Finding Facts

164 Currency Converter

This foreign exchange currency converter provides current and historical currency exchange rates for 164 currencies. Historical quotes appear to go back to the early 1990s. Encyclopedia Disease Reference

The National Library of Medicine offers the popular medical encyclopedia at its MEDLINEplus site. No search feature exists. Researchers first must select from top-level categories: disease, injury, nutrition, poison, special, surgery, symptoms, and test. Then browse an alphabetical index to select a topic.

Entries incorporate data only. Researchers will not find links to MEDLINE and other important references like they do at the major MEDLINEplus site. Still, it's useful content for those seeking basic medical information.

Airport & City Code Converter offers this utility for converting airport or city codes to airport or city names and vice versa. It also provides market data including the number of domestic markets served, the daily average number of passengers, the average price of a one-way fare, and the daily average number of miles flown. It retrieves additional data pertaining to other cities from the U.S. Department of Transportation for comparison. The Converter also provides airport status information supplied by the FAA's Air Traffic Control System Command Center. Reference

A private company, Reference offers a subject index to information appearing in the 2003 edition of the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia by Columbia University Press. Browse the encyclopedia by broad topic--earth and environment, history, literature and arts, medicine, people, philosophy and religion, places, plants and animals, science and technology, social science and law and sports. Each topic is further broken down into more specific subjects, and all appear on a single page for fast retrieval. While you can also search the encyclopedia by keyword, you will have to scroll to the bottom of the search results page to find matches. The top matches consist of sponsored or paid search results.

Argali White & Yellow

Argali White & Yellow is software that aggregates telephone, zip code, weather and other information from sources, such as AnyWho, InfoSpace, MelissaData, Verizon Superpages and Weather Underground. The free version is supported by advertising, but the advertising does not distract from your research.

You may opt for a commercial version. According to the Web site, "Argali Pro works faster, displays more search results per view, occupies a smaller screen area and doesn't use cookies."

Bartlett's Familiar Quotations

Online reference service offers the 10th edition (1919) of John Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. It contains over 11,000 quotations. Conduct a keyword search to find famous quotations. A special feature--see Quotations in the top pull-down menu--at the site lets you query several collections of quotations, including Bartlett's, The Columbia World of Quotations, Simpson's Contemporary Quotations and Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations.

Biographies and Profiles, LLC, a privately held company incorporated in Delaware, provides biographical information about select people in British history. Coverage includes many British monarchs, prime ministers and authors. Many articles consist of about a one-page summary, but some run only a paragraph or two. A feature entitled "Great Scotsmen" provides an overview of historic figures in Scottish history, but the individual biographies are not in-depth. Since none of the biographies reference source materials, it's a good idea to verify the information you find here. (Do not confuse source with

British History Online

The Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust provide free access to a digital library of business directories, dictionaries, maps, tax documents and full-text monographs covering medieval and early modern times. Find the journals of the House of Commons and House of Lords covering approximately 1547 to 1832. You can also search for references to people. Keyword searching supports truncation, exact phrases or synonyms. You can also limit a query to a specific source.

Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Cambridge University Press offers several of its fine dictionaries for free. Search the Cambridge Dictionary of American English, Cambridge International Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs, Cambridge Learner's Dictionary and Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Also find the Cambridge Klett Compact, French-English and Spanish-English versions.

Canadian Encyclopedia, The

Historica Foundation of Canada provides this free Web-based resource, which contains the complete text of the Canadian Encyclopedia in English and French, the text of the Junior Encyclopedia of Canada (in English only), articles, an extensive timeline of Canadian and world events, and more.

City Search (Find a County)

The National Association of Counties (NACO) provides a utility for looking up counties by city. Enter a city name to find a list of matching counties. Alternatively, you can display all cities within a state and the counties in which they reside. If you follow the link for the county name, the utility displays a list of all cities within the county.

Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th edition, 2000

Project Bartleby offers the 6th edition, copyright 2000, of Columbia Encyclopedia. This is a one-volume encyclopedia in print, which contains more than 50,000 articles. Search or browse it at this site.

Common Core of Data (CCD)

A program of the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data provides a statistical database of information concerning all public elementary and secondary schools (approximately 95,000) and school districts (approximately 17,000). Use the pull-down menu under Data Resources to find various search options, including the ability to create your own table of statistical information.

Computer User High Tech Dictionary

Find definitions of computer-related terms.

Cost of Living Calculator

Use this two-step "calculator" to compare the cost of living in two U.S. cities.

Country Briefings

The Economist offers country profiles including articles published in its journal, links to Web sites useful for conducting research about the country, and links to important articles appearing in other news sources. The profiles offer the usual data about a country including its political and economic structure, economic data, political and economic outlook, population statistics, currency (including a converter), trade, taxation, and more.

This resource offers news and political, economic, cultural, business and environmental information about 191 countries. For free, researchers will find key demographic data, currency including a converter, religions, ethnicity, city populations, current news, encyclopedia-like coverage of a country's people, history, economy, agriculture, energy, metals, and environment, the current time, and a map. Researchers who require additional information may order individual country reviews or subscribe to Full reviews provide detailed information about all of the above as well as environmental trends, business information, a biography on the country's leader, historical news, and source material.

CS Chemfinder

CambridgeSoft Corporation, maker of desktop applications for chemists and engineers, offers a powerful chemical reference tool. Chemfinder prompts researchers to enter one of the following: the name of a compound, its formula, molecular weight, CAS registry number, or structure. It returns the name of the compound, synonyms, CAS registry number, chemical data like its melting point and water solubility, the EPA code and RTECS number.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Available in print (5 volumes) and on the Web in English and Maori, the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography contains biographical information about more than 3000 people, active before 1960, but who are no longer living. Many biographies include portraits and other images. Citations to select additional information appear at the end of each article. The New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage makes this information available to the public free of charge.

Disability Issues Information for Journalists

The Center for an Accessible Society offers information and commentary pertaining to various disability issues. While the site target journalists -- giving them both facts and resources -- consumers and legal professionals alike will find helpful information. The site covers a number of disability-related topics, including the ADA, education, employment, housing, transportation, technology, and more.

DowJones Indexes

Dow Jones Indexes makes available current information from some of its stock indicators, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average and leading Pan-European indexes. In addition to current data, visitors will find explanatory materials and some historical market data. Displaying some of the information requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader or Excel. Some special features include the ability to generate tables of information about corporate actions (name changes, stock splits) or historical indexes. Encyclopedia

Economic history Web site,, publishes the EH.Net Encyclopedia of Economic and Business History. Edited and peer-reviewed, the articles provide background information on many historical issues. They also include citations for additional information. Some of the topics available include advertising bans in the U.S., banking panics in the U.S., shipping cartels, the depression of 1893, futures trading in the U.S., industrialization and economic growth in Japan, the Marshall Plan, opium trade, English Poor Laws, and the stock market crash of 1929. You can browse the index or search the encyclopedia by keyword.

Find a database of embassies worldwide. Search it to find a country's embassy located within another country. Also find VISA requirements.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

The online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica provides search access to the multi-volume encyclopedia, Britannica's Student and Concise encyclopedias, select Web sites, multimedia, magazines articles and more. You can search the site, and display abbreviated information, for free. Accessing the full-text articles requires a paid subscription.

Encyclopaedia of British History, 1500-1980

Part of a group of Web sites on historical events or issues, this encyclopedia consists of short articles on events in British history. It covers topics on a variety of issues, including the emancipation of women, prime ministers, education, inventors, child labor, the First and Second World Wars, the trade union movement, and major legislation. Essays contain many cross references to other articles in the encyclopedia, but no source information, or citations for additional reading, are provided.

This site offers approximately 17,000 articles from The Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Third Edition. Researchers may browse or search this free resource. Entries include internal hyperlinks when relevant. For a fee, researchers may also access collocated Premium Services like pictures, maps, and articles from recognized publishers in the field. I particularly like the fact that the additional article references provide a reading level. (aka Earth Resource System) helps researchers find facts about specific U.S. cities and towns. To start, select a state, and then a municipality, from the drop down menu. Information provided includes basic city facts (population, county, school district, area codes, time zone, central zip code and U.S. Representative), current weather and links to local contacts. Following the link for the school district retrieves statistics for that particular district from the National Center for Education Statistics. You may also link directly to more information about the member of Congress.

Europa: European Countries

EUROPA, the portal site of the European Union, provides useful factual information about European Union member states. Facts provided include the year of entry into the union, the type of political system, capital city, population, currency and official language. There is also a brief description of the country and links to Web sites with additional information.

Nolo's Plain English Law Dictionary

Nolo Press, legal software and book publisher -- and the subject of an unauthorized practice of law investigation in Texas -- offers this consumers law dictionary. Legal professionals may also find it useful. Browse or search the dictionary to discover easy-to-read definitions.

Fast Facts for Congress

The U.S. Census Bureau offers a quick and easy way to access economic and demographic data for the United States, states, counties and congressional districts. Data comes from the 2000 decennial census, the American Community Survey and the economic census. A special feature lets you enter a street address and zip code to find its congressional district. Also find direct access to various statistical sources, including State and County Quick Facts and Statistical Abstract of the United States.

Fone Finder

Primeris, Inc. offers this search tool for finding the geographic location of phone numbers worldwide. Enter an area code and prefix of any phone number to discover its location and phone service company. Or enter a city name to find area code, prefix and telephone services. Fone Finder also finds international calling codes. Enter either an international phone number (omitting calling codes) or the name of a country.

Full Universal Currency Converter, The

This Xenon Labs utility converts 180 different currencies from over 250 geographic locations. According to Tourbus, September 12, 2000, Xenon's sources are "live, real-time rate feeds containing data from foreign exchange markets around the world."

Find the approximate latitude and longitude for U.S. addresses and intersections. Enter an address or intersection with city and state or zip code. The data source is the U.S. Census Bureau's TIGER/Line (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing system), which this site cautions is incomplete.

Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)

The U.S. Geological Survey offers two GNIS databases: one for the United States and one for Antarctica. It provides geographic information about places. Discover the federally recognized name of a feature or location, its elevation, state and county, longitude and latitude, and more.

How Far Is It?

This resource facilitates measuring the distance between two localities.

How Many?

Russ Rowlett, Director of the Center for Mathematics and Science Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, offers this dictionary of measurement terms and symbols. Other helpful information includes commentary on the International System of Units, English customary weights and measures, the metric system, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) country codes and more.

How Much Is That?

A service of, an economic history Web site, How Much Is That? provides calculators for determining the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar from 1720 to present, and the British pound from 1660 to present. Also discover annual inflation rates in the U.S. (1720 to present) and Great Britain (1660 to present) as well as 3 to 6 month U.S. commercial paper rates from 1831 to 1997.

Industry Data Finder

The Cole Library, Rensselaer at Hartford offers a useful research guide and annotated collection of links to industry resources. It covers major industries -- automotive, banking, construction, food, paper, and more -- and provides the corresponding SIC and NAICS codes, industry profiles, financials and statistics, forecasts, news, hot issues, trade associations, trade publications, as well as regulating government agencies and major companies in the industry.


The United Nations offers a database that lets you compare statistical data for the Member States. Choose up to five countries to retrieve charts that provide an overview (population, population density, largest urban agglomeration, surface area), economic data (urban growth rate, gross domestic product (GDP), GDP per capita, tourist arrivals, growth of economic activity rate for adult female population), environmental data (energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, water resources, cropland, precipitation, forested area, threatened species), health data (undernourished, infant mortality, population aged 0-14, fertility) and technological data (primary energy production, motor vehicles, telephone lines, Internet users, television receivers, newspaper circulation). Another useful feature is Country at a Glance, which provides statistical information and brief analyses for the Member States regarding the population, economy, environment, health and technology. There is also a Spanish-language equivalent.

The site offers a database of facts and information taken from almanacs, an encyclopedia and dictionary. It's an excellent source of historical and current general knowledge.

Internet Collegiate Reference Collection, The

Bloomsburg University offers this searchable catalog of bibliographic references and links to quality reference resources in many topics. Browse the catalog by Library of Congress classification or search it using BROAD keywords (e.g., legal, law). This site provides a great way to launch your research with sources hand-selected by librarians.

Internet Public Library

The Internet Public Library helps people find quality resources on the Internet. Browse or search its various collections. It categorizes the subject collections according to the Dewey classification system. Also find numerous subject research guides and research tips.

ITDS Country Profiles

The International Trade Data System provides country profiles, which include information about the government, demographics, and currency, as well as its political and economic environment, cultural issues, trade documents, marking, packaging, and labeling requirements, exports, imports, trade prospects, and additional resources. Some profiles also offer information about current events.

James Madison Papers, The

Part of the Library of Congress' American Memory collections, The James Madison Papers presents a short history of the documents, scanned images of six of the seven series that comprise the Madison Papers, an extensive bibliography of Madison's writings, a timeline of his life, and several related essays. Series 1 consists of general correspondence (letters, drafts, enclosures); series 2, additional correspondence restored during 1958; series 3, Madison-Armstrong correspondence from 1813 to 1836; series 4, a brief autobiography and legal documents; series 5, Madison's and Thomas Jefferson's notes on the debates dated 1776 to 1788; series 6, miscellaneous manuscripts, including a book manuscript, notes on the Articles of Confederation and other issues of the times, and other documents. You may search the collection or browse it by title, name or series.

Journalist's Guide to the Federal Courts, A

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts offers a guide for journalists, which "is intended to assist reporters assigned to court coverage." It provides a short introduction to the federal courts and recommends the more extensive publication, Understanding the Federal Courts. It presents information about key players and potential interview sources for federal district and appellate courts. It outlines the appeals process, as well as certain procedures in a civil case and during trial. It explains what might happen during a criminal investigation and defines common terms used in bankruptcy. The publication also contains a glossary of court terms.

Kelly Blue Book

Find the value of new and used cars and trucks.

Links to Postal Code Pages

This site provides an extensive listing of links to foreign country post offices and postal code information systems.

MelissaData Free Lookups

Melissa Data Corp, a company that provides a number of marketing products and services, offers several free look-up utilities for researchers. For example, Income Tax Statistics provides several income-related statistics by zip code. U.S. Place Names offers information about places in the United States. Use it to find the county of a particular municipality, or the county seat of a county. Phone Number LookUp provides information about private or public telephone numbers in the U.S. Information includes the city, county and state where the number originates, but not the street address or name of the owner. The site offers several additional utilities not mentioned here.

Merriam-Webster Online

Search Merriam-Webster's well-known dictionary. For each definition, find a link to the same word in the thesaurus.

National Statistics

This official United Kingdom statistics Web site enables searching or browsing for national statistics. Find statistics pertaining to health, crime, demographics, commerce, agriculture, the economy, tourism, and more.

NGS Publications Index

National Geographic Society offers a bibliographic database of magazines, books, films and videos, educational products, map products, interactive features and newsletters produced by the Society. Search the Index, for example, for information about National Geographic articles or map supplements or for information about atlases or research reports. Searchers may save queries and email search results.

This nifty tool, which is part of a group of Web sites by BlueSparks Network, provides conversion utilities for converting just about any measurement. Convert distances, temperatures, speed, volume, weight, binary digits (bytes, kilobytes, etc.), dates and times, cooking measurements, angles, areas, power, energy and more. The conversion tools are very easy to use--simply enter the measurements you want to convert.

Political Graveyard, The

Find interesting facts about politicians. Currently, the site offers two versions. This link takes you to the old, but more stable, version. You can find the link to the new version, which contains facts about 14,000 additional politicians, on the home page. Find politicians by name, city/state, year of birth/death, or jurisdiction/office held.

A service of The Polling Report, this site offers public opinion polls on a variety of political, economic and social issues.

Postal Addressing Formats

The Universal Postal Union offers information about correct procedures for addressing foreign mail. Procedures for hundreds of countries appear in portable document format (.pdf) in seven languages. Information includes the address for the country's postal service and a sample model address.

Postal Service, Official Abbrievations

Find state postal abbreviations, street suffixes, and secondary unit designators.

Postal Service, Zip Code Lookup

Provide a valid business address and receive a complete address, or enter a city and state to obtain a list of valid zip codes.

POTUS: Presidents of the United States

This Internet Public Library Web site offers encyclopedia-like information for U.S. presidents in an easy-to-read format. Information offered includes presidential elections results, members of the cabinet, notable events, links to credible Web-based biographies, links to historical documents, and other relevant information.

Presidents of the United States

The White House offers biographical essays for each president and first lady. Whereas POTUS, by the Internet Public Library, presents biographical facts about the presidents in an easy to read format, this White House site provides encyclopedia-like commentaries. This site also publishes biographical essays about first ladies.

This site categorizes, and briefly annotates, sources of factual information. From the home page, find single click access to numerous factual resources including, but not limited to, general and specialized dictionaries, zip codes, maps, lists of lists, area codes, airline flight tracker, and doctor directory. Use the site's subject index to find hundreds of topical resources. See also,'s guides to Journalist's Tools and Search Engines.

This site categorizes, and offers four- to five-word descriptions of, general resources. It's a good starting point when you know the type of resource you want (e.g., a dictionary), but not a title or where to find it.

Reporter's Back-to-School Guide to National Education Data

The National Center for Education Statistics prepared this guide "to assist reporters who need information to put local education stories into national context." It offer information for news stories about math scores, reading scores, science scores, gap in achievement, school choice, teacher qualification, and starting college. The mini-guides point reporters to specific facts; e.g., "[M]ost teachers participate in [professional development] activity only 1-8 hours [per year]."

State Health Facts Online

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation provides this Web site for finding and comparing state health-related statistics. Discover, for example, that Michigan ranks highest of all states in the percentage of employer contributions to health insurance plans. Broad statistical categories include health coverage, medicare, medicaid, health costs, women's health, minority health, and others. The site also offers state profiles.

The Digital Economy Factbook (PDF)

The Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) released the 9th edition of The Digital Economy Factbook. Co-written by Stephen McGonegal, President of Independent Analysis, Inc., and PFF Research Associate Daniel B. Britton, the fact book contains statistics and other information on the digital economy. Its 7 chapters comprise the following topics: The Growth of the Internet, The Hardware Sector, The Communications Sector, Digital Media, Electronic Commerce, Threats to the Digital Economy, and The Worldwide Digital Economy.

According to PFF, "[t]his year's edition of the popular publication contains an expanded chapter on the worldwide digital economy. The section focuses on both global statistics and information from three important regions: Europe, China and India.... The data and statistics included in the book are the most up to date available in the years 2006 to 2007."

U.S. Equity Indexes

The Frank Russell Company provides access to U.S. equity indexes, including the Russell 1000 Indexes, Russell 2000 Indexes, Russell 2500 Indexes and Russell 3000 Indexes. The indexes offer current data and brief analyses as well as a listing of the top 10 holdings. You can also display details concerning the current daily total returns. Additional features include availability in PDF and information about the construction of the index and methodology.

United States Counties (Find a County)

The National Association of Counties (NACO) provides information about county officials, county seats, cities and courthouses. Select a state to display such information as the number of counties within it, contact information for the state's county association, county names, NACO membership status, 2000 population, number of square miles, county seat and year founded. Follow the link for the county name, to find courthouse contact information, names of elected officials and more.

Virtual Perpetual Calendars

Find daily calendars for the years 1901 to 2100 as well as a correlation table for the 18th Century.

Who Is Hosting This?

Find a nifty, easy-to-use utility for discovering who hosts a Web site at a particular domain. Once you have the Web host, the next step to discovering who owns the site may require sending the host a subpoena, assuming the information isn't apparent in the domain name registration record.

Why Files, The

Subtitled "Science Behind the News," this site sponsored by the University of Wisconsin, explains scientific facts and theories behind historical and current events in the news. What caused the Edmund Fitzgerald to sink in the Great Lakes? Is such a tragedy likely to happen again? What are scientists learning about the source and fate of new infections (HIV, Ebola, West Nile, Lyme)? Are genetically altered foods safe? To find these articles, the site offers a subject index and keyword search feature.

Wilshire Indexes

Wilshire Associates Incorporated offers current and historical data from several Wilshire Indexes. You can generate tables of daily total returns by Wilshire index (Broad market, Style, Target, Specialty, including Internet and Real Estate). Monthly tables are available for other select indexes (S & P, Dow Jones, NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ). Values other than the U.S. dollar also can be displayed. The site enables downloading the data in spreadsheet (CSV) format.

World Time Server

This easy-to-use Web site provides the current time for countries and cities around the World. Moreover, it facilitates calculating the time of a future event. Let's say you need to call a client, who's traveling in Japan. You must contact him before 10 a.m. the following morning, his time. Use the site's utility to determine that you must make the call by 8 p.m. the evening before, your time (if calling from the east coast).


xrefer provides a digital library of reference materials provided by various publishers. Although it sells a collection of 100 titles (xreferplus) to libraries and institutions, xrefer provides search access to 40 titles for free. Some of the free titles include Oxford's A Dictionary of Law, the Macmillan Encyclopedia, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, A Dictionary of English Place-Names, and the Bloomsbury Thematic Dictionary of Quotations.


Economist Steve Stoft, who runs about a dozen political policy Web sites, provides a Web site for news reporters. The site comments on U.S. government policy by presenting certain policy-oriented facts and interpreting them. While claiming to "[a]void both left- and right-wing dogmas," the site "focuses on key progressive campaign issues" and "caters to the press and Democratic campaigns." Currently, it covers topics such as politics, money, foreign issues, health, education and legal issues.

Zip Code World

Hexa Software Development Center makes available a database of information about zip codes. Search by zip code only. Information provided includes city, state, area code, county, time zone, latitude, longitude, elevation, demographic data, and more. The free database (see demo search box in the middle of the home page) is a promotional service for the software maker's products.


A handy utility, ZipFind offers the city, state, population, county, area code, time zone, and occasionally the approximate square miles of an area when provided with a zip code. It also calculates an "as the crow flies" distance between two zip codes and provides the zip code(s) when a user enters a the name of a municipality.

The site also sells variations of the utility for desktop use.