Hypothetical speculation is a fun sport most people like to indulge in from time to time. Some of us, for example, like to argue about who would win in a fight between a grizzly bear and a wolverine (or, Wolverine, or The Wolverine Brigade). Others debate the comparative greatness of various sports heroes, dead presidents, or Mexican artists. The only limits to the game are your creativity and imagination.
Library workers, being a special kind of nerdy, often consider scenarios like this one:
Google buys every major search tool and is then shut down as a monopoly, and in the same week Wikipedia goes bankrupt. Choose three freely available websites as the best starting points for the widest possible range of inquiries.
–Joseph Janes in I’m Sorry, You’re Out
Never ones to resist a challenge, your crack team of information mavens here at Main Library pondered the question, then came up with the following list of web resources we would use to help answer your questions, in the event of Googlepedia apocalypse.
Short introductions to every topic under the sun.
An all-purpose music, movies and gaming portal.
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Research Databases
Free to you, because we paid for it!
A searchable collection of popular links people like you found useful.
A notable name in encyclopedias opens up its treasury of goodness.
The Internet Movie Database
Titles, actors, roles and more, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Visual and verbal guides for doing and making just about anything.
The Internet Public Library married The Librarians’ Index to the Internet! This is their baby.
The National Library of Medicine tackles all your health dilemmas.
The QuestionPoint Ready Reference Wiki
Jam-packed with useful links, assembled by librarians.
A useful, diverse, all-purpose search portal.
Dictionaries, thesauri, quotations, and a translator. Mighty!
Specialized wiki for TV themes and concepts.
An excellent starting point for credible info on U.S. Government services.
Find books in libraries all over the world, or close to home.
Most of the sites mentioned here can already be found via the library’s Ready Reference Links Page, so feel free to bookmark it, or save it as a “favorite” in your browser — it contains a number of other neat and useful sources, too, like Weather Underground and GetHuman.
When do Google and Wikipedia work for you? Where do they fall short? What are your favorite free web resources? Nerdy information herders want to know!