Reference Desk Sites
Your Library's Web Site
Frustrated by the growing number of pay-per-view Web archives? Your local library's Web site might be able to help, though you may need a library card to enjoy full access. For example, New York Public Library cardholders can read issues of The New York Times online for the past year, and anyone in the world can ask the librarian any question. You'll find encyclopedias, community information, and more than enough reasons to ensure that your library card is up-to-date.
When you need an acronym PDQ, check Acronym Finder. If you're caught in a snafu over instant-messaging jargon like ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) or technical specifications like kbps (kilobits per second), Acronym Finder can track it down, ASAP. While we respect the site's owners' desire to generate revenue, the automated links to Amazon.com don't make a whole lot of sense. Just because we might wonder what SCUBA stands for doesn't mean we want to buy Jacques Cousteau's memoirs.
One word describes OneLook: comprehensive, as in covering completely. This site collects definitions from more than 100 dictionaries, ranging from garden-variety Merriam-Webster's to the (who knew?) Yiddish-Hebrew-English-German-Russian Picture Dictionary. We love being able to see definitions from such a variety of sources (and it frees up a lot of bookshelf space).