RUSA’s Emerging Technologies Section selects 18th annual list of Best Free Reference Websites

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/09/2017


Leighann Wood

Sr. Program Officer

Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)

Leighann Wood

CHICAGO—The 18th Annual Best Free Reference Websites list, previously published in the Fall 2016 issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly, is now also available on RUSA’s website. This year’s list features twenty-two websites with annotations composed by members of ETS’ Best Free Web Sites committee. The selection criteria and process are detailed in the list’s preface.

American FactFinder
Author/Publisher: United States Census Bureau
Author/Publisher:, a division of

Art UK
Author/Publisher: Public Catalogue Foundation

Ballot Measures Database
Author/Publisher: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)

Best Commencement Speeches, Ever
Author/Publisher: NPR

Cancer Statistics Center
Author/Publisher: American Cancer Society

CORE - COnnecting REpositories
Author/Publisher: Knowledge Media Institute

Digital Public Library of America
Author/Publisher: Digital Public Library of America

Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records
Author/Publisher: Find A Grave

Global Terrorism Database
Author/Publisher: National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Author/Publisher: Goodreads, Inc.

Guide to North American Birds
Author/Publisher: National Audubon Society

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Author/Publisher: James Fieser (Editor), University of Tennessee at Martin & Bradley Dowden (Editor), California State University, Sacramento.

Author/Publisher: School of Mathematical and Computer Science, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK

National Parks Service
Author/Publisher: National Parks Service, US Dept. of the Interior

National Transportation Statistics
Author/Publisher: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NYPL Digital Collections
Author/Publisher: New York Public Library - A Free Online Encyclopedia & Information Reference
Author/Publisher:, LLC.

Statistical Abstracts of the United States
Author/Publisher: U.S. Census Bureau
Date reviewed: March 3, 2016

USDA Local Food Directory Listings
Author/Publisher: United States Department of Agriculture

U.S. Small Business Administration
Author/Publisher: U.S. Small Business Administration

Author/Publisher: W3Schools - Refsnes Data

The complete list including annotations and review dates can be viewed on RUSA Update. The Best Free Web Sites Combined Index has been updated to include the sites selected in the 18th annual list. The list made its first debut in the Fall 2014 issue of Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ), RUSA’s research journal. Each site is selected based on, but not limited to quality, depth, usability, usefulness of content and authority of producer. Succinct and insightful annotations were written by the selection committee and reflect all subject areas useful for ready reference and value in most libraries.

The Best Free Reference Websites selection committee consists of Autumn Lorraine Mather (Co-Chair), Ryerson & Burnham Libraries; Paul E. Victor, Jr. (Co-Chair), Eastern Washington University Library; Christine M. Barnes, Nagoya University of Commerce and Business; Shannon D. Jones, Medical University of South Carolina; Yaniv Masjedi, Nextiva; Emily Reed, Central Penn College; Sheena Sewell, Broward County Libraries Division; Jeremy Walker, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar.

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more about RUSA’s Book and Media Awards at