Quick Reference: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, etc.
Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia - Searchable full-text of Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, 2017. Includes over 25,000 encyclopedic entries covering a wide variety of subject areas. You will be prompted to enter your name, library barcode number, and PIN to log in.
World Almanac for Kids VIDEO INTERACTIVE - Resources for homework, reports, and projects in a fun format from a trusted source; written for students in 4th - 8th grade. Covers a wide range of topics in the arts, sciences, social studies, language arts, biography, and more. From Facts on File / Infobase. If you're using this resource at home, you'll have to enter your library card barcode to begin.
Conversion Calculators (Measurements) - See Calculator and related links.
Data: Our World in Data - Collects and interprets recent data on key issues such as population, health, poverty, hunger, energy, education, climate change, war, and others (University of Oxford, UK). See also Statistics in Schools Resources NEW! & Fast Facts by Decade (U.S. Census). See Statistical Data [Archived page; expect broken links] for other selected links to statistics on a wide variety of subjects (South Plainfield Public Library).
Encyclopædia Britannica® [NOTE: Some material is available only to paid subscribers.] - 'Fact-checked online encyclopedia from Encyclopaedia Britannica with hundreds of thousands of objective articles, biographies, videos, and images from experts.' (Site includes advertisements)
Guiness World Records VIDEO - A selection of Guiness World Records, with related facts and photos for each entry, and videos for many. Also includes a separate kids page NEW!. (Site includes advertisements)
Statistical Data - See Data links, above.
Online Learning Materials
Universal Class: Free online non-credit courses for your personal enrichment. Courses are accessible 24/7 via the Internet, and are offered in a wide variety of subjects, including business, computers, cooking, crafts & hobbies, do-it-yourself, health, history, home & garden, office skills, parenting & family, personal care, psychology, real estate, self-help, religious & spiritual studies, web development, writing, and more. You will have up to 6 months to finish each course, and each course has a real instructor you can communicate with by email! (From Recorded Books) To sign up for classes, you'll need to register on the site and choose a username & password for your account.
Children's University of Manchester [Some parts of this website use Flashplayer. Flashplayer has been discontinued, so these features do not work] - Online learning materials on Ancient Egypt, Words, Textiles, and Teeth & Eating. For elementary and middle school students; uses British spelling. (University of Manchester, UK)
Crash Course - Free educational videos for high school and college students, covering topics ranging from the humanities to the sciences. (From PBS. Videos hosted on YouTube; site includes advertisements)
Enchanted Learning - Geography, science, animals, dinosaurs, inventors, explorers, crafts, and more. For elementary school students. (By educational web / software developers Jeananda Col and Mitchell Spector; site includes advertisements)
Khan Academy VIDEO INTERACTIVE [Use the 'Courses' dropdown list to choose a topic] - Free instructional videos, practice exercises, and a personalized learning dashboard that allows you to study at your own pace; covers math, science, computer programming, history, arts, economics, and more. Includes resources for all ages from kindergarten and up. Content is created by a large group of contributors. (Non-profit organization)
Interactives: Annenberg Learner Interactives INTERACTIVE [Archived page; some interactives are outdated] - A small collection of interactive presentations designed to enhance and improve your skills in math, science, language, history, and arts; mostly for high school students. For related video courses, see Annenberg Media, below. (1997 - 2016, Annenberg Media).
Library of Congress Classroom Resources - A collection of primary source sets, presentations, lesson plans and other educational materials (Library of Congress). See Primary Source Sets for additional primary sources from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States.
National Academies Press - The National Academies Press publishes more than scholarly 200 books a year on a wide range of topics in science, engineering, social sciences and medicine. This site offers thousands of titles published in the last several decades (most from the 1990s to the present); almost all can be downloaded for free in PDF format, by the chapter or the entire book. For college or advanced high school students. (National Academy of Sciences)
Online classes - See Sites for Seniors: Education.
Online course materials - See MERLOT, below.
Open Stax - Free peer-reviewed, online college-level textbooks in math, science, social science, humanities, business, and AP® (Rice University). See also MERLOT, below, and Sites for Seniors: Education.
Smithsonian for Kids INTERACTIVE - An assortment of fun learning resources for kids, including games, web cams, activities and quizzes on a variety of topics.
Search Tools & Databases
Databases & Free Premium Resources - Search magazines, newspapers & other reference materials in our online databases & research tools: EbscoHost student resources, Salem History, Rosetta Stone Language Online, and more! Access online classes, ebooks, audiobooks, and streaming media, too! If you're using these resources at home, you'll have to enter your library card barcode to begin.
Facts on File Reference Databases - A diverse collection of reference databases on American History, American Women's History, African-American History, American Indian History, Modern World History, Ancient & Medieval History, World Geography & Culture, Science, Health Reference Center, Blooms Literary Reference, Fergusons Career Guidance Center, Curriculum Resource Centers.
EBSCOHost databases - Full-text magazine & newspaper articles, in English, Spanish, German, & French, plus business, health, current events, and academic databases, homework resources for elementary and middle school research, and more. When you login to EBSCOHost with your mobile device to access all the EBSCOHost databases, EBSCOhost automatically recognizes that you are a mobile user and displays the correct version.
Google Scholar [NOTE: Many of the resources which appear in Google Scholar search results are NOT available for free.] - A Google search engine which searches only scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research, as well as patents and legal opinions/journals. For upper-level students.
Research Beyond Google - Guide to searching the 'invisible web' to find authoritative information sources on a variety of subjects. High school and up; expect broken links. (2013, Open Education Database; site includes advertisements)
Study Aids, Tips & Tools
How to Write a Paper & Cite Sources
Academic Advancement Center Study Strategies - Tips and tools to help you organize your time, take & review notes effectively, improve memory & concentration, and prepare for exams. This site is designed for first-year college students, but college-bound high school students should find it useful as well (Ohio University).
Crash Course: Study Skills UPDATED LINK! VIDEO - Based on introductory college-level material and scientific studies, this 10-episode video course takes you through the tools and skills you need to get better at studying and finishing assignments in school and beyond. (From Crash Course)
Create A Graph INTERACTIVE - Choose the type of graph to create, enter your data, and this site will create a printable chart or graph for you. Includes a tutorial for beginners. (National Center for Education Statistics)
Critical Thinking Web - Online tutorials, quiz, and other materials will help you understand what critical thinking is, why it is important, and how to develop your critical thinking skills. (2004 - 2017, Joe Lau & Jonathan Chan; University of Hong Kong).
Quizzes INTERACTIVE - Fun quizzes and games to test and improve your knowledge of math, vocabulary, geography, history, or an assortment of other subjects; quizzes are presented in easy, medium and hard versions. (Sheppard Software; site includes advertisements).
Researching a Paper - See How to Write a Paper & Cite Sources, below.
Spark Notes [NOTE: Free registration required to access some resources.] - Free online study guides for literature, math, science, history, and more. Login to Freading with your library card number to download FREE SparkNotes Study Guides on literature, history, philosophy, and film, in ePUB format! See also Cliffs Notes.
How to Write a Paper and Cite Sources
Basic Steps in the Research Process- A step-by-step guide to research, from choosing a topic through citing sources; high school and up (Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Cambridge, MA). Writer's Handbook (University of Wisconsin) provides additional guidance for writing research papers, as well as literary analysis papers, scientific reports, and college application essays; suitable for high school and college students. Oregon School Library Information System's Guides for Elementary School students VIDEO and Middle & High School students VIDEO provide advice to younger students on how to do research, choose resources, find information, take notes, cite sources, and more; both guides include an automatic interactive 'citation maker'. See also Writing Handouts and related links, below. [NOTE: For access to databases & premium research sources (such as EbscoHost) mentioned in these guides, go to our ONLINE DATABASES page.]
Citation Maker INTERACTIVE - You can use this tool to create a Works Cited or Reference list of research sources following the MLA or APA standard citation formats; you will need to properly capitalize entries yourself (Oregon School Library Information System). See also Zotero, below. Citing Sources offers links to instructions for citing magazine articles, books, websites, and other sources in your term paper bibliography in various citation styles including APA, Turabian, MLA, Chicago and others (Duke University). The official Chicago Manual of Style Online is no longer free, but you can check the Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide to see sample citations for both printed and electronic sources (University of Chicago Press).
Creativity, Copyright, and Fair Use VIDEO - This short animated video encourages students to think about copyright law and the appropriate ways to use original work responsibly (2020, Common Sense Media; video hosted on YouTube). For more information on copyright and fair use, see Copyright FAQ, Fair Use FAQ, Public Domain FAQ, Glossary of Terms, and related educational resources (2019, Electronic Frontier Foundation). See also Finding Public Domain & Creative Commons Media and Plagiarism links, below.
Electra Guide Thesis Builder INTERACTIVE - This interactive tool asks you a few simple questions to help you create a thesis for an essay and generate an outline; the 'Topic-O-Rama' will suggest some good topics if you don't have one. For high school students. (2015; by Tom March, a web-based educational designer and former classroom teacher)
Evaluating Internet Information - See Evaluating Websites and related links.
Evaluating Print Sources UPDATED LINK! [Link opens a PDF] - Basic guidelines for evaluating the quality of print sources such as books and journals. See also Identifying Scholarly Journals, Peer Reviewed/Refereed. Journals, Magazines and Trade Publications UPDATED LINK! [Link opens a PDF] (2006 - 2017, Florida Gulf Coast University), and Evaluating Information - Applying the CRAAP Test (2020, California State University, Chico) & CRAAP Test video VIDEO (2018, by School librarian Jessica Pool; hosted on YouTube).
Finding Public Domain & Creative Commons Media - This guide will help you find and correctly cite public domain and Creative Commons media (images, audio, video) for your project or presentation (2020, Harvard University). See also Copyright and Fair Use links, above.
Paradigm Online Writing Assistant INTERACTIVE - 'An interactive, menu-driven, online writer's guide and handbook.' Explains how to find a topic, organize your essay, revise and edit your writing, and document your sources. Use the menu bar across the top to navigate. (By Chuck Guilford, Boise State University; site includes advertisements)
Plagiarism: What Is Plagiarism? - This guide for kids explains what plagiarism is and how to avoid it; elementary school and up (2019, KidsHealth.org). More advanced students, see Avoiding Plagiarism UPDATED LINK! [NOTE: Use the menu to see different aspects of the topic] and What You Need to Know About Plagiarism [Link opens a PDF] (2016, New Jersey State Bar Foundation); high school and up (Purdue University). See also Copyright and Fair Use links, above.
Writing Center Handouts (University of North Carolina) VIDEO - Tips & tools on a broad range of writing topics, including specific writing assignments & contexts such as book reviews, comparing/contrasting, essay exams, poetry explications & speeches, and writing on specific subjects such as literature, history, & science. See also Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines (Harvard University), Subject-Specific Resources (Purdue) UPDATED LINK! [NOTE: Use the menu to see different subjects] and Writing in the Disciplines (University of Richmond) for more guidance on writing in specific subject areas, as well as other writing advice. Writing Handouts (University of Toronto) offer advice on organizing an essay, using quotations, paraphrase & summary, passive voice, and related subjects, plus tips on Writing a Philosophy Essay, Writing about Literature, Writing for the Public, and Writing in the Sciences. Writing Guides (University of Kentucky) is a collection of online college-level writing guides and links on a variety of topics, including Academic Essays, Avoiding Plagiarism, Critical Thinking, Reading, and Study Strategies, The Writing Process, Writing Your Research, Citing and Documenting Your Sources, Grammar and Usage, Personal and Professional Writing, Theses and Dissertations, and more. Essay Writing: The Basics (University of New South Wales, Australia) provides a brief, step-by-step overview of the process of writing an academic essay, with links to additional help. See also Basic Steps in the Research Process, above.
Zotero - A free, open-source tool that helps you collect, organize, and analyze research and share it in a variety of ways. Zotero collects all your research in a single, searchable interface. You can add PDFs, images, audio and video files, snapshots of web pages, and more. Zotero is now a single standalone application for users of all browsers; available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. (Center for History and New Media, George Mason University)
MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) VIDEO INTERACTIVE - Tens of thousands of discipline-specific learning materials including textbooks, tutorials, online courses, animations & simulations, and more. All of these items have been contributed by the MERLOT member community and have been reviewed for suitability. Use the filters to browse by discipline, material type, grade level, and other attributes. (California State University System et al.)
Wikipedia - See Evaluating Websites and related links.
Audio / Video Resources
Annenberg Media VIDEO INTERACTIVE - A collection of online video courses, interactives, and other learning materials on a variety of topics in history, language, literature, culture, science, and more; for high school and college students, and teachers K-12. For related interactives, see Learner Interactives, above.
AP Archive VIDEO [CAUTION: Some videos on the sites listed here may be disturbing or otherwise unsuitable for children] - Searchable collection of video clips from current and historic subjects, with compilations on topics such as accidents & disasters, conflicts & terrorism, economy, natural world & environment, space exploration, government & politics, fashion & lifestyle, people, sports, and more. It includes the full collection of British Movietone VIDEO, a global newsreel which 'contains many of the world's enduring images and is rich in coverage of news events, celebrities, sports, music, social history, science, lifestyle' and more, spanning the period 1895 - 1986. British Pathé offers more than 80,000 videos of filmed history covering most of the 20th century (hosted on YouTube). See also Getty Images BBC Motion Gallery VIDEO & Getty Images NBC News Archive NEW! VIDEO, searchable video archives containing decades of BBC and NBC News footage.
Library of Congress Digital Moving Image Collections VIDEO - Several hundred early motion pictures on American life and culture. See also Library of Congress National Screening Room VIDEO.
New York Public Library Digital Collections AUDIO VIDEO - Explore hundreds of thousands of items digitized from The New York Public Library's collections. This site is a living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.
PBS Online VIDEO - Access to a growing online library of past PBS programming; you can search for a title or browse by genre (topic). See also PBS Learning Media. You'll find video and audio lectures from the world's foremost scholars, authors, artists, scientists, policymakers, and community leaders covering a wide range of topics on WGBH Forum VIDEO; high school and up (WGBH & the Lowell Institute; hosted on YouTube). American Archive of Public Broadcasting AUDIO VIDEO offers historic public radio and television programs from across America. Watch and listen to programs that have had national impact, as well as local news and public affairs programs, local history productions, and programs dealing with education, environmental issues, music, art, literature, dance, poetry, religion, and more. Programs date from the 1950s to the 21st century; search by keyword or browse by subject (WGBH and Library of Congress).
Public Domain media - Finding Public Domain & Creative Commons Media.
USA.gov Videos [Enter your subject in the search box, then click on 'Videos' in the menu bar above the search results] - Videos from government agencies (most hosted on YouTube) on a wide range of topics.
CalPhotos - A searchable collection of nearly 250,000 images of plants, animals, fossils, people, and landscapes. (University of California)
Library of Congress Photos, Prints, and Drawings - Images on a wide range of topics. Includes photographs, art prints, drawings, posters, caricatures, cartoons, and more. You can search the collection by keyword, or browse by format, date, subject, or other criteria.
LIFE Photo Archive - Search millions of historic photographs from the LIFE Magazine photo archive, most previously unpublished, from the 1860s to the 1970s (LIFE Magazine and Google).
New York Public Library Digital Gallery - Now part of New York Public Library Digital Collections, above.
Pictures of Places - Need a picture of the Eiffel Tower, the Lincoln Memorial, the Taj Mahal, or the Leaning Tower of Pisa? This site links to thousands of great printable pictures of places all over the world. Arranged by state / country / region. (MindTravellers Inc.; site includes advertisements)
Public Domain images - Finding Public Domain & Creative Commons Media.
Science Images - See Science Photos and related links.
Social Issues Photographs - Historical pictures on a variety of political and social topics such as women's issues, government, labor organizations, utopian colonies, ethnic groups, social and leisure activities, and World War II Japanese Internment camps. Search by keyword (University of Washington).
Time News Photos [CAUTION: Some news photos may be disturbing or otherwise unsuitable for children] - Photos of current events (site includes advertisements).
USA.gov Photos - Photos from government agencies (most hosted on Flickr or Instagram) on a wide range of topics. Enter a subject (such as 'owls' or 'apples' or 'Civil War photos') in the search box, then click on 'Images' in the menu bar above the search results.