What are your most badass web-based reference resources?
March 18, 2013 3:16 AM   Subscribe

What are the best obsessively cataloged reference websites from your field? I mean the kinds of places you can go to when things are being reported on in a confusing way, or just seems off and worth checking, where you can cut through the bullshit and easily find either original source material or otherwise solid answers to technical questions.

Google Scholar is an obvious first step for scientific research, but I'm looking more for things like:
Clinicaltrials.gov where you can see all of the trials involving human volunteers that have been reported to the NIH or FDA, which is most all of them.
or this list of all of the ingredients in all of the vaccines currently approved for use
or the Index to Creationist Claims
Bonus points for either consisting of or linking to original source material, obsessive comprehensiveness, and useful search functions.
posted by Blasdelb to Education (13 answers total) 74 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Trove is the Australian National Library's centralised source for Australian library and archive resources, which includes digitised archives from public agencies, digitised newspapers, and increasing volumes of historical primary sources. It's hard to explain until you play with it for a while, but for Australianists it's indispensable.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:21 AM on March 18, 2013

Best answer: Uptodate.com ...insofar as you can assume the exhaustively linked references were studies actually done in good faith. I also like theNNT.com
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 3:51 AM on March 18, 2013

Best answer: The Internet Storm Center, while not as good as it used to be, is still a very good place to get the technical details on recent information security news. The site also correlates network traffic from millions of devices across the Internet, so it's useful for seeing, e.g., if other networks are seeing the same uptick in a particular type of attack that your network is.

Wotsit is a great first stop for file formats.

And, of course, if you need to know how something works on the Internet, either read the RFC defining the protocol or the W3C Spec.
posted by bfranklin at 4:51 AM on March 18, 2013

Best answer: I find the Cochrane Reviews can often be more useful than just looking at a list of all clinical trials, particularly if you're not right deep in the relevant field. Your access may vary.
posted by shelleycat at 5:13 AM on March 18, 2013

Best answer: Primate Info Net is sort of the primate studies clearing house. It's run by the National Primate Research Center, a lab which does some biomedical and behavioral research out of University of Wisconsin-Madison. They aggregate primate news (without commentary), primate-related jobs, internships, and volunteer positions, and (until the grant ran out) all the primate literature published between 1940 and 2010. There's some other educational information there too, and a webcamera of their common marmosets.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:14 AM on March 18, 2013

Best answer: Skeptical Science has a catalogue of Global Warming & Climate Change Myths.
... a summary of global warming and climate change myths, sorted by recent popularity vs what science says. Click the response for a more detailed response. You can also view them sorted by taxonomy, by popularity, in a print-friendly version, with short URLs or with fixed numbers you can use for permanent references.
Very useful if you happen to find yourself in a game of debunked-argument whack-a-mole.
posted by pont at 6:16 AM on March 18, 2013

Best answer: For medical advice for healthy people, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

For economic data, the St. Louis Fed's Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED). The data is available from the original sources, but FRED is comprehensive - they claim to have 61,000 series - and generally easier to use.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:07 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Library of Congress SCIENCE TRACER BULLET SERIES contains research guides that help you locate information on science and technology subjects. With brief introductions to the topics, lists of resources and strategies for finding more, they help you to stay "on target."
posted by carsonb at 4:13 PM on March 18, 2013

Best answer: NTSB Accident Database - every aviation accident in the USA (plus certain foreign ones) and selected incidents since 1962.

FAA Incident Database lists lesser-severity incidents that the NTSB doesn't investigate and has records back to 1978.

The NTSB home page also maintains a list of current investigations which is updated very frequently and is a great source of information. I have to give the NTSB a lot of credit for being amazingly transparent with their investigative process and the availability of information.

There's a database available that has every (unclassified) DoD specification ever written, but it's access controlled so I won't link it here.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:44 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Not to put an answer in my own thread or anything, but apparently US import records are all online and searchable and this also serves as an excellent example of what I'm looking for,
Import Genius The World's Trade Database
Instantly search >79,129,714 ocean freight records to monitor U.S. importers, research suppliers, generate sales leads and more.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:37 AM on March 25, 2013

Best answer: If you ever spot a code on the tail wing of almost any plane, you can google it and see the plane's history (including photos) on airliners.net.

For example: I found this random shot of a plane at a local air strip, searched it on airliners and found the entire history of the aircraft. It appears to be all done by fans of planes I think, but I've been amazed at all the commercial aircraft I've found on it going back decades in some cases. Sometimes you can see an old regional jet has changed hands several times and used to fly for airlines that don't even exist any more.
posted by mathowie at 11:58 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I thought of another one:

The US Department of State's Country-Specific Information lists relevant info for travelers abroad.
We provide information on every country in the world. For each country, you will find information like the location of the U.S. embassy and any consular offices; whether you need a visa; crime and security information; health and medical conditions; drug penalties; and localized hot spots. This is a good place to start learning about where you are going.
posted by carsonb at 3:07 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Small Wars Journal.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:02 PM on March 31, 2013

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