Monday, September 15, 2008

Ten Favorite Research Sites


We all do it. Go look up one thing and get lost surfing. But don't despair, you're not wasting time, you're doing research.

In that vein, I decided to list some of the more interesting and fun places to do research (in no specific order). (Warning: don't look unless you have a couple hours of free time.)

1. Oracle of Bacon
Remember that 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon game? Well researchers at the University of Virginia actually did research on it. (Hey they get paid for that?)

2. Project Gutenberg
Free copies of the classics and other books that you never got around to reading in e-version.

3. Best actors and actresses
All kinds of awards, even Russian movies.

4. Silent Film Stars
I love this site! Who's who in pre-talkie films

5. Vintage Clothing History
Dress those characters right! All kinds of cool vintage clothing

6. How People Lived
Click the illustrations at Kraft Australia to see how people lived, ate and cooked in different

7. Hit Music
Hit songs from the forties to the present and get the Top 10 hits from now to the 1800s. Guess which song was a hit in 1893?

8. History of Toys
The favorite toys we played with and an interesting video. Find your favorite old toy at the National Toy Hall of Fame.

9. Unusual Feats
Maybe your character can eat the Most Ferrero Rocher chocolates in a minute? (Yes it's a category, if not the greatest feat.) Or give them some other odd pastime from the Guinness Book of World Records.

10. More weirdness
Or make your characters truly strange. A favorite for oddities always was Ripley's Believe it or Not.

** Your Turn: Share Your Favorite Time-Wasters, er, Research Sites!

(c) 2008 C. Verstraete

* Christine Verstraete is author of
Searching for A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery


  1. Christine,
    Some of these sites are new to me. Thanks for giving me more reasons to procrastinate ... I mean research. :-)

  2. Hey, they are all totally cool and relevant to fiction! I have to admit I spend way too much time doing research at wikidpedia, my research launching pad of choice. Have you ever looked at their links? Heaven!


  3. I don't do much research, but now I'm kind of doing research for my children's book. I joined DoggySpace, where I'm getting good practice in writing from a dog's POV.

    See my post today at for a cute photo of Rascal

    Morgan Mandel

  4. I don't think I could choose a site. For my newsletter, Doing It Write, every week I give out two sites for writers. I used to actually keep a page on my website with all those sites, but it got to be too big and too difficult to keep track of broken links. But I've been doing the newsletter for 9 years and haven't run out of sites yet!

  5. Great topic, thanks for the list.
    I'm bookmarking now.

  6. Thanks - this is great! I'm off to 'do research'.


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