Contains links to over 1,000 resource specific search interfaces better designed to uncover information often missed by the big search engines. The sites are grouped under broad headings such as Archives and Library Catalogs, Bibliographies, Business, Humanities, Science, Government, and more. Searchable.
Annotated directory database of more than 7,000 Web resources useful to the information seeker. Entries assigned subject headings and categorized by Best of..., Directories, Databases, and Specific Resources. Keyword search that includes the annotation is the default.
Northern Light Search


Reference Desk
Ready Reference Files -
The Santa Cruz Public Library staff's fugitive fact file contains hard-to-find answers in thousands of topics -- browsable or searchable. Results include answer, source, date, and Web site, if pertinent.
Almanacs & Encyclopedias
Information Please -
Includes the contents of the Information Please Almanacs, their own biography database, "a leading dictionary," and the Columbia Encyclopedia online. You can search these ready reference works together or separately or browse the Almanacs.
50 States and Capitals -
Most informative site for information on the states of the United States. Each state's page includes basic information and many links to sites with more information. You can find the text of the state songs, pictures of many of the state flowers and birds, maps, parks, political representatives, and much more. -
The complete Encyclopedia Britannica and more. "Selected articles from more than 70 of the world's top magazines--including Newsweek, Discover, and The Economist - provide additional feature and current-events coverage. Our guide to the Web's best sites includes more than 125,000 sites, and you can also search the text of more than 100 million Web pages to find more information. The Books in Print database is available through, and you can follow links from these citations to order books online from Barnes & Noble." Their Web pages search is from Searchopolis, which uses the Inkotomi search engine filtered by N2H2.
Maps, Dates, Weather
PCL Map Collection -
More than 5,000 online maps of general interest ordered geographically. In addition, they have a FAQ, which includes directions for re-sizing and printing the maps, maps of special interest, historical maps, a directory of city maps around the world, and links to other map collections.
Maps On Us -
Excellent mapping and routing service from Lucent Technologies (Bell Labs). In addition to detailed maps and driving directions, you can listen to your driving directions, with a choice of male or female voices. If you register (free) it will save your preferences and addresses.
The Calendar Zone --
Annotated directory of all calendar related resources on the Internet. Excellent resource, updated regularly. Great for finding holidays around the world.
UM Weather -
Most comprehensive and up-to-date source of world-wide weather links, with historic weather records going back six years. A section of Weather Cams that take live pictures of current weather conditions in major North American tourist spots is an added attraction. Once you search on a city, you're at the Weather Underground and their co-branded Google Web search engine is available.
Tide and Current Predictor -
Tides and currents for the next two days for North America and about hundreds of selected places around the world. Option to display tides up to twenty years in the future in several display types.
World Biographical Index -
This database contains about 2.5 million short biographical entries for prominent individuals who lived in North and South America, Western and Central Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania. The entry for each person contains the name, variations of the name, pseudonyms, the years of birth and death, or years mentioned, occupation, source quoted, and bibliographic information about the sources used. It is also a compiled index to many biographical archives, giving archive name and fiche number. Based on the 6th, CD-ROM edition (K.G. Saur, 1999). -
Search or browse 25,000 biographies of notable personalities from antiquity to the present. The profiles range from one paragraph to several. Searchable by name of person only. Entries include dates, career information, and alternate spellings/versions of the name. More recent entries can include photograph, list of works, and related Web links. Material comes from the Cambridge Encyclopedia Database, the Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, as well as the A&E family that includes the Biography and History Channels and Biography Magazine.
AnyWho -
AT&T's directory service database is the most feature-rich phone book on the Internet. You can do reverse lookups, ask for a street proximity listing for a business or residential listing, use their "sounds like" match for last name lookups, and get maps of the address (from their sister site MapsOnUs).
PopNet -
A comprehensive directory of population-related Web sites, searchable by topic or keyword, by organization, or through PopNet's clickable world map. PopNet covers Demographic Statistics, Economics, Education, Environment, Gender, Policy, and Reproductive Health. It includes Web sites produced by Government and International Organizations, Non-governmental Organizations, University Centers, and Associations and Mailing Lists. Produced by the Population Reference Bureau with funding assistance from the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
State and Local Government on the Net -
Includes organized links to state (agencies, legislative, judicial, executive, boards & commissions), regional, counties, cities, and other sites. With few exceptions this list is confined to servers controlled and managed by state and local agencies. Searchable. -
This site provides comprehensive and comparative information on the public policies of all 50 states. It contains current and archived news, a calendar of events, and background information about the states and their governments. The information is accessed either by the issues (such as health care, education, welfare, and utility deregulation) or by the state. Statistical data tables include: budget and taxes; crime and prisons; environment; highways and transportation; income and poverty; and population; as well as the specific issues listed above. From the Pew Center on the States.
Global Statistics -
Excellent source for country-by-country statistical data on population, cities and regions, land use, climate, and industrial output. Data is drawn from such resources as national and international census reports, the World Almanac and Book of Facts, and the CIA World Factbook. Don't miss Tops of the World - the longest, highest, most, largest, etc.
Books, Magazines, & Newspapers
Bookfinder -
Fast and efficient, this is the search engine to start with for new, used, fine, and out-of-print books. It searches Advanced Book Exchange, Alibris, Amazon, Antiqbook, Barnes & Noble, Bibliofind, Fatbrain, Powell's Books, and others at once. 20,000,000 books, 20,000 bookdealers. -
This database of the full text "hundreds of thousands of articles from more than 300 magazines and journals, dating back to 1998" can be searched by all magazines, magazines within categories, or specific magazine. Following in the footsteps of's putting its encyclopedia and full text of some 70 magazines online, this service is the first traditional periodical aggregator to release its material on the Web with ad revenues as the sole funding mechanism. LookSmart will categorize the Gale Group content and target specific advertisements to complement the article content. -
This current awareness resource helps users stay abreast of recent free magazine articles available online. Indexing some 140 periodicals, it organizes the articles in twelve categories, including Business; Computers; Education; Entertainment; Family; Finance; Health; Internet; Pets; Science; Society, Politics, and Culture; and Sports. These are further subdivided into subcategories. Articles are abstracted and links are provided to the full text. The site is also searchable by keyword. Some article abstracts also provide a link to similar articles and articles go back about a year.
AJR NewsLink -
THE resource for online newspapers around the world. Their newspapers section lists around 5,400 papers (3,400 U.S., 2,000 non-U.S.) searchable by title or location and also indexed geographically. In addition the US papers are indexed by state, frequency of publication, and category of publication. There is a section just for campus newspapers - US dailies, non-dailies, and non-US. They also have links to magazines, broadcasters, and news services worldwide. Also has many sources for journalists, including a database of job listings. From the American Journalism Review.
Creative Quotations -
This searchable database of more than 25,000 quotations from 2,800 people cites the source of each quotation. The quotations can also be brought up by month and day. There are also Indexes: by last name, day of birth, profession, women by profession, and women by day of birth; Themes: holidays, seasons, events; and Special Collections: Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Cicero, Aristotle, Thoreau, George Eliot, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mark Twain, Shakespeare, Gandhi, Emily Dickinson, Dorothy Parker, and Ambrose Bierce.
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations -
The 9th edition, 1901. From the Bartleby Project, formerly of Columbia University.
Speech and Transcript Center -
This unannotated directory covers business; television; government (federal, state, local, and international); and historical speech and transcript resources on the Web.
Style & Writing Guides
Karla’s Guide to Citation Style Guides -
Nicely annotated page of links to various styles for citing electronic, and other sources - MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, etc.
Guide to Grammar and Writing -
Extensive guide to effective use of the English language. Includes definitions of sentence parts, rules for comma usage and other punctuation marks, plurals and possessives, spelling, nouns and modifiers, words and phrases to avoid, capitalization, spelling and abbreviations, and a lot more.
Animal Diversity Web -
Pictures and information about animals. There is a wealth of data here about thousands of creatures: with shortcuts to mammals, birds, arthropods, amphibians, reptiles, sharks, and bony fishes among others. Searchable and browsable. The site was originally created by students at the University of Michigan for a biology course.
AltaVista Photo & Media Finder -
This is currently the most comprehensive database of media on the 'net, with the best searching capability. AltaVista has combined the Corbis photo, Getty Images, and CDNow album cover database with indexed images from the Web to provide millions of images. The default setting is to filter, one click turns it off. A search returns up to 12 thumbnails at a time.
NASA Image eXchange (NIX) -
"...a web-based search engine for simultaneously searching one or more of NASA's online image and photo collections. Searching is performed using keywords (Boolean operators can be employed to refine the search). NIX returns thumbnail sized images; textual descriptions; image numbers; and links to higher resolution images, more information, and the NASA Center that stores each image." Currently searches databases of over 300,000 NASA images. The Browse link will lead to NASA's choice of their best photos. The Options link will allow you to refine your search.


Arts, Movies, & Music
Art History Resources -
Provides a survey of art history from ancient times to the present day divided by period with separate links to research resources, an extensive list of museums and galleries by country, online journals, exhibits, and university art departments. Time periods are divided into countries, cultures, and styles. Noted individual artists are also included.
Internet Movie Database -
The most comprehensive movie database on the Internet. It covers over 200,000 movies and shows, 400,000 actors, and 40,000 directors and is expanding continuously. Information includes: filmographies for all professions in the industry; plot summaries; character names; movie ratings; year of release; running times; movie trivia; quotes; goofs; soundtracks; country of production; genres; production companies; distributors; special effects companies; sound mix; locations; sequel/remake information; release dates; advertising tag lines; languages; reviews; links to studios, fan pages, box office grosses, and Academy Awards information. Additionally, there is information on television series, including cast, crew, and years the series aired.
Movie Review Query Engine -
Entries in the database are reviews that have been posted in the past to or appear on one of the WWW servers of a variety of commercial or college newspapers and periodicals. Updated regularly, currently 165,000 reviews of 21,000 movie titles. Excellent place to look up movie reviews.
All-Music Guide -
Comprehensive source of music information from band biographies to album reviews to track listings. Searchable by artist, album, song, style of music, and label. Also has a music dictionary.
California Business Search -
Provides access to more than two million records filed in California's Secretary of States Office's corporation and limited partnership/limited liability company databases. Includes answers to the most frequently requested business entity information, such as: address, status, Secretary of State file number, date of filing, and agent for service of process. Includes order forms for requesting documents and information regarding checking and reserving corporate, limited partnership, and limited liability company names.
Real Estate Home Values -
Database of home sale prices, 1996 to date. Can search property sales by zip code, city, street, or sale price, and limit by year. Can sort results by distance from address, most recent sales, and amount of sale (note that Date Sold comes up by default with oldest sold first - click on column header to re-sort to most recent sold). Covers all 50 states. If you know the original purchase price of a home, you can also get an estimated current value. From Yahoo.
Computers & the Internet
Tech Encyclopedia -
"More than 14,000 definitions of computer terms and concepts.... The source for this encyclopedia is The Computer Desktop Encyclopedia." This site is very useful for authoritative computer and Internet technology definitions. If this doesn't do it, check out or
ZD Net Downloads -
This searchable collection of shareware is divided by category, including games, Internet, utilities, home, business, graphics, Windows 95/98/NT, Macintosh, and editor's picks. Useful for finding and downloading some of the best software and reviews. All their files have been virus checked and they have a great guide to downloading - EZ Download Guide
Politics & History
Political Resources on the Net -
Comprehensive, annotated directory of political sites available on the Internet. Searchable, and sorted by country - with links to the political parties; information about the political system and constitution; and guides to organizations and the national media. Excellent resource.
Encyclopaedia of British History -
This site is an outstanding resource for anyone studying this period in British history. The encyclopedia currently contains over 2,800 entries and is being added to continuously. It is "an attempt to show the history of Britain through the eyes of people from all levels of society. Each entry includes narrative, illustrations, primary sources and bibliography." Produced by Spartacus, a publishing company formed by a group of teachers.
USGenWeb Project -
This comprehensive site provides links to all the state genealogy Web sites which, in turn, provide gateways to the counties. They also sponsor Special Archiving Projects that include putting all U.S. census data online; transcribing cemetery tombstone information; tracking single lineage; and genealogy for kids. In addition, there is an excellent guide to doing genealogy research that also includes such information as caring for old documents; repairing old books; preserving old photographs; and publishing your results.
College and University Rankings -
An annotated guide to online college ranking services - undergraduate, graduate, business, law, and international. Includes a short list of print ranking services, a longer bibliography of articles concerning the utility of college rankings, and links to a few sites regarding recent controversy over rankings. This excellent resource is maintained by librarians at the University of Illinois.
.edu: U.S. News Colleges and Careers Center -
Features four sections designed to help users choose a college or graduate school and a career - including college rankings, graduate school rankings (now with Library Schools), financial aid with best values rankings, and guides to careers, internships, and jobs.
Recreation & Travel
WebGarden -
Includes a searchable database of over 20,000 fact sheets from universities and cooperative extensions in the United States and Canada (can limit search by region), a dictionary of plants with links to images and descriptions, and links to other Internet gardening resources.
California Coastal Water Quality -
Current information for the beaches of San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz counties. Weekly or daily water conditions from local Surfrider Foundation chapters of this non-profit environmental organization.
European Train Timetables -
The most complete and useful schedules for rail travel in Europe. Provides detailed information on the trains. Prices only available for travel in Germany. From the Deutsche Bahn.
Health & Medicine
InteliHealth -
The major content of this comprehensive health site is in the Health Library, which contains the Johns Hopkins Encyclopedia: including Adult Health (the heart of this A - Z encyclopedia), Pediatrics, Allergy, Nutrition, Fitness, and more; Ask-the-Doc: searchable answers to thousands of questions; Medications: a drug database - the U.S. Pharmacopoeia, including (when available) educational leaflets, photographs of pills, and information from medicine charts that show dosage variations; and even more information from the National Institutes of Health and the National Health Council.
The National Library of Medicine's MEDLINE database of more than 11 million references (many with abstracts) to articles published in over 4,000 biomedical journals may now be accessed free of charge from the source. Additionally, more than 1,000 of the journals include links to the full-text of the article (most requiring a fee).
This annotated directory is for consumers, professionals, and students who would like to learn more about various forms of alternative health care. It links to sources of information on unconventional, unorthodox, unproven, or alternative, complementary, innovative, integrative therapies. Includes practitioners' directories.
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) -
You can search or browse the Rare Disease Database for descriptions of the disease, find a support group or help in the Organizational Database, check details of medications in the Orphan Drug Designation Database, read the group's newsletters, link to associated sites, and more.
Mad Scientist Network -
This Web site unites "hundreds of scientists in a forum where people can ask questions and learn more about the world around them." Questions submitted must be science related and are usually answered within seven days. The question-and-answer archives extend back to 1995 and can be searched by subject, keyword, and grade level. An excellent source for science project ideas, classroom activities, and trivia.
Earthquake Information from the USGS -
At this site from the U.S. Geological Survey you can look at the latest earthquake information and reports (including a special on recent California earthquakes) and find out more about quake hazards and preparedness. There are also study resources and, under Other Resources, a link to the Seismosurfing page which has the most comprehensive list of earthquake links anywhere.
Satellite Predictions -
Every night satellites visibly pass overhead, and with this database you can predict the satellites expected to pass a specific location. Input your city, or latitude & longitude if you know it, and get a list and brief description of the satellite and when it will be visible. In addition, visible passes of the space station Mir and data on Iridium flares in the next week are provided. Maintained by Heavens-Above GmbH.