30 Online Reference Sites for Students, Teachers, and Lifelong Learners

I am offline this week. While I am taking a little time off, Karen Schweitzer has asked to provide a guest posting. Here is her entry - I hope you find the resources valuable.

The public library isn't the only place to find reference materials. The Internet has plenty of dictionaries, encyclopedias, libraries, and general reference sites for all forms of educators and learners. Here is a list of 30 online reference sites to try today:

Encyclopedia.com - Encyclopedia.com provides encyclopedias and dictionaries from top reference sources like Oxford University Press. This site is ideal for finding pictures, facts, bibliographies, and articles on an assortment of subjects.

RefDesk - The RefDesk is an online reference desk that is perfect for almost any type of research. The site provides an online fact checker, reference materials, news, magazines, specialized search engines, and much more.

Encyclopedia Britannica - This is the online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The site features information on nearly every subject imaginable.

Infoplease - Infoplease is an all inclusive reference site with an atlas, dictionary, encyclopedia, and biographies.

Library Spot - Researchers who are looking for a comprehensive online reference center will enjoy Library Spot. The site provides online libraries, books, almanacs, bibliographies, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and more.

World Digital Library - The World Digital Library is a visual library of information from around the globe. This online resource hosts maps, photographs, books, and manuscripts from 8000 BC to present day.

Wikipedia - Though Wikipedia isn’t always the most reliable source, it can be a good place to begin research. The website offers millions of articles on many different subjects and links to a wide range of trusted resources.

Infomine - Infomine is a university-level research tool with databases, journals, textbooks, and guides for many disciplines.

The Educator's Reference Desk - The Educator's Reference Desk is an excellent reference site for teachers who need classroom resources, lesson plans, and answers to educational questions.

Librarians' Internet Index - The Librarians' Internet Index is maintained by librarians who are dedicated to providing online users with high quality Internet resources.

Answers.com - With answers to more than four million questions, Answers.com is a good source of information and ideas.

U.S. Census Bureau Fact Finder - The U.S. Census Bureau Fact Finder is the best reference site on the web for demographic and population information. The site also provides economic and geographical data.

Sparknotes - This online study guide site provides references on everything from biology to Shakespeare.

Questia - Questia is an online library with full-text books, articles, newspapers, and magazines on humanities and social sciences.

John Hopkins Medical Desk Reference - The John Hopkins Medical Desk Reference provides information on a wide range of illnesses and diseases. The desk reference also links to other medical sites and journals.

Merriam-Webster - Merriam-Webster is a comprehensive online dictionary and thesaurus. It also works well as a reference tool for anyone who wants to learn more about word origins.

Artcyclopedia - This online art encyclopedia features articles, news, and glossaries pertaining to art history. Artcyclopedia is an especially good reference for people who are looking for information on art movements and museum collections.

Internet Public Library - The Internet Public Library is an online reference center for researchers and teachers. The site provides almanacs, census data, geography, grammar, quotations, and much more.

Library of Congress - The Library of Congress provides online access to digital pictures, print, audio and visual collections spanning history.

Encyclopedia of Life - The Encyclopedia of Life contains information, pictures, and facts about every species living on planet Earth.

Free Dictionary - This site is a customizable reference site with medical, legal, and financial dictionaries. Free Dictionary also features an online encyclopedia that can be translated into different languages.

Internet Archive - The Internet Archive is an extensive online library with historical collections of digital information. Library visitors can find online texts, audio, images, and outdated websites.

Bartleby - Bartleby provides free access to books and reference materials in the public domain. The site also provides quotes and other information that would be of interest to researchers and academics.

The OWL - The OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue is a solid writing reference for students and other people who write academic papers. The site offers in-depth information and style guides.

The Farmer's Almanac - Since 1792, The Farmer's Almanac has been a trusted source of information about weather, astronomy, and gardening.

WordReference - WordReference is an online translator that works well for anyone researching languages or translations.

CIA Library - The CIA Library provides access to information from basic references and unclassified publications. The site has a wide range of documents pertaining to government and history.

Atlapedia - This online atlas/encyclopedia is a suitable place to find information relating to locations around the world. Atlapedia contains full color physical and political maps as well as facts and stats on various places.

The Museum of Natural History - The Museum of Natural History site provides a large collection of articles, evidence, and analysis. This site is a reliable science reference for students and teachers.

Linguist List - The world's largest online linguist site, the Linguist List is the premium reference for finding information and analysis on language.

Guest post from Karen Schweitzer, the About.com Guide to Business School. Karen also writes online colleges and universities for OnlineCollege.org.


  1. bravo! very useful.
    most people are using only google for their searches. but google catches too many sites and there is too many useless information. often we waste our time more on searching than on reading...

  2. Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.
    College Paper Writing


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