Blind World Magazine

Accessing Dictionaries and encyclopedias Online.

The Fred's Head Companion.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006.

The Internet is a rich source for dictionary and other reference materials. If you have screen access software and an Internet connection, there are a number of sites that you may want to check out.

Before we go too far into this article, let me suggest that you take some time to read this great page called How to use Dictionaries.

Acronym Finder:

has more than 480,000 human-edited entries, Acronym Finder is the world's largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms. Combined with the Acronym Attic, Acronym Finder contains more than 3 million acronyms and abbreviations.

Do you need a dictionary in a foreign language? If so, then you need to search Dictionaries > By Language in the Yahoo! Directory: has links to over 500 dictionaries so you're sure to find what you're looking for!

Are you trying to keep up with the latest slang terms? If so, then you need to search Slang Dictionaries in the Yahoo! Directory:

Wikipedia is a multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopedia written collaboratively by volunteers and operated by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation based in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Wikipedia began as a complement to the expert-written Nupedia on January 15, 2001.

It has steadily risen in popularity, and has since spawned several sister projects, such as Wiktionary, Wikibooks, and Wikinews. It is edited by volunteers with wiki software, meaning articles are subject to change by nearly anyone. Wikipedia's volunteers attempt to uphold a policy of "neutral point of view" under which views presented by notable persons or literature are summarized without an attempt to determine an objective truth. Due to its open nature, vandalism and inaccuracy are constant problems in Wikipedia.

Wiktionary is a sister project to Wikipedia, intended to be a free wiki dictionary (including thesaurus and lexicon) in every language. It was set up on December 12, 2002.

gives you access to the American Heritage Dictionary, the Columbia Encyclopedia, the Roget's Thesauri, Quotations, English Usage, Modern Usage, Strunk Style, Cambridge History, the King James Bible, Oxford Shakespeare, Gray's Anatomy, Farmer's Cook Book, Host Etiquette, Brewer's Phrase and Fable, and other interesting books.

The Merriam-Webster online Dictionary:

gives you access to definitions from the Merriam-Webster CollegiateĀ® Dictionary and Thesaurus. This Web site also features the "Word of the day," "Word games," and "Word for the Wise."

is a unique site. When you type a word to be looked up, retrieves and displays definitions from different sources at once. For instance, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, WordNet 1.6, and Acronym Finder.

The Internet is also a great resource for more specialized reference materials. To find these materials just go to your favorite search engine --Google, Yahoo, Altavista, etc. and do a search on the word "dictionary". You will find resources ranging from technical terminology like,

an on-line dictionary for computer and internet terms, to

the most complete dinosaur dictionary on the web. You can also find books for medical terminology, law, measurement conversion, foreign languages, biology, semantics and more.

Most Web reference materials are free and easy to use. Just type a word or words in an "Edit box" and do a search. The results will be displayed in an HTML format. The main disadvantage that free Web materials have over the commercially available software is the amount of unwanted information within the results page, such as advertisements and navigation links. If you plan to use these reference materials frequently, you will be better off purchasing the CD-ROM, or subscribing to their service in order to get a clean version and save time searching. However, if you just want to search these materials occasionally, take a look at your screen access manual. Your software should have useful tips and features that will allow you to navigate a Web page efficiently by skipping unwanted information.

The Encyclopedia Britannica

Since its first publication in 1768, The Encyclopedia Britannica has been considered the world's most comprehensive reference product. Unfortunately, for more than 200 years this reference material was not accessible in its entirety to people who were blind or visually impaired.

With the advances in the field of technology and the power of the Internet, this research tool is now available to blind computer users.

Encyclopedia Britannica Online includes the complete encyclopedia, the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and the Britannica Book of the Year. The Encyclopedia Britannica Online can be used to search an Internet directory that includes more than 130,000 links to Web sites selected, rated, and reviewed by Britannica editors.

Through this service, one can find more than 72,000 articles, updated and revised by EB editors and contributors. The Encyclopedia contains over 10,000 illustrations, including photographs, drawings, maps, and flags. The Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary contains more than 75,000 definitions, including pronunciation guides and word histories.

Encyclopedia Britannica Online offers different kinds of subscriptions to Individuals or families, and site license subscriptions to multi-user organizations. Including corporations, libraries, primary through secondary schools, colleges, and universities. Pricing varies by market and size of organization.

For more information contact:

Encyclopedia Britannica
Toll Free: 1-800-621-3900

The Canadian Encyclopedia

Search or browse by broad topic for almost any aspect of Canadian history and culture. You can also explore a timeline of Canadian history, the 100 greatest events in Canadian history, interactive resources, or quizzes that test your knowledge of Canada. The site also includes the full text of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

Click this link to visit the Canadian Encyclopedia:

Using is fun, easy, and with free, instant access to reliable facts, definitions and information on over a million topics, it's sure to keep you coming back for more learning, not searching!

Click this link to visit

Flags of the World

Want to learn about flags? If you answer yes this site is for you. I had no idea the number of flags found in the United States. Even cities have flags! You can also view maps of various places as well. Click this link to visit Flags of the World.

End of article.

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