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Site seer: That research paper was due when?

October 3, 1996
Web posted at: 6:30 p.m. EDT

From CNN Interactive Writer Kristin Lemmerman

(CNN) -- It is 1 a.m. and your research paper is due in seven hours and 20 minutes. The campus library just closed -- but you're just starting your research. Where do you turn?

For starters, you do not call CNN and ask if the person who answers the phone could please, please fax you the history of the war in Bosnia. (For those of you who laugh at the thought: People have actually done this.) You also do not go down the hall and knock on the door of the transfer student from Brazil and ask to pick her brain on the subject of her country's economy.

Instead, you turn your computer on, kiss your modem/ISDN line/T1 connection for good luck, and check out some of the sites below.


Bartlett's Familiar Quotations

Nothing impresses like a good, well-placed quote -- and nothing bombs like one that you sourced incorrectly. Fortunately, the well-known, well-thumbed book of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations is available on-line now to keep you out of hot water. The entire book of quotes is there with a special techno update: if you remember part of the quote, you can type it in to the site's search engine, and the site will tell you who the author was.


OneLook Dictionaries

Your word processor's built-in dictionary seems complete until you start working on a detailed report on a non-English topic. Then it fails miserably, and it can sometimes be hard to find the correct spelling for a word you're using.

That's where the OneLook Dictionaries come into play. The site is essentially one big search engine, combining the resources of over 50 different on-line dictionaries into one big place to look up words. Whether you're focusing on religion, sports, business, science, new technology or computer sciences, the database has you covered.

spanish dictionary

English-Spanish Dictionary

Unless, of course, your paper is in another language. There are a number of English-to-another language dictionaries on the World Wide Web. The English-Spanish Dictionary is my favorite, Spanish being my second language, but right now it only has about 3,000 words, making it of limited use. Other language dictionaries include:

ARTFL Project: French-English Dictionary Form Has about 75,000 entries

English-German Dictionary Includes more than 105,000 translations

The Link Everything Online English-German Dictionary Includes more than 130,000 translations

Latin Grammar Aid and Wordlist Notre Dame University's compilation of English-Latin dictionaries.

In an ideal world, even though your deadline is looming, you at least have the security of knowing that a pile of books and magazine articles are sitting on your desk, awaiting your perusal.


Index of Resources for Historians

If you haven't even been inside the library yet, lucky for you the University of Kansas system and the Universitšt Regensburg have already combed the Internet looking for credible research sites. The result is a very long list of links to historical research sources covering a remarkable array of topics from Africa to women's studies.

The World Wide Web Virtual Library

If your paper is on anything besides history, the World Wide Web Virtual Library may still be able to get you out of hot water. Its resource list compiles sites that are not necessarily history-related -- for example, gold, geophysics, and games are some of the available topics. Think of both of these sites as being a little like card catalogs of the Internet.

Gutenberg Project

The Gutenberg Project is available through the World Wide Web Virtual Library's server; its purpose is to put works that have moved into the public domain into an electronic format. While Project Gutenberg does not actually run this page, it is officially sanctioned by the Gutenberg folks.

Many full texts of classic literature are available here, as well as a list of mathematical constants (including pi to 2.5 million digits, and the number "e" to about 1 million digits), political writings and religious works. If you know the book you need and it's in the public domain, there is a good chance you'll find it here.

Don't forget your bibliography -- it matters, and just because you did your research on the Internet doesn't excuse you from naming your sources. Not surprisingly, there are as many ways to cite an Internet resource as there are types of Internet resources -- and there are different styles even within those categories.

MLA-Style Citations of Electronic Sources

However, most schools currently adhere to the MLA style. The MLA-Style Citations of Electronic Resources has been adopted by a number of universities, including the University of California-Berkeley, the Ecole Internationale de Francais, the University of Michigan and the University of Connecticut, which all link to this guide from their sites.

If your school does not adhere to MLA, try this site for guidance instead:


Related sites:

  • Hoover's Online - companies and IPOs resource
  • The CIA World Factbook 1995 - encyclopedia of countries, histories, their major exports, etc.
  • Roget's Thesaurus
  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (preliminary version)
  • ARTFL Project
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