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The WWW Virtual Library is a large text-based collection of databases of online resources on several hundred topics, many specialized. Here, you can find indexes to Web pages on such subjects as aboriginal studies, lighthouses, whale-watching or UFOs, as well as such general topics as music, astronomy, and nonprofit organizations.
When you select a category, you access a page of Web links pertaining to that subject - with a brief description of the Web site, and with recommended and new sites indicated. Some databases are meta-databases, leading you to additional collections of resources. Most have mirror sites throughout the world, facilitating Internet access.
For example, if you choose museums, you are transported to an impressive page of museum listings, arranged by country and category (e.g. art museum, computer museum). From here you can navigate to the world museum page and discover brief descriptions and links to all the virtual museums throughout the world - from Argentina to New Zealand, South Africa and Vatican City. Many have impressive online exhibits.
The World Wide Web Virtual Library was started at Cern, and is maintained by volunteers who establish the databases on different servers throughout the world. Although not all links are updated, new topics are being added, and an effort is apparently made to insure that listings are current and quality-based.
Infomine (University of California)*
Scholarly Internet Resource Collection
INFOMINE is a virtual library of academic Internet resources relevant to faculty, students, and research staff at the university level. It contains useful Internet resources such as databases, electronic journals, electronic books, bulletin boards, mailing lists, online library card catalogs, articles, directories of researchers, and many other types of information.
Librarian's Internet Index
The Librarians' Internet Index is a publicly-funded online directory created and organized by a team of West Coast librarians. With over 20,000 entries organized into 14 main topics and nearly 300 related topics, the Librarian's Internet Index is not only extensive - it is cleanly designed (no ads!) and carefully annotated. Particularly helpful and easy to use is the reference section - one of the best resources online if you need an online dictionary, world map, phone book, zip code directory, or calendar.
Internet Public Library
The Internet Public Library, one of the first Internet libraries, is at the University of Michigan and provides reference services to Internet users to help them find and evaluate a wide range of Internet resources. Included on their site are subject directories compiled by librarians, a reading room for online books, magazines and newspapers, and a ready reference site for users seeking an online dictionary, encyclopedia, almanac etc. One of the most helpful features is "Ask a Question," which enables users to receive real and direct responses to their searching inquiries and issues from the Internet Public Library staff.
Wikipedia is a free extensive online encyclopedia written and edited by Internet users. Teeming with useful information but some articles may be questionable in regard to accuracy.
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