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Smarter Surfing: Better Use of Your Web Time
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BLOG: New To Sree
WORKSHOP: Figuring Out Blogs

Last updated: Aug. 16, 2008 • No. of sites: 89

* Be wary when you surf. Watch for giant waves of misinformation and the jagged rocks of hidden agendas. * But there's plenty of useful stuff; you just need to know where to look.

On this page:
Just the Facts | Search Engines | Useful Sites | Phone, E-mail & Web Info | Grammar & Style | Business Stuff | Journalism Stuff I: Finding Sources | Journalism Stuff II: Reporting Guides | Journalism Stuff III: Reporting Tips | Journalism Stuff IV: Writing | Journalism Stuff V: Tracking News | Journalism Stuff VI: Misc | Consumer Info | Just for Fun | Further Reading | Others

Site of the moment: Felines & bearded men + similar sites

= detailed info/review available - check 'em out (most from rotating column by Sree & Jon Dube)

Just the Facts
sources of facts and data

    ONLINE ENCYCLOPEDIAS: finding facts fast
    Encyclopedia Britannica: new pay version for full archive (first two paras free); free access for journalists)
    : many entries free, rest you pay concise, free articles search across several titles
    Xrefer: one-stop search of 35 reference titles
  • FACT PORTALS: links to sources of information
    Refdesk: Colin Powell's favorite site, says NYT

    Martindale's Reference Desk: resources galore

    BJPinchbeck's Homework Helper: a school kid's best friend
  • RESEARCH HELP: get your answers here
    GoogleAnswers: pay a researcher to find answers (starting at $2.50)

    IPL Pathfinders: Internet Public Library research assistance answers for every day questions
  • STATISTICAL & MATH HELP: numbers, numbers, numbers
    Niles Guide to Data on the Internet: access stats
    of all kinds
    : more stats deeper look at statistics
    ; how journos use stats
    Online Conversion: 8,000+ calculators
  • PUBLIC RECORDS HELP: accessing court records & databases
    Search Systems' Public Records: 40,000+ public record databases; now charges $50 a year or $5 a month Instead of searching state by state, just put in a name
  • ONLINE MAPS: changing atlases forever
    NG's Map Machine: dynamic maps tied to govt. data Explorer: interactive satellite/aerial maps what you see on TV
    DRIVING DIRECTIONS: & & Yahoo Maps & Google Maps
    Economist's Country Briefings:
    CIA World Factbook:
    COMPARING COUNTRIES: get data on various nations compare stats about different countries compare stats about different countries:
    UN CyberSchoolBus InfoNation:
  • MEDICAL INFO: medical/drug lookup

    Merck Manual:
  • LEGAL INFO: US law
    FindLaw: useful legal links answers to legal questions; approach carefully
  • BOOKS: confirming authors/titles, new and old
    Amazon: author/title lookup
    & purchase circles used and out of print books
  • MOVIES: Hollywood and beyond
    IMDb: Internet Movie Database
    Ain't It Cool News: inside buzz from an outsider
  • Govt site suggestions: various U.S. govt. sites

    For NYC government Web info, see

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Search Engines
different kinds of search engines

  • MY DEFAULT SEARCH ENGINE: where I start all my searches
    : try the Toolbar

    SreeTip: Better Googling: Things you didn't know Google does
  • GUIDE TO SEARCH ENGINES: InfoPeople: search tools chart

    SearchEngineWatch: newsletter and rankings
  • REFERENCE SEARCHES: not just search engines
    Hotbot Quick Search Deskbar:
    AllTheWeb: fresher results - index refreshes every 10 days instead of Google's 28
    Kartoo: visual display of links

    Yahoo: human indexers at work
    Ask Jeeves: ask questions; multiple engines in one place
  • GROUPED LISTINGS, instead of long lists
    Teoma: see experts' links
    Vivisimo: automatic grouping of documents
    ILOR: keep track of search results
  • MULTIPLE SEARCHES: several search boxes in one place
    Fagan Finder:

    Cyberjournalist SuperSearch:
  • Copernic: downloadable metasearch engine
  • PLAGIARISM FINDER: see if passages are stolen from elsewhere on the Web
    Try putting long sentences into Google, within quote marks

    FindSame: Died dot-com death in August 2001
  • TRACKING SEARCH TRENDS: What are people searching for?
    The Lycos 50:
    Yahoo Buzz Index:
    Google Zeitgeist:
    Altavista Search Trends:
    AskJeeves most popular: live search watch

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Useful Sites
sites that help with various tasks

    TRANSLATING WEB SITES: get the gist
    instant translation for several languages; also see;
    Arabic-English translation:
  • WHEN YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT A TOPIC: personal guides on hundreds of topics
    Internet Archive: historical archive of millions of sites

    DocuTicker: keep track of new reports and documents
  • ONLINE TUTORIALS: learn almost anything about almost anything
    How Stuff Works:
    So You Wanna:
  • TECH TUTORIALS: computer help
  • FINDING PHOTOS ONLINE: image searches keep getting better
    Sree's Tips on finding & using photos:
  • SHORTER URLS: Easier sharing of Web addresses /
  • TRACKING RUMORS: never spread lies again Urban Legends: - all about viruses
  • keep track of keywords mentioned on TV (coming soon: RadioEars)
  • Footnote.TV: keep up with pop culture & the news

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Phone, E-mail, Web Info
find people and businesses

  • PHONE NUMBERS: use these before you dial directory assistance
    Switchboard: U.S. business and personal phone numbers international numbers
    International Lookup: more international numbers
  • REVERSE DIRECTORIES: lookup by number
  • AnyWho: search for phone numbers by address & distance
  • Freeality: various search tools in one place
  • MESA: worldwide e-mail search
  • LinkPopularity: Check how many sites link to a particular site
  • Sam Spade Tools: investigate someone
  • WHO OWNS A SITE: tracking domain names
    Network Solutions Enhanced Whois Directory

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Grammar & Style
words, words, words

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Business Stuff

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Journalism Stuff Part I: Finding Sources
sources on deadline

  • Profnet's Experts Database: searchable academics list
  • Megasources: compilation by Dean Tudor, Ryerson journalism prof
  • ExpertClick: searchable experts/groups list
  • MediaMap: send your query to PR pros
  • ExpertSource: send query to experts in various fields
  • Media Link: directory of sources
  • GuestFinder: just as the name says
  • SPJ Rainbow Sourcebook: finding minority experts
  • SLA's One-stop Shop: combined list of academics lists
  • Facsnet: news backgrounders and sources
  • FINDING "REAL PEOPLE" - as opposed to officials or academics
    Usenet Archives: 35,000 newsgroup archives and searches searched newsgroups
  • MAILING LISTS, connecting with people through mailing lists
    Yahoo Groups:

  • Who is John Doe? - and where to get the paper on him:

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Journalism Stuff Part II: Reporting Guides
guides on various topics, written by journalists

  • Pulitzer-winner Bill Dedman's suggestions
  • JournalistsToolBox: 12,000 links from Mike Reilly
  • Reporter's Desktop: suggestions from Duff Wilson of the Seattle Times
  • JournalismNet: reference guide from Julian Sher
  • A Journalists' Guide to the Internet: links from Christopher Callahan's definitive guidebook
  • JournalistExpress: a "desktop" for journalists; also see CEOExpress
  • DeadlineOnline: links and more from Alan Schlein. author of "Find It Online"
  • Cyberjournalist SuperSearch: access different search boxes in one place, from Jon Dube
  • AssignmentEditor: run by Jim Lichtenstein, a TV news veteran; now charging for major sections

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Journalism Stuff Part III: Reporting Tips
tips on doing your reporting, by topic

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Journalism Stuff Part IV: Writing Help
improve your writing

Journalism Stuff Part V: Tracking News Stories
Keeping up with what's a-goin' on

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Journalism Stuff Part VI: Misc.

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Consumer Info
the more you know...

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Just for Fun
test these out

  • AOL IM: get free instant messenger without AOL (my handle: sreenyc)
  • Dialectizer: translate sites into "redneck," "Elmer Fuddese" - sample
  • he's real bad luck
  • Star Links -- connect actors with each other
  • Asciimation: "Star Wars" as you've never seen it

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Further Reading

Others' Suggestions

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On this page:
Just the Facts | Search Engines | Useful Sites | Phone, E-mail & Web Info | Grammar & Style | Business Stuff | Journalism Stuff I: Finding Sources | Journalism Stuff II: Reporting Guides | Journalism Stuff III: Reporting Tips | Journalism Stuff IV: Writing | Journalism Stuff V: Tracking News | Journalism Stuff V: Misc | Consumer Info | Just for Fun | Further Reading | Others

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