Great search links

Library, search engine, and fact checking resources


Fact-checking sites

Fact-checking sights right, left, and center:
• Accuracy in Media (a conservative citizens' watchdog group, watching mainstream media for fairness, balance and accuracy in news reporting). See, for example, Ken Burns: Student of History—or Left-Wing Gasbag?
• AP Fact Check (fact-checking stories that aren't entirely true, saying so, offering the facts)
• 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
• Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report (Charities rated from A to F on how much of the money they take in is spent on fundraising rather than charity, Charity Watch, formerly American Institute of Philanthropy).
• Dollars for Docs search tool (Pro Publica). Use this to see if your doctors receive money from drug or device companies (which might influence which drugs and devices they prescribe)
• Duke Reporters' Lab database of global fact-checking sites. Use the map to find fact-checking sites around the world or browse the fact-checking sites (listed by continent)
• Evidence-based medicine, links to resources such as HealthNewsreview and Cochrane Collaborative.
• (Annenberg's excellent nonpartisan political fact checker--monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, and interviews.
• FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a national media watch group)
• FEC Itemizer (Derek Willis and Sisi Wei, ProPublica, and Aaron Bycoffe, Special to ProPublica. Updated regularly.) Browse Federal Campaign Finance Filings
• Flack Check ( is Annenberg's companion site to FactCheck, designed to help viewers recognize flaws in arguments in general (politics, science, and health) and political ads in particular. Video resources point out deception and incivility in political rhetoric.
• The Fact Checker (Glenn Kessler's Washington Post column, The Truth Behind the Rhetoric, fact checks statements by politicians and political advocacy groups and doles out one to four Pinocchios for politicians' statements that don't pass muster)
• Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) (Challenging media bias and censorship since 1986), a national progressive media watchdog group, challenging corporate media bias, spin and misinformation.
• Hall of Justice (Sunlight Foundation) A robust, searchable inventory of publicly available criminal justice datasets and research.
• International Fact-Checking Network (code of principles and verified signatories).
• Media Bias/​Fact Check, a fact-checking website that indexes and ranks websites by left- or right wing bias, as well as by quality of factual reporting.What I like best: the lists of publications/​sites that are right-biased, left-biased, left-center and right-center biased, and least biased.
• Media Matters for America (MMfA), a politically progressive media watchdog and advocacy group with a stated mission of "comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media."
• Newsbusters. Media Research Center (MRC) "exposing and combating liberal media bias"
• On the Issues (every political leader on every issue--what they said, how they voted)
• (Center for Responsive Politics). Tracks money and its effects on U.S. elections and public policy. Advocates for transparency in government, monitoring campaign contributions and lobbying, to measure their possible effect on U.S. elections and public policy. Keeps track of which representatives in the U.S. Congress receive contributions from which companies or organizations. Lets you easily track campaign spending and contributions and tracks the money that the private sector, industry groups, unions, and other lobbyists spend to lobby Congress.
• (nonpartisan political fact checker, whose truth-o-meter ranks findings from "true" to "pants on fire"--especially handy during political campaigns), a St. Petersburg Times service, recipient of Pulitzer Prize. Here are articles on current issues, events
• PunditFact (Tampa Bay Times and the Poynter Institute, dedicated to fact-checking the accuracy of claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers, political analysts, the hosts and guests of talk shows, and other members of the media)
• Quackwatch (your guide to quackery, health fraud, and intelligent decisions, operated by Stephen Barrett, MD)
• Regret the Error (Craig Silverman, on Poynter site, reports on trends and issues regarding media accuracy and the discipline of verification. Stories about errors, corrections, fact checking and verification.
• SciCheck ('s site for fact-checking false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy)
• The Skeptic's Dictionary. exploring strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions since 1994. See Skeptimedia Archive
• (David and Barbara Mikkelson created this in 1995 as a site about urban folklore site, which expanded t0 fact-check internet rumors and, as one of the first online fact-checkers, other stories of doubtful veracity.
• The Straight Dope (Cecil Adams, Fighting Ignorance Since 1973) Check message boards.
• Sunlight Foundation (making government & politics more accountable and transparent)
• Verify (WUSA-9, DC news) Is Tuesday the best day to book a plane ticket? and similar questions, but maybe not easy to view online, after the day it comes out.
• The 6 best political fact-checking sites on the internet (
• Fact checking (how to spot fake news, etc.)
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Verification sites

• Verification and Fact Checking (Craig Silverman (@​craigsilverman), Additional Materials, Verification Handbook) And I quote: “Verification is the editorial technique used by journalists — including fact-checkers — to verify the accuracy of a statement,” says Bill Adair, the founder of PolitiFact and currently the Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University. Verification is a discipline that lies at the heart of journalism, and that is increasingly being practiced and applied by other professions. Fact checking is a specific application of verification in the world of journalism. In this respect, as Adair notes, verification is a fundamental practice that enables fact checking.... it’s useful to know where they overlap, and where they diverge. (And he explains...)

• 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.
Verification Tools , free access to chapter 10, from the Verification Handbook: A definitive guide to verifying digital content for emergency coveragePoynter (1-28-14).
• Tin Eye (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.
• Don’t Get Fooled Again: Best Practices for Online Verification (Craig Silverman, Poynter webinar, 2-21-13)
• Izitru, a new website, iPhone app, and developer API which incorporates the same forensic test as FourMatch, along with five additional tests. Recommended by FourMatch (FourAndSix) when it was discontinued.
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How and why to spot and identify fake news

Fake news includes fictitious articles deliberately fabricated to fool readers and profit through clickbait; fake news websites (often spoofing/​mimicking legitimate news websites) designed to mislead readers for financial or political gain (whose partisans complain of "censorship," when fact-checked). It spreads through social medial.
• This Company Made Up Fake News And Fake Celeb Quotes To Sell Supplements, FTC Says (Stephanie M. Lee, BuzzFeed, 11-15-17) A Southern California company has settled charges that it created fake news articles and fake endorsements from stars like Jennifer Aniston to push unsubstantiated health claims about supplements and make millions of dollars. According to the Federal Trade Commission, "this reporting and marketing was all untrue. The agency alleges it was part of a vast online network of fake news sites, fake customer testimonials, and fake celebrity endorsements that existed to promote unsubstantiated health claims about more than 40 weight-loss, muscle-building, and wrinkle-reduction products. It apparently worked: People nationwide spent $179 million on these products over a five-year period, the FTC alleges....On the order pages of these websites, customers were told the “total” cost for a 30-day supply of a trial product was $4.95 for shipping and handling. But once they entered their credit or debit card information, they were likely to be charged about $87 for the item — plus recurring amounts for future shipments, the FTC alleged. The websites didn’t make their auto-enroll, cancellation, and refund terms clear, so many customers reported never seeing them, the FTC alleged. And getting a refund was hard."
• Faking News: Fraudulent News and the Fight for Truth (PDF, PEN America report, 10-12-17) Invaluable.
• How to squash fake news without trampling free speech (Callum Borchers, WashPost, 10-12-17) About the PEN report and its findings and recommendations.
• How to Spot Fake News (Eugene Kiely and Lori Robertson,, 11-18-16)
• How ‘half true’ happens (Justin Peters, Columbia Journalism Review, 8-30-12) Our correspondent sits in as PolitiFact editors rate Nikki Haley's claim.
• Snopes’ Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors ( Kim LaCapria, Snopes, 3-6-17)'s updated guide to the internet's clickbaiting, news-faking, social media exploiting dark side.
• Let’s fight back against fake news (Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact, 11-16-16) See PolitiFact's newsfeed about recent fake news
• Fact-checking fake news reveals how hard it is to kill pervasive 'nasty weed' online (Joshua Gillin, PunditFact, 1-27-17)
• Google Rolls Out ‘Fact Check’ Tool to Combat Fake News Worldwide (Good News Network, 4-13-17)
• Confessions of a Trump Fact-Checker (Daniel Dale, Politico, 10-19-16) "The fewest inaccuracies I’ve heard in any day is four. The most is 25. (Twenty-five!) That doesn’t include the first two debates, at which I counted 34 and 33, respectively."
• The New Yorker’s chief fact-checker on how to get things right in the era of ‘post-truth’ (Shelley Hepworth, CJR 3-8-17). “People who have never been involved in journalism, in fact-checking, think the world is divided into facts and opinions, and the checkers just deal with facts,” says Canby. “For us the bigger complexity is what we think of as fact-based opinions….The way you construct an argument, if there are egregious missing ingredients to it, then it’s something we bring up.”
• How Fake News Turned a Small Town Upside Down (Caitlin Dickerson, NY Times Magazine, 9-26-17) At the height of the 2016 election, exaggerated reports of a juvenile sex crime brought a media maelstrom to Twin Falls — one the Idaho city still hasn’t recovered from. A report inaccurately blaming Syrian refugees for a crime spread throughout Twin Falls. As more time passed without a solid account of what happened, lurid rumors continued to surface online and came to dominate conversations in grocery stores and at school events, sparking an outcry of hatred and anger.
• 2016 Lie of the Year Award: Fake news ( Angie Drobnic Holan, PolitiFact, 12-13-16) "Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word. In 2016, the prevalence of political fact abuse – promulgated by the words of two polarizing presidential candidates and their passionate supporters – gave rise to a spreading of fake news with unprecedented impunity."
• Maybe the Internet Isn’t a Fantastic Tool for Democracy After All (Max Read, New York Magazine, 11-27-16) "Powerful undemocratic states like China and Russia have for a while now put the internet to use to mislead the public, create the illusion of mass support, and either render opposition invisible or expose it to targeting."
• Fake news website (Wikipedia). Good overview and good links to more resources.
• Study suggests people less likely to fact check news when in company of other people (Bob Yirka,, 5-23-17) is also a good fact-checking site.
• How Teens In The Balkans Are Duping Trump Supporters With Fake News (Craig Silverman and Lawrence Alexander, BuzzFeed News, 11-3-16) BuzzFeed News identified more than 100 pro-Trump websites being run from a single town in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The young people "who run these sites told BuzzFeed News that they learned the best way to generate traffic is to get their politics stories to spread on Facebook — and the best way to generate shares on Facebook is to publish sensationalist and often false content that caters to Trump supporters....Most of the posts on these sites are aggregated, or completely plagiarized, from fringe and right-wing sites in the US."
• Ignored factchecks and the media’s crisis of confidence (Brendan Nyhan, Columbia Journalism Review, 8-30-12)
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How to check out hoaxes, rumors,
urban legends, chain letters, and email 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.
• (a practical Internet reference source for detecting urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation)
• Emergent (a real-time rumor tracker)
• 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)
• Urban Legends: New & Trending (
• 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)
• The Red Tape Chronicles (Bob Sullivan, MSNBC, looks at Internet scams and consumer fraud)
• 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)
• That Chain E-mail Your Friend Sent to You Is (Likely) Bogus. (Lori Robertson,, 3-18-08)
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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. Looking for an earlier edition of a particular book? WorldCat's search function can help you find the one closest to you.
• Library of Congress Online Catalog (with many subcategories, including Archival Finding Aids, Copyright Office Catalog, Sound Online Inventory and Catalogs, Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, E-Resources Online Catalog, Thesauri & Controlled Vocabularies for subject cataloging and indexing, and so on). Video about the library itself: There's something for everyone at the world's largest library.
• 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

• Amazon (great information on books, but it has expanded to many other products)
• AOLSearch
• Ask (a/​k/​a; 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)
• Datasets: Where can I find large datasets open to the public? (Quora)
• 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)
• Google Scholar vs. Lazy Scholar
• 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)
• Journalist's Toolbox: Search Engines
• Lazy Scholar (finds free scholarly full texts, metrics, and provides quick citation and sharing links automatically)
• Librarian's Ultimate Guide to Search Engines
• Lycos
• My Web Search
• 100 Search Engines For Academic Research (TeachThought)
• Online subject guides (AcademicInfo, from Abraham Lincoln to Zoology Societies, Associations, Centers, Institutes and Organizations)
• Open Directory (comprehensive Web directory edited by human volunteers)
• Oxford Companion Websites (excellent links to websites for many specialties, from Accounting to Film Studies to Zoology)
• (a news site addressing trending topics in science and medicine, which also posts articles debunking popular rumors--links to sources when it can)
• Pro Publica Data. Find investigative results and such specialties as Represent (Find lawmakers, votes and bills), Dollars for Docs (how industry dollars reach your doctors), Nursing Home Inspect, and more.
• 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)
• (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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More 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
• Criminal searches


and reverse image searches
• Google image search
• CC Search (Creative Commons)
• Artstor Digital Library (more than 1.8 million high-quality images for education and research). How to access.
• Getty Images
• Hubblesite's Greatest Hits (unprecedented pictures of celestial objects)
• New York Public Library Digital Collections
• Picsearch (search engine for images, photos, animations)
• Wikipedia Commons , collection of 37,711,891 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute
• Yahoo Image search engine
• Where to Find Images Online: Image Search Resources (Wendy Boswell, Lifewire, 3-9-17)
• 10 Web Resources for Public Domain Images (Lifewire)

Reverse Image Searches
• Best Reverse Image Search Engines, Apps And Its Uses (2016) (Beebom)
• Google reverse image search ( (upload a picture and learn more about it)
• TinEye
• Image Raider allows you to specify a URL or upload an image from your computer to check on the web who is using the image

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Newspapers and other news sources

• **Newsroom Navigator (NY Times links to resources for reporters and editors, great for fact-checking)
• PubMed Central (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).
• Radio-Locator (links to over 15,300 radio stations' web pages and over 10,400 stations' audio streams from radio stations in the U.S. and around the world--plug in city name, zip code, etc., and find available radio stations)
• NASA Pubspace (easy public access to the peer-reviewed papers resulting from NASA-funded research).
• Ulrichsweb (Global Serials Directory). You can access Ulrich's periodical directory in any library, do a boolean search, and download a list of every specific type of newspaper in the U.S. or world, sorted by circulation,
advertising page rate, or anything else you might find useful. You will find editor's name and phone number, etc., which will usually be out of date. But call to say you are fact-checking the name of the editor and you may get the editor you want. Norman Bauman (my source for this item) suggests sorting by advertising rate to find the publications that can afford to pay freelancers decently.
• What will yesterday’s news look like tomorrow? (Adrienne LaFrance, 4-4-14)
• 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)
• (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
• 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 ( 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
• Consumerist (a consumer affairs blog, hosted by a division of Consumer Reports)
New York Times Learning Navigator (Rich Meislin, a selective guide to the Internet)
• NY Times Business Navigator
• NY Times Politics Navigator (a selective guide to political sites on the Internet)
• NY Times Health Navigator
• The Cochrane Collaborative (systematically reviews and evaluates research in health care and health policy)
• Miscellaneous research tools (SPJ, Journalists' Toolbox)
• BONG: The Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild (BONG) (available on Topica), humor column Charles "Charley" Stough of Dayton, Ohio. ran starting in the 1990s.
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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, 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
• 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 or HeritageQuestOnline). See How can I search the Census Records?
1940s Census, U.S. (most recent decade released)(National Archives how-to page)
• How to get the most out of (
• 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
• What One Little Button Reveals About The New York Times 'Brain' (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 8-5-14) The newspaper's new archival search function offers suggested terms, and a window into how it categorizes world events. "TimesMachine is, in other words, a context machine. And it's a historical record designed to be used, not just saved." See The Times Machine (online archive that lets New York Times subscribers explore millions of pages of past newspapers) and NYTimes Archives twitter account.
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• American Memory Collection (Library of Congress)
• American Memory Timeline (Library of Congress)
• Digital History
• Digital History Resources (American Historical Association)
• Fold3 Discover your family's military past.
• History (National Archives)
• History Buff
• The History Engine
• The History Guide (Primary documents, U.S. history, and history of Western civilization)
• Internet Ancient History Sourcebook (Fordham University). Includes such sections as Ancient History in the Movies.
• Internet Modern History Sourcebook (Fordham University)
• Library of Anglo-American Culture & History
• Online resources (NPR, The History Detectives) Excellent links.
• The Women's Library (London School of Economics and Political Science)
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Law, politics, and military history

• Senators, current (phone numbers etc.)
• Representatives, current (phone numbers, etc.). Enter your address (name not required) at Democracy 10 to find the best way to write to your representative in the House of Representatives.

• American Heritage Education Foundation (links to historical content)
• America's Wars (VA fact sheet on total servicemembers, battle deaths, nonmortal woundings)
• Ballotpedia (onlne encyclopedia of American politics). Check out (weekly coverage of election news, public policy, and other noteworthy events)
• The best non-partisan fact-checking sites (Daily Dot) Politifact,, Washington Post's FactChecker, OpenSecrets, The Sunlight Foundation, See also Fact-checking sites, and Verification sites, and How and why to spot and identify fake news.
• 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).
• Caselaw Access Project. Harvard Law School and Ravel Law, making all U.S. case law freely accessible online. Read Harvard Is Digitizing Nearly 40 Million Pages Of Case Law So You Can Access It Online And For Free (Bruce Gellerman, WBUR, Bostonomix, 8-30-16)
• 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).
• Congressional Research Service reports (a invaluable resource, with items such as The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor
• 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 information (CIA Factbook) Regional and world maps; flags of the world; guide to country comparisons; World Factbook User Guide.
• Country Profiles (WIPO)
• Country Studies (Library of Congress)
• Legal and law enforcement office locations, hours, and phone numbers: Courts, district attorneys, jails and prisons, police departments, and sheriffs. Search by state. Pages for some states provide access to Public Records.
• 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)
• European Court of Human Rights
• (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).
• Internet Modern History Sourcebook (outlines of or gateways to history, including other aspects of history)
• Law Library of Congress
• 4LawSchool (case briefs and other free resources for students and practicing attorneys)
• Media Bias/​Fact Check, a fact-checking website that indexes and ranks websites by left- or right wing bias, as well as by quality of factual reporting.What I like best: the lists of publications/​sites that are right-biased, left-biased, left-center and right-center biased, and least biased.
• (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)
• Oyez Database on major constitutional cases heard by the United States Supreme Court, with multimedia resources including digital audio of oral arguments.
• Politics Navigator (NY Times selective guide to political sites on the Internet)
• (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
• The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, United Nations)
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Social and population statistics

• FAOSTAT. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations Statistics Division
• Population Reference Bureau (PRB) "Inform. Empower. Advance."
• UNdata (United Nations statistical databases)
• United Nations Statistics Division
• U.S. Census Bureau
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• Animal Diversity Web (online database of animal history, distribution, classification and conservation biology provided by the University of Michigan)
• Bird species search (BirdLife International)
• Catalog of Fishes (California Academy of Sciences, Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability)
• Checklist of North and Middle American Birds (American Ornithologists' Union)
• FishBase. A global species database of fish species (specifically finfish)
• IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
• Natural History Links (Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology)
• Ultimate Ungulate (your guide to the world's hoofed mammals)
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•, the U.S. National Weather Service.
• National Weather Service (NOAA, which also provides info on past weather)
• Weather Underground (interactive map, excellent radar interface; click on More to get to historical weather)
• (local video weather reports, etc.)
• Wind Map (useful during Hurricane Sandy)
• UTCI (Universal Thermal Climate Index) (developed by scientists and public weather officials)
• Dial a Forecast (NOAA phone numbers for local National Weather Service forecasts in U.S.A.)
• Weather Channel
• Internet Weather Source (U.S. Weather) (NOAA, National Weather Service)
• Plymouth State Weather Center
• Unisys
• Wind chill is a terrible, misleading metric. So why do we still use it? (Joseph Stromberg, Box, 1-19-16). Why it's misleading, why we should drop it, and why it lingers on.
Earthquake watches
• USGS earthquake watch
• QUAKES (live earthquakes map)
• Seismic Monitor (click on map to zoom)
• Earthquake Warning Report: Japan
Volcano watches
• Volcano Hazards Program (USGS, U.S. Volcanoes and Current Activity Alerts)
• Volcano Discovery (reports on volcano activity around the world)
• 2017 Hurricanes and Aerosols Simulation (YouTube viceo, NASA Goddard) Visual showing how scientists create simulations of how the atmosphere works, by tracking what is carried on the wind, using mathematical models.

Historical weather information
• 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?
• Weather Underground. Click on More, then Historical Weather. Goes back only to 1945 (on my searches).
• National Weather Service (Weather-Ready-Nation, Finding past weather...Fast). See instructions for certified weather data for use in litigation.
• National Centers for Environmental Information (part of NOAA, extensive array of climate datasets)
• 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.
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Geography, maps, and travel sites

• National Geographic Atlas (zoomable version, also available as an app)
• Great geography and map websites for kids (American Library Association)
• GeoNames Search (Foreign Place Names). GeoNames Server (GNS), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
• David Rumsey Map Collection
• CIA World Factbook (rank order pages on such data as population, birth rate, GDP, energy production and consumption, spending, health, transportation, and communications)
• Mapquest (which has gotten clunky over time)
• Bing maps
• (find distance by road miles)
• Rick Steves' European trip-planning links
• Best Road Trip Apps (John Corpuz, Tom's Guide)
• XE Currency Converter (live rates--today's value)
• Oanda currency converter (FX currency converter for 164 currencies)
(Mind you, for a complex trip I use a travel agent.)
• Priceline (all aspects of travel, easy to navigate)
• Cheap Tickets (good for flights and hotels)
• Cheap Air (airline tickets)
• Expedia (vacation packages)
• Travelocity
• Orbitz (valued for its transparency)
• Hotwire (all-purpose but especially good at hotels)
• AirGorilla (good for international travel)
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Info on 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)
•, 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)
• Jewish Virtual Library (a project of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise)
• The Holy Qur'an (searchable--a compilation of the verbal revelations given to the Holy Prophet Muhammad)
• 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)
• Virtual Bible Project/a> (podcast). See their graphic resources (accordances, Bible atlases, etc.)
• 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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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) ( 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)
• Periodic Table of Accounting Elements (Open Colleges)
• 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 (
• Metric prefixes (Wikipedia)
• Math & Numbers (
• 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
• Read online: The New Precision Journalism by Philip Meyer
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Calculators and conversion tools,
for $$ and otherwise

• Amortization Schedule Calculator
• Calculators and converters for algebra, statistics, geometry, calculus, day/​date, units, physics, chemistry, weather, colors, etc. (Easy
• CPI Inflation Calculator (Consumer Price Index, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
•, 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.)
• Currency converters:
---Oanda currency converter (FX currency converter for 164 currencies)
---XE Currency Converter (live rates--today's value)
• 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)
• Good calculators (online calculators with amazing range of specialties)
• 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).
• Inflation Calculator (CPI, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
• Martindale's Online Center for Calculators (calculators, applets, spreadsheets, and more, including courses, lectures, manuals, handbooks, videos, simulations, and animations)
• 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)
• 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)
• Metric Conversions (mobile-friendly charts and calculators for metric conversions)
• Percentage Calculator
• Online conversion (Convert just about anything to anything else) For example, see Cooking Conversions
• Weird Converter (a tool for comparing sizes and weights that can help give readers perspective--for example, how many kegs of beer would it take to fill the Grand Canyon)
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Calendars, world clocks, perpetual calendars, calendar converters, and time converters

• (perpetual calendar, world clock, time zones, stop watch, etc.)
• TheTimeNow World Clock (WCAG 2.0 compatible)
• The World Clock (
• 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 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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• 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 (, 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)
• Consumer Reports (the very best)
• 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.
• Washington Consumers' Checkbook (excellent ratings for important categories, from automobiles to health care professionals)
• Ratings for hospitals, doctors, surgeons, home health agencies, nursing homes (Pat McNees,
• 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. (No original research.)
• 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."
• Wikipedia Manual of Style
• Identifying reliable sources (Wikipedia)
• Control over Wikipedia content (Wikipedia policy)
• No original research (Wikipedia policy. See Primary, secondary and tertiary sources "Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published secondary sources and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources and primary sources. Secondary or tertiary sources are needed to establish the topic's notability and to avoid novel interpretations of primary sources."
Consensus (Wikipedia) Consensus is Wikipedia's fundamental model for editorial decision making, and is marked by addressing legitimate concerns held by editors through a process of compromise while following Wikipedia policies.
• 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!
• What Open Source is and how it was started and how it works (Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Clay Shirky, and others, on TED Radio Hour, 3-17-17)
• 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 things like transport protocol)
• Refrigerator FAQs (
• Toasters: The Inside Story (The Toaster Museum Foundation)
• Mad Scientists Network
• 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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Military ranks and other hierarchies

• U.S. Military Ranks (Infoplease, by pay grade, Army and Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard, Air Force, total
• U.S. Army ranks, lowest to highest, with insignia (Military Factory)
• U.S. Navy ranks, lowest to highest, with insignia (Military Factory)
• Uniformed Services Rank Chart (with insignias, U.S. Dept of Defense, includes mental health professionals)
• Hierarchy of the Catholic Church (Wikipedia) (Roughly: Pope, cardinal, archbishop, bishop, priest, deacon)
• Command Hierarchy (Wikipedia). See chart, Military Organization, ascending order, with typical commander: fireteam, squad/​section, platoon, company, battalion/​cohort, regiment/​brigade, division/​legion, corps, field army, army group, region/​theater, etc.

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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)
• Baking pan conversion chart ( For given pan size, how many cups? or equivalent to what size in another shape pan?
• Kitchen measurement and conversion charts (
• Oven Temperature Conversion Chart (Inspired Taste)
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People finders. (First: sources, journalists, and bloggers)

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).

More 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
• Criminal searches
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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:/​/​​QuoteResearch. A good example--who said, "Writing is easy; you just open a vein and bleed.". Be sure to read For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Said. (Ben Yagoda, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3-29-17)
• 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
• LibQuotes (click on icon for source)
• Quotations Home Page
• Quotations Page
• The Quote Garden
• Quote Investigator
• Quotations about Science (The Quotation Page)
• 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)

• 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.
• (Acronyms & Abbreviations)
• Acronym Finder (AF), look up acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms. Combined with Acronym Attic.
• Acronyma (acronyms and abbreviations in several languages
• Chat Acronyms and Text Shorthand (Netlingo)
• Text messaging and SMS abbreviations (Webopedia, slow-loading because huge)
• 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)

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)

Place Finders. Software for locating old place names. Linda Coffin of HistoryCrafters ( recommends two simple pieces of software, Animap and SiteFinder, put out by Goldbug software (, 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,, tweetmeme, Fark, Slashdot, friendfeed, clipmarks,, Diigo, DZone, 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 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 (, current times around the world, by time zones) (a searchable online international food dictionary)

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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:/​/​​) as well as the "Accuracy in Media" sites it links to.
• (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 (
• 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:/​/​ – offer an extensive searchable archive with excellent information.

  • The urban legends page of – http:/​/​– 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:/​/​​– provides good articles and searching capability.

  • Another venerable Internet resource is – http:/​/​– 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.


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:/​/​ 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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