Virtual Reference Shelf | Atlases & Demographics | Citation Guides | Dictionaries & Thesauri | Directories
Encyclopedias | Financial Calculators | Quotations | Translation Aids

Virtual Reference Shelf – sources containing multiple types of reference tools

Gale Virtual Reference Library (Gale)

An excellent collection of general and subject-specific reference sources that can be searched individually or in combination. Available only to current CUNY School of Law students and faculty.

Oxford Reference Online

An outstanding collection of reference resources that can be used individually or searched in combination. Includes general and subject-specific dictionaries, encyclopedias, quotations dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, maps and more. Available only to current CUNY School of Law students and faculty.

Great source for free access to current reference sources! Older sources provided as well, so check the dates.

Information Please

Includes an online encyclopedia (Columbia House), dictionary, thesaurus, maps and several almanacs.

The Internet Public Library Reference Collection

Includes a large collection of links to reference sources on the Web.

World Digital Library

Presents “cultural treasures” from around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings. Developed by the Library of Congress and partner institutions throughout the world, with support from the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Atlases & Demographics

Google Maps
Statistical Atlas of the United States

Uses information from the latest U.S. Census (2010) and 2009-2013 American Community Survey.

U.S. Census Bureau


Citing Electronic Information

A collection of links to style guides for citing electronic resources, including APA, MLA and more. Maintained by the Internet Public Library.

Dictionaries & Thesauri

Information Please
Merriam-Webster Online (includes thesaurus)
Oxford English Dictionary

This is the online edition of the famous multi-volume print version, with definitions for over 500,000 words. Contains the contents of the current print version, plus updates as they are added that will appear in the new print version when it comes out. The publisher claims over 2.5 million quotations are included to show the usage of words, which is a particular strength of this dictionary. Available only to current CUNY School of Law students and faculty.

ROGET’S Thesaurus (1922 edition from
Wordsmyth English Dictionary-Thesaurus


United States Postal Service ZIP Code Lookup and Address Information


Britannica Online

This site includes the online version of Encyclopedia Britannica and much more.

Information Please

Includes an online encyclopedia (Columbia House), dictionary, maps and several almanacs.


Written collaboratively by volunteers. Most articles can be edited by anyone. Useful for preliminary info and especially for pop-culture topics, but use with caution.

Financial Calculators

Currency Converter (OANDA)
CNN Money Cost of Living Comparison Calculator

See how far your salary will go in various areas of the U.S.

Choose from over 1,000 job descriptions and compare salaries paid in different U.S. cities.


Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 10th ed., pub. 1919

This site lists several other free quotation sources, though most are also quite old.

Translation Aids

Babelfish Translator

Translate text between several languages, including English, Spanish, German, Arabic, and more.

Google Translate
Logos Multi-Lingual E-Translation Portal

Find translations of words in over 100 languages! Includes audio files for many words so you can also hear how they are pronounced.