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15 Wikipedia Alternatives You May Not Have Heard of

Filed under Search Engines

Wikipedia is an ingrained aspect of popular culture that many of us use as a synonym for research. It’s understood to have replaced traditional encyclopaedias, and for many search terms, it’s the first result to appear.

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However, despite the increasing popularity and growing volumes of information, Wikipedia is also seen as an occasionally sketchy source. Students, journalists, and teachers are all loathe to cite Wikipedia in their writing, as the articles can be submitted by anyone at all, and may be biased or blatantly false.

As the fact checking is sporadic and also largely contributed to by readers, it is a website we use often, but trust little. For this reason, when it’s time to look up something important, it might be a good idea to explore alternative websites.

1. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online

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Wikipedia came about as the online encyclopaedia, and for a long time it was the only free and easily accessible encyclopaedia accessible via your computer. However, times have since changed, and the original encyclopaedia – the authoritative and reliable Britannica is now available online too. This is a source you can absolutely trust, that is as brimming with information as Wikipedia itself. With so many ties to education systems, this is an exceptionally great option for students.

2. The Open Directory Project

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One of the biggest advantages of using this website as a source of information is the fact that it has actually been compiled by humans. This gives it an edge over some competitors, as all of the articles posted have been looked over by at least one person. This means that the articles are high quality, and can be trusted as they’ve been properly scrutinized by real people. Plus, there are plenty of topics on this website, you’re not limited to a small scope of subjects.

3. Factbites

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Factbites has the specific advantage of being a contextual search engine rather than basing their results on key words. This makes this the best possible choice for anyone looking for data based results, or comparative results. This may make research for papers requiring facts and statistics much easier.

4. Encyclopedia

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Why use one Encyclopaedia to research, when you can use a hundred? This website searches through the pages of over a hundred online knowledge sources, and then brings you articles matching or keywords. You can then choose which article you think matches your search criteria best, and click on that option. It’s a great way of getting options for your research.

5. Scholarpedia

Scholarpedia is a very similar resource to Wikipedia, and it even uses the same software. However, there is one key difference between the two websites – while they’re both maintained by their users, only experts and professionals are able to post on Scholarpedia. Articles are also double checked, so you’re able to trust the information you find here.

6. Encyclopaedia Smithsonian

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The Smithsonian is a world-famous museum, that some people may only hear about, and never have the chance to see in real life. Fortunately, all of the information contained in the walls of the museum is available, meaning that this website is brimming with information on all kinds of subjects – from history, to art, to technology.

7. The American Presidency Project

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Many people are interested in the political history of their own nation, and as America is a global super power, there are millions of people around the world who are also interested in it’s leaders. This website holds almost 90,000 documents relating to American Presidents, and all information is completely free to the public.

8. Government Document Center

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For more information on the USA, this website can provide you with more up to date and current factual information. The information included here is exhaustive, as it contains all US government documents and statistics.

9. Hyper History

While there are many great online resources centred around the USA, there are millions of people whose research is more expansive. In that case, Hyper History can be a great source of information, as it specializes in the last 3000 years of world history. There are very few topics relating to history that can’t be found here.

10. CIA World Fact Book

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Another resource that provides information on the whole world is the CIA World Fact Book. This website contains information on a whole range of topics for every single nation and entity. Whether you want to know about the geography of a far-flung city or the economy of an area for school or business, this is a great source of global information.

11. NOLO Legal Dictionary

There are certain subjects that Wikipedia is not a great source for. One of those subjects is law, where there might be an abundance of articles, but no credible authors of the Wikipedia pages. Using a website specially for legal terms ensures you are getting an accurate interpretation, that is in a legal context.

12. Medline Plus

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This is a great source of medical information that is much more up-to-date and expansive than other websites. Not only is there information provided on diseases, but there’s also information regarding drugs, tutorials, and even new medical news articles. This is much more reliable than a potentially outdated post on Wikipedia, which may not necessarily be by a qualified and experienced health care professional.

13. Merck Manual

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As previously stated, medicine is not a subject that should be researched using generic websites. It’s a fast-paced and ever-changing field, and when you’re looking for information, you need to be confident that it’s up to date. Merck Manual actually includes resources for current medical professionals, so it is extremely reliable. It’s also one of the largest sources of medical information, which can be used by non-healthcare professionals too.

14. Pub Chem

The National Center for Biotechnology Information actually put together the information for this website. Not only does this mean that the information is factual and trustworthy, but it’s also extremely expansive. This is not a dumbed down explanation of science as you might find on Wikipedia. Anything you could possibly want to know about chemicals or compounds is available here.

15. Encyclopaedia Mythica

While reports on modern history are vastly available, anyone looking to delve deep into the depths of mankind can use Encyclopaedia Mythica. This is an amazing source for mythology, which is excellent for anyone looking into ancient civilizations or religions.

Overall, while Wikipedia is admittedly quick and convenient, you are compromising the quality of your work for a few seconds of saved time. Searching through one of the encyclopaedias above relevant to your topic can return more information, and better information, from legitimate and reliable sources.

Guest Author: Sharon Conwell

Sharon Conwell has been a content manager and ghost writer at over 20 online projects, now she is a part-time educator and an editor at Big Assignments. She’s specializing at content creation and optimization. She loves coffee, tulips and her Shih Tzu named Bobby.

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