Relaunches Site with Modern and Classic Reference Works

By Hane, Paula J. | Information Today, May 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project Relaunches Site with Modern and Classic Reference Works

Hane, Paula J., Information Today (, a free public-reference collection site, has announced the addition of new reference content and a complete Web site redesign. Named after the main character whose job it was to copy and proofread documents in Herman Melville's story Bartleby the Scrivener, the site now offers searchable access to a modern reference collection plus classic reference works and literature. New works added include the Columbia Encyclopedia, sixth edition, which is not yet available in hardcover; and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, third edition (1996), published by Houghton Mifflin Co.

" is an outstanding partner for bringing the Columbia Encyclopedia to the Internet," said Clare Wellnitz, director of subsidiary rights for Columbia University Press. "With 24-hour, free online access to the complete, unabridged encyclopedia, delivers an invaluable service for any student, researcher, or family looking for fast and easy access to essential and interesting facts."

Three additional reference works just added are Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, which provides over 35,000 synonyms; Simpson's Quotations, which highlights the great quotes from 1950-1988 and provides about 10,000 quotes from nearly 4,000 sources; and The American Heritage Book of English Usage, a guide to the proper use of grammar, style, diction, word formation, and even e-mail etiquette.

David Jost, vice president and director of electronic reference publishing for the trade and reference division of Houghton Mifflin Co., said, "Houghton Mifflin is proud to partner with to bring these essential reference works online as part of's comprehensive reference collection."

The site had previously offered such classic works as Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, ninth edition (which was first published in 1901); Strunk's Elements of Style; Flowler's the King English, second edition; Emily Post's Etiquette; the Cambridge History of English & American Literature (all 18 volumes of the valuable research tool, with more than 11,000 pages, as published 1907-1921); six classic poetry anthologies; and Fannie Farmer's Cookbook.

The redesign of the site provides a completely new user interface, an organization that accommodates the growing range of resources, and vastly improved and faster search capabilities. There are summaries of each book as well as concise biographies--complete with pictures--of each author featured in the online library. Enhanced navigational tools and extensive cross-referencing between works make it easy for users to locate specific passages and references. (The site uses Thunder-stone's Webinator as its search engine.) Also new is the "Bartleby Weekly" feature, which provides a weekly update of new content additions, and the Bartleby Bookstore, which links e-commerce to the site by providing a market for users to purchase books and related materials through a link to Amazon .com.

Steven van Leeuwen, publisher and founder of, said, "As the only publisher combining the best of both contemporary and classic reference works, we have created the most comprehensive public-reference library ever published on the Web--a collection that will grow massively in the coming months.

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