp.
113. May 1994 Daneil Defoe A Journal of the Plague Year 1725 256 pp.
114. May 1994 Jean Rhys After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie 1931 191 pp.
115. Aug 1994 Henry Kissinger Diplomacy 1994 835 pp.
116. Dec 1994 Gustav Janouch Conversations with Kafka 1923 201 pp.
117. Jan 1995 Samuel Butler The Way of All Flesh 1903 444 pp.
118. Apr 1995 Stendahl The Red and the Black 1830 574 pp.
119. Mar 1996 Robert D. Kaplan Balkan Ghosts 1993 300 pp.
120 Ma. 1996 Gustave Flaubert Flaubert in Egypt 1850 222 pp.
121. Jun 1997 Charles and Mary Lamb Tales from Shakespeare 1807 313 pp.
122. Oct 1997 Keith B. Richburg Out of America 1997 254 pp.
123. Dec 1997 David Denby Great Books 1996 463 pp.
124. May 1998 Patrick Süskind Perfume 1985 263 pp.
125. Au. 1998 Ralph Ellison Invisible Man 1952 469 pp.
126. Nov 1998 D.H. Lawrence Sons and Lovers 1913 484 pp.
127. Feb 1999 Arthur Golden Memoirs of a Geisha 1997 428 pp.
128. Apr 1999 Russell Banks Cloudsplitter 1998 758 pp.
129. Oct 1999 Dan Kindlon, Michael Thompson Raising Cain 1999 267 pp.
130. May 2000 Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God 1937
131. Aug 2000 Jacques Barzun From Dawn to Decadence 2000
132. Nov 2000 Jakob Walter The Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier 1830
133. Mar 2002 Elizabeth Gaskell Wives and Daughters 1866
134. Dec 2002 Harold Nicolson Good Behavior 1955 285 pp.
135. Feb 2003 Charles Bukowski Post Office 1971 196 pp.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

100 Unbelievably Useful Reference Sites You’ve Never Heard Of

By Laura Milligan

Beyond Google, Wikipedia and other generic reference sites, the Internet boasts a multitude of search engines, dictionaries, reference desks and databases that have organized and archived information for quick and easy searches. In this list, we’ve compiled just 100 of our favorites, for teachers, students, hypochondriacs, procrastinators, bookworms, sports nuts and more.

Dictionaries and More

When you need a quick definition or want more specialized results that display synonyms, rhyming words and slang, turn to this list.

  1. OneLook: This no-frills online dictionary lets you look up basic definitions, related words, phrases and more. You can even customize your experience with different searches.
  2. RhymeZone: Type in a word to find rhyming words, synonyms, definitions, Shakespeare references and more.
  3. Strange and Unusual References: Head to this site to look up all-vowel words, magic words, magic archetypes, how to identify unicorns and other odd material.
  4. freedict.com: This online translator can find words in Dutch, Afrikaans, Russian, Portugese, Swedish, Japanese, Hungarian and more.
  5. The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: Search through topics like technology, American history, literature in English, proverbs and more to become a more "active citizen in our multicultural democracy."
  6. Word Spy: Search for a specific word to bring up funny quotations and a definition, or you can browse categories and sub categories like aging and death, hacking and hackers, entrepreneurs, jargon and buzzwords, art and design, drugs, euphemisms, sleeping or cell phones.
  7. Slang Site: Look up Web words, slang and even made up but often used words here.
  8. Behind the Names: Find out the history of your name or search names by categories like English, Spanish, mythology, Biblical names, African and more.
  9. Directory of Occupational Titles: If you’ve ever wanted to know the official name of your job, look it up here.
  10. Glossary of Real Estate Abbreviations, Terms and Phrases: Get through your next home signing by doing some extra research on this site.

Teacher References

Teacher guides like these will help you double-check facts, look for relevant quotes and get ideas for lesson plans.

  1. Twain Quotations A to Z: Inspire (or confuse) your students by throwing out a Mark Twain quote every once in a while. You can search by subject matter.
  2. Math Glossary: Look up words and concepts like abacus, Thales’ theorem, obtuse triangle and a lot more in this special site.
  3. Biology Website References for Students and Teachers: Learn about evolution, cell chemistry, anatomy and genetics from this list of reference sites.
  4. Children’s Literature Web Guide: Look for award-winning children’s books, readers’ theatre sites, stories published online and more on this site.
  5. Charles Dickens Gad’s Hill Place: Use this quote page to search by topic, title, or phrase, or pull from The Daily Dose of Dickens book.
  6. Encyclopedia Mythica: Search for text, quotes and history of mythology, folklore and religon. Categories include Greek people, Celtic mythology and Roman mythology.
  7. American Memory: The Library of Congress’ American culture and history reference site features topics like environment and conservation, immigration, women’s history, Presidents, religion, maps, literature, African American history and others.
  8. ASL Browser: Look up American Sign Language signs here.
  9. Ditto: Search the web for all kinds of beautiful images on this site.
  10. Learning and Performance Glossary: From accelerated learning to guidance package to meta skills, this glossary is full of education terms for teachers.

Librarian References

Librarians will benefit from these great reference sites, some of which were designed just for or by librarians.

  1. A Glossary of the Humanities: Click on a letter to look up words, phrases and concepts that use references from Foucault, Burke, Frye and others as definitions.
  2. Library of Congress Online Catalogs: We’re pretty sure most librarians have heard of this site, but it’s seriously one of the best reference sites on the Web.
  3. Historical Text Archives: This site boasts nearly 687 articles and 70 books about history, especially American history.
  4. KidsClick!: This educational search engine was created by librarians and is organized by topics like society and government, machines and transportation, health and family, facts and reference, and a lot more.
  5. Library Spot: This great reference site has links to encyclopedias, Top 10 lists, business references, public libraries and a LOT more.

Just for Fun

Search for unique profanity, sex terms and ridiculously long words here.

  1. The Dialectizer: Paste a URL into the box and select a dialect like Redneck, Cockney or Elmer Fudd to have the whole site translated.
  2. The Devil’s Dictionary: This adapted version of Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary contains words like brute, gallows, damn, wrath, and X.
  3. Sexual Dictionary: Look up quotes for "doin’ the wild thing" here, as well as other slang terms for sex.
  4. Grandiloquent Dictionary: Impress your friends by using huge words you found here.
  5. Roger’s Profanisaurus: Have fun looking up profane words at "the ultimate swearing dictionary."

Health Care

Instead of Googling your symptoms, use these authoritative reference sites to get drug information, find a hospital and research a disease or condition.

  1. Medline Plus: Look up anything to do with health care on this site from, prescription drugs to local resources to symptoms and diseases.
  2. RxList: RxList is "the Internet drug index," and you search by prescriptions dispensed, names searched or just by letter.
  3. Google Directory - Health and Medicine: Categories and individual web pages are listed on this Google reference site. Browse topics like health news, history of medicine, medical dictionaries or patient education.
  4. Patient Care: Columbia University Medical Center lists a number of patient resources, including tools for finding a doctor, dentist and hospital.
  5. MediLexicon: At MediLexicon, you can use the medical dictionary search, hospital search, medical abbreviations search or read all the latest medical news.
  6. InteliHealth: This reference site has an Ask the Expert section, as well as a database full of information for diseases and conditions, from asthma to digestive issues to weight management to STDs.
  7. Healthfinder: This government site features a Drug Interaction Checker, a Health Library and consumer guides.
  8. The Merck Manual: Search this online medical library for diseases and conditions and drug products.
  9. Bristol Biomedical Image Archive: Browse thousands of biomedical images on this site.
  10. Online Medical Dictionary: This simple search tool lets you browse by letter or subject area.

References for Students

From homework help to art definitions to almanacs, students of all ages will find reference material here.

  1. Online Music Theory Helper: Order flash cards or look up different theory lessons on this site.
  2. ArtLex: Browse this art terms dictionary for historical context information, definitions and more.
  3. The Works of the Bard: Use the Shakespeare search engine or browse plays by category to get references and text of Shakespeare’s works.
  4. Factmonster Reference Desk: Here, you’ll find an almanac, homework center, atlas, dictionary and encyclopedia for younger students.
  5. Little Explorers Picture Dictionary: Students learning to read will find pictures to go along with their definition results.
  6. Distance Education Glossary: If you’ve recently enrolled in a distance ed course or program, use this glossary to help you navigate your new education portal.
  7. HyperHistory Online: There are over 2,000 files on this site, on all kinds of world history topics like politics, religion, culture, science and special events.
  8. Style Guides and Resources: This reference list will help you out when you need to write a paper using APA, MLA, and other special citation systems.
  9. Statistical Resources on the Web: Find updated statistics on everything from agriculture to business to labor to housing to the military.
  10. RefDesk: Check your facts quickly and easily at the RefDesk, which features a site of the day, thought of the day, and plenty of multi-search tools.

Niche Sites

When you need to look up highly specialized materials and facts, look to these niche sites for help with online conversions, transportation and military acronyms, legal help and more.

  1. Dictionary of Metal Terminology: Search online or order the hard copy version to find metal-related words.
  2. Online Conversion: Convert "just about anything" on this site, which understands over 5,000 different units for date, time, density, energy, acceleration, angles and a lot more.
  3. Transportation and Logistics Acronyms: Find acronyms for the U.S. government and military, supply chain systems, transportation, trucking, freight and more.
  4. Harry Potter Glossary: If you’re behind in your Harry Potter reading, use this extensive glossary to help you sort out all of the characters and unique vocabulary.
  5. Videoconferencing Glossary: Even non-techies can understand the fundamentals of videoconferencing thanks to this website, which lists definitions for words like analog signals, camera presets, bps, continuos presence and others.
  6. Everybody’s Legal Glossary: Nolo’s legal glossary is designed for everyday people who need help understanding traffic tickets, real estate forms, and "hundreds of legal terms, from the common to the bizarre."
  7. All About Jewels: Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry: Find a picture of each gem or jewelry and learn about its minerals, fashion history, gravity and colors.
  8. Dictionary of English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions: ESL students and curious native speakers can search this dictionary to find idioms like "part and parcel," or "gnaw your vitals."
  9. WestNet IT Glossary: Search results for IT words bring up definitions, a list of related words, animations and graphics.
  10. Travel Industry Dictionary: Look up words and acronyms like gay friendly, day rate, WAPTT, recall commission statement and more on this site.

Search Engines

Search engines are unique Internet reference guides. Read this list to find lots of search engines besides Google.

  1. Giga Blast: Giga Blast is still in beta form, but you can search websites, images and video.
  2. MsFreckles.com: Cute little Ms. Freckles gives you all the tools to conduct a meta search here.
  3. Kart00: Here, you have the option of only searching English pages or the entire web.
  4. Gimpsy: Gimspy specializes in "active sites for active people." You can search by verb or action, by filling in the sentence "I want to…"
  5. CustomSearchEngine.com: This site is a link directory for Google’s custom search engine.
  6. Rollyo: This highly customizable search engine lets you enter a keyword or phrase and then select specific categories to search, like travel and hotels, health, celebrity gossip and more.
  7. Ms. Dewey: Your off-the-wall host Ms. Dewey flirts, sings and offers silly trivia or analysis while you search.
  8. Ulyssek Search Engine: You can view your results organized into categories on this site.
  9. Cha Cha: This creative search engine makes you feel like you’re sending a text from your cell phone when you search.
  10. FactBites: FactBites is "where results make sense" and is touted as a search engine crossed with an encyclopedia.

Open Source Sites

For open source materials that also serve as reference guides, use this list.

  1. DataParkSearch Engine: Use this open source search engine to find multilingual sites, pull up "fuzzy searching based on acronyms and abbreviations" and find text files, mp3s and .gif files.
  2. Wiktionary: Wikipedia’s free dictionary is a collaborative, multilingual resource.
  3. Open Library: This user-generated book catalog has over 13 million books in its library.
  4. dmoz: dmoz is an open directory project, where you can search for or edit topics and results for kids and teens, reference materials, business, health, arts and more.

Internet and Computer Reference

Non-techies and experienced web workers may want to brush up on Internet and computer terms by searching these sites and glossaries.

  1. CNET Glossary: Use this glossary to look up network terms.
  2. Glossary of Internet Terms: From ADN to Meta Tag to SDSL to cgi-bin, find definitions of Internet terms here.
  3. Chat Stuff: This short dictionary has translations for popular chat acronyms like AFK, BAK, and BCNU.
  4. McAfee Virus Glossary: Learn about online threats and computer security by browsing this authoritative glossary.
  5. Tech Encyclopedia: Look up a specific word or click to get a random definition each day.
  6. What Is? IT Dictionary: Browse categories like personal computing, call centers, cheat sheets, authentication, network hardware, compliance, Linux, storage management, Telecom, robotics and a whole lot more for tech definitions.

Consumer Research and Public Information

Use this list to find customer reviews, a currency converter, small business directories and more.

  1. USA.gov: Search all kinds of government information here, from public safety to jobs and education to taxes to voting.
  2. Pricewatch: Look up low prices on computer hardware, electronics and other gadgets here.
  3. Small Business Big World: This is the "almost free" site for finding local and international small businesses.
  4. Kelly Blue Book: Here you’ll find all kinds of consumer information about new and used cars.
  5. XE Currency Converter: Transfer euros, USD, Canadian Dollars, UK pounds, Algerian dinars, Chinese yuan and any other currency here.
  6. Hoovers: Hoover’s is "your one-stop reference for business information," and you’ll find industry overviews, business reports, and a lot more.
  7. ZoomInfo: Research an industry or company by using this business search engine.
  8. Stock Market Yellow Pages: Search for stocks on this search engine, which pulls results from Forbes, Yahoo!, Wall Street City and other sites.
  9. SeatGuru: View layouts of airplanes so that you can easily pick your seats on your next trip.
  10. Zillow: Find homes, get mortgage information and search loans on Zillow.

News and Pop Culture

Discover pop culture references, a sports almanac, new literature guides and more in this list.

  1. Who’s Alive and Who’s Dead: Keep track of which famous musicians, performers, actors, athletes and political figures are alive and which ones are dead.
  2. AllMusic.com: Search by genre like rock, jazz, pop, world, rap or blues.
  3. Dictionary of Pop Culture References: From A to Z, you can find words, phrases and characters from pop culture.
  4. Encyclopedia Smithsonian: Browse topics like Japanese art, astronomy, horticulture, popular entertainment, domestic life, conservation and more on this authority site.
  5. Science.gov Energy and Energy Conservation: Find new and archived articles about energy conservation here.
  6. Internet Broadway Database: Look up directors, actors and more for all Broadway shows here.
  7. Grove Music Online: This site is "the world’s premier authority on all aspects of music."
  8. bibliomania: Over 2,000 classic texts can be found on this site, as well as reference books, study guides and links to buy books.
  9. Sports Almanac: From the Olympics to hockey, you can find everything there is to know about sports history and players on this site.
  10. Newsknife: This reference site ranks the top news sites by each particular story, by month, homepage resources and other categories.