Information Overload

The greatest tool we as writers have in the early 21st Century for researching is the internet. By no means can it give us everything, but it certainly can get us going in the right direction. Before I go on a research trip, I spend several hours or even days looking up information on my destination so that when I arrive, I’m already ahead of the game and can concentrate on things that are more sense base (smell, touch, sound, taste).

I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of reliable bookmarks I use to help me in this research. So today I thought we’d do a little swap meet of sorts. Below are links to some of my favorite mainstream and offbeat web sources. Feel free to bookmark them for yourself if you don’t have them already. Then when you’re done add your own links in the comments that you think others would find useful.

So here we go!

BUSINESS/FINANCE
Yahoo Currency Converter

DICTIONARIES/WORD REFERNCE SITES
Webster’s Dicitonary and Thesaurus

Dictionary.com

Thesaurus.com

etymonline.com Online Etymology Dictionary.

Glossary of Architectural Terms

GENERAL
Wikipedia Always a great place to start any search. But make sure you get back up information, some of the entries are iffy at best.

BabelFish For your quick translation needs. Again, use a real native speaker for any actual translations you’ll put into your story!

AcronymFinder.com Unsure what that odd acronym means? No problem…just enter the letters and hit Find.

IMDB.com Need to know about the career of a particular movie star? Interesting in the credits to that movie you loved? This is the site used by the pros.

WebMD.com Look up that disease you want to give to your bad guy.

GEOGRAPHICAL/INTERNATIONAL
Airport Routing International Find out what airports are located where, their IATA codes, elevation, runway lengths, latitude and longitude.

International Telephone Country Codes

Weather.com

WHO – World Health Organization

The Lonely Planet Guides

GOVERNMENT RELATED
IntelligenceSearch.com Links to tons of international intelligence agencies.

FBI Guide for Writers

MEASUREMENTS

TimeAndDate.com – great source for everything time and…well…date related. World clocks, calendars for any year, moon calendars, daylight savings time dates, etc.

EH…MORBID?
FindAGrave.com Just like it says…looking for a grave? Find it here.

Obituary Central

MUSIC
KissThisGuy.com A catelog of misheard song lyrics. Fun stuff.

All Time Greatest Hits From 1944 up to the present day – just the facts, the top 20 lists.

NAMES
Fantasy Name Generator

Fake Name Generator

Company Name Generator

Your turn now. Share some of your favorites!

8 thoughts on “Information Overload

  1. Louise Ure

    What a fine idea, Brett. I can use some of these.

    Here’s another general one. I’m an NPR nut, but can’t always find an NPR station when I’m on the road. Try http://www.npr.org/stations/ to get NPR stations along your route, along with turn by turn instructions, just like mapquest.

    Reply
  2. Pari Noskin Taichert

    Brett,Talk about a useful post. Wow.

    One resource I use is a yahoo group: crimescenewriter.com

    Here, experts in a variety of forensic and law enforcement/emergency medical professions are happy to answer writers’ questions. It’s a very active group and the information is always useful.

    Plus . . . it gives me ideas.

    Reply
  3. Cornelia Read

    http://www.bartleby.com has the American Heritage Dictionary, All the Roget Thesauri, a number of books of quotations, the Columbia Encyclopedia, a dictionary of phrase and fable, and a bunch of other stuff. You just type a word into the search field and it will give you all listings in all the sources they have on hand. Total genius.

    Reply

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