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Virtual Reference Sites

Writing Research -  Virtual Reference Sites

Here is a guide to virtual reference websites ranging on various topics such as encyclopedias, almanacs, dictionaries, thesauri, translators, phone directories, calculators, clocks, calculators, resources on acronyms and abbreviations, maps, books and periodicals, as well as resources on business, art, literature, medicine, law, science, architecture, U.S. history, education grants and genealogy.  Having this guide will help you save a lot of time when doing any type of research if you need a wide variety of references.  Take a look at our other valuable information on English as you continue you research and studies.

Encyclopedias and Almanacs

Encyclopedias provide informative articles on a wide array of topics. An almanac is similar to an encyclopedia, but is an annual publication and focuses on lists of facts and statistical information. The following is a list of popular encyclopedias and almanacs online.

Dictionaries, Thesauri and Translators

The following references are useful language tools to find definitions, synonyms and translations for words or phrases in various languages.

Phone Directories

These are links to various contact directories as well as phone and mail resources.


A calculator is a device or program that aids in performing math functions or in the calculation of formula’s and equations. Many general and specific calculators are available online, at the links below.

Clocks and Calendars

The following links are resources for telling the time and date in the U.S. and around the world.

Resources on Acronyms and Abbreviations

Abbreviations are shortened versions of words or phrases. Acronyms are a form of abbreviations where each letter stands for a word in a title or phrase. The following links can be used to determine what various abbreviations and acronyms stand for.


This section provides links to various regional and world maps, many of which are interactive.

Books and Periodicals

The following links provide resources where various books and periodicals that can be read online.

Business Resources

Businesses provide goods and services to the people of the U.S. and are the backbone of the U.S. economy. Below are useful links for the research of various business topics, including consumer information.

Art Resources

Art can be almost anything that is deliberate in design and made with the intention of affecting its viewer. There are several different mediums of art and it has a rich history spanning almost all regions and time periods of human history. The following links are useful in researching the topic of art.

Literature Resources

Literature is the art of the written word, both fiction and non-fiction, used to examine the human condition. The links below are great resources for research on the subject of literature.

Medical Resources

The following resources are useful for researching various medical and health topics, self diagnosis and research on medical studies.

Legal Resources

Resources for researching legal issues, case law, statutes and regulations.

Science Resources

The links below are useful in researching various fields of science, as student, teacher or professional.

Architecture Resources

Architecture is the design and implementation of construction for buildings, cities and other physical structures. The following is a list of useful architecture links.

U.S. History Resources

U.S. history spans hundreds of years, from British colonization in the 17th century all the way to the attacks on the World Trade Centers in 2001. The following resources explore this rich and vibrant history.

Education Resources

For parents, students and teachers of all levels, the following links provide educational resources, school indexes and curriculum online.

Resources for Children

Some topics of research can be very difficult for children, due to their complex nature. The following links help to make various research topics more accessible to youth and offer assistance by presenting material in a child-friendly manner.

Grant Resources

Grants are sums of money awarded by various organizations and government, sometimes under certain stipulations or requirements, that do not have to be repaid. These resources provide information about various grant programs.

Genealogy Resources

Genealogy is the study of successive generations of kin, or family. Find your family and ancestors or perform general genealogy research using the following links.

Other Useful Links