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ELECTRONS

First assignment? Click this

August 28, 2003|David Colker | Times Staff Writer

In the pre-digital era, students researching a term paper needed a library card and directions to the reference desk. Now they need Internet access and a good set of Web site bookmarks.

Don't throw away that library card, though -- for specialized, detailed knowledge on a subject, there is no substitute for old-fashioned book research. Besides, taking a stroll to the library and interacting with more than a computer screen is good for the social skills.

But for the basics, here's a starter kit of sites covering a variety of academic topics.

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GENERAL

www.google.com -- The most valuable research site of all is a good search engine, and this one's the best.

www.howstuffworks.com -- An invaluable guide to the workings of things from the mundane (soap, pencil) to the complex (jet engine, brain).

www.ipl.org -- The Internet Public Library, sponsored by the University of Michigan, provides links to educational sites in the arts, sciences and other fields.

www.yahoo.com -- Halfway down the home page you'll find its "Web Site Directory" of topics.

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ANATOMY

www.bartleby.com/107 -- The unabridged, classic Gray's "Anatomy of the Human Body" includes nearly 1,300 etchings of body parts and systems.

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ARCHEOLOGY

archnet.asu.edu -- Links to museums and resources.

www.cyberpursuits.com/archeo -- User-friendly index compiled by a Texas Web designer.

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ART HISTORY

www.metmuseum.org/toah/splash.htm -- A work in progress, this timeline stretches from 20,000 BC to AD 1600.

witcombe.sbc.edu/ARTH Links.html -- An index covering a variety of time periods and locales, plus links to major museums and galleries.

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ASTRONOMY

www.dustbunny.com/afk -- An overview for younger students.

observe.arc.nasa.gov/nasa/entries/entry6.html -- Spectacular photos from NASA.

seds.lpl.arizona.edu/nineplanets/nineplanets/nineplanets.html -- A comprehensive site on the nine planets, including music clips from Gustav Holst's "The Planets" suite.

www.skymaps.com -- Free, monthly sky maps.

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BIOLOGY

www.biology.arizona.edu -- An overview of major topics, plus links to scholarly sites.

biotech.icmb.utexas.edu -- Life sciences reference tools.

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CHEMISTRY

www.chemdex.org -- Links to thousands of sites, by specific topic.

www.webelements.com -- A guide to the periodic table.

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DICTIONARY

www.m-w.com -- A free dictionary and thesaurus from Merriam-Webster.

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ENCYCLOPEDIA

www.bartleby.com/65 -- The Columbia Encyclopedia may not be the most comprehensive, but it's free and quite handy.

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LANGUAGES

dictionary.reference.com/translate/text.html -- Translate a phrase from or to Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, Japanese and several other languages.

www.verbix.com/webverbix/index.asp -- Conjugate verbs in any of 102 languages, including some that are extinct.

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GEOGRAPHY

www.geoexplorer.co.uk -- An extensive British site with maps, essays, travel diaries and games.

members.aol.com/bowermanb/games.html -- Links to dozens of educational games on capitals, maps, etc.

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GOVERNMENT

bensguide.gpo.gov -- Sponsored by the U.S. Government Printing Office, this guide for high school and younger students shows how laws are made and federal agencies operate.

thomas.loc.gov -- Named for Thomas Jefferson, this Library of Congress site includes the daily Congressional Record.

www.supremecourtus.gov -- Information on current cases, opinions and upcoming cases.

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LITERATURE

www.gutenberg.net -- If you had just one site to take to a desert island, make it this one. It contains thousands of public domain books, including all of Shakespeare, "Alice in Wonderland," "Moby Dick" "Aesop's Fables" and religious texts.

andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Lit -- Links to a range of literary sites, organized by era and genre.

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MATH

www.algebrahelp.com -- Loads of online practice problems.

www.edu4kids.com/math -- Remember flashcards? Here's the online version.

www.martindalecenter.com/Calculators.html -- Links to thousands of calculators for needs ranging from higher math to sled-dog racing.

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MUSIC

www.stevenestrella.com/composers -- Brief biographies of composers.

web1.hamilton.edu/javamusic/default.html -- Music theory games and exercises.

PHILOSOPHY

plato.stanford.edu/ -- The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, created in 1995, is an ongoing project with new entries added regularly.

PHYSICS

www.aip.org/history -- A history of physics site maintained by the American Institute of Physics.

www.alcyone.com/max/physics/laws -- Definitions of hundreds of terms and an explanation of basic physical laws.

livefromcern.web.cern.ch/livefromcern/antimatter/kids/AM-kids00.ht ml -- An explanation of antimatter, for children!

PSYCHOLOGY

www.psychology.org -- Links to nearly 2,000 sites, including professional associations.

WRITING

www.bartleby.com/141 -- William Strunk Jr.'s classic "Elements of Style," in its 1918 edition.

webster.commnet.edu/grammar -- A guide to grammar usage, plus practice drills.

WORLD FACTS

www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook -- The CIA maintains this guide to countries, with information on their populations, governments, geography, agriculture, health systems, languages, etc.

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