Great Reference Sites Other Than Wikipedia

Published Oct 20, 2008

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Wikipedia can be a good starting point when you're doing research, but it isn't always the most accurate source out there. Fortunately, there are many other great reference sites online. Here are 25 business reference, medical reference, scientific reference, legal reference, economic reference and general reference sites that you can use or cite with confidence.


General References

  • Librarian's Internet Index - The Librarian's Internet Index (LII) is dedicated to providing a directory of websites that you can trust. Users can find more than 20,000 quality sites organized into more than 14 main topics and 300 subtopics.
  • Questia Online Library - With more than 1.5 million books, journals and articles, Questia is almost guaranteed to have what you're looking for. The site also has a free encyclopedia, a reading room and a number of other valuable reference resources.
  • Scholarpedia - This site looks like Wikipedia, but don't be fooled. Scholarpedia is a peer-reviewed encyclopedia that is created and maintained by scholars around the world, which means that articles can be cited in most cases.
  • RefDesk - This Internet fact checker offers information on nearly every topic imaginable. Special features include searchable reference materials, news sources and facts at a glance.
  • The Virtual Reference Desk - The Virtual Reference Desk is meant to help academic researchers find what they're looking for, fast. The site has a database with over 1,000 general references, 150,000 official government documents and a listing of government agencies.

Business, Economics and Trade

  • NY Times - The NY Times offers an excellent database of business news articles dating back to 1851.
  • International Monetary Fund - The IMF's website features data and statistics on everything from lending and exchange rates to economic and financial indicators. Other nice features include research papers and other original resources.
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis - The BEA provides government statistics on everything from business to housing. Researchers can get a comprehensive picture of recent economic activity in the U.S. and other countries.
  • NYSE Euronext - The world's leading exchange group offers details and news on more than 800 companies worldwide, as well as other important marketplace information.
  • International Trade Administration - This U.S. government website is a great place to find information on international trade. Users can learn about policy, trade agreements and much more through the site's searchable database.

Legal References

  • Law Library of Congress - The Law Library of Congress hosts the world's largest collection of law reference books and legal resources. The site features more than 2,000 volumes that cover nearly 300 nations.
  • Internet Law Library - This site hosts a massive directory of legal resources. It is a good place to find information on American laws and foreign laws.
  • - is dedicated to providing up-to-date law and technology resources for legal professionals. The site has a searchable database, detailed information about court rulings and legal research references that cover everything from U.S. law to foreign and comparative law.
  • WashLaw - This free public resource, provided by the Washburn University School of Law, publishes links to all known law material on the web. Users can search for information alphabetically, by subject and by geographic region.
  • D'Angelo Law Library - The D'Angelo Law Library reference librarians have created a fantastic list of law references and resources. Users can find everything from legal libraries and law databases to research guides and online legal journals.

Medical and Scientific References

  • MedicalPlus - This free reference was created by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Features include an illustrated medical encyclopedia, a comprehensive reference with more than 750 health topics and medical dictionaries.
  • University of Maryland Medical References - The University of Maryland's Medical Center has an interactive reference with more than 50,000 pages of professionally reviewed medical and health content. Specific reference collections include an English medical reference, a Spanish medical reference, a drug interaction reference, an alternative medicine reference, a pregnancy reference and a care guide.
  • John Hopkins Medical Desk Reference - John Hopkins Medical Desk Reference is a comprehensive and well-organized guide to medical conditions and illnesses.
  • Med Bio World - This medical and biotechnology information portal is a great place to find medial and health news articles, scholarly research databases, medical journals, genomic research and special reference tools.
  • International Center for Scientific Research - The International Center for Scientific Research is valued as a worldwide reference. The organization has a fantastic Internet portal of scientific websites, a directory of researchers and multiple references.

Languages, World Countries and Other Global References

  • U.S. Census Bureau American Fact Finder - The U.S. Census Bureau's searchable database is the best place to find population, housing, geographic and economic data.
  • The World Factbook - The CIA's World Factbook is a downloadable publication that offers information on countries around the world.
  • U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Network - This site is a great place to find information about the U.S. and overseas countries.
  • FedStats - More than 100 U.S. Federal Government agencies make stats available to the public on this government-run site.
  • Linguist List - Known as the world's largest online linguistic resource, Linguist List is a great reference site for research projects. The site is administered by linguistics professors and graduate students and boasts an enormous peer-reviewed database, a directory of linguists, dictionaries and other language resources.

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