Knowing where to look for information is essential to succeeding in school. There are number of useful reference sources that can help you find information on a variety of topics as well as answers to questions. These resources include dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, almanacs and atlases.
The dictionary is the most common and basic reference source that most students use and are familiar with. The purpose of the dictionary is to provide the meaning, spelling and correct pronunciation of words. There are dictionary for most languages world wide and a number of language translation dictionaries that students can use. There are three types of dictionaries, abridged, unabridged and specialized. Abridged dictionaries include only those words that most commonly used in everyday language. Unabridged dictionaries include all words used in language including words that are not commonly used. Specialized dictionaries provide information on words that apply to a specific subject such as finance, math, chemistry, physics, etc.
A thesaurus provides word synonyms. A synonym is a word that has the same or similar meaning as another word. For example, “tiny” is a synonym for “small”. These words are spelled differently but have nearly the same meaning.
An encyclopedia is a compilation of articles, descriptions and explanations written by experts on a variety of subjects. Encyclopedias my also include maps, diagrams, graphs, illustrations and other reference materials. There are typically two types of encyclopedias, general encyclopedias and subject specific encyclopedias. As the name indicates, general encyclopedias contain articles and reference information on an array of topics. Subject encyclopedias contain detailed articles and reference information on specific subjects. Encyclopedia can be found in hardback book format as well as online. Online encyclopedia usually provide much more up-to-date information than traditional hardback encyclopedias.
An almanac contains facts about a variety of topics during a given year. Topics covered in almanacs may include government, history, countries, weather, as well as many other topics. Since a new almanac comes out each year the information provided is usually very current.
An atlas provides a collection of maps. And while there are large variety of atlases the most common contain maps of countries and geographies throughout the world. A country map will show the borders of countries as well as major political features such as borders, states and cities. Maps showing geography usually include features such as oceans, seas, lakes, mountains, valleys, rivers and deserts. Another very common type of atlas is a road map. A road atlas contains a collection of road maps that help us find our way from one location to another. There are also specialized atlases that provided detailed maps other things such as human anatomy, animal anatomy, lakes, rivers of the world, and more. As the name of this website suggests, EducationAtlas.com contains maps of education. EducationAtlas.com helps individuals find detailed education resources and information.
With the advent of the Internet there are now many reference resources (including many of those listed above) that can be found entirely online. The following are few reliable online reference resources for students:
LibrarySpot.com http://www.libraryspot.com/ LibrarySpot.com is a free virtual library resource center for educators and students, librarians and their patrons, families, businesses and just about anyone exploring the Web for valuable research information. Sites featured on LibrarySpot.com are hand-selected and reviewed by an editorial team for their exceptional quality, content and utility.
Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/ This is a free online English dictionary, thesaurus and reference guide, crossword puzzles and other word games, online translator and Word of the Day.
Merriam-Webster Online http://www.m-w.com/ Merriam-Webster provides a free online dictionary, thesaurus, audio pronunciations, Word of the Day, word games, and other English language resources.
Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition http://www.bartleby.com/62/ Containing 35,000 synonyms in an easy-to-use format, this thesaurus features succinct word definitions and an innovative hyperlinked category index by the Editors of the American Heritage® Dictionary.
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page Wikipedia is a free content wiki encyclopedia being written collaboratively by contributors from around the world. As of May 2004, there are 261003 articles in English; every day hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world make tens of thousands of edits and create thousands of new articles.
CIA - The World Factbook https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html The Factbook was first made available on the Internet in June 1997. The year 2003 marks the 56th anniversary of the establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency and the 60th year of continuous basic intelligence support to the US Government by The World Factbook and its two predecessor programs.
Encyclopedia.com http://www.encyclopedia.com/ Encyclopedia.com, the Internet's premiere free encyclopedia, provides users with more than 57,000 frequently updated articles from the Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Each article is enhanced with links to newspaper and magazine articles as well as pictures and maps - all provided by eLibrary.
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