Miscellaneous Tools

Miscellaneous Tools


Media Organizations
Alphabetical index of most major media organizations.

The Wayback Machine
A new version of Archive.org that searches screengrabs of old website designs.

Time Capsule
Type in your birthdate — or any date you’re interested in for that matter — and get a digest of news headlines, top song titles and other timely factoids covering that era.

Lists your local time with other time zones and major cities. No more time zone math! The site is also a cool use of HTML5 (no Flash) and can be used on an iPhone and iPad.

Google Search Techniques for Journalists
Many tips and tricks.

The Reddit Edit
Created by a freelance journalist, this site features the best of Reddit. Great place to go and find story ideas.

Media Organizations
Alphabetical index of most major media organizations.

Pew Global Attitudes Project
Public opinion surveys from around the world.

Search Systems
A free database that has business information, corporate filings, property records, unclaimed property, professional licenses, inmates, criminal and court filings and much more. You can even see aerial photographs of your home.

Five Free Tools for Finding and Verifying YouTube Videos in News

A handy quick-reference, fact-checking site for copy editors. Find out if a celebrity is dead or alive.

Obituaries Help
Access newspaper obituaries and discover your genealogy
online. Discover obituary resources like old newspaper obituaries
archives and Download free genealogy forms and printable family tree

Data.gov Tools
This government site is a tool for helping to build your own database using government statistics.

Firefox extension to help you collect, manage and cite your research sources. Developed by George Mason University, the extension provides users with automated access to bibliographic information for online resources.

Why Are Americans So…
A fun site that lists state-by-state stereotypes based off Google search’s autocomplete. Could be helpful for a fun, off beat story.

Fagan Finder
Journalists will be especially interested in the search engines, reference, news and law sections.

Calendar 365
Moon calendars, Chinese calendar, etc.

Vital Records Database
Lists links to all the state and county agencies that keep vital statistics such as birth, death andmarriage records around the country. Also lists the fee the states charge for the records.

Online Public Records
Find public records data.

Smithsonian Open Access
Archive of thousands of historical, rights-free photos.

Access 1.5 million articles from more than 200 sources for free.


Academic Scholar Search Engines
A great collection of search tools.

Resource Shelf?s DocuTicker
A helpful research blog run by several top researchers.

Pantheon: Encyclopedia of Myths

PI Newslink
A blog for private investigators/researchers.

ResourceShelf: DocuTicker
A daily update of new reports from government agencies, ngo’s, think tanks, and other groups.

Track who has lifted content off your website. Just type in the URL of your site.

A how-to guide that makes for great trend stories and features.

Notable Names Database

Leadership Directories
Find leaders in government, foreign affairs, legal, media, etc.

Virtual Library Museums
Find whatever you want, whether it’s art, history, science or a natural park.

Social Science Research Network
Free database of research papers.

Looks for new words popping up in English usage.

Searches more than 100,000 message boards and forums.

A science explanation site.

A collection of information on U.S. cities and towns. The site includes almanac-like reference data, property statistics, local weather reports, links to the official city web sites and maps for about 3,500 cities. The site also includes a summary article on about 50 major cities.

This site has collected and analyzed data from numerous sources to create profiles of all U.S. cities. It featuresthousands of pictures, maps, satellite photos, stats about residents (race, income, ancestries, education, employment…), geographical data, crime data, housing, businesses, political contributions, weather, hospitals, schools, libraries, houses, airports, radio and TV stations, zip codes, area codes, user-submitted facts, similar cities list.

OCLC Libarian’s Toolbox
Resources, some free and some by perscription.

Obits 101
A national obits clearinghouse of links.

Has reports with individual country statistics on many topics.

Has reports with individual country statistics on many topics.

International Center for Journalists

Social Security Death Records

Encyclopedia & Reference Resource
Browse articles in all areas of topics within Earth & Environment, History, Literature & Arts, Health & Medicine, People, Philosophy & Religion, Places, Plants & Animals, Science & Technology, Social Science, Law, Sports, Everyday Life, and more.

A must-bookmark for any journalist.
A clearinghouse of sourcing links from the Schlein News Bureau.
Broken down by people, sources, documents and background.

Voice of the Shuttle
Compiled by the UC Santa Barbara English Department, this is an outstanding general links site. Resources include anthropology, women’s studies, literature, philosophy, business theory, cyberculture and more.

A free site that allows you to enter a source you wish to cite, where you found it (e.g., online or print), the author and other details. You then get an instant bibliography entry that you can reuse as you need.

Encyclopedia of Earth

YouTube: Library of Congress Channel

A blizzard of topics, from zip quotes and stock quotes to sports.

National Personnel Records Center
A central repository of personnel-related records, both military and civil service. The site provides service to “government agencies, military veterans, former civilian Federal employees, family members, as well as researchers and historians.”

The truth and myth about where words come from.

Look up just about anything in this online encyclopedia.

Journalist’s Resource
A website dedicated to promoting knowledge-based
 reporting and is targeted to journalism educators. A project of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.

Acronym Finder
“The web’s most comprehensive database of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms. 212,000-plus definitions!”

A global headline search site.

Census: American FactFinder
Type in a city or ZIP code and get census data.

Glossaries, quick-reference look-ups. Translation tools as well.

Historychannel.com: Speech Transcripts
Historical transcripts and audio.

Stanford: Journalism in the Age of Data
A great video tutorial on how to use data visualization online as a journalist.

A good fact-checking site. Biographies, vital records, demographics, population and census statistics, e-mail, phone, reverse and professional directories, newsgroups, chat rooms.

The site offers “transcript search” of podcasts. The site is fee-based service and allows you to search nearly all major TV networks and some local stations. The site also has a free transcript search of TV news video available on the open web from MSNBC, Reuters, etc.


This software remembers every password, various addresses (which you control by creating different identities) and unlike Gator, contains no spyware. Although the basic version is free, the pro version is available for about $30.

Dialect Survey
A survey quiz from Harvard that studies dialect dispersion in modern America. See how much you differ from folks in your hometown (or adopted locale), or examine the maps to find out how people say what, where, etc.

New York Times: TimesMachine
Browsable access to the Times from 1851 to 1922, but is only available to home delivery subscribers.

Though this site is run by a hobbyist, it features complete lists of the heads of state and government for every country and colony in the world over the past 300 years. It also has pocket histories of each country/colony, images of each country and colony’s flags, and in many cases links to constitutions, national anthems, and so on. Also updated fairly regularly. Again, double-check the information you find on this site, but it appears to be very, very helpful.

BBC News Country Profiles
Features include an overview, historical timelines and links to the media from each country. Also some audio of newsmaking moments.

Geographic Encyclopedia

West Egg’s Cliche Finder

Keep track of keywords mentioned on TV. You can do a free demo try, but it costs for a user log-in.

Copyscape Plagiarism Checker
Search for copies of your page on the web. Helps you defend your site from plagiarism. Just type in your site’s web address.

The U.S. Constitution

Organized by state and city, explore data on many U.S. communities.

The TV show on A&E has a database of bios on famous people. Good for fact-checking.

American National Biography Online
The American National Biography (ANB) offers portraits of more than 17,400 people. The site includes feature illustrations, hyperlinked cross-reference, links to selected Web sites and powerful search capabilities. It requires a user name and password, though.

A great site for fact-checking.

Adobe .PDF Conversion Tools

Editor’s Web.org
News release galore, many from federal agencies.

A free genealogy site. Social security, birth and census reports.

Yahoo! Almanacs/Calendars
Links to online almanacs and other calendar Web sites.

Los Angeles Times Data Desk
Databases galore, from tropical storm names, charities, entertainment, politics, etc.

Brain Track
Search British universities.

A searchable site for authorities on particular topics. 14,000 topics covered and more than 1,500 individuals, associations, corporations and public interest groups.

A chance to rewrite history, giving the user the chance to write their own scenarios and sequels to historical events. Example: What would have happened had JFK not been killed?

A plagiarism finder.

This cross-reference site does a search of 50 reference titles.

Check your spelling as you submit a query.

Pew Social Trends
Social, demographics and stats galore. Great resource for localizing these national/global trends in your community. Has stats down to the local level.

Links to 20,000 independent book-sellers and lists more than 30 million books (new, used, rare, etc.).

Instant translation for several languages.

Census: American FactFinder
Type in a city or ZIP code and get census data.

National Digital Library
Detailed multimedia presentations on significant historical events provide access to the highlights of the collections at the Library of Congress.

World Almanac for Kids Online

Dictionary of American Regional English

Teaches you how to tackle hundreds of life’s problems.

Internet Resources for Writers
A great one-page stop for helpful writing and reporting links.

Social Science Research Network
This site covers the worldwide dissemination of social science research and is composed of a number of specialized research networks in each of the social sciences.

Lycos Multimedia Search
This site offers photos and more.

Various search tools, people locator.

U.S. National Archives

This site generates offbeat facts and stats. Click the fact generator repeatedly for a list of of fun, interesting facts.

Check how many sites link there are to a particular sit.

Truth or Fiction?
This site takes “rumor mill” e-mails we all receive and determines if they are true or false. There is a good list of Attack on America information.

A links page put up by an individual. Fact-check anything you find on the site.

Newswise maintains a comprehensive database of news releases from top institutions engaged in scientific, medical and business research. Allows reporters to search, browse or download any article or abstract.

Deloitte Press Room
Several interesting studies by the consulting firm.

All in One Search Page
Search more than 800 databases, directories and more.

A global directory of search engines.

Good Quotations
Gabriel Robins’ Good Quotations by Famous People has some super material.

Onelook Dictionary
A glossary of 743 subjects.

World Book Online
The digital version of the encyclopedia.

Free Translation
This site translates English into other languages. Very cool! And free.

HyperStat Searchable Stats Database
Powered by Rice University.

Similar to Al’s morning meeting on Poynter.org, only with e-mail. The e-mail-based story idea exchange for working journalists acts as a distributor of stories or generated in daily work.

OneLook Dictionary Search
A very handy, quick-search resource. Type a word or phrase into this search engine and it will match your clues with the word you need.

The Quotations Page
Check sources of famous quotes.

The Virtual Library
Links to dozens of indexed library resources.

Law Library Research Exchange

Special Libraries Assn. News Division
Newsroom librarian site on archiving, online references, research materials.

Library of American Broadcasting
A collection of audio and video recordings, books, pamphlets, periodicals, personal collections, oral histories, photographs, scripts, and vertical files devoted exclusively to the history of broadcasting.

Search for journals on hundreds of wide-ranging topics.

Museum of Hoaxes
Don’t be fooled by urban legends and if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

A cool resource for offbeat stats and facts.

One Look Dictionaries
Search nearly 4 million words.

Famous Name Changes
Track celebrities, politicians.

RAND Corporation Research Areas
Federally funded documents center has a clearinghouse page of links to a variety of topics: national security, international affairs, healthcare, transportation, etc.

Thesaurus for Use in College and University Archives
More than 1,300 terms used by college or university archives to describe their holdings.

Forbes People Tracker
Track more than 120,000 executives and members of the Forbes rich and celebrity lists. Customized e-mail alerts (free!), research public companies and news updates!

The British Library
Portal to more than 150 million items from history.

Institute for Public Accuracy
As a nationwide group of policy researchers. Great source for public policy issues!

A comprehensive collection of demographic, lifestyle, and economic data covering over 2,600 U.S. cities portrayed as thematic maps, informative reports, detailed tables and colorful charts — all freely available.

Genomic Glossaries and Taxonomies
Biotechnology & pharmaceutical terms (& definitions) not found in most dictionaries. About 3,500 + definitions for applications, biochemistry, bioinformatics, cheminformatics, drug discovery and development, genomics, molecular biology, proteomics (and beyond), tools and technologies.

Mistakes in movies, books, quotes, TV shows, etc.

Clock Your Typing Speed


Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

University of Michigan Documents in the News
Search safety reports from many areas — transportation, environment, etc.

Cal-Berkeley: Journalism Research Tools
Links to online almanacs, encyclopedias, directories, subject guides, etc.

Internet Resources for News Librarians and Others
Links galore, grouped by topics and types of tools.

Law Library of Congress
Links galore to research, other law centers, collections databases, reading room, bibliographies, etc.

Great one-stop shopping for links to public records databases.

Acronym Finder
A helpful database of more than 200,000 acronyms, abbreviations, etc.

USPS: Quick Zip Code Search

Biographical dictionary with 33,000 entries.

National Archives
Thousands of public records and historical documents.

Art Science Research Laboratory
A New York based, not-for-profit organization that creates intellectual environment and advocacy of interdisciplinary study, encompassing the areas of research, collections and publishing. On a daily basis, art historians, scientists, artists, designers, and programmers contribute ideas, participate in a dynamic environment, and challenge the outdated but still prominent structures of practices in the arts, sciences, and humanities.

Run by blogger and PR pro Peter Shankman, is a free subscription site that allows reporters to submit a query looking for sources. Simply enter your query into a form, and it will get posted on the site’s next e-mailing. Queries are sent out three a day to a list of more than 18,000 global sources. If a source has knowledge of a specific query, that source can just e-mail the reporter directly. Note that PR people are kicked off the list for off-topic pitching.

Zamzar Conversion Tool
A free service that turns a .PDF into flat-file text.

Library of Congress: Ask a Librarian
Submit questions to a librarian. Includes a chat feature and links to various collections.

Chicago Reader: The Straight Dope
Answers to dozens of offbeat (sometimes silly) questions. Good for looking for quirky story ideas.

Worldwide Words
Michael Quinion writes about international English from a British perspective. Fun with pop culture catch phrases.

Friend or Follow
A helpful database for tracking Twitter followers and to track who’s following you.

Google Definitions
Look up a word’s definition instantly.

Search Facebook, Linkedin and other social media sites for names.

Receive an e-mail notification that someone is following you on Twitter. It includes information about that person (how many followers, updates, etc.)

ZipWho.com: Free Zip Code Demographics
Stats and demographic information in an easy-to-search format.

Library of Congress Webcasts
News and reviews of the latest documentary films.

U.S. Public Interest Research Groups
Transportation, healthcare, money and politics, media reform, tax and budget, law, higher education and environmental issues.

Academic Earth
Videos of academic lectures by top scholars on various topics.

Neat New Stuff on the Web
A super list of new resources updated weekly by librarian Marylaine Block.

Library of Congress: State Resource Guides
Provides links to external Web sites and a bibliography containing selected works for both general and younger readers. This site will be updated on a regular basis.

Library of Congress: State Digital Resources
Includes memory projects, online encyclopedias, history and cultural materials.

Columbia University Online Library

University of California, Berkeley Journalism Library

Library of American Broadcasting

Library of Congress Newspaper and Current Periodical Room

British Library

Association of UK Media Librarians


SLA Newspaper Archives on the Web

Portland Oregonian Research Blog

Liz Donovan’s Behind the News Blog

Policy Archive
More than 12,000 public policy documents.

North American Transportation Statistics
Sort by country or type of stat. Includes passenger travel, safety, vehicles, infrastructure, etc.

Federal Citizen Information Center
Answers consumer problems with government services.

World Name Profiler
Enter a surname to view its map and statistics.


Special Issues: List of Lists
Links to rankings in many consumer, political and other categories.

World Names Profiler
Use this tool to track a surname and map the results.

The Globalist
Articles, facts and book quotes of the day are browsable by countries and regions, and by globalization topics such as children, development, markets, religion, technology, etc.

Days To Pay Calculator: How Long Until You Pay It Off?
Enter the cost of an item and other information compute how long it will take to pay off the item you want to purchase. Helpful for writers doing consumer spending stories.

Arrangeonline.com: National Obituary Archive
With more than 55 million individual entries on file.

Atlas Obscura
Search, or browse by categories or places.

Social Science Research Network
Search this database of abstracts and papers on hundreds of topics.

Surveys and research.

Zogby International
Polling information on elections and other issues. Has a good newsroom section.

NPD Group Global Insight
Marketing firm media page posts dozens of retail trends and surveys.

Trilby Lundberg
Surveys and research.

URL Appraisal
Find out how much your web address is worth.

CalculateWhat Online Calculators

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

National Geologic Map Database
From the USGS, this is a geoscience resource for maps and related data to geology, hazards, earth resources, geophysics, geochemistry,
geochronology, paleontology and marine geology.