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Reference Tools

September 08, 1997

Is it "colour" or "color"? Both spellings are correct; the first is British English and the second, American English. In 1820, Noah Webster published the "American Dictionary of the English Language," which formalized spellings and terms common in American speech. Since then, Webster's dictionary has become a standard in homes, schools and libraries. Want to learn more about reference materials? Use the direct links on The Times Launch Point Web site.


Little Explorers Picture Dictionary: Click on the alphabet to find pictures and related Web links for words beginning with each letter. This dictionary can also be viewed in English-Spanish and English-French versions.

Internet Public Library--Our World: Learn about U.S. presidents, state flowers, the history of the automobile, folk tales and games of different countries. This online library has information about those and many more topics, including a special collection of resources organized just as library materials are.

Yahooligans: An excellent starting point for conducting research. Type in the subject you are researching and find Internet sites that are helpful for kids.


Research It: A useful site that has links to dictionaries of several different types (English language, rhyming, biographical), as well as to "Bartlett's Book of Familiar Quotations," " Roget's Thesaurus," a foreign-language translator, maps and other reference materials.

National Geographic Map Machine: An assortment of maps, facts and political histories of different countries.

Knowledge Adventure Encyclopedia: Find the information you need for reports by looking through the main categories or by using the built-in search engine.


The World Factbook: Demographics, maps, geography, economic overviews, government information and flags are included in this world atlas.

Measurements Converter: Convert a wide variety of measurements including metric, nautical, astronomical and even old Russian units and measures. Conversions for weight, length, area, speed and more are available.

Reference Shelf: A collection of various reference resources accessible on the Internet, including dictionaries and thesauri, the periodic table of elements, currency exchange rates and a ZIP Code directory.

Launch Point is produced by the UC Irvine department of education, which reviews each site for appropriateness and quality. Even so, parents should supervise their children's use of the Internet. This week's column was designed by Stan Woo-Sam and Anna Manring.


Free Times T-shirt

The answer to this Internet quiz can be found in the sites at right.

What city has the ZIP Code 55555? Clue: See Research It.

How It Works: Answer three questions correctly in the Explorer's Quest Web Challenges by Sept. 29, and you'll get a free T-shirt. Just clip and fill out the form on Page B5, or make up your own handwritten form. You can also find the form on The Times Launch Point Web site,

Answer to last week's Quest: Elephants don't perspire--they have no sweat glands. So they use their ears to cool themselves.

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