Lose Your Wikipedia Crutch: 100 Places to Go for Good Answers Online

Jul 1st, 2008

By Christina Laun

While Wikipedia isn’t likely to lose its status as the first place people look for quick answers anytime soon, there are loads of other sites out there that can provide you with information, some of which may even be better and more accurate. Whether you’re researching for a school paper or just settling a bet with a friend, here are 100 places you can find all the answers you need quickly and easily online.

General

Find answers to all kinds of questions through these sites.

  1. InfoPlease: Visitors to this site will be treated to an almanac, atlas, encyclopedia, dictionary and much more, which should be more than enough to find information on just about anything you’d need.
  2. Ask Deb: Professional researchers and writers answer questions on various subjects, including dating, careers, personal finance, and beauty.
  3. About.com: This site provides articles on a huge variety of subjects, many of which provide useful information or can link you to sites that have what you’re looking for.
  4. Refdesk.com: Billed as a "fact check for the Internet," this site provides a range of resources that make it easy to search the web, check an encyclopedia or dictionary, read the news and much more.
  5. Reference.com: Part of the Dictionary.com site, this online resource provides access to many encyclopedia articles, as well as the accompanying dictionary and thesaurus.
  6. Answers.com: Answers.com provides visitors with access to articles from sites and journals all over the Web.
  7. Factbites: Called a cross between a search engine and an encyclopedia, this site is designed to make searching for information easier by filtering out information and only giving you the most relevant results.

Library and Reference

Search through library archives and do academic research on these sites.

  1. Oxford Journals: Look through all the journals published by Oxford and find many articles that are free to read and download.
  2. eBrary: Many libraries give full access to eBrary’s collections, but if you don’t have one near to you that does, you can use this page and still enjoy looking through loads of books and journals.
  3. ibiblio: This site is full of public domain information including maps, books, pictures and much more that you can use in your next research project.
  4. LibrarySpot: Find a myriad of library resources on this site as well as links to other authoritative sites and encyclopedias online.
  5. WorldCat: Save yourself a trip to the library and find out if a library has the information you need before you go. This site allows users to find libraries in their area that have the books and materials they need.
  6. Internet Public Library: This site puts together a great repository of links to authoritative sites all over the Web on topics like history, law, computers and more.

User Contributed

Like Wikipedia, these sites draw their information from user contributions.

  1. Scholarpedia: This site looks and functions very similarly to Wikipedia with some major differences. Each article is written and edited by an expert in the field, and all articles must be approved before they become part of the site, helping to ensure the information you get is accurate.
  2. WorldBrainBook: WorldBrainBook provides a means by which everyday people can share what they know on a wide range of topics, from arts and crafts to extreme sports.
  3. Open-Site: Open-Site is a free online encyclopedia that is user contributed and monitored by editors, and can be a good alternative source of information to Wikipedia.
  4. Duno: This site allows authors, amateur and professional, to write and publish articles and get paid for them through an advertising program. Visitors to the site can browse through the articles to find helpful information.
  5. Internet Encyclopedia: Also called Wikinfo, this site provides a similar format to Wikipedia but with some different ideas when it comes to editing, often encouraging independent research and the mandate that articles represent the topic in a positive or objective manner.
  6. Conservapedia: Feeling that Wikipedia had a liberal bias, this site was created, giving the conservative perspective on a wide range of topics.
  7. Citizendium: Citizendium aims to create a user contributed encyclopedia that focuses on quality and readability rather than quantity, and it encourages visitors not only to read articles but to collaborate as well.
  8. WikiHow: The Wikipedia of how-to manuals, this site provides step by step instructions from other users on how to do just about anything you could imagine.
  9. Instructables: Taking the idea of a user-contributed how-to site one step further, Instructables provides visitors with a huge number of user-created instructional videos.
  10. Veropedia: Want to only read the best of what Wikipedia has to offer? This site can help, filtering out the best articles from Wikipedia and placing them on this site.

Encyclopedias

Look up just about anything in these online encyclopedias.

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica Online: Search through millions of entries in this large online encyclopedia or check out timelines, an atlas and more.
  2. MSN Encarta: MSN provides this online reference site with loads of articles, an atlas, dictionary and most importantly, an encyclopedia.
  3. Medical Encyclopedia: Find answers to all your medical questions through this large medical encyclopedia from MedlinePlus.
  4. Encyclopedia Smithsonian: Browse through information related to all the of vast collections held by the Smithsonian on this informative and useful site.
  5. Encyclopedia.com: This HighBeam site combines information from sources like the Oxford University Press, Britannica, and the Columbia Encyclopedia.
  6. Classic Encyclopedia: Look through the articles from this 1911 version of an encyclopedia and get a historical perspective on your information.
  7. Probert Encyclopedia: This free online encyclopedia contains over 235,000 cross-referenced and interlinked sites and 15000 illustrations, and it focuses on a few key topics.
  8. OpenTopia: Browse through encyclopedia articles here or enjoy access to a variety of webcams, online tools and more.
  9. Questia: While not entirely free, this site can prove to be a great research tool, with articles on hundreds of topics.

Science and Math

Find answers to all your math and science inquiries here.

  1. HowStuffWorks: Whether you want to know how your toaster works or learn about nuclear power, you’ll find all the details on this highly informative site.
  2. PhysLink.com: Answer all your questions about physics with a little help from this site.
  3. NatureServe Explorer: Here you can look up information on all kinds of species of birds, butterflies, mammals and more.
  4. Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences: Make sense of your math with this easy to search site.
  5. Encyclopedia of Life: This site contains a huge archive of information on numerous plants, animals, fungi, bacteria and all other kinds of living things.
  6. PlantCare.com: Find out why your houseplants are shriveling up and learn to take care of them with help and information from this site.
  7. Encyclopedia of Earth: Find articles that relate to all the life, geological processes and much more that make up the environment of our planet in this great online resource.
  8. Physics Encyclopedia: Look up physics terms and information through this helpful site.
  9. The Internet Encyclopedia of Science: Astronomer David Darling maintains this site which is an A-Z reference for a wide range of science related topics.
  10. Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics: Look up astronomy terms and people of interest with this informative online encyclopedia.
  11. Wolfram MathWorld: Find help with everything from number theory to basic geometry on this site.
  12. PRIME Mathematics Encyclopedia: This site is a great reference for almost any question related to doing or teaching mathematics.
  13. Scirus: This search engine will give you results related only to science, making it easier and faster to find the information you need from journals and science websites.
  14. Botany.com: Not sure if that’s poison ivy growing in your backyard? This site provides loads of photos and information on plants from all over the world.

Social Studies

These reference sites deal with social studies and historical issues.

  1. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Find the names of many philosophers and their ideas in this helpful encyclopedia from Stanford University.
  2. glbtq: Look up information about the gay, lesbian, transgender and queer culture in this encyclopedia.
  3. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Here you can find everything you ever wanted to know about philosophy in one easy to search place.
  4. Encyclopedia of Psychology: Learn all about mental illnesses, famous psychologists and theories through this online resource.
  5. HyperHistory: This site attempts to cover 3,000 years of world history. Browse by people, places or events to find what you need.
  6. LookLex: Formerly known as the Encyclopedia of the Orient, this resource specializes in information from North Africa and the Middle East.
  7. Perseus: Find all you ever wanted to know about Greek history and Mythology on this site, loaded with articles and pictures.

Fine Art

Find information on all kinds of art through these sites.

  1. The Artchive: This site provides an easy way to find out about numerous artists, their work and their time period as well as to browse images.
  2. Oxford Music Online: This site provides a gateway into music research and a place to get new and forthcoming Oxford music reference articles.
  3. Artcyclopedia: Search for a particular artist, painting, period and much more on this helpful and informative site.
  4. Instrument Encyclopedia: Find out more about any kind of instrument on this University of Michigan site.
  5. Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: Learn about music from all over the world through the information provided by this reference site.
  6. ArtLex: Find out the meaning behind any art related word in this art dictionary.
  7. DancePedia: Here you’ll be able to access all kinds of information on different styles of dance and famous dancers.
  8. Musicals101: Lovers of musicals will appreciate this reference site, with hundreds of entries on stage and movie musicals.
  9. Improv Encyclopedia: If you’re into improv yourself or just want to find out more about it, you’ll find games, a reference resource and an online glossary here.
  10. Internet Movie Database: This site is the ultimate resource for those looking for information on anyone in the film business from directors to stunt doubles.
  11. All Music Guide: Learn about new and old bands as well as information on all kinds of music-related issues on this site.

Language and Literature

Whether you need to know what a word means or want to look up a work of literature, you’ll find help with these links.

  1. WordReference: Look up words in English, Spanish, Italian and French using this great online site.
  2. Bartleby: This site provides loads of books to students and researchers with information on poetry, fiction and nonfiction at your fingertips.
  3. AskOxford: Based off the Oxford English Dictionary, this site provides reference material as well as tips to improve writing and a chance to ask questions of experts.
  4. BrainyQuote: Find out where those famous quotes came from with this great online quotation resource.
  5. Merriam Webster: Look up just about any word in this free online dictionary.
  6. Dictionary.com: This easy-to-use dictionary can help you find the meaning or spelling of any word. As a bonus you’ll get access to a crossword dictionary and fun games as well.
  7. Urban Dictionary: Keep up with the slang the kids are using these days with this site which provides an easy reference point for looking up words.
  8. Visual Thesaurus: Get a visual map of synonyms and antonyms using this different take on the thesaurus.
  9. BookRags: Get study help and information on literature with the study guides, summaries, essays and biographies from this site.
  10. Encyclopedia Mythica: If something has been written about mythology, religion or folklore, you’ll be able to find it here with this helpful online search engine and resource collection.

Technology

Tech jargon can be confusing, but you can find help through these sites.

  1. WhatIs.com: Find definitions of thousands of technology and computer terms here, as well as helpful glossaries and cheat sheets.
  2. TechEncylopedia: Find definitions and help on over 20,000 IT related terms on this TechWeb site.
  3. Webopedia: Use this site the next time you’re feeling clueless as to what all those techie abbreviations mean.
  4. Internet Archive: Learn about the history of the Internet and much more on this informative site.
  5. WebReference: Web dwellers will enjoy the reference material from this site, which provides archives of news, advice and how-to articles.

Question and Answer

If you have a question that needs answering, you can ask it and get help on these sites.

  1. Yahoo! Answers: Ask any question that comes to mind and get answers from others online using this Yahoo! sponsored site.
  2. AllExperts: Ask your questions that need the help of an expert on this site.
  3. The Straight Dope: Cecil Adams answers a weekly question on this site with topics that range from the reasons for hiccups to reality TV show inquiries.
  4. wiseGEEK: This site provides a place to ask your tech related questions and find answers from over 24,000 articles.
  5. Answerbag: Find answers to questions on social, medical, local and shopping questions on this user contributed site.
  6. Microsoft Live QnA: Here you can ask any question, serious or silly, and get answers from other users.
  7. Yedda: Yedda allows users to ask a question on any topic and "get personalized answers from relevant people."
  8. Wondir: Ask questions and get the answers you need from other users on this site.
  9. Askville: Sponsored by Amazon, this site allows users to ask a question on any topic and get and give answers to others.
  10. Cornbrain: If you have a few bucks to spare, you can get researched and professional answers from this site.
  11. Ask a Librarian: Have a question on research, literature or anything else a librarian could help you with? Find the answers you need using this site.

Miscellaneous

These sites are full of all kinds of information to help you.

  1. Acronym Finder: Not sure what all those letters stand for? Figure it out using the information on this site.
  2. eHow: Learn how to do just about anything on this instructive site from sewing in a zipper to putting up wallpaper.
  3. FreeAdvice: If you’ve got a legal problem you need help with and want a little information first, you can find loads of it at this site.
  4. Snopes: Find out whether or not that email your aunt sent you was for real or unravel a host of other urban legends through the information you’ll find here.
  5. timeanddate: Want to know what happened today in history? Check out this site for information.
  6. Symbols.com: Find information about thousands of symbols from their history to uses today through this informative site.
  7. Catholic Encyclopedia: This site provides visitors with a wealth of information on the Catholic religion.
  8. The Educator’s Reference Desk: Teachers can find thousands of reference materials here to help them plan lessons, manage classes and much more.
  9. Physician’s Desktop Reference: This reference site will help you to find information on a wide range of medial conditions, medications and illnesses.
  10. Baseball Reference: Find all kinds of baseball stats and historical information for players, teams and the sport as a whole using this reference.
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