Here are some great free resources for your research needs.
- Google Advanced Search – Same old Google, but you have more control.
- Wolfram Alpha – a unique engine for computing answers and providing knowledge. It works by using its vast store of expert-level knowledge and algorithms to automatically answer questions, do analysis and generate reports.
- SearX – a metasearch engine, aggregating the results of other search engines while not storing information about its users.
Encyclopedias provide a starting point for research, as they provide a brief summary of a topic. Use encyclopedias to gain a general understanding before diving deeper. Encyclopedias also often point you toward more specific resources in your topic area.
- Wikipedia – The infamous free encyclopedia. While there are reasons to be cautious with this resource, Wikipedia can also be a powerful starting point. Follow the citations to see how reputable the information is.
- Infoplease – a reference and learning site, combining the contents of an encyclopedia, a dictionary, an atlas and several almanacs loaded with facts.
- Slide Share – Build your knowledge quickly from concise, well-presented content from top experts. Instead of scrolling through pages of text, you can flip through a SlideShare deck and absorb the same information in a fraction of the time.
- Smithsonian – learn about and explore the active, ongoing research in the Smithsonian world.
- Directory of Open Access Journals – a unique and extensive index of diverse open access journals from around the world.
- State Library of Iowa Catalog – As an Iowa resident, you have access to resources from the State Library.
In subjects such as history, there is an important difference between primary sources (sources produced during the period you are studying), and secondary sources (sources produced much later). The majority of sources are secondary, but primary sources offer the least filtered access to the past. Use these resources to find primary documents and pictures.
- Library of Congress – Explore the vast digital collection of the Library of Congress.
- National Archives – the nation’s record keeper.
- Census.gov – Access demographic, economic and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Wayback Machine – Explore more than 800 billion web pages saved over time.
- Openverse – An extensive library of free stock photos, images, and audio, available for free use.
- PubMed – more than 35 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.
- Medline Plus – an online health information resource for patients and their families and friends.
Political and Legal
- Congress.gov – the official website for U.S. federal legislative information.
- The People’s Law Library of Iowa – find understandable information on common legal topics.
Fact Check Fake News
- News Literacy Project – Checkology – a free e-learning platform with engaging, authoritative lessons on subjects like news media bias, misinformation, conspiratorial thinking and more.
- FactCheck.org – a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics – The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as part of the U.S. Federal Statistical System. BLS collects, calculates, analyzes, and publishes data essential to the public, employers, researchers, and government organizations.
- FDIC Bank Data & Statistics – Use searchable databases to find information on specific banks, their branches, and the industry.
- Digest of Educational Statistics – contains a set of tables covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school.
- Fed Stats
- Pew Research Center – a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.
- CIA World Factbook – provides basic intelligence on the history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, environment, communications, transportation, military, terrorism, and transnational issues for 266 world entities.
- Country Reports – profiles each state within the United States.
- Iowa Data – explore data about Iowa and your state government.
- Iowa Publications Online – online archive of documents produced by Iowa state agencies.
- Iowa DNR – Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources
- Iowa Treasurer – information to help you understand property taxes, motor vehicles, and driver’s licenses.
- Iowa DOT – Iowa’s Department of Transportation
- Iowa Legislature – current information and live streams of Iowa Legislative activities.
- See more on our Local History page!