Great search links



Library sites and portals

Libraries and Libraries of the world: Writers and editors love you. We know that librarians are among the best (most helpful) researchers in the world, and many library systems are excellent portals to whole other research worlds. I will add more links here as time allows; here's a start:
• WorldCat (world's largest library catalog, a global catalog of library collections, containing the complete listings of 72,000 libraries around the world)
• Hathi Trust Digital Library (a free public database, from a consortium of academic & research institutions, offering millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world)
The British Library, tremendous resources, including a sizable online gallery
• Ask a Librarian (online reference service with librarians at the Library of Congress). Your local library may also offer an Ask a Librarian service (by phone or email).
• Project Wombat, a discussion list for difficult reference questions, continuing in the tradition of the now-defunct Stumpers list--fueled by research librarians (who get obsessed with a search) helping other research librarians who are stumped. For trivia lovers, get a copy of Stumpers!: Answers to Hundreds of Questions that Stumped the Experts, edited by Fred Shapiro.
• Federal Depository libraries. See Federal Depository Library Directory and searchable catalog of U.S. government publications
• Internet Public Library (IPL). Find resources by subject, newspapers and magazines, special collections, material for kids and for teens. Also known as Librarians' Internet Index .(Is it accurate to say this is a library,run by trained librarians?)
• Jacksonville Public Library (good general links)
• Librarian Chick (Stacy Reed's fab site)
• Libraries on the Web (LibWeb, US public libraries). Use interlibrary loan if you find what you need
• Library Spot (gateway to many excellent library and reference sites), sister site to Homework Spot
•••• Library of Congress (LOC). Online reference materials, digitized collections, photos, films, poems, the works--our nation's library)
• Library of Congress Online Catalog
• Library of Congress American Memory Collection (old motion pictures, Coca Cola ads, etc.)
• ArchiveGrid (a database containing 1.7 million descriptions of archival collections from all over the world--historical documents, personal papers, manuscripts and family histories, described and cataloged by librarians and archivists)
• Columbia Center for Oral History (Columbia University's “living archive” of more than 8,000 aural and visual interviews that explore diverse topics in United States and global history)
• Oral history collections, online (Telling Your Story, Pat McNees site)
• Musings about librarianship (ideas librarians might use and others might eavesdrop on!)
• National Agricultural Library (great links and not just agricultural)
• OCLC Global Gateway. The world's libraries. Connected.
• Oxford Reference (combines content of Oxford Reference Online and Oxford Digital Reference Shelf). Subscribers have full access to the site’s two million entries; free resources include more than 300,000 “overview” pages, with definitions of topics and links to more information; 270 timelines, with links to free reference entries; and an online-only section of quotations.
• PubMed (PMC), a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine (NIH/​NLM). Possibly helpful: PubMed Tutorial
• USDA A-to-Z Index
• U.S. National Library of Medicine Databases & Electronic Resources (National Institutes of Health, NIH/​NLM)
• World Digital Library (scans of original works and images of primary materials from cultures around the world, from ancient Chinese oracle bones to the first European map of the New World, plus photos, films, audio tracks)
• Federal Depository Library Directory (clickable map to find libraries and keep clicking through to find materials online--for example, the National Agricultural Library (NAL).

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Search Engines, Tools, and Indexes

(Selected)
• Amazon (great information on books, but it has expanded to many other products)
• AOLSearch
• Ask (a/​k/​a Ask.com; see its FAQ
• Baidu (major search engine in China--and in Chinese)
• Best of the Web (BOTW, a human-edited directory, listings paid for but evaluated)
• Bing (a visual search engine from Microsoft)
• boingboing (a directory of wonderful things)
• Dogpile (searches many Web search engines)
** Duck Duck Go ("Search anonymously. Find instantly.") Concerned about privacy issues? Doesn't track your movements as Google does. Click on "Press" (lower left corner) to learn more about it and its founder MIT physics grad Gabriel Weinberg.
• Google (current King of Search Engines, with powerful ranking algorithms and special searches: images, groups, news, maps, shopping, etc.). See How to make the most of Google
• Google Scholar (searches peer-reviewed journals and scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles)
• HighWire (Stanford University, (search engine of articles in peer-reviewed journals, some free, some not)
• Info (top results from Google + Yahoo! search+ bing)
• Infomine (scholarly Internet resource collections, Univ. of California, Riverside)
• Infospace (top results from Google + Yahoo + bing)
• ipl2 (Internet Public Library--find resources by subject, newspapers and magazines, special collections, material for kids and for teens). See FAQs about ipl2
• Invisible Web (UC Berkeley tutorial on the "Deep Web," what you cannot find using using general search engines and subject directories) See also Deep Web (Wikipedia)
• Datasets: Where can I find large datasets open to the public? (Quora)
• Librarian's Ultimate Guide to Search Engines
• Lycos
• My Web Search
• Online subject guides (AcademicInfo, from Abraham Lincoln to Zoology Societies, Associations, Centers, Institutes and Organizations)
• Open Directory (comprehensive Web directory edited by human volunteers)
• PHYS.org (a news site addressing trending topics in science and medicine, which also posts articles debunking popular rumors--links to sources when it can)
• Safe Search for Kids (a feature of Google Search that acts as an automated filter of pornography and potentially offensive content--but Wikipedia reports that Harvard reports that many innocuous sites are blocked and some pornographic sites slip through using innocent key words)
• Science Daily (has a huge database of articles to search, most of which link to the source journal articles and studies)
• Search Engine Colossus (international search engine -- search in other languages and 310 countries)
• Scirus (for scientific information)
• Snopes (a rumor debunker, which detects if something that has been forwarded or linked to is an urban legend, folklore, myth, rumor, or other misinformation)
• USA.gov (U.S. government's official portal)
• Virtual Reference Shelf (excellent resource, Library of Congress)
• The WWW Virtual Library (the oldest Web catalog)
• Wikipedia (being voluntary, it is not always correct, but you can generally track down information through the sources). Of interest: Know It All: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise? and how does it compare to Brittanica (Stacy Schiff, New Yorker, 7-31-06)
• Yahoo (second only to Google and bing in popularity)
• Yandex (major Russian search engine; search for pages in English, German, French and other European languages.
• Best Free Reference Web Sites Combined Index, 1999-2014 (Reference and User Services, American Library Association). Great links to topic-specific reference sites)
• Best Free Reference Sites 2014, 16th annual list (Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (MARS) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of American Library Association, as with previous entry, but this is a one-year list with different entries in a different order)
• Ditto, 2013
• Ditto, 2012
• Ditto, 2011

• Top 15 Most Popular Search Engines (eBiz/​MBA)
• 50 Cool Search Engines for Serious Readers (Online Colleges)

GOOGLE -- Making the most of it
• How Google Works (PPC blog)
• Live Trainings in Better Search Results (recorded webinars)
• Power Searching with Google . To see how handy this site is, take a look at Lesson 4 ญ Image Searching. Did you know you can drag a photograph into the search bar and find out what or where it is and
even its provenance?
• Power Searching with Google Quick Reference
• Google News
• Google News Revamped: This Is Your News, Personalized and Localized (Dan Nosowitz, Fast Company, 7-1-10)
• Google news archive search
• 10 Simple Google Search Tricks (Simon Mackie, NY Times Technology, 4-2-10). These items may become dated as Google changes constantly.
• How to Ghost-Google: Searching Google without Google to Know about You [sic] (SEO Smarty)
• Google Scholar (finds scholarly documents on a subject and citations of such documents in other texts)
• Info ( top results from the World's favorite search engines: Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Yandex)
• Infospace (top results from Googe, Yahoo!, Yandex)
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Archives, online


• Society of American Archivists (SAA), whose many resources include Richard Pearce-Moses's Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology and Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research (by Laura Schmidt)
• The Internet Archive Brewster Kahle set out to "archive" the internet in the mid-90s and boy, howdy, and others came forward to add video, audio, live music, texts, etc., including The TV News Archive. See story The Internet Archive, Trying to Encompass All Creation (David Streitfeld, Bits, NY Times, 10-31-14)

• ArchiveGrid ("Open the door to history" -- a database containing nearly a million descriptions of archival collections from all over the world, including Historical documents, personal papers, manuscripts)
• C-Span Puts Full Archives on the Web (Brian Stelter, NYTimes, 3-15-10). Find them at C-SpanVideo.org.
• Veterans FAQ about archival military records, veterans' service records, military personnel records
~Archive Finder (brings together ArchivesUSA and the cumulative index to the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the UK and Ireland. Here's a fuller description.
• Virtual Wall, Vietnam Veterans Memorial (look up Vietnam War casualties by name, place, date, and other details--get more info, add a photo, etc.)
• U.S. news archives on the Web (for papers in states from Alabama to the District of Columbia)
• Timelines, archives, family history, genealogical and other historical resources (Telling Your Story, Pat McNees's website)
• Resources for Genealogists (National Archives). Most requested: Military service records, immigration records, naturalization records, passport applications, land records, bankruptcy records.
• Census Records, U.S. National Archives, where you can go to find a huge amount of information (but if you need to do it online, go to ancestry.com or HeritageQuestOnline). See How can I search the Census Records?
•
1940s Census, U.S. (most recent decade released)
(National Archives how-to page)
• National Archives FAQs
• The National Archives (UK) (official govt archives, from Domesday Book to various websites. Here's Getting Started overview
• National Archives of Norway (now in English)
• BYU Family History Archives (Mormons, Family Search)
• Canadian Library and Archives (in English and French)
• GenealogyBank's Historical Newspaper Archives (over 320 years of obituaries, birth, marriages and newspaper articles about other key life events)
• America's historical newspapers (Readex's online database, from 1690 to recent past)
• Documenting the American South (primary resources for the study of Southern history, literature, and culture)
• "Academic and Scholar Search Engines and Sources" (PDF, Marcus Zillman's Internet Annotated Link Dataset Compilation). Here are a few of the items listed:
~Academic Archive Online (DiVA (full text theses, dissertations, and other publications from Nordic universities)
~Academic Earth (a user-friendly educational ecosystem that will give people all over the world access to video courses and lectures from the world's leading scholars)
~Academic Index (Michael Bell's meta-search tool indexes only research-quality reference and information sources selected by prof. librarians and educators)
~Archive Finder (brings together ArchivesUsA and the cumulative index to the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the UK and Ireland--annotations are fuller
~Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) For a full list of academic and scholarly search engines and sources, check this PDF
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Law, politics, geography, and military history


• American Heritage Education Foundation (links to historical content)
• America's Wars (VA fact sheet on total servicemembers, battle deaths, nonmortal woundings)
Campaign Finance Information Center. Tracker, the center's quarterly newsletter, and the website contain stories, tips, tactics, links helpful for tackling complex pieces. Administered by Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc.(IRE) and the National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR).
• Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments (CIA World Factbook)
• CIA World Factbook (rank order pages on such data as population, birth rate, GDP, energy production and consumption, spending, health, transportation, and communications)
• Congressional Record searchable, at Library of Congress online).
• Constitution Finder (University of Richmond School of Law)
• Countries, background on. You can learn a lot about the world's countries in states in various sets of notes, including the U.S. State Department's Background Notes and the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook, online.
• Country Profiles (WIPO)
• Country Studies (Library of Congress)
• Election Resources (National Archives and Records Administration. See also FAQs (such as Why do we have the electoral college?) and U.S. Voting & Election Resources (many helpful links)
• FactCheck.org (Annenberg sorts political truths from half-truths). See, for example, A Campaign Full of Mediscare, 8-22-12. (Obama and Romney both aim to slow Medicare spending. But each accuses the other of hurting seniors in the process. What are the facts?)
• FindLaw (providing legal information, lawyer profiles, and a community to help you make the best legal decisions (check out Findlaw Answers).
• Law Library of Congress
• OpenSecrets.org (Center for Responsive Politics--advocates for transparency in government, monitoring campaign contributions and lobbying, to measure their possible effect on U.S. elections and public policy)
• PolitiFact.com (nonpartisan political fact checker, whose truth-o-meter ranks findings from "true" to "pants on fire"), St. Petersburg Times service, and here are articles on current issues, events. Get the app!
• Real Clear Politics
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LINKS TO FACT FINDING AND NEWS RESOURCES

Newspapers and other news sources


• **Newsroom Navigator (NY Times list of resources for reporters and editors, great for fact-checking)
• Verification Tools , free access to chapter 10, from the Verification Handbook: A definitive guide to verifying digital content for emergency coverage
• Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting. A guide to online search and research techniques for using USG (user-generated content) and open source information in investigations. Read free online.
• Front Pages (today's plus an archive of front pages from U.S. newspapers from key days such as the inauguration), The Newseum
• Today's Front Pages (check out Newseum's U.S. map -- move your cursor across the map and see the front pages change)
• U.S. news archives on the Web (for papers in states from Alabama to the District of Columbia)
• Newspapers.com (3,500 newspapers from the 1700s–2000s)
• Wikipedia list of online newspaper archives (with hyperlinks)
• Google's historical newspaper search
• Mike Dash's list (of larger major-language newspapers or multiple-title archives, mostly, that are searchable and can be accessed privately online - anything, essentially, that looked beyond the narrow purview of small-town doings and local politics for its news)
• ProQuest Archiver (hosts archives for 130+ newspapers, with coverage as far back as 1764. Searching is free; small fee to view the full article.
• U.S. newspapers, by state (USNPL, also major news Twitter feeds)
• SmallTownPapers (read free 250 small town newspapers)
• GenealogyBank's Historical Newspaper Archives (over 320 years of obituaries, birth, marriages and newspaper articles about other key life events)
• America's historical newspapers (Readex's online database, from 1690 to recent past)
• Google News
• HealthNewsReview.org rates health and medical news stories (about medical treatments, tests, products and procedures) for accuracy, balance, and completeness. See fuller entry below
• EurekAlert, sponsored by AAAS, the science society, as a way to disseminate info through reporters to the public. There's a public section, a reporters section, and an embargoed news section (for research appearing in peer-reviewed journals). News is filtered by subject: Agriculture (crops, food, forestry...), Archaelogy (new world, old world), Atmospheric Science (climate, pollution...), Business & Economics (health care, grants...), Chemistry & Physics (energy, atoms, superconductors...), Earth Science (geology, oceanography...), Education (science literacy, K-12, graduate...), Mathematics (models, systems, chaos...), Medicine & Health (cancer, diet, drugs...), Policy & Ethics (patients, treaties, laws...), Social & Behavior (addiction, parenting, mental health...), Space & Planetary (astronomy, comets, space missions...), Technology & Engineering (electronics, Internet, nanotechnology...). And various portals: News for Kids, Marine Science, Nanotechnology, Disease in the Developing World, Bioinformatics, Multi-Language.... And there is a Calendar of events in science (by month).
• Internet Public Library (IPL). Find resources by subject, newspapers and magazines, special collections, material for kids and for teens
• The Legislative Process (Congress.gov) Scroll down to find links to invaluable resources on government.
• Newslink . See Most-linked-to local news sites by U.S. state
• News Sites (SPJ Journalist's Toolbox)
• Knight Science Tracker (hot science news, peer reviewed by journalists)
• MediaFinder (database of U.S. and Canadian newspapers, magazines, catalogs, newsletters, and journals)
• Newswise (chiefly for journalists). List of Newswise services (Daily Wire, MedWire, SciWire, LifeWire, BizWire)
• Online news (links to various resources)
• Talk to The (New York) Times: Q. and A. With Staff Members
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Weather


• Wunderground (interactive map, excellent radar interface)
• National Weather Service
• Accuweather.com (local video weather reports, etc.)
• Wind Map (this was great during Hurricane Sandy)
• Earthquakes in U.S., last 7 days (USGS, and there are many other pages of resources: maps, animations, seismogram displays, etc.). And here's a good explanation of the Mineral VA earthquake of August 23, 2011, Callen Gentley's entry on the AGU Blogosphere.
• Dial a Forecast (NOAA phone numbers for local National Weather Service forecasts in U.S.A.)
• Weather Channel
• WeatherSpark (beta), interactive weather graphs allow you to pan and zoom through entire history of any weather station on earth
• Weather Warehouse. Historical weather data. Want to know if it was raining in a certain year and place?
• Internet Weather Source (U.S. Weather) (NOAA, National Weather Service)
• Plymouth State Weather Center
• Unisys
• Intellicast.com
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Religion


• Interfaith Voices (leading religion news magazine on public radio, with host Maureen Fiedler). These programs are interesting even to infidels! See archive of past shows.
• Research on Religion podcast (Tony Gill, host). See Archives.
• Religion Stylebook (by journalists, for journalists, a free resource from Religious Newswriters Association)
• Bible Gateway (searchable Bible, with translations available in several languages)
• Biblos.com, site for Bible studies, with atlases and maps, concordances, Bible timeline, parallel texts, lists of names, thesaurus, chronologies, story lists, translations, and more.
• The Catholic Encyclopedia (New Advent)
• Bible Hub (search, read, study the Bible in many languages). This link is to translations of one verse, in many Bible versions. See Bible study tools.
• Religion Link
• Religion RefDesk
• Glossary of spiritual and religious terms (Religious Tolerance)
• Official Denominational Web Sites (Hartford Institute for Religion Research). This organization has some other topic-specific links to material, including New Religious Movements (which also links to material on cults) and Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) (lists provide data on American and international religion in rank order)
• Who Knows What About Religion (Religion & Public Life, PewResearchCenter, 9-28-2010). Results of Pew Forum’s religious knowledge survey,
• U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey (PewResearchCenter, 2010). Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.
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Fact-checking sites

Especially handy during presidential debates!

• FactCheck.org (Annenberg's excellent political fact checker)
• PolitiFact.com (nonpartisan political fact checker, whose truth-o-meter ranks findings from "true" to "pants on fire").
• The Fact Checker (Glenn Kessler, Washington Post column, The Truth Behind the Rhetoric).
• Regret the Error (Craig Silverman, on Poynter site, tracks accuracy in media and reports on media corrections, retractions, apologies, clarifications and trends regarding accuracy, honesty in the press, and the art of verification)
• Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) (Challenging media bias and censorship since 1986)
• Accuracy in Media (a conservative citizens' watchdog group for fairness, balance and accuracy in news reporting)
• New York Times Newsroom Navigator (Rich Meislin)
• NY Times Business Navigator
• NY Times Politics Navigator
• NY Times Health Navigator

• The Cochrane Collaborative (systematically reviews and evaluates research in health care and health policy)
• Quackwatch (your guide to quackery, health fraud, and intelligent decisions, operated by Stephen Barrett, MD)
• The Straight Dope (Cecil Adams) Check message boards.
• OpenSecrets.org (Center for Responsive Politics--advocates for transparency in government, monitoring campaign contributions and lobbying, to measure their possible effect on U.S. elections and public policy)
• Bad Science (Ben Goldacre's column from The Guardian in weblog format. Covers media misrepresentations of science, especially medicine, by the author of Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients
• The Skeptic's Dictionary (exploring strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions since 1994)
• FourMatch (Authenticate images instantly. An extension for Adobe Photoshop that instantly analyzes any open JPEG image to determine whether it is an untouched original from a digital camera. Now, you can quickly identify files that have not previously been edited.)
• On the Issues (every political leader on every issue)
• Newsbusters ("exposing and combating liberal media bias")
• Tin Eye (Id้e's a reverse image search engine). You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions.
• Miscellaneous research tools (SPJ, Journalists' Toolbox)
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CHECK OUT HOAXES, URBAN LEGENDS, AND E-MAIL SCAMS
E-mail story sound too good or scary to be true? Check to see if it's an urban legend. Several websites are devoted to fact-checking and identifying hoaxes and urban legends. Before you forward that "true fact," e-mail petition, warning, amazing opportunity, or piece of gossip, run it by one of these sites.
• Snopes.com (a practical Internet reference source for detecting urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation)
• Truth or Fiction (another reality check on email hoaxes, rumors, scams, and advisories--to verify the truth or falsity of rumors, inspirational stories, virus warnings, humorous tales, pleas for help, urban legends, prayer requests, calls to action, and other forwarded emails)
• Verification Junkie (Josh Steams' directory of tools for verifying, fact checking and assessing the validity of social media and user generated content)
• Is Twitter Wrong? ( public service pedantry hub. run by @​flashboy, who sometimes retweets stuff without fact-checking)
• Quatloos (check out financial scams and fraud)
• Sree's tips on hoaxes
• Current hoaxes and legends (About.com)
• Hoax Busters (verify virus hoaxes, chain e-mails and urban myths)
• How to Determine If A Controversial Statement Is Scientifically True (Alan Henry, Lifehacker, 6-20-12)
• Purportal (freely searchable database of scammy spams)
• The Red Tape Chronicles (Bob Sullivan, MSNBC, looks at Internet scams and consumer fraud)
• Consumerist (a consumer affairs blog, hosted by a division of Consumer Reports)
• Urban legends, fact-checking (Journalist's Toolbox, SPJ, excellent links)
• VMyths (Truth About Computer Security Hysteria)
• Symantec Threat Explorer (a comprehensive resource for daily, accurate and up-to-date information on the latest digital threats, risks and vulnerabilities)
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Business, commerce, and labor


• Air quality (check out your local air quality, according to the American Lung Association)
• Ars Technica (a technology news and information website that publishes news, reviews and guides on issues such as computer hardware and software, science, technology policy, and video games)
• Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, data on inflation, prices, employment, unemployment, pay & benefits, productivity, workplace injuries, more)
• Business Navigator (NY Times guide to business, financial and investing resources on the Internet)
• Center for Public Integrity
• Consumerist (corporate watchdog site)
• EDGAR (SEC) database. Every domestic public company in the United States with must submit forms and reports to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. EDGAR is the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system the SEC uses to transmit documents to investors. Anyone can access and download this information for free. Possibly helpful:
---EDGAR tutorial
---Important Information about EDGAR
---Researching Public Companies Through EDGAR: A Guide for Investors
---Search the Next-Generation EDGAR System
• FOB (firms out of business) (www.fob-file.com)...a database of publishing, literary and other firms out of business -- that is, printing and publishing firms, magazines, literary agencies and similar organizations that no longer exist -- and, where possible. which successor organizations might own any surviving rights. More
About FOB
, which is run jointly by the Harry Ransom Center (University of Texas, Austin) and University of Reading Library.
• Energy glossary (U.S. Energy Information Administration, EIA)
• Hopstop (subway and bus directions for New York City, still being developed for other cities)
• Hoover's (a Dun & Bradstreet directory of companies)
• Global Trademark Research International Trademark Association (INTA), one-stop resource for worldwide trademark law
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Math and statistics


See Calculators and Converters below.

• Math for Journalists (Bob Baker's Newsthinking)
• Statistics Every Writer Should Know (RobertNiles.com)
• Metric prefixes (Wikipedia)
• Math & Numbers (EditTeach.org)
• CARstat (statistical tools for computer-assisted reporting)
• Math Competency Test for Journalists (CARstat)
• QuickMath (automatic math solutions)
• Martindale's Math Center
• Ask Dr. Math
• Analytic Journalism (start looking and you'll find plenty here).
• Home School Math
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Calculators and conversion tools


• Calculators and converters for algebra, statistics, geometry, calculus, day/​date, units, physics, chemistry, weather, colors, etc. (Easy Calculation.com)
• Measuring Worth (this website, created by economists Lawrence H. Officer and Samuel H. Williamson, offers a number of calculators using different methods for measuring worth (annualized growth, relative values, conversion, purchasing power, savings growth, inflation rates, stock growth rates --DJIA, SP500, & NASDAQ). Descriptive material gives the pros and cons of these methods using examples ranging from the cost of Big Ben to the cost of putting a man on the moon. Click on Comparators and get Our comparators, with various ways for calculating the relative value of a dollar, pound, Japanese yen, or Chinese yuan, over time)
• Current value of old money (run by Roy Davies of the University of Exeter, this site links to a number of sites that show or calculate changes in the links to inflation statistics, price indexes, and sources of data on changes in the value of money)
• Online conversion (Convert just about anything to anything else) For example, see Cooking Conversions
• Inflation Calculator (CPI, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
• Percentage Calculator
• MegaConverter (you can also click on MegaCalculator and on MegaResource, for a Conversion Factors Spreadsheet in MS Excel format for ancient, foreign, and obsolete measures)
• How Much Is That? (Economic History Services). Interactive tool for scholars in economic history to compare prices, purchasing power, earnings, GDP, interest rates, exchange rates and other economic variables, from the 1600s on--to convert past values into current values (and vice versa).
• Convert.me, online conversion tables (convert units of mass and weight, distance and length, capacity and volume, area, temperature, weight to volume, cooking, fuel, power, torque, etc.)
• XE Currency Converter (live rates--today's value)
• Oanda currency converter (FX currency converter for 164 currencies)
• Martindale's Online Center for Calculators (calculators, applets, spreadsheets, and more, including courses, lectures, manuals, handbooks, videos, simulations, and animations)
• Amortization Schedule Calculator
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Calendars, perpetual calendars, calendar converters, and time converters


• TimeandDate.com (perpetual calendar, world clock, time zones, stop watch, etc.)
• World Time Buddy (a cross between a time zone converter, a world clock converter, and an online meeting scheduler)
• Hebcal Jewish Calendar (useful if you need to schedule around Jewish holidays)
• Virtual Perpetual Calendar.net (calendar for any year from 19th C. on, with dates for holidays in U.S. and Canada for 1995-2010)
• Calendar Converter (Gregorian, Julian, Hebrew, Islamic, Persian, Mayan, Bahแ'ํ, Indian Civil, French Republican, ISO-8601, Unix, Excel Serial Day Number)
• Calendars Through the Ages (history exhibit, about calendars over time and efforts to organize our life according to sun and stars).
• Day of the Week Calculator (Ancestor Search)
• Carlos Barrios's excellent explanation of Mayan calendar (the world will not end).
• Calendar Zone (art, celestial, cultural, daily, event, geographic, historic, holidays, interactive, reference, reform, religious, software, traditional, Web, women)
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Colors


• Names for colors, alphabetical (Wikipedia) Having an argument? hold object X up to the screen for comparison. Note the difference between Air Force Blue (RAF) and Air Force Blue (USAF)
• Ihihara color blindness test
• HTML color picker (color codes)
• Color Chart (ColorPicker.com, with code names, Hex colors)
• Color Picker (generate a color scheme in two boxes on left, by playing around on right)


Consumer ratings, reviews, and complaints


• Angie's List (reviewed here, given an A rating in NY Times). Paid subscription. No anonymous reviews.
• Better Business Bureau (BBB)
• Complaints.com
• Consumer Reports
• Planet Feedback
• The Squeaky Wheel . Your complaint goes on a website and every day someone views the website the person you are complaining about is notified.
• Yelp (mostly bars, restaurants)
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Charitable organizations, rated


• Charity Navigator rates 3,600 charities with one to four stars, rating them on organizational efficiency provides free financial evaluations of America's charities, rating them on organizational efficiency and organizational capacity.
• Charity Watch, a nonprofit charity watchdog, rates nonprofits with a letter grade (A to Z). Formerly American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP). For a $50 contribution, you can get its Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report
• Forbes's list of America's 200 Largest Charities. Forbes lists American's largest charities (by donations) and America's most efficient charities.
• Evaluating Charities Not Currently Rated by Charity Navigator. One helpful tool is the Foundation Center's 990 Finder.
• Charitable giving and volunteering (many helpful links, including bad practices in charity and donating your body or body parts)
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Editing Wikipedia


Under Wikipedia's rules--learn them before you contribute--secondary sources must support an article.
• Wikipedia (The "free encyclopedia that anyone can edit" -- being voluntary, it is not always correct. It is not peer-reviewed, but it often provides a useful overview on a subject, and sources through which to learn more.) See Study: Wikipedia as accurate as Britannica (Daniel Terdiman, CNET News, 12-15-05--the error rate for each encyclopedia was not insignificant) and Know It All: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise? (Stacy Schiff, New Yorker, 7-31-06)
• Content Volatility of Scientific Topics in Wikipedia: A Cautionary Tale (Adam M. Wilson and Gene E. Likens, PLoS, 8-14-15) The authors "present an analysis of the Wikipedia edit histories for seven scientific articles and show that topics we consider politically but not scientifically “controversial” (such as evolution and global warming) experience more frequent edits with more words changed per day than pages we consider “noncontroversial” (such as the standard model in physics or heliocentrism)....As our society turns to Wikipedia as a primary source of scientific information, it is vital we read it critically and with the understanding that the content is dynamic and vulnerable to vandalism and other shenanigans."
• Fact check: The New Yorker versus Wikipedia (David Robinson, Freedom to Tinker, 3-4-07) "This expectations gap tells me that The New Yorker, warts and all, still gives people something they cannot find at Wikipedia: a greater, though conspicuously not total, degree of confidence in what they read."
• All the News That’s Fit to Print Out (Jonathan Dee, NY Times Magazine, 7-1-07) How Wikipedia editing is managed.
• Wikipedia Training
• Help: Wikipedia: The Missing Manual
• Art of GLAM-wiki:The Basics of Sharing Cultural Knowledge on Wikipedia (by Sara Snyder, working at the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 4-25-13)
• The 'Undue Weight' of Truth on Wikipedia (Timothy Messer-Kruse, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2-12-12). An "expert" on a historical trial gets his edits rejected because his is a minority view. Explained one Wikipedia editor: "Wikipedia is not 'truth,' Wikipedia is 'verifiability' of reliable sources. Hence, if most secondary sources which are taken as reliable happen to repeat a flawed account or description of something, Wikipedia will echo that." ..."familiarize yourself with some of Wikipedia's policies, such as verifiability and undue weight. If all historians save one say that the sky was green in 1888, our policies require that we write 'Most historians write that the sky was green, but one says the sky was blue.' ... As individual editors, we're not in the business of weighing claims, just reporting what reliable sources write."
• Paid advocacy as a conflict of interest (Wikipedia entry). See also
• Click capitalism: PR firms cash in cleaning up clients’ Wikipedia pages (Shaun Waterman, Washington Times, 10-21-13). This is not the first time that PR professionals have been accused of abusing the voluntary, self-policing character of Wikipedia to try to make clients’ pages more favorable, nor the first time false user accounts have been exposed.
• Wikipedia Probes Suspicious Promotional Articles (Geoffrey A. Fowler, WSJ, 10-21-13) The editors behind Wikipedia are accusing a set of contributors of manipulating the content of the community-generated encyclopedia on an unprecedented scale. The public relations firm Wiki-PR says what is was doing is paid editing, which is acceptable, not paid advocacy, which is against Wikipedia rules.
• Women scientists, Wikipedia under microscope in RI (WHEC, News 10, Providence, RI, 10-16-13) A Wikipedia "edit-a-thon" was organized to rectify the rarity of women scientists on Wikipedia (as in life). "Sara Hartse and Jacqueline Gu, both Brown freshmen and computer science students, said they first became aware of gender inequity on Wikipedia during an uproar in the spring when someone began systematically moving female novelists including Harper Lee and Ann Rice off the 'American Novelists' page and onto the 'American Women Novelists' subcategory."
• Wikipedia editors, locked in battle with PR firm, delete 250 accounts (Joe Mullin, Ars Technica, 10-21-13) Investigation follows reports that Wiki-PR scored Viacom, Priceline as clients.
• A Stand Against Wikipedia (Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Education, 1-26-07) Wikipedia has value, leading students to citable sources, but is not itself a citable source. Too often students cite inaccurate information from Wikipedia articles.
• The Decline of Wikipedia (Tom Simonite, MIT Technology Review, 10-22-13) "The volunteer workforce that built the project’s flagship, the English-language Wikipedia—and must defend it against vandalism, hoaxes, and manipulation—has shrunk by more than a third since 2007 and is still shrinking.'
• Wikipedians Leave Cyberspace, Meet in Egypt (James Gleick, WSJ, 8-8-08) In Alexandria, Egypt, 650 Devotees Bemoan Vandals, Debate Rules; Deletionists vs. Inclusionists
• Wikimania (Wikipedia -- an annual international conference for users of the Wikimedia Foundation's wiki projects (such as Wikipedia and its sister projects)
• Can Automated Editorial Tools Help Wikipedia's Declining Volunteer Workforce? (MIT Technology Review, 10-31-13) An algorithm that assesses the quality of Wikipedia articles could re-assure visitors and help focus editors on entries that need improving, say the computer scientists who developed it.
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How things work
(a/​k/​a How stuff works)


• How Things Work (ipl2, Special Collections, a librarian's excellent guide to sites that will answer some of those big questions)
• How Stuff Works (this home page doesn't convey how helpful stuff on this site can be, so here are a couple examples):
• How House Construction Works (Marshall Brain, HowStuffWorks). Excellent explanations and good illustrations.
• How Internet Infrastructure Works (Jeff Tyson, HowStuffWorks)
• How Stuff Works (YouTube)
• How Stuff Works (the book) by Marshall Brain (from the great website)
• Explain That Stuff!
• How Things Work (Scientific American)
• How Everything Works (explaining the physics of everyday life)
• Ask the Experts (Scientific American)
• The Astronomy Cafe
• Computers and How They Work (Alton C. Crews Middle School)
• How does the Internet work? (Dynamic Web Solutions. explaining tbhings like transport protocol)

• Refrigerator FAQs (RefrigeratorPro.com)
• Toasters: The Inside Story (The Toaster Museum Foundation)
• Mad Scientists Network
BOOKS:
• How Things Work Encyclopedia (a great gift book from DK)
• How Things Work: 100 Ways Parents and Kids Can Share the Secrets of Technology by Neil Ardley (a guide to the world of machines and technology, packed with hundreds of hands-on experiments for the whole family, using everyday materials).
• How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life by Louis A. Bloomfield
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Miscellaneous (changing) facts of daily life


• History of postage rates in the U.S. (Andrew K. Dart)
• Ship names
• The Royal Mail: a history of the British postal service (The Telegraph)
• Crime Databases and Statistics (SPJ, Journalist's Toolbox)
MORE TO COME
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Quotations, famous sayings, anecdotes, bits of wisdom


(many consider "quotes" in the sense of "quotations" poor usage)

• Quote Investigator (Garson O’Toole diligently seeks the truth: Who really said what?--excellent for checking attributions). Tweets at https:/​/​twitter.com/​QuoteResearch. A good example--who said, "Writing is easy; you just open a vein and bleed."
• Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (searchable quotations from the original Bartlett, on Bartleby, plus other Bartleby-scanned collections of quotations and aphorisms)
• Goodreads Quote of the Day (You can subscribe to this. What I love is the factoid offered after the quotation--often more interesting than the quote itself.)
• Bible Gateway
• BrainyQuote
• For the Speechwriters Reference Shelf (a booklist of quotations anthologies, compiled by Pat McNees and Joan Detz, on Washington Speechwriters Roundtable)
• Idea Bank (for quotations, anecdotes, humor, historical tidbits and other material to jazz up speeches)
• The Phrase Finder (1,800 English phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions, with their meanings and origins explained)
Phrase Thesaurus. Enter a single word and the Thesaurus will display a list of phrases/​sayings that are related to it in some way.
• Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages (classified subjectively, arranged alphabetically, by Robert Christy, on Bartleby)
• 2InspireDaily -- Inspirational and motivational quotations
• Quotations Home Page
• Quotations Page
• The Quote Garden
• Quote Investigator
• Quotations about Science (The Quotation Page)
• ThinkExist.com
• Top Bible Verses
• Verse (Bartleby's searchable classic anthologies)
• Yahoo Quotations (by categories)
• William Cronon's Favorite Quotations
• Quotations About History (collected by Ferenc Szasz of the University of New Mexico, on William Cronon's website)
• Wikiquotes (quotes in many languages)

USEFUL BOOKS OF QUOTATIONS
• The Yale Book of Quotations, ed. Fred Schapiro
• Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, ed. Elizabeth Knowles
• Bartlett's Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett, ed. Justin Kaplan (A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature)
• The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women, ed. Rosalie Maggio (many missing from Bartlett!)
• The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When by Ralph Keyes

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Abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms, shortenings, contractions, chat shorthand


Abbreviations (abbr) are shortened forms of word or phrases, as Dr. for Doctor, lb. for pound, pm or p.m. for afternoon or evening. Wikipedia has a good explanation of variations on this theme. Initialisms are pronounced one letter at a time (FBI, DVD, KFC). Acronyms are pronounced as words (RAM for random access memory, NASA for National Aeronautics and Space Administration, laser for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, sonar for sound navigation and ranging). Style guides vary on whether to use periods with initialisms (as each letter stands for a word); the New Yorker does (C.I.A.); most publications don't (CIA). Urban Dictionary talks of four types of abbreviations: shortenings, contractions, initialisms, and acronyms. Examples of shortenings: cont. for continued, hippo for hippopotamus. Examples of contractions: Dr. for doctor, St. for saint or street, can't for cannot. Here are useful websites for identifying the various forms of abbreviation.
• Abbreviations
• Acronym Finger (AF), look up acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms. Combined with Acronym Attic.
• Acronyma (acronyms and abbreviations in several languages
• Chat Acronyms and Text Shorthand (Netlingo)
• Urban Dictionary on Abbreviations.
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Accents, symbols, scripts, diacritical marks

(how to type on computer)

• Keyboard Help (with foreign language characters, diacritics, accent marks, for Windows, Macs, etc.), including Alt Key Codes or Alt numbers, so you can memorize codes for frequently used symbols -- e.g., ALT + 0224 = เ, ALT + 0225 = แ, or the Control key codes for Windows
• Accents (character codes for accents in online copy, on the helpful PennState website on Computing with Accents, Symbols & Foreign Scripts), which includes Accent codes for the Mac. Check the Straight Dope message board I Recently Found the 'Character Map' on My Computer, and Just Have to Try It Out!
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American Folklife Center (online archive of webcasts of concerts, lectures, symposia from 2000 on)

American National Biography Online (ANB). Your library may have this important reference.

Association of Independent Information Professionals (aiip) (an industry association for owners of independent information businesses -- hire them to do various kinds of searches for you)


Daily life in history
• Old disease names (Sylvain Cazelet)]

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Directory of thousands of open access, peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly journals (which do not charge readers or their institutions for access), with link to journals' websites.


EurekAlert, sponsored by AAAS, the science society, as a way to disseminate info through reporters to the public. There's a public section, a reporters section, and an embargoed news section (for research appearing in peer-reviewed journals). News is filtered by subject: Agriculture (crops, food, forestry...), Archaelogy (new world, old world), Atmospheric Science (climate, pollution...), Business & Economics (health care, grants...), Chemistry & Physics (energy, atoms, superconductors...), Earth Science (geology, oceanography...), Education (science literacy, K-12, graduate...), Mathematics (models, systems, chaos...), Medicine & Health (cancer, diet, drugs...), Policy & Ethics (patients, treaties, laws...), Social & Behavior (addiction, parenting, mental health...), Space & Planetary (astronomy, comets, space missions...), Technology & Engineering (electronics, Internet, nanotechnology...). And various portals: News for Kids, Marine Science, Nanotechnology, Disease in the Developing World, Bioinformatics, Multi-Language.... And there is a Calendar of events in science (by month).

Family history and genealogical resources (timelines, archives, genealogical links, etc.)


Getty Digital Collections

Getty Photo Archive

Getty Vocabularies (structured vocabularies on specific topics related to art and architecture)
• The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)ฎ (terms, descriptions, and other information for generic concepts related to art and architecture)
• The Cultural Objects Name Authority (CONA) ™ (a new vocabulary now accepting contributions, includes titles, attributions, and other information for art and architecture)
• The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)ฎ (names, descriptions, and other information for places important to art and architecture)
• The Union List of Artist Names (ULAN)ฎ (names, biographies, and other information about artists and architects)

Real-people sources and journalists and bloggers find each other


Services that help reporters and bloggers find experts and other sources and help the sources (including expert book authors) get publicity. The sources need to be helpful, quotable, and not too obviously seeking publicity!

• HARO (Help a Reporter Out) Peter Shankman's highly popular service, through which journalists on a deadline seek sources on specific topics.

• ProfNet. A journalist is writing a story and needs an expert to quote. The journalist uses ProfNet to find the expert. The expert helps the journalist and gets publicity. Includes ProfNet for Experts (Get Access to Journalists and Bloggers Actively Looking for Expert Sources.) and Journalists: Send a Query

• Hunting for Hermits. Jack El-Hai on searching for the intrinsically hard-to-find. LinkedIn proves more helpful than HARO and ProfNet.

• 10 HARO-like Tools to Score Great Media Mentions for Your Business (2-26-13), an excellent description of ten resources from the publicist's viewpoint; but journalists can also use these PR tools to find sources. Provides descriptions of ProfNet (from PR Newswise), HARO, Reporter Connection (no longer active), MediaSpot.Me, SourceBottle, The Media Bag, Muck Rack, Media Kitty, ExpertEngine, Pitching Notes.
Reporters and writers: You'll get a lot of pitches from aggressive publicity seekers; you have to separate the wheat from the chaff. And of course sometimes the best sources are hard to find, are too busy to give interviews, and/​or don't particularly want publicity (or try to avoid it).
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Learning to Do Historical Research: A Primer for Environmental Historians and Others . William Cronon surveys essential stages of the research process and different kinds of documents that can offer information and insights about the past

Musings About Librarianship (interesting and cool ideas librarians might use)

NIH Research. NIH RePORTer (NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting), a searchable database on federally funded biomedical research projects and programs. News updates here. (Formerly CRISP)

People finders:
• MelissaDATA
• Pipl
• 123People
• Person Locators (National Agricultural Library Links)
• Finding People (via The Virtual Chase) (Shirl Kennedy, senior editor of ResourceShelf, offers tips and links to help track down certain types of people)
NY Times Cybernavigator to telephone & email directories


Place Finders. Software for locating old place names. Linda Coffin of HistoryCrafters (www.historycrafters.com) recommends two simple pieces of software, Animap and SiteFinder, put out by Goldbug software (www.goldbug.com), which work with a database of thousands of U.S. names for towns, counties, churches, schools, cemeteries, parks, railroads, townships, etc. Today they help you find not only current place names but also names from old records and databases that are no longer found in current maps and gazetteers.

Pronunciation Guides
• Pronunciation Guide for Plant Names in Latin (it's CLE muh tis, not Cle MAH tis, for clematis)
• Forvo (pronunciation in many foreign languages)
• VOA's guide to pronouncing names and places (especially those tough foreign names you see in newspapers)
• Oxford pronunciation guide (gives both British and North American pronunciations)
• Encyclopedia Mythica (the names of the ancient gods and goddesses -- for English speakers)
• Biblical words (Net Ministries)
To find pronunciation of words in foreign languages, do a search for, say, "pronunciation in German"

SCOTUSblog (Supreme Court of the United States)--absolutely the best interpretations of what is going on in the Supreme Court. Here, for example, are stories about the decision onthe Affordable Care Act (Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida, and National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius)

Social Bookmarking (a way to organize and store bookmarks to online resources)
• List of sSocial bookmarking (Wikipedia)
• Top 15 Most Popular Book Marketing Sites (e.g., August 2012: Twitter, digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Pinterest, BuzzFeed, deLicio.us, tweetmeme, Fark, Slashdot, friendfeed, clipmarks, newsvine.com, Diigo, DZone, Chime.in--as tallied by eBiz/​MBA)

Social Networking
• List of Niche Social Networking Groups and Websites (Research Analyst, Hub Pages)
• List of social networking websites (Wikipedia)
• Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites (eBiz/​MBA)

Time.
• Time of day. U.S. Naval Observatory Master Clock hotline (with various ways of translating it into your time, U.S. time)
• Daylight Saving Time Around the World 2012
• Official U.S. time (NIST and USNO)
• World Clock (Timeanddate.com, current times around the world, by time zones)


whatamieating.com (a searchable online international food dictionary)



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CHECK OUT HOAXES, URBAN LEGENDS, AND SCAMS

Several websites are devoted to fact-checking and identifying hoaxes and urban legends. Before you forward that "true fact," e-mail petition, warning, amazing opportunity, or piece of gossip, run it by one of these sites. To check out accuracy in media reports, go to Regret the Error (http:/​/​www.regrettheerror.com/​) as well as the "Accuracy in Media" sites it links to.
• Snopes.com (a practical Internet reference source for detecting urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation)
• Charity Navigator (find out if a charity or charitable request is legitimate)
• Quatloos (check out financial scams and fraud)
• Sree's tips on hoaxes
• Current hoaxes and legends (About.com)
• Hoax Busters (verify virus hoaxes, chain e-mails and urban myths)
• How to Determine If A Controversial Statement Is Scientifically True (Alan Henry, Lifehacker, 6-20-12)
• Purportal (freely searchable database of scammy spams)
• The Red Tape Chronicles (Bob Sullivan, MSNBC, looks at Internet scams and consumer fraud)
• Consumerist (a consumer affairs blog, hosted by a division of Consumer Reports)
• Urban legends, fact-checking (Journalist's Toolbox, SPJ, excellent links)
• Symantec Threat Explorer (a comprehensive resource for daily, accurate and up-to-date information on the latest digital threats, risks and vulnerabilities)



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The following material was migrated here from the website of the late, great Sarah Wernick, by permission of her husband, Willie Lockeretz. It's a little out of date now -- I just have trouble deleting it because it's Sarah's!

Emailed Virus Warnings and Petitions:
A Responsible Approach


Someone emails you a warning about a scary computer virus. Or you receive a petition for a worthy cause that urges you to sign at the bottom and pass it along to all your friends. Before you hit the “Forward” key, check it out – even if the mailing came from a trusted friend or expert.



Virus warnings


People who pass along emailed virus warnings mean well - but nearly all these warnings are hoaxes. At a minimum, they waste time and cause needless worry. But some of these hoaxes are as dangerous as viruses, because they direct people to delete files that are actually necessary parts of their computer's operating system.
Before you forward a warning to others, take a minute to verify it at one of the many reliable anti-virus sites online. If the warning is legitimate, include a documenting URL when you forward it. That way, people can rely upon your information. And if you learn that it's a hoax, discourage others from spreading it further: Copy the debunking URL and send it with a brief summary to the person who warned you and to everyone else who received the warning.

For reliable information about viruses warnings, see any of the following:

  • The Urban Legends Reference Pages – http:/​/​www.snopes.com – offer an extensive searchable archive with excellent information.

  • The urban legends page of About.com – http:/​/​urbanlegends.about.com– is
    an excellent resource for hoaxes and urban legends, with articles and extensive searchable archives.

  • The Department of Energy's Cyber Incident Response Capability (DOE CIRC) – http:/​/​www.doecirc.energy.gov/​– provides good articles and searching capability.

  • Another venerable Internet resource is Vmyths.com – http:/​/​www.vmyths.com– with reliable information on specific virus myths and urban legends, as well as useful general information.



Are You Infected?


The following two sites allow you to screen your computer viruses at no charge. If you're infected, they also provide free instructions or free programs for eliminating many viruses.

Petitions


Has this urgent appeal to save NPR turned up in your inbox?
On NPR's Morning Edition last week, Nina Totenberg said that if the Supreme Court supports Congress, it is in effect the end of the National Public Radio (NPR), NEA & the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). PBS, NPR and the arts are facing major cutbacks in funding....

The letter asks you to sign a petition and forward it to as many people as possible. Don't bother: This petition has been circulating since 1995, and it's hopelessly out of date, as NPR explains on their website.
This is just one example of a petition that’s either pointless or a hoax. Think about it: Everyone submits the same lists, so there are hundreds or even thousands of duplications. How can such petitions be credible? And signatures are lost if someone breaks the chain.

Can it hurt to pass along a petition, even if you’re not sure it’s for real? Yes – because it wastes people’s limited time and energy for activism. Better to focus our efforts where they can do some good.

Here are other options:
  • Send people to an online organization that is collecting signatures – or that facilitates more direct action, such as writing to members of Congress.

  • If you want to start your own petition or find one to sign – visit Petition Online (http:/​/​www.petitiononline.com). As they explain: “Unlike the various flaky email petitions that periodically wander around the Internet, with PetitionOnline there is exactly one authoritative master copy of your petition. Each signature and email address (always required, but optionally confidential) is logged for possible explicit or statistical validation. Duplicate signatures are automatically rejected, and each person who signs is automatically sent a confirming email message.”


by Sarah Wernick
Revised December 1, 2004.
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