Useful Reference Sites

People that frequent the Straight Dope are doubtless interested in finding factual answers to difficult questions. Here are some reference sites that provide useful information on a variety of subjects.

The Straight Dope

The Straight Dope Archive: The One Perfect Source of All Knowledge (searchable)

SDMB Search: Search previous Straight Dope MB threads

Search Engines

Google: The de facto standard in search engines

Yahoo: The Internet organized by categories

dmoz Open Directory: Human-edited Internet directory which removes the chaff

General Information and Reference

Internet Search Tutorial: How to find information on the Internet

Reference Desk: Links to multiple reference sites

Library Spot: More links to more reference sites

Internet Public Library: Reference center laid out like a library

Librarian’s Index to the Internet: Another library reference center

Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit

Britannica Online: A complete online encyclopedia

Information Please: Online encyclopedia and almanac

Notes and Queries: General Q&A over a wide range of topics

Internet FAQ Consortium: Links to Usenet FAQs of all types

Urban Legends

Snopes: Comprehensive searchable list of urban legends

Urban Legends: alt.folklore.urban and urban legend archive

English Words, Language, and Literature

Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus: Word spelling, usage, and origins

alt.usage.english FAQ: info on usage and word origins

Pseudodictionary: Slang and colloquialisms

Origin of English Sayings: Where English idioms and sayings come from

Word Oddities and Trivia: All sorts of odd and interesting word facts

Puzzle Depot: Anagrams, puzzles, and wordplay

Anagram Engine: Create anagrams, solve crosswords, etc.

Searchable Plays of Shakespeare: Search the works of the Bard

Quotations Page: Searchable quotations

Project Gutenburg: Complete texts of non-copyrighted books

Bibliomania: Free online literature

Babelfish translations: Back-and-forth translations among major world languages

Medicine and Health

Centers for Disease Control: Public health news and statistics

WebMD: Info on health and diseases

Go Ask Alice: Medical information and advice

PubMed Medline: Medical journals database

Places and Maps

CIA World Fact Book: Information on numerous countries

Find a Grave: Find graves for all sorts of people

Google Maps: Maps, directions, satellite view, street view

Map Quest: Maps from all over

Terraserver: USGS satellite imagery and topographical maps

Science and Technology

The Last Word: Questions and answers on everyday science phenomena

Ask a Scientist: Search real answers to real science questions

How Stuff Works: Find out how all sorts of gadgets and processes really work

Mad Science Network: Online labs, science Q&A, and science info

Conversion of Units: Automatic unit converter

International System of Units: Introduction and information on SI units

Physical Constants: Numerous physical constant values & uncertainty

Web Elements: All about the elements

Bad Science: Debunking scientific fallacies

Bad Astronomy: Debunking astronomical fallacies

Heavens Above: Satellites and star charts

Hubble Telescope: Pictures from Hubble

Animal Diversity Web: All about animals


Eric Weisstein’s World of Mathematics: Tons of information all about mathematics

The Pi-Search Page: Search for a string in Pi + links to download billions of digits

The Integrator: Online integrator from the makers of Mathematica

Numbers in Over 4500 Languages: Count in any language you want

Online Calculators: Not just for mathematics: calculations in numerous subject areas


Internet Movie Database: Everything you wanted to know about the movies

Ultimate Band List: Search for all kinds of music

Big Cartoon Database: Searchable database of cartoons

Simpsons FAQ: FAQ of

Television Without Pity: Irreverent reviews of popular US television shows

The Baseball Archive: Stats and history of baseball


Catholic Encyclopedia: Information on Catholic teachings

Judaism 101: Information on Judaism

Bible Gateway: Multiple Bible versions in several languages

The Holy Qur’an: Searchable Koran

King James Bible: Searchable KJV Bible

Online Bibles: Links to multiple Bible versions

Skepticism and Debate

Skeptic’s Dictionary: Pseudoscience and the paranormal

Talk Origins Archive: Evolution v. Creation Science

Quackwatch: Guide to health frauds

Logic and Fallacies: Intro to arguments and logical fallacies

Government, Politics, and Law

Gov Spot: Links to hundreds of government entities

Vote Smart: Find out information about USA elected officials

UK Government Online: Links to all British government sites

Federal Government Central Directory: statistics gathered by USA government

US National Archives: Archives and records from all branches of the US government

Statistical Abstract of the US: USA Population census

Internet Guide to Law and Politics: Informative and current law-related Internet resources

Find Law: Law and legal resources

List of links thanks to Straight Dope Message Board members Alphagene, Arnold Winkelried, Colibri, UncleBeer, flowbark, Crusoe, cainxinth, and zut.

Page layout and link consolidation by Straight Dope Message Board member zut.