Yesterday I blogged about travel websites. This week, I’ll provide you with some of my favorite reference websites, direct from my Internet Favorites.You already know that I’m a huge Google fan. Google isn’t just about the most powerful search engine, it also provides some other great tools. You can now personalize your Google launch page. Mine has local weather at the top, a quote of the day, stock quotes, Reuters links as well as the most current Fast Company articles. Other tools include Google Earth (satellite imagery, maps, and search combined into a powerful geographical tool), Google Finance (financial headlines, market performance, etc), and Google Scholar which is a tool to search through thousands of scholarly research papers.

I could spend an entire article talking about Google, and may soon, but in the meantime, explore around at this link of a detailed list of Google products.

My day job is in software sales, and I’ve recently come across the website Jigsaw.com. Jigsaw allows you to look up just about any company and get specific contacts with their direct dial numbers and direct emails. It’s surprisingly accurate, and is a real timesaver when you’re trying to get to the correct decision maker. You can either trade names for points, or buy them. You then trade your points for new contacts. It also can integrate with Salesforce and Outlook for easy export. If you’re going to try this, I’d also recommend checking out Anagram which is a text capture tool to help import contact information into Outlook, Palm Organizer, SalesForce, NetSuite or Jigsaw directly from emails and other electronic documents.

Babelfish provides translation of freeform text to and from multiple languages. It also provides an engine to translate websites in their entirety. It’s pretty fast as well- it took all of 20 seconds to translate SalesJabber.com into Spanish. Now I just need to learn to speak Spanish.

With 29 million visits a month, About.com is one of my favorite research sites, “about stuff”. It’s been around since 1996, and it’s built on 500 guides’ knowledge about all the questions that you want to ask – these are real people writing about the things that they know the best. It has an intuitive search engine as well.

Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. They have 1,290,598 articles in English and counting. It really is like a real live encyclopedia complete with references, photos and links.

If you’re interested in writing, Poewar.com is dedicated to resources for writers, and the writing business. A couple of others of note are Language Is A Virus which is a collection of word games and electronic toys designed to stimulate your writing muse, and 50 writing tools from Lifehack.org.

Lifehack provides daily insight on productivity and getting things done. It’s a great way to start your day- some content is better than others- it’s blogstyle as well- so there are a lot of perspectives represented.

eHow.com and WikiHow.com are how-to pages that really do have great instructions on how to do just about anything from levitating to card tricks and painting to fixing plumbing.

If you’re interested in researching federal law, THOMAS is a tool from the Library of Congress that allows you to search current and past legislation, presidential nominations, treaties, and congressional records.

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