Selected Ready Reference Resources

Links on this page go to external web sites.

Almanacs and Yearbooks | Calendars and Chronologies | Consumer Information | Dictionaries, Thesauri and Writing Guides | Encyclopedias | Internet Directories | Money and Currency | Opinion Polls | Quotations | Sign Language | Statistics | Time | Weights and Measures

Last reviewed: September 7, 2012

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These are a few of the many sites which contain ready reference resources such as calendars, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and telephone books. Check the Internet Search Tools section of the Internet Bibliographies for more sources.

Almanacs and Yearbooks
Provides extensive information about the fifty states and capitals of the USA.

CIA World Factbook
U.S. government resource providing detailed information on countries and non-self-governing territories around the world. Online edition of the World Factbook provides detailed information on a country's economy, government, people, and geography. Also provides information on abbreviations, selected international environmental agreements, international organizations, weights and measures and more.

Farmers' Almanac
One of America's oldest online publications. Provides extensive information on gardening, weather and astronomy, including long-range weather forecasts. Links to many related weather sites.

Provides a wide range of information on many subjects, such as government, education, health, history, science, business, sports, entertainment, biography and much more. Also includes links to many other topics. Sources include almanacs, atlas, dictionary, and an encyclopedia (Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th edition).

Calendars and Chronologies

American Secular Holidays Calendar
This site calculates when Federal holidays and other widely celebrated observances fall for any given year after 1776. Includes dates for daylight savings time.

Provides information about historic events and birth dates that occurred on a selected day of the year.
Provides extensive information about events from automotive history, entertainment history, Cold War, Civil War, Vietnam and World War II history, Wall Street history, Old West history, technology history, and much more.

The History Net
Includes a detailed list of events that occurred on today's date.

Today in History
Library of Congress site which provides information about events that happened on today's date throughout history.

Consumer Information
City profiles for 1,000 U.S. cities and comparisons for any two cities using the following categories: crime, housing, economy, education, health, and climate; crime rates for 2,500 U.S. cities based on FBI Uniform Crime reports; climate profiles for 320 U.S. cities and 1,700 world cities; education statistics on 87,000 U.S. public schools; and cost-of-living and salary calculator in order to compare two cities.
Provides a variety of information on cars. Offers auto reviews, advice on evaluating and appraising cars, information on road tests, suggestions for buying, selling, and leasing. Includes information on finance, insurance, warranties, and many other topics of interest to automotive customers.

Find-It! Consumer
Offers information on over one hundred consumer safety and protection Web sites, as well as Washington State Library site guides to information and resources on a variety of topics. Includes up-to-date recalls and new consumer information.
A content-oriented travel site where the cost conscious traveler will find authoritative commentary on and recommendations for the best experiences travel has to offer. Includes world-wide information on hotels, restaurants, shopping, and other things of interest for tourists. Provides links to useful travel sites on rail travel, lowest air fares, cruises, car rentals, etc.
Provides insurance information on home, life, business, auto, health, etc. Updated weekly.

Kelley Blue Book
A guide for car and motorcycle buyers. Includes information on trade-ins, used car retail, new car preview, financing, insurance, lemon check, warranties, etc.
A guide to finance and business forecasting information. The site offers information on saving and investing, taxes, credit, home ownership, paying for college, retirement planning, car buying, and other personal finance topics.

This site, from CNNMoney in collaboration with Fortune and Money magazines, provides information on stocks, markets, funds, real estate, insurance, retirement and a number of other topics and links.

Dictionaries, Thesauri and Writing Guides

For foreign language dictionaries, see Language and Literature.

Acronym Finder
Common acronyms with a focus on computers, technology, telecommunications, and the military.

Cambridge Dictionaries Online
Search the Cambridge International Dictionary of English, Cambridge Learner's Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary of American English, Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms, Cambridge International Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. offers a word of the day, a quote of the day, a daily crossword, full-text translation, word games and apps for mobile devices. It also contains the American Heritage Medical Dictionary, which contains over 45,000 definitions.

DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms
Search or browse three available databases: the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Dictionary database, the Joint Acronyms and Abbreviations database, or the NATO database.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and Thesaurus
Based on Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition. More than 160,000 entries. Each entry includes definition, pronunciation, grammatical function, brief etymology, and hypertext cross references. The thesaurus can be queried for similar words. Misspellings return suggested spellings.

Online Dictionary of the Social Sciences
The dictionary includes concise definitions of terms from sociology, criminology, political science, and women's study with a particular focus on Canadian examples.

Phrase Finder
Phrases, sayings, and clichés with their meanings and origins. Type in a word and it returns a list of related phrases/sayings.

Roget's International Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases
Online publication of Roget's International Thesarus, 2000 edition.
This web site includes a thesaurus and a dictionary of English words and phrases, as well as writing resources and other useful links.

William Strunk, Jr.: Elements of Style
A standard manual of proper English language usage in writing, often recommended by teachers of English. Its focus is on the rules and principles of composition most commonly violated.

The WorldWideWeb Acronym and Abbreviation Finder
A database providing searches for both acronyms and words used in acronyms.
Includes a number of useful tools such as interactive text translator, Web page translator, grammars for many languages, specialty dictionaries, foreign language dictionaries, etc.


The Canadian Encyclopedia Online
Includes over 10,000 articles written by Canadian experts in numerous fields. This is an interactive encyclopedia in English and French, and has a separate student's edition.
More than 50,000 articles taken from the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia , 6th edition (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 2000). Links to 170,000+ web sites. Also links to 3,000,000 additional premium articles via Electric Library.

Encyclopedia Mythica
An encyclopedia of myth, folklore, and legend.

Internet Directories
Online directory with people, business, reverse phone, reverse address, area code and zip code searches. Powered by White Pages, Inc.

AT&T's directory service database taken from approximately 90 million White page listings and 10 million Yellow page listings. Use the reverse lookup directory to match a telephone number with a name and address. Maps and directions for an address are available via MapQuest.
International business and residential phone, fax, and e-mail directory, including the United States. Searches White and Yellow pages and includes maps.

Access to millions of U.S. and Canadian people, government offices and businesses. Search for a listing by name, address, business category or do a reverse lookup by phone number. Embassy information is under the Government section. The site also includes listings for several European countries and the World Directories section lists available phone books for the rest of the world.

Internet 800 Directory Internet 800 Directory En español
Directory of business toll free numbers. Search by company name, product or service.
U.S. business listings searchable by name or category. Special features include the ability to search by distance, nationwide, and obtain a map and directions. Yellow-page directories from around the world are also provided.

Telephone Directories on the Web
Telephone directories for countries other than the U.S. Includes links to online telephone, fax and business directories from around the world.

ZIP Code Search
USPS provides free ZIP Code Look-Up and City/State/ZIP Code Association to assist the public with their addressing needs.

Money and Currency

The Interactive Currency Table
Provides information on currency rates on earlier dates, beginning in 1995.

Investing for Beginners
Provides information on a variety of investing topics such as investing in stocks and bonds, global investing, investment research, estate planning, government information, and other issues of interest. Also includes a number of related links to insurance, bad credit repair, credit card ratings, global markets, etc.

The Universal Currency Converter
The site offers currency services in English, French, and Swedish.

Opinion Polls
Results of new polls in politics and policy, business and economy, and the American scene compiled by the independent organization Polling Report, Inc. Browse indexed content and search by keyword.


Familiar Quotations
John Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th edition, 1901 . Search by keywords, browse a chronological index of primary authors or browse an alphabetical index of all authors.

Sign Language

Basic Guide to ASL
Combines text and graphics to provide American Sign Language word definitions. Includes the numbers 1-10 and the alphabet.


Corrections Statistics
Information about capital punishment, jails, probation and parole is provided. Some data includes tables. From the U. S. Department of Justice.

Census 2000 Population Tables and Reports
Prepared results of the 2000 Census on such topics as race and group quotes. Includes links to other census sites and American Fact Finder.

Consumer Price Index
Published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economy at a Glance
This site from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides figures for unemployment, employment, average hourly earnings, productivity, the consumer price index, and the producer price index at the regional, state, and metropolitan levels.

Statistical information from more than 70 government agencies organized in a subject based A-Z index or searchable by keyword. Also organized by agencies and programs. Includes regional statistics for state, county, and local area data. Mapstats for state and county data available through a graphical interface.

Scholars' Lab at the University of Virginia
The Geospatial Resources section provides an extensive number of geographical and statistical data, sources, links, Internet-accessible data extraction tools, computing facilities, instructional material for architecture, political science, sociology, landscaping, etc.

New York State Statistics
Site includes periodic statistical briefs and an on-line version of multiple years of the New York State Statistical Yearbook, published by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. Includes statistics on population, education, employment, transportation, agriculture and much more.

Population Reference Bureau
Data and analysis on a variety of topics for areas and regions of the world. Topics include aging, crime, education, environment, HIV/AIDS, and many more. Includes a Quick Facts Search option. Maintained by the independent organization Population Reference Bureau.
This site provides comprehensive and comparative information on the public policies of all 50 states. It contains current and archived news, a calendar of meetings and conferences, and background information about the states and their governments. The information is accessed either by the issues such as health care, education, welfare reform, transportation, and utility deregulation or by the state. Statistical data tables include: budget and taxes; crime and prisons; environment, income and poverty; insurance and accidents; and population, along with the issues listed above.

Statistical Abstract of the United States
Provides extensive statistical facts on broad topics, such as health, education, employment, prices, income, and science. The complete text is included; the site also includes versions back to 1995 (Adobe Acrobat Reader needed to view files).

The Statistical Assessment Service is a non-profit organization which examines the way scientific and social research are interpreted and presented by the media to the public.

Transportation Trends, Surveys and Statistics (New York)
Contains aviation, census, highway, transit and freight transportation data.

United Nations Statistics Division
Provides economic, environmental, demographic and social statistics, and information on UNSD publications. Links to national and international statistics, references for international statistics, national publications, and statistical yearbooks and current statistics sites.

World Trade Organization Statistics
WTO statistics on merchandise and commercial services (world and regional) and historical trade by country, region and economic grouping.


Daylight Saving Time, Its History and Why We Use It
California Energy Commission site which provides information on the history of Daylight Saving Time, and when it begins and ends each year between 1990 and 2004.

Earth View
Up-to-the-minute pictures of time around the globe.

Greenwich Time
Provides Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and many related documents, such as time converter, history on GMT, daylight saving time, calendar, the prime meridian, and world time zone. Links to miscellaneous sites including time quotes, dictionary, time tracks, books, and travels.

Portal for resources on horology on the Internet, categorized by horological organizations, reference sources on horology, timepieces (clocks and watches), issues in horology, and the exact time. Includes extensive foreign resources as well as national resources.

Official U.S. Time
Provides the coordinated universal time, a world map displaying where the sun is currently shining, time exhibits, the history of Daylight Saving Time, calendars, clocks and watches, and timekeeping. Provided cooperatively by the Time and Frequency Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Naval Observatory Time Service Department. Links to a page with international time zones.

U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO) Time Service Department
The official source of time for the Department of Defense and the standard of time for the United States. Provides the USNO Master clock, USNO clock development, network time protocol, automated data services, U.S. time conversions, and sunrise/sunset/moon phase. Links to related sites, such as GPS and National Earth Orientation Services.

A Walk Through Time
Presents a historic view of the evolution of time measurement. The series begins with ancient calendars and ends with the atomic age. It includes information on and pictures of sun clocks and water clocks, mechanical clocks, quartz clocks, and atomic beam clocks. The site also has information on Greenwich Mean Time and world time zones. From the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Physics Laboratory.

World Time Zone Map
H.M. Nautical Almanac Office map of standard time zones, corrected to June 2000, with legend for universal time. Three formats to print (PDF, html and Post Script). A part of the Astronomical Applications Department of the U.S. Naval Observatory site, which provides extensive data services including sunrise/sunset/moonrise/moonset/twilight and dates, products information, U.S. time zone, and Universal Time and Greenwich Mean Time.

Weights and Measures

Convert It
Very easy-to use measurement conversion calculator. Use the 'Measurements Recognized' page to choose any combination of approximately 800 SI, metric, American, English, historical, and ancient measures.

Convert Me
This site has interactive calculators for many common and exotic measurement systems, including metric, Ancient Greek, Roman, and old Russian. Measurements include weight and mass, distance and length, capacity and volume, area, speed, temperature, time, pressure, energy and work, circular measure, and computer storage. Also available in Russian (Cyrillic font).

How Many?: A Dictionary of Units of Measurements
Includes all the units of the International System of Weights and Measures (SIPM); metric; non-metric scientific units such as the astronomical unit, the electron volt, and the parsec; the English Customary Weights and Measures; selected traditional units from cultures other than English; and other measurement terms and notations. Each unit's definition includes conversion factors.

Measure Converter
This site offers conversion tables for area, mass and weight, distance and length, speed, money, percentage, power, pressure, radioactivity, and many other types of measurement units. Tables are available by unit name or category. Site offers a two-way converter.

Online Conversions
Converts just about every possible measurement, every possible way. Just a few of the possibilities are: acceleration, area, clothing sizes, cooking, density, luminance, mass, power, pressure, velocity, voltage, and volume.

ProBrewer Brewer's Tools
Includes general calculator tools as well as those specific to brewing. The Volume Unit Conversion Calculator converts metric to imperial--milliters and hectoliters to fluid, pints, and ounces. The Mass Unit Conversion Calculator which converts milligrams, grams, kilograms, and tonnes to grains, drams, ounces, pounds, stones, slug, hundred weight, and tons, as well as bushels to quarters. There are also calculators for temperature, volume flow, alcohol percentage, pressure, hops bitterness, and drink profits.

Last Updated: March 17, 2014