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Reference Help | Online Reference Tools

Reference Help

Library staff are available during reference hours to provide assistance with Library research and finding and accessing information not found in the collection. Reference assistance also is available to Stanford community members online through Stanford Libraries Electronic Reference service. Electronic Reference questions usually are answered within 24 hours (weekends and holidays excluded).

To schedule an in-depth reference consultation, send an e-mail request to the Physics Library librarian at, or call 723-9763.

Reference is offered equally to Stanford faculty, staff, and students from any department on campus. Limited reference service is available to librarians from company libraries and to visitors. Electronic reference services are limited to members of the Stanford community.

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Online Reference Tools

DictionariesThesauruses, Glossaries, & Language Usage | Encyclopedias | Handbooks & Data | General Reference


Atomic Spectra Databases Provided by NIST.
Dictionaries SUL/AIR list of online dictionaries in English and other languages.
Infoplease Dictionary, encyclopedia, almanacs, atlas, and more.
Merriam-Webster’s Online Collegiate Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary Limited to Stanford users.

Thesauruses, Glossaries, and Language Usage

Acronyms and Abbreviations
Elements of Style Strunk & White’s classic handbook.
Glossary of Nuclear Science Terms
Internet Acronym Server
Merriam-Webster’s Online Collegiate Thesaurus
Roget’s International Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases


HighBeam Encyclopedia Internet encyclopedia with more than 50,000 articles plus links. Encyclopedia search provides access to more than 57,000 articles from the Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition.
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Medical Encyclopedia A service of the National Library of Medicine.
Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy Encyclopedia of graphic symbols.
TechEncyclopedia More than 20,000 IT terms.

Handbooks and Data

Astro-Physical Calculator
Beilstein via Crossfire Electronic collection of organic substances, reactions, and chemical facts. Requires initial download of client software to your computer.
CODATA Key Values for Thermodynamics
Conversion Factors Unit, temperature, and copper wire.
Conversion of Temperatures Provided by the Instutute of Chemistry, Berlin.
Conversion of Units Provided by the Instutute of Chemistry, Berlin.
CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics Limited to Stanford users.
Crystal Lattice Structures Provided by the Materials Science and Technology Division of the Naval Research Laboratory.
Energy Levels of Hydrogen and Deuterium Provided by NIST. Database which provides theoretical values of energy levels of hydrogen and deuterium for principle quantum numbers n = 1 to 200 and all allowed orbital angular momenta l and total angular momenta j.
ENGnetBASE Engineering handbooks online. Provided by CRC Press. Limited to Stanford users.
Fundamental Physical Constants Provided by NIST.
Materials Safety Data Sheets Limited to Stanford students, faculty, and staff.
Materials Safety Data Sheets on the Internet Provides descriptions of and links to Internet MSDS collections.
MatWeb Online materials information resource.
Numerical Recipes
Periodic Table History and entymology of element names.
Periodic Table Provided by ChemiCool.
Periodic Table Provided by WebElements.
Physical Constants and Astronomical Data
Physical Reference Data Provided by NIST.
Table of Nuclides
Tables of Nuclear Data
The Integrator From Wolfram’s Mathematica. Symbolic integration over the Web.
The Laws List
ThermoDex--An Index of Selected Thermodynamic Data Handbooks
Thermodynamic Data and Property Calculation Sites on the Web Provided by the University of Illinois at Chicago Thermodynamics Research Laboratory.
Thermophysical Properties of Fluid Systems Provided by NIST. Accurate thermophysical properties for several fluids.
Thermophysical Properties of Matter Database (TPMD)
TOXNET Provided by the National Library of Medicine. A cluster of databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, and related areas.

General Reference Brings together complete content from the Facts On File World News Digest since 1950 and selected content from six other core reference databases to answer questions about events, issues, statistics and people of the last 50+ years.
Find Articles Vast archive of published articles from more than 300 magazines and journals. Articles date back to 1998.
Google Web Directory--Science
Internet Public Library Includes a reference center with links to dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, and more, a reading room with links to online books, magazines, and journals, and links to subject and special collections.
Martindale’s The Reference Desk
SULAIR General References Resources Organized by category.
Television News Archive Provided by Vanderbilt University. The world’s most extensive archive of television news and news-related programming. Archive dates back to 1989.
USPS Zip Code Directory Find Zip Code + 4 for a city, or all cities in a Zip Code.

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Last modified: December 1, 2010

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