I tweeted an article from Edudemic titled The 10 Most Popular Writing Resources Being Used by Students and like everyone else I was not surprised to see that Wikipedia topped the list. I’m not a wikipedia hater, I’m even a contributor, but Wikipedia should not be used as a reliable resource when writing any type of scholarly work. I sent an email out to our teachers asking if sites like Wikipedia and Yahoo! Answers should be blocked by our content filter and the response was “if not Wikipedia, then what?” I decided to investigate and found these great sites. It is not the only list (see the end for resources used) but it is a nice concise list.
Scholarpedia - It looks like Wikipedia because it is built on the same software but a big difference is that Scholarpedia is written by invite-only and is peer-reviewed.
Citizendium - If Scholarpedia and Wikipedia were playing “Monkey in the Middle” Citizendium would be the monkey. Citizendium is peer-reviewed but not as strictly as Scholarpedia. It makes my list because it is a better alternative than Wikipedia.
Virtual Reference Shelf – The Library of Congress has a compiled a list of reliable online resources.
Encyclopedia.com - From their site: “Encyclopedia.com has more than 100 trusted sources, including encyclopedias, dictionaries, and thesauruses with facts, definitions, biographies, synonyms, pronunciation keys, word origins, and abbreviations.” Basically when you search on their site you get results from 100 different trusted sources.
Infoplease - From their About page: “Information Please has been providing authoritative answers to all kinds of factual questions since 1938—first as a popular radio quiz show, then starting in 1947 as an annual almanac, and since 1998 on the Internet…” The “Homework Help” section is excellent and broken down by subject with a “Writing Center” that will help students write any type of paper.
FactMonster - For younger kids, Information Please provides FactMonster. The Citing Fact Monster page is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to know how to properly cite online articles of any type. FactMonster is a bit more basic but has a wide variety of subjects and games and puzzles as well.
Vaughn’s 1 Pagers - Vaughn Aubuchon, the author, has put together his own site of “Cliff’s Notes” for general subjects. It isn’t comprehensive but contains information you may not be able to find on other sites.
Encyclopedia of Earth - If you are looking for information about the earth both past, present and future the Encyclopedia of Earth has it. This totally free resource is loaded with scholarly and reviewed work.
Encyclopedia of Life - EOL is an archive of all things living. Another totally free resource. Here is a video from their website.
TechEncyclopedia - Not everyone is a geek so sometimes you need to know what a computer term knows. With over 20,000 terms covered the neophytes should be well served.
Webopedia - Along the same lines as TechEncyclopedia.
HowStuffWorks - Probably the coolest site on this list. If students are looking for information presented in an interesting (let’s be honest, encyclopedias can a bit drab) manner, HowStuffWorks is the site for them.
The American Presidency Project - UC Santa Barbara’s The American Presidency Project, has over 100,000 documents that cover every President and Vice President of the United States.
Government Documents Center - The largest collection of government documents in one place, the library of the University of Michigan put this collection together as the best online resource for documents related to the US government.
Acronym Finder - This one makes the list because I live in a world of acronyms and I still can’t remember some of them.
Google Scholar - A search engine for scholarly literature that can find articles, theses, books, abstracts or court opinions about the research topic.
FactBites - From About.com “FactBites offers searchers the ability to get comprehensive search results that actually address the context of their search queries, rather than just the keywords. For example, searching for “history of tornadoes” retrieves statistics, state by state information, and scientific background on some of the worst tornadoes documented.”
FactCheck – Before you print facts that see absurd but came from a “reliable” source run them through FactCheck.org. From conspiracy theories to campaign lie they have you covered.
American Fact Finder – From the website: “Your source for population, housing, economic, and geographic information.” This one is brought you by the US Census Bureau.
ePodunk – You can get demographic information for any community in the United States.
Chronicling America – If students find this one on their own they could be a history hero. Chronicling America is from the Library of Congress and has historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 and information regarding newspapers from 1690-present.
iTools – The ultimate search engine. The site has every search engine you can think of any kind of search. It is now my home page.
eXtension – Their website says it best: “eXtension is unlike any other search engine or information-based website. It’s a space where university content providers can gather and produce new educational and information resources on wide-ranging topics. Because it’s available to students, researchers, clinicians, professors, as well as the general public, at any time from any Internet connection, eXtension helps solve real-life problems in real time.”