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Volume 45, Number 4

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Internet Reference Resources

By Scott Silet

Beginning with this issue, Virginia Libraries will be running a regular column highlighting free ready reference resources on the Internet. Keeping current with useful new Internet sites is a sisyphean task, and this column will attempt to make that process a little easier for librarians around the Commonwealth. A cumulative list of these resources will available from the VLA homepage sometime early next spring. Please direct any questions or suggestions for inclusion to Scott Silet (

1). Congressional Directory of the United States --

"Your official guide for contacting members of congress, their staffs and committees, and key officials throughout the Federal Government." This is an online edition of the venerable print publication. Search or browse for information about House and Senate members since 1995 (104th Congress). Entries include biographical highlights of members, listings of staff members and office addresses (state- and DC-based), listings of Congressional committees by member, and members by Congressional committee. Additional information includes Executive branch departmental directories (Department of State, Defense, Justice, etc.). In text and .pdf formats. Produced by GPO Access (U.S. Government Printing Office).

2). --

Compare crime, housing, economy, education, health, and climate information for hundreds of cities across the country including 16 locations in Virginia. All comparative data include national averages. Detailed climate and crime data available for more than a thousand locations. From Fast Forward, Inc.

3). Uniform Crime Reports: County Data --

Detailed statistics on nearly 50 categories of crimes from 1990-1997 for counties in all 50 states and Washington DC (including 41 independent cities in Virginia). Browse by all crimes committed or specifically by adult or juvenile offenses. Includes arrest data as well as total number of crimes reported. Compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

4). Petersburg Public Library Newspaper Index, 1797-1877 --

This is one of the few historical Virginia newspaper indexes available free on the Internet. Originally compiled as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, this 40,000+ entry index covers over 30 newspapers primarily from Petersburg, but also includes selected papers from Richmond and Washington, DC (though only 9 titles have more than two years of coverage). Browse for article citations within hundreds of handy categories including personal names, general subjects, geographic locations, etc. Articles, unfortunately, not available online. A digital project of the Library of Virginia.

5). Ad*Access --

Search or browse this database of over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955. Subjects include radio, television, transportation, beauty and hygiene, and World War II. Entries include brief bibliographic descriptions and full-color .jpg images (72- and 150-dpi) culled from dozens of sources like the New York Times, Saturday Evening Post, Time, Life, McCall's, and Ladies Home Journal. Includes useful illustration index (e.g. African-Americans in illustrations, French language advertisement). Compiled by the Duke University Special Collections Library.

6). United States Military Academy Atlas Index --

Online companion to The West Point Atlas of American Wars (1959, 1995 eds.). Contains over 320 moderately detailed maps of U. S. war campaigns with additional atlases of The Napoleonic Wars, Wars of Modern China, and selected wars and conflicts abroad since 1958. Not all campaigns included in the print editions are covered. Only 58 of the 138 atlases of the Civil War are found in the online edition, and the accompanying historical narrative is also lacking. From the Department of History, U.S. Military Academy, West Point.

Scott Silet manages the Internet Reference Sources page for the University of Virginia.

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