Online Reference Shelf

Online Reference Shelf

The following list contains quick online reference sources. Most of these resources are free and available to the public.

Acronyms, Abbreviations & Symbols

Acronyms

Acronym Finder

  • Description: Searches over 3 million acronyms and abbreviations, including: common abbreviations, information technology, military, government, science, medicine, engineering, organizations, schools, colleges, business, finance, accounting, popular culture, slang, chat and many more.
  • Access: Free

Acronym Search

  • Description: Provides access to over 40,000 acronyms and abbreviations in many categories. Updated regularly.
  • Access: Free

Abbreviations

Abbreviations.com

  • Description: Registry of Web resources that list or provide access to the full title of journal abbreviations.
  • Access: Free

Symbols

Symbols.com

  • Description: Symbols.com contains more than 1,600 articles about 2,500 Western signs, arranged into 54 groups according to their graphic characteristics.
  • Access: Free
Citation Manuals & Style Guides
Purdue OWL: Research and Citation Resources

  • Description: The Purdue University Online Writing Lab provides explanations and examples on both citing sources within your paper and compiling a works cited list. The site covers all the different style guides.
  • Access: Free
Biographical Resources
Biographies Reference Collection

  • Description: In-depth, full-text profiles plus up-to-date bibliographies make this the perfect first stop for any biographical inquiry. With coverage of newsmakers and figures of prominence from a wide range of fields, this includes more than 140,000 substantial narrative profiles and more than 36,000 images.
  • Access: Off campus use of the electronic resources is restricted to Ramapo College students, faculty, and staff.

Contemporary Authors

  • Description: Search for biographical details on approximately 116,000 modern novelists, poets, playwrights, nonfiction writers, journalists and scriptwriters.
  • Access: Off campus use of the electronic resources is restricted to Ramapo College students, faculty, and staff.

Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete

  • Description: Search Dictionary of Literary Biography for biographical and critical essays on the lives, works and careers of the world’s most influential literary figures. This online collection is comprised of: Dictionary of Literary Biography (vols. 1-348) Dictionary of Literary Biography Documentary Series (50 vols.) Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook (23 vols.).
  • Access: Off campus use of the electronic resources is restricted to Ramapo College students, faculty, and staff.
Almanacs & Factbooks

Almanacs

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

  • Description: This is an online version of the Farmer’s Almanac.
  • Access: Free

infoplease

  • Description: On-line dictionary, Internet Encyclopedia, Atlas & Almanac Reference
  • Access: Free

Factbooks

U.S. Census Bureau: American FactFinder

  • Description: Provides access to data about the United States, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas. The data in American FactFinder come from several censuses and surveys. Includes useful facts and information about your community, your economy, and your society.
  • Access: Free

Facts on File

  • Description: The Facts on File World News Digest contains the entire back file of this weekly publication of record, with domestic and world news coverage from 1940 to the present.
  • Access: Off campus use is restricted to Ramapo College students, faculty, and staff.

Country Studies

  • Description: The Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world.
  • Access: Free
US Government & Legal Resources

Government Documents

FedStats

  • Description: The gateway to statistics from over 100 U.S. Federal agencies.
  • Access: Free

Congress.gov

  • Description: Provides federal information, including bills, resolutions, treaties, congressional activity and more.
  • Access: Free

USA.gov

  • Description: The official U.S. gateway to all government information. Provides links to millions of web pages from the federal government, local and tribal governments, and foreign nations around the world.
  • Access: Free

FDSYS: Federal Digital System

  • Description: Maintained by the U.S. Government Printing Office, this site provides free electronic access to a wealth of important information products produced by the Federal Government.
  • Access: Free

Legal Gateway

FindLaw

  • Description: Provides the most comprehensive set of legal resources on the internet for legal professionals, businesses students, and individuals.
  • Access: Free

Jurist

  • Description: Housed at Pitt Law, JURIST is the world’s only law school-based comprehensive legal news and research service. JURIST covers legal news stories based on their substantive importance rather than on their mass-market or commercial appeal.
  • Access: Free

Supreme Court of the United States

  • Description: This official site includes an historical overview, opinions of the court, filings and rulings, oral arguments, a listing of members from 1789, visitors’ guides, links to related sites, and general information.
  • Access: Free

NOLO

  • Description: Provides information about do-it-yourself legal solutions for consumers, small businesses and more.
  • Access: Free

International Legal Resources

Europa: Official website of the European Union

  • Description: Provides up-to-date coverage of European Union affairs and essential information on European integration.
  • Access: Free

United Nations

  • Description: Information regarding peace keeping, humanitarian affairs, international law and more.
  • Access: Free
Dictionaries & Thesauri

Dictionaries

Oxford English Dictionary

  • Description: An extremely extensive dictionary which includes word origins. Fully searchable.
  • Access: Off campus use is restricted to Ramapo College students, faculty, and staff.

Merriam-Webster Online

  • Description: For more than 150 years, in print and now online, Merriam-Webster has been America’s leading and most-trusted provider of language information.
  • Access: Free

Oxford Dictionaries

  • Description: In addition to searching a dictionary of words, names or quotations, this site will answer questions on English grammar, spelling, and usage.
  • Access: Free

Dictionary.com

  • Description: Contains a wide array of reference material including a dictionary, thesaurus, translator, and language resources.
  • Access: Free

Skeptics Dictionary

  • Description: Features definitions, arguments, and essays on hundreds of strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions. It also features dozens of entries on logical fallacies, cognitive biases, perception, science, and philosophy.
  • Access: Free

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms (2 ed.)

  • Description: An accessible and useful A-Z, covering a wide range of terms from the visual art world, including materials, techniques, and important styles and periods.
  • Access: Free

Foreign Language Dictionaries

Diccionarios

  • Description: Links to dictionaries and other electronic reference works in Spanish or English.
  • Access: Free

Foreignword.com

  • Description: Use this global dictionary to search in 275 dictionaries on the Internet. Translate from 69 source languages into 73 target languages – 400 language combinations.
  • Access: Free

ARTFL Reference Collection

  • Description: At present, ARTFL’s main corpus, ARTFL-FRANTEXT, consists of nearly 3,000 texts, ranging from classic works of French literature to various kinds of non-fiction prose and technical writing. ARTFL contains access to French dictionaries.
  • Access: Free

Thesauri

Roget’s International Thesaurus

  • Description: Contains 85,000 hyperlinked cross-references—thus fulfilling their goal of “each word being related to its neighbors and each part to the whole.” Additionally, over 2,900 proverbs and quotations from classic and modern authors illustrate the 1,000-plus entries.
  • Access: Free

Thesaurus.com

  • Description: Contains a wide array of reference material including a thesaurus, dictionary, translator, encyclopedia, and language resources..
  • Access: Free
Statistics & Demographics
United States Census Bureau

  • Description: The Census Bureau site is a gateway to information regarding the nation’s people and economy.
  • Access: Free

NHGIS: U.S. Geographic Summary Data and Boundary Files

  • Description: The National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) provides population, housing, agricultural, and economic data, along with GIS-compatible boundary files, for geographic units in the United States from 1790 to the present.
  • Access: Free

U.S. Census Bureau: American FactFinder

  • Description: Provides access to data about the United States, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas. The data in American FactFinder come from several censuses and surveys. Includes useful facts and information about your community, your economy, and your society.
  • Access: Free

Social Explorer

  • Description: An online research tool designed to provide quick and easy access to historical census data and demographic information. It creates maps and reports to help users visually analyze and understand demography and social change throughout history. Includes the entire US Census history from 1790 to 2000, all annual updates from the American Community Survey, and the Religious Congregations and Membership Study from 1980 to 2000.
  • Access: Off campus use is restricted to Ramapo College students, faculty, and staff.

FedStats

  • Description: The gateway to statistics from over 100 U.S. Federal agencies.
  • Access: Free

American Communities Project

  • Description: Geographic mapping tools, statistical data, and reports on trends affecting US neighborhoods, cities, and regions regarding population, public schools, public health, crime, elections, economic conditions, and the physical environment. Projects currently include: Map USA, MapNY, MapNY Schools, Census 2000, School Segregation – Brown at 50.
  • Access: Free
Quotations & Speeches

Quotations

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations

  • Description: The complete text of the 10th ed., published in 1919, containing over 11,000 searchable quotations.
  • Access: Free

The Quotations Page

  • Description: Large searchable collection of quotations organized by author and subject.
  • Access: Free

Speeches

Great Speeches Collection

  • Description: The History Place provides speeches by famous politicians and activists from around the world.
  • Access: Free
Encyclopedias
Country Studies

  • Description: The Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world.
  • Access: Free

Arts and Humanities

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

  • Description: Considered the most important work of literary history and criticism ever published, the Cambridge History contains over 303 chapters and 11,000 pages, with essay topics ranging from poetry, fiction, drama and essays to history, theology and political writing.
  • Access: Free

Literature Resource Center (Gale)

  • Description: This encyclopedia contains entries for authors, works, literary landmarks, literary and critical terms, mythological and folkloric figures, fictional characters, literary movements and prizes, and other miscellaneous matters.
  • Access: Off campus use is restricted to Ramapo College students, faculty, and staff.

glbtq Archives: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer culture

  • Description: The most comprehensive, accessible, and authoritative encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (glbtq) culture. The site closed in 2015, but most of the encyclopedia’s entries, essays, and interviews have been archived online.
  • Access: Free

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

  • Description: Provides authoritative encyclopedia articles on many areas of philosophy. All entries are refereed by members of an editorial board and are maintained by experts.
  • Access: Free

Business

EH.Net Encyclopedia of Economic and Business History

  • Description: This site is designed to provide students and laymen with high quality reference articles in the field. Articles for the online Encyclopedia are written by experts, screened by a group of authorities, and carefully edited.
  • Access: Free

NOLO

  • Description: Provides information about do-it-yourself legal solutions for consumers, small businesses and more.
  • Access: Free

Science

Encyclopedia Astronautica

  • Description: The Encyclopedia Astronautica is the single most comprehensive reference for the history of spaceflight.
  • Access: Free

Environmental Contaminants and Toxicology Reader

  • Description: Provided by The Encyclopedia of Earth this site provides information on basic concepts and information regarding the impacts of contaminants on living systems.
  • Access: Free