Skip to main content

Choice Recommended Web Sites: Reference

Recommended web sites have more description than Outstanding or Highly Recommended sites.

Reference and Business Sites

General, multi-disciplinary, interdisciplinary reference, large general e-text collections, also general consumer health science titles.
useful online network that provides both job and internship listings for part-time, full-time, and international opportunities
Academic Film Archive of North America
an ambitious Web site that was created to acquire, preserve, and make freely available historically significant academic and documentary films. AFANA was created by Geoff Alexander, a film archivist and historian.
A List Apart
An online magazine that covers Web content and development, including design, standards, coding, and accessibility issues. A number of editors run the site and accept submitted articles based on the magazine's stated guidelines. It is a great publication for practitioners, but not for the beginner or casual Web Designer, since some of the article discussions are quite technical.
American College of Sports Medicine: Health and Physical Activity Reference Database
This free resource consists of citations to books, book chapters, and articles about the relationship between health and exercise. It is divided into two databases: Health and Physical Activity with more than 3,000 references and Exercise Physiology with more than 200 references; emphasis is on historic resources and it is funded by the ACSM's Office of Museum, History, and Archives.
Back to College: Online and On-Campus Degree Programs for Adults
This site differs from others directed at adults interested in college or career change because it focuses on people who want primarily to find online programs for going back to college. Potential users should compare this with another, more comprehensive site, Career Voyages (see below). Whereas Career Voyages encourages all undergraduate students to explore career options, Back to College, with its target audience of working adults who have not yet enrolled in a college program, will not be useful to enrolled undergraduates. It will have the most appeal for students in two-year programs who may be considering going on to complete a four-year degree.
Books for Understanding : Scholarship Beyond the Headlines
This free Web site provides lists of university press books on topics of current interest. The lists are divided into six groups--International, United States, Public Policy and Civics, Nature and Science, Religion, and Art and Literature--and organized internally by subtopics. Examples of topics include Ronald Reagan (under United States), Hurricane Katrina (under Nature and Science), and U.S. Poets Laureate (under Art and Literature). Since university press books are highly respected sources of scholarly, peer-reviewed information, these lists can be valuable to researchers....This site could reassure students that the books they have chosen are scholarly and lead them away from Googled sources and newspaper articles to more reputable information. Each book listed is reliably linked to pertinent information at a specific university press site. This resource is easy to use and the information clearly presented.
Center for the Study of the Public Domain
Duke University, School of Law; no similar site exists elsewhere on the web; the stated mission of the site is to promote research and scholarship on the contributions of the public domain to speech, culture, science, and innovation, to promote debate about the balance needed in our intellectual property system and to translate academic research into public policy solutions.. Though the sites focus is narrow, the topic of necessity spills over into other areas--e.g. patents, open source licenses, and creative commons. Sometimes, references to "current" workshops or webinars can be dated.
Charity Navigator : Your Guide to Intelligent Giving
Founded in 2001, the organization provides independent evaluations of more than 5,000 American public charities; its review process is limited to tax-exempt organizations that are required to file Form 990 with the IRS, and that have existed for at least four years and receive $500,000 plus in public support
Current Cites
This is a monthly current awareness service covering library and information science and related subjects such as copyright issues and the social Web. Available in several forms--RSS, email alerts, and a searchable Web site--it lists over 50 regularly reviewed journals including non-library titles such as The New York Times, EduCAUSE Review, and CNET. With libraries changing so rapidly anyone in the field will benefit from the regular email or RSS updates from this highly respected group of reviewers.
nonprofit organization based in Watertown, Mass., whose stated mission is to provide high quality news and information from leading sources across the Internet to help the public more effectively utilize their time, money, and power to benefit themselves, our country and our world. Its editorial team collates print and video stream news stories from the Web sites of leading US and international media news outlets--for example, NSBNC, ABC, CBC, BBC, and Reuters
Directory of History of Medicine Collections
from the National Library of Medicine; lists collections with history of health sciences materials in medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary science, military medicine, and pharmacy.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Founded in 1990 in San Francisco, this is a donor-funded nonprofit with the mission to protect fair use and privacy online. Issues are grouped under six major headings——Free Speech, Innovation, Intellectual Property, International, Privacy, and Transparency. The site is well organized and easy to browse. EFF stays very up-to-date with current news in this area.
Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert: Collaborative Translation Project
Hosted by the University of Michigan Library; intended to make accessible to anyone interested in accessing an English-language readers translations of articles from the Encyclopedie.
Energy in Brief
U.S. Energy Information Administration; a series of Web-based fact sheets about energy resources and use, written in plain language for the layperson or non-specialist.
Federal Register
The 1935 Federal Register Act created the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). From 1936 on, the Government Printing Office (GPO) has published the Register Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. To celebrate its 75th birthday, the OFR, NARA, and the GPO have launched the Federal Register 2.0 site to make it easier for "citizens and communities to understand the regulatory process and to participate in government decision making." The Register's print edition content--published notices, proposed regulations, adopted rules, and presidential documents--is all here, but the material's layout is more user-friendly
Florida Digital Newspaper Library
focus on historical newspapers; includes approximately 550 titles and more than 900,000 pages of content feed your inner genius
broad categories are: Economy, Environment, Politics, Science, Technology, and Culture ; aims to deliver discourse, discussion and debates on the world's most interesting political, social and cultural issues; videos range from a few minutes to a few hours and date back to 2002 (Gore Vidal's Understanding America's Terrorist Crisis); Those viewing videos will see a list of related content in the right margin; speaker biographies, and the transcript (if available) appear under the play. A blog and podcasts are available
Foreign Language Videos
intended for use by individuals—not classes—the web site is a collection of short video clips of native speakers of various languages providing samples of their speech related to a variety of daily topics
Forvo : The Pronunciation Guide
an online pronouncing dictionary; owned by Forvo Media SL of San Sebastian, Spain. Anyone can add to this pronouncing dictionary, and to date more than 20,000 pronouncers or editors have contributed. The volunteer editors decide which words or languages should be added, and can also include multiple pronunciations of the same word. Approximately 150 languages are represented, although some of those languages have only a few words included. No definitions are provided, so the words could be anything, including curse words. English is the most popular language represented, with over 53,000 words. Portuguese, German, Spanish, and Arabic follow English in popularity. The site is completely free, and also free of advertisements. To fully benefit from this database, users should have at least a basic vocabulary in the language of interest, or keep a dictionary of that language available.
Free Public Records Search Director and  BRB's Free Resource Center
both sites have much free information, but both sites are dotcom sites and thus offer various kinds of information on a fee basis. UTPB is not responsible for any fees accrued by the user.
Educators are responsible for this Web site, which makes the content more valuable and credible than other, more commercial sites. The group describes itself as having a consumer watchdog / consumer advocacy role. Specifically, the site rates, ranks, and verifies the cost, quality, and credibility of online colleges and universities. A tool called The Diploma Mill Police allows users to search for specific program names and discover possible frauds. The site's many advertisements make it appear a bit cluttered, but any one considering going back to school or interested in distance education in general will find the site very beneficial.
globalpost [sic]
as been publishing news stories on countries worldwide. Produced by Global News Enterprises of Boston, the site is described as presenting nonpartisan, unbiased information. It is arranged by world regions--Africa, Asia, Middle East, Europe, and the Americas--and features many color photographs, videos, and audio content. Articles focus heavily on political and social issues
Great Issues Forum
Sponsored by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; the CUNY Chancellor's Office and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, this is an online lecture series and blog for the academic community. One reviewer states that taken as a whole, this intuitive, efficient site offers quality, in-depth discussions on philosophical questions that relate to the contemporary world. It would be especially useful to college-level faculty members looking for sources of discussion and analysis on one of the highlighted topics [politics, economy, military, education, culture].
Hathi Trust Digital Library
ambitious digital repository; The enterprise is a joint venture of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation--the Big Ten Universities plus the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago, along with the University of California system libraries. More than 5 million volumes are currently posted, with nearly 800,000 in the public domain. The public access catalog to these items has been expressly designed as a scholarly research tool.
Index to Military Periodicals
this database provides access to citations for articles from military and aeronautical periodicals published from 1988 to the present. The Web-based index is updated regularly. Covering 92 English-language periodical titles, the index includes government publications (United States Department of Defense Speeches), professional journals of the services (Marine Corps Gazette), academic journals (Journal of Political and Military Sociology), newsmagazines (Jane's Defence Weekly), and foreign military titles (Royal Air Force Air Power Review). A useful, effective tool for researchers in this area.
Informed Medical
a portal to a Boston-based nonprofit that works to ensure that the public understands its medical choices and has access to information that permits informed health decisions. Helpful content for patients includes the Ottawa Personal Decision Guide; information about evidence-based decision making, and so on; very straightforward navigation and a clean layout.
Internet Archive Wayback Machine
The new beta version of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine is avowedly faster than the so-called "classic" version which debuted in 2001 with 10 billion pages and is still available at  The Wayback Machine beta is built on an open source platform and now claims 150 billion pages in its database. Uninitiated readers should know that the Internet Archive "crawls" the Internet and saves copies of Web sites, much like search engine companies. The difference is that the Wayback Machine provides snapshots--"captures" in time of how Web sites looked at specific dates and times. Uses for the Wayback Machine include finding lost Web content and seeing how Web sites have changed over time. Users may view, for instance, the day a major event occurred.
Johns Hopkins Medicine Podcasts, Audio and Multimedia
These are weekly 10-minute reviews of studies recently published in medical or scientific journals; the format is question-and-answer; some of the topics are covered in more depth than others; what the podcasts do is offer implications of the studies to all listeners
a library of recordings in MP3 and OGG files, of books in the public domain. It relies on volunteers from many different countries for all aspects of creating records—from readers to production organizers. Readings are based on texts created by Project Gutenberg. LibriVox founder Hugh McGuire has a goal to make all public domain books available as freely accessible audio books. Given several downloading possibilities, this reviewer found the option to download to iTunes to be quick and seamless.
MacWorld AppGuide
Created by one of the most trusted sources on Apple Products, this guide is dedicated to identifying the best apps for Apple's handheld computers. While most of the information is the same as that found in the iTunes stores, this guide provides a better way to sort through hundreds of similar products and to find an expert review. The site is free and worth bookmarking as a resource for anyone who works with an iPhone or iPad. provides free access to 12,000-plus film clips from over 2,000 films, legally licensed. he site's staff indexes clips by standard browsable characteristics such as actor, title, and genre and by more evocative concepts such as occasion, mood, and theme. Lists for browsing are arranged alphabetically and give the number of hits in the database. Users may simply click to retrieve a high-image-quality clip. The extensive browsing capabilities are in contrast to the slim search options of actor, movie, director, and dialogue....The Privacy Policy for MOVIECLIPS explains the information collected from registered users and how it is used.
OpenNet Initiative
Since 2002, OpenNet Initiative (ONI) has monitored Internet filtering worldwide; currently it is tracking 44 countries that filter. ONI's mission is "to identify and document Internet filtering and surveillance, and to promote and inform wider public dialogs about such practices." ONI is a collaborative partnership of Internet studies centers/institutes at three prestigious institutions: University of Toronto, Harvard, and the SecDev Group (Ottawa)....This comprehensive site is well organized and includes a keyword search engine. ONI is a unique, essential source for understanding and researching Internet filtering.
Podcast Alley: free the airwaves
One of the earliest and still one of the best Podcast Directories
Pop History Dig : Exploring the History & Power of Popular Culture
Business, Politics, Culture
a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with the following mission statement: Promoting education, critical thinking, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan primarily pro-con format. As of July 28th 2009 there were 21 topic areas ranging from the 2008 Election (archived) to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict to Prescription Drug Ads. The Web site's editors decide on a topic, formulate questions designed to produce clearly pro or con answers, and solicit responses to the questions from the public, experts, and organizations. The editors then apply a Theoretical Credibility Ranking to rank responses on a scale of one star (lowest credibility) to five stars (highest credibility). The details of this ranking system are documented on the site, as are the limitations of approaching all topics as pro vs con. An RSS feed is available to report updates.
Public Library of Law
an incredible free resource for any and all types of legal research: simple, easy to use, comprehensive, and reliable. It was developed by Fastcase Inc. (the parent company of, a Washington, DC-based company that has provided online legal research services since 1999. This reviewer agrees with PLoL's claim to be the world's largest online database of free law....PLoL is well organized, easily navigated, and authoritative. It requires initial registration via an e-mail account.
Given the complexity of health care reform, it comes as no surprise that RAND's Health COMPARE is packed with information. However, visitors will find the site easy to search and the forms easy to manipulate. A good how-to tutorial demonstrates the creation of comparative scenarios as to what the various types of health care restructuring will cost in terms of higher taxes or insurance policy expenses. Users can print, bookmark, and share results and create custom reports. A related site can be found at the Kaiser Family Foundation's Side-by-Side Comparison of Major Health Care Reform Proposals
Developed by an online media company, SitePoint Solutions (Melbourne, Australia), this is a useful resource for academic social media developers and web site builders. Even at first glance the site demonstrates good Web design. The site makes good use of social media, and the tools it offers will benefit those who are interested in making their social media sites worthy of return visits.
Registry of U.S. Government Publication Digitization Projects
features some 180 projects spanning a variety of disciplines
State of the Cities Data System
maintained by HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research; allows users direct access to demographic and economic population characters, and so on.
Tax Policy Center
from the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution; a vast, professional arranged site which provides a comprehensive overview of US tax policy for the public, government officials, journalists, and researchers.
Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia
Created by the staff of the Jefferson Library at Monticello; a wiki-based encyclopedia. Only the library and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation staff may add to the wiki and tag entries. The site is a resource for reputable information concerning Jefferson, but cannot substitute for more traditional resources.
Tutorialized : Photoshop Tutorials and Flash Tutorials
Although a host of Web sites post Flash and Photoshop tutorials, few have such a vast quantity of free ones as Tutorialized. The number of lessons is impressive, with over 3,000 Flash tutorials and over 12,000 Photoshop tutorials, along with hundreds of lessons covering other graphics software as well. Unsurprisingly, the free Tutorialized is laden with advertisements and pop-up ads.
UBS Dictionary of Banking
Its strengths include cross-references to synonymous terms and to terms providing additional meaning to the original definition; comprehensiveness (more than 2,400 terms are covered); and presentation of terms in several languages....The dictionary's weakness lies in the brevity of its definitions.
U.S. Federal Government Information
Government documents departments at other major libraries offer similar pages, but this site is both thorough and well organized. Links are frequently checked, and broken links are quickly corrected or removed.
this site provides users with the capability to mine data revolving around money--at least in terms of federal contracts, grants, and other awards. The search engine is very powerful, moreover if you click on a Data Quality link you will be able to determine when federal agencies submitted data; Federal contract data is derived from the Federal Procurement Data System; data for financial assistance such as grants, loans, Social Security, etc are derived from the Federal Assistance Award Data System. The site is not 100% complete, as subcontracts, subgrants, and so on are still under development.
U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library
Access to more than 30,000 color and black-and-white photographs; all photos are in the public domain, but the USGS requests that users credit the photographer and the USGS when using a photo. The majority of the photographs date from 1868-1993. Pages load quickly, and images can be downloaded in JPG or GIF format in four size choices. While of obvious interest to geologists; the site also provides information for local and national history and the history of photography.
Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism
although the site's design is a bit dated, overall a useful tool for research on anti-Semitism
WebExhibits is a free, online "interactive museum of science, humanities and culture." Indeed, with a quick browse of the exhibits hosted here, one can see a clear interdisciplinary lens being used to stimulate the interests of a wide audience. Artistic aesthetics, scientific analysis, and historical/sociological context all seem to be equally important ingredients for each of the exhibits on display. The most recent exhibit, Causes of Color, makes clear that the WebExhibits team is paying close attention to the quality of images it uses. The colors and clarity of the photography and scanned materials are both striking and crisp. On occasion the exhibits also feature embedded audio and video to further illustrate and clarify important examples. WebExhibits provides educators with online lesson plans that help introduce students to key concepts discussed within an exhibit. Most lesson plans are targeted to middle and high school students, but instructors for introductory undergraduate college courses will find pertinent exercises as well.
What You Need to Know About Energy
National Academy of Sciences; aimed at the general public; site's goal is to provide users with a "basic toolkit of facts and concepts to use in assessing various energy claims and proposals." A well-designed informative resource for general users.
Women's Health Policy
from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; An impressive feature of the site is the choice of searching capabilities. Users may perform a keyword search that will retrieve documents from the Kaiser Family Foundation's main Web site. A second option is limiting keyword searches for documents to the Women's Health Policy site. Experienced researchers will be pleased with the third choice--using the embedded Google custom options on the advanced search interface. Designed for policy makers, the media, health care scholars, and students, this site is a useful source for the general public as well.
provides practical legal help for victims of domestic violence; The Legal Statutes tab leads to (mainly) state code sections, but the Know the Laws tab provides explanations of the law in plain English. Since most of the legal issues confronting domestic violence victims are covered by state law, and laws are not easy reading, this section of the site is valuable.
World Resources Institute
environmental think tank created in 1982 as an independent, credible source of policy research and analysis to find practical ways to protect the Earth and improve people's lives.
Worldwatch Institute
The organizational mission of the Worldwatch Institute is to address the "21st-century challenges of climate change, resource degradation, population growth, and poverty by developing and disseminating solid data and innovative strategies for achieving a sustainable society." Site navigation is fairly straightforward. Overall, provides timely information on pertinent issues.
WWW Learning Space - OpenLearn: The Open University
this web site gives free access to Open University (UK) course materials. This is open-source course material, although offerings are somewhat limited, focusing on current demands in the UK educational market; organized according to headings such as Arts and History, It and Computing, Business and Management, Mathematics and Statistics, Study Skills, and so on. It is a well designed space with necessary information minus clutter.