Monday, 7 July 2014

Help with online research

Nancy, who is currently living in Barcelona, is doing a non-fiction writing course. As she says: living abroad, it’s not always easy to carry out research. Do you know of any good reference sites?

As I wasn’t sure what topic or categories would be of benefit, I’ve collected a range of online reference sites, all of which are useful for those of us who have limited access to English language libraries and museums, but are equally useful to readers who aren’t resident abroad.

Ask Oxford has built a database on grammar, usage and words, as well as giving a quote of the week, word of the day, spelling help and origins of words and phrases.
Cambridge dictionary is useful:
Mirriam Webster is another good online dictionary and is useful when an alternative word is needed.

Quotes and Sayings is a wonderful site to find quotes by subject or author, excerpts from speeches and poetry, and a good selection of proverbs and sayings. The site also provides the full text of several books by Arthur Conan Doyle and the following works by Shakespeare: All's Well that Ends Well, As You Like It, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest and his Sonnets.

Museums is a gateway to various UK museums, galleries and heritage attractions. provides access to a database of about 5,000 artefacts from the British Museum's collections. produced by the Museums, Libraries and Archive Council, this is an online database of more than 6,000 collections in the UK's museums, galleries, archives and libraries. The Imperial War Museum covers conflicts from the First World War to the present day. is an American site that provides information on museums and galleries worldwide. the National Gallery Search allows you to explore by artist, subject, theme or title. the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television gives details of the collections which include the world's first negative and the earliest television footage. the National Portrait Gallery lists collections by name of artist or sitter, by medium, or by subject. the Natural History Museum has details of the museum's collections, information about research, details of services and access to the catalogue. the Tate Online gives access to works in the Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives. 

Fee-paying sites
The British Library gives online access to this incredible resource and offers copies of documents for a fee. is the online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions

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