Reference Sources on the Web

By Joseph, Linda C. | Multimedia Schools, January-February 1997 | Go to article overview

Reference Sources on the Web


Joseph, Linda C., Multimedia Schools


[Editor's note: URLs for all Web sites mentioned in this article appear in the table that follows.]

What's an aardvark?

Where can I find a copy of Martin Luther King's

"I Have a Dream" speech?

Who is the current leader of Peru?

What is the address for the French Embassy?

School library media specialists are bombarded with hundreds of questions like these every year. With tight budgets for expensive reference books, the Internet can provide some welcome relief. CyberBee has been searching the Web far and wide for the very best ready reference locations.

ENCYCLOPEDIAS

Although no free commercial encyclopedia exists on the Web, several publishers provide samples from their extensive databases. Encyclopedia Britannica has a wonderful collection of biographies and pictures of Olympic athletes, a calendar of people in history, and a gallery of other materials. Grolier Online has an excellent presentation entitled The American Presidency, with articles from three of its encyclopedias: New Book of Knowledge, Academic American, and Americana. Also included on the Grolier Home Page is an area on World War II, with biographies, battles, videoclips, and photographs from the National Archives. Microsoft Encarta's Schoolhouse provides information on specific topics while pointing to other Encarta articles and Web links. Themes currently available are the American Civil War, environment, and earthquakes. [Editor's note: For those of you who can consider online subscriptions, check out the full-text versions of Britannica Online and the Americana Encyclopedia on the Web.]

DICTIONARIES, THESAURI, & QUOTATIONS

You can easily search hypertext versions of a rhyming dictionary, Webster's Dictionary, or a 1911 edition (supplemented 1991) of Roget's Thesaurus. Phrases, passages, and proverbs can be viewed at Project Bartleby, which is based on the 1901 edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Even though the thesaurus and quotations are dated, they can still be useful as part of your online reference collection. For newer sayings and expressions, you will definitely want to consult current print versions.

Are your students learning a foreign language, getting ready for a trip abroad, or studying the culture of a country? Then visit the Online Language Dictionaries and Translators Web site, a one-stop link of lexicon lists and dictionaries from Afrikaans to Zulu. Most of these sources translate words to or from English. If you want a broader range of language translations, but with fewer words, then go directly to The Foreign Languages for Travelers page. Words and phrases are translated in many languages. Simply choose the language you speak, click on the flag of a country, then select from basic words, numbers, shopping and dining, travel, directions, places, or time and dates. One unique feature of this site is the pronunciation sound files for many of the words.

DIRECTORIES, CONVERSION PROGRAMS, WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

A hodgepodge of Web sites fall under this category. Most of these are used for a quick look-up of some type of numerical data. Use the ATANDT Toll Free directory for finding phone numbers of businesses, the United States Postal Service for ZIP codes, and AmeriCom for area codes. Stock Quotes are available from Infoseek, and Entisoft's hypertext interface allows you to convert weights and measures. Two sites provide currency exchange rates, GNN/Koblas and Xenon Labs.

CAREERS AND COLLEGES

What college should I attend? How much will it cost? What programs are offered? The Internet College Exchange provides links to college and university home pages that supply varying degrees of information about their academic programs and tuition. There are also documents on choosing a college, how to select the ideal school, and sources for financial aid. Peterson's Online allows you access to admissions and academic program information from technical colleges and universities around the country. …

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