References on the Web

My Favorite Web Sites - Winchester Star - 2/14/02
 by Martin Zombeck

This is a bi-weekly column providing an annotated list of Web sites that may be of interest to the community. Each column will list sites that belong to a particular category: search engines, art, online newspapers and magazines, health and medicine, history, business and economics, etc. or sites relevant to a particular season, for example, skiing or gardening. Most sites will be non-commercial. To make it easier to access the sites, each bi-weekly column will be posted on the Town of Winchester's Web site so that the sites can be accessed and bookmarked without having to be typed. Previous columns will be archived at the Winchester site, also.

"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information about it." - Dr Samuel Johnson, Boswell, Life of Johnson, 18 Apr. 1775.

Need a short biography of Werner Heisenberg, need a synonym for "obnubilate", want to know the definition of mitral valve regurgitation, need a quotation for that after dinner speech, want to know who painted "Head of a Girl in a Turban", and when, or need to know the name of the president of Kazakhstan ? If you don't live in a library, the Web is the only source that will provide you with all the answers any time of the day. There are thousands of reference sources on the Web for virtually any subject. Listed below are some major sources of traditional reference works (dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.) plus Web sites that provide links to hundreds of additional sources.

Encyclopedia Brittanica
A fee for full articles but summaries are free.

The American Heritage Dictionary
The 4th edition (2000) of this dictionary - "Over 90,000 entries feature 10,000 new words and senses, 70,000 audio word pronunciations, 900 full-page color illustrations, language notes and word-root appendices."

Roget's II - The New Thesaurus
This classic work is online. "Containing 35,000 synonyms and over 250,000 cross-references in an easy-to-use format, this thesaurus features succinct word definitions and an innovative hyperlinked category index."

Bartlett's Quotations
An oldie, but goodie. This edition of 1919 contains over 11,000 searchable quotations.

Simpson's Contemporary Quotations
Quotations from 1950-1988. "Over 10,000 quotations from 4,000 sources organized into 25 categories and 60 sections, this comprehensive reference contains words of wit and wisdom from such modern notables as Ezra Pound, Henry Kissinger, George Orwell, Dorothy Parker, and Desmond Tutu."
Brief, cross-referenced biographies of more than 25,000 individuals.

The Elements of Style
William Strunk Jr.'s classic manual. From the Introduction: "It aims to give in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style. It aims to lighten the task of instructor and student by concentrating attention on a few essentials, the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated."

A fine art search engine. A comprehensive index of artists represented at hundreds of museum sites, image archives, and other online resources : 700 leading arts sites, and more than 24,000 links directly to an estimated 80,000 works by 7,000 different artists. Search by artist's name, artworks by title, or art museums by name/place.

How Stuff Works
Find out how many things work. Explanations, illustrations, and animations are provided.

World Factbook
The World Factbook is prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency for the use of US Government officials. It is in the public domain. The Factbook provides maps and brief geopolitical information for every country. The online directory of chiefs of state and cabinet members of foreign governments is updated weekly.

The Merck Manual
The online edition of the home edition of the Merck Manual, a comprehensive source of medical information. The online version has videos, animations, photos, illustrations, and audio. Want to hear the sound of a normal heart versus one with mitral valve regurgitation? This is the place.

Navigator is the home page used by the newsroom of The New York Times for finding information on the Web.

Extensive guide to online reference works.

The Winchester Web site dictionary references. Language, art, eating and drinking, and computer dictionaries. provides an area code lookup that helps you find the area code for a particular city. If you know the full phone number, try our reverse phone lookup. If you already know the area code but need more info, try the area code locator. Information about the telephone area codes include the cities served, time zones, info about mergers, and info about new area codes.

When he is not updating the Town of Winchester Web site (, Martin Zombeck can be found at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he is a physicist. E-mail: