See also homework topics for links on these and other subjects: biography; history; math; science; and speeches. See also Gale Directory Library and Gale Virtual Reference Library databases.


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  • Good Starting Points
  • Consumer Complaints
  • Investigate a Business
  • Products

  • Good Starting Points
    • Charitable Giving

    • Consumer Information
      Consumer protection basics from the Federal Trade Commission. Includes information on money and credit, homes and mortgages, health and fitness, jobs and making money, and privacy and identity. Special sections include scam alerts, information specifically for older adults, military families and more. Also available in Spanish.

    • Credit Bureaus
      Information on credit reports and links to the three major credit reporting agencies. Provided by the Federal Citizen Information Center of the General Services Administration.

    • Identity Theft
      Answers to frequently asked questions about identity theft. Includes a link to the booklet " How To Avoid Identity Theft and a Guide for Victims of Identity Theft," which includes helpful tips, suggestions for actions to take should you become a victim and an outline of protections under Virginia law. Provided by the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia.

      Note: Adobe Reader is required to view this PDF file.
      To obtain a free Reader, follow this link:

      Get Acrobat Reader

    • Insurance Company Ratings
      A.M. Best Company is a publisher of authoritative information about the insurance industry. Their website provides ratings and profiles of thousands of insurance companies. (Note: Free registration is required.) The site also includes useful resources such as a glossary and Consumer Insurance Center, a guide to purchasing insurance.

      Read, download or order consumer publications from the federal government, including the Consumer Action Handbook. Some publications are also available in Spanish and other languages.

  • Consumer Complaints
    • Fairfax County Consumer Central
      File a complaint against a business or landlord, research the complaint histories of companies before engaging in business with them, and search the laws protecting consumers or affecting tenants and landlords. Provided by the Department of Cable and Consumer Services.

    • Filing Consumer Complaints
      The federal government describes the steps to take to file a complaint and resolve consumer problems. Includes links to help with specific types of complaints and a complaint letter wizard.

    • FTC Complaint Assistant
      The Federal Trade Commission's Complaint Assistant will guide you though the process of registering a complaint online with the FTC. According to a statement on the Web page, "The FTC cannot resolve individual complaints, but we can provide information about what next steps to take." Also available in Spanish.

    • Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Section
      This office helps to identify the state or federal agency to which you should direct your complaint, and provides complaint forms for Virginia-related issues.
  • Investigate a Business

  • See also Consumers' CHECKBOOK database (available only in library branches).
  • Products
      Research new and used car and truck reviews, specifications, options and prices.

    • Common Sense Media
      Media and technology reviews to help you find age-appropriate movies, books, apps, TV shows, video games, websites, and music.

    • ConsumerSearch
      Analyzes reviews of products in more than 300 categories, and presents detailed reports on top-rated brands along with buying guides of recommended product features and useful tips.

    • NADA Guides
      Find new and used vehicle prices and values for cars, classic cars, motorcycles, boats and recreational vehicles.

      One-stop shopping for information on US Government recalls of motor vehicles, boats, food, medicine, cosmetics and a wide range of consumer products.

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Dictionaries and Thesauruses

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Economic Data

  • Bureau of Economic Analysis
    National, regional, international and industry economic data, including gross domestic product (GDP), personal income and international trade in goods and services.

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
    • Economic News Releases
      Provides information on national employment and unemployment rates, employment costs, wages by area and occupation, productivity, consumer spending, business and manufacturing, and other economic data.

    • Economy at a Glance
      Provides unemployment rates, producer price index, productivity and other statistics.

  • Business and Industry Data
    The Census Bureau provides economy-wide statistics and detailed data on construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, services and other sectors. Also includes data on international trade and federal, state and local governments.

  • Consumer Price Index
  • Economic Indicators
    A monthly publication of compiled US government data on prices, wages, production, business activity, credit, etc. available from 1995 to the present, and prepared by the Council of Economic Advisers for the US Congress Joint Economic Committee.

  • Federal Reserve Bank

    • Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research
      The FRASER website contains links to scanned images of historical economic and banking data and policy documents.

      Note: Adobe Reader is required to view the PDF files on this site.
      To obtain a free Reader, follow this link:

      Get Acrobat Reader

    • Federal Reserve Economic Data
      The FRED database provides access to economic data from more than 200,000 economic time series and a variety of US, international, public and private sources.

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Finance and Investing

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Foundations and Grants

See also scholarships, and the resources available only in the library's Grants Research and Training Center.
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  • Elected Officials
  • Federal Government
  • State and Local Government

  • Elected Officials

    • Contact Elected Officials
      Locate phone, email or mailing address information for federal, state and local elected officials.

    • Who's My Legislator Service
      Identify your Virginia legislators and your federal representatives by typing in your address or finding your address on a map. Contact information and district boundaries are included. Provided by the Virginia General Assembly.

  • Federal Government

    Note: Adobe Reader is required to view the PDF files on many of these sites.
    To obtain a free Reader, follow this link:

    Get Acrobat Reader

    • Good Starting Points

      • FDsys Federal Digital System
        The US Government Printing Office provides free access to official federal government documents and publications from all three branches of government. Includes items such as the Federal Register and the Congressional Record.

        The US government's official Web portal. provides easy-to-use access to online federal government information and services. Also provides links to information on state and local governments. A version of this site is also available in Spanish.

    • Budget of the United States Government
      The US budget is issued by the Office of Management and Budget and is presented here, for fiscal years 1996 to date, along with related documents such as the Economic Report of the President.

    • Charters of Freedom
      The National Archives provides the full text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights and the amendments to the Constitution as text transcriptions, PDF files or high-resolution images.

      A Web portal to disability-related resources concerning benefits, civil rights, community life, education, emergency preparedness, employment, health, housing, technology and transportation that are available from federal, state and local government and nongovernment sources.

    • Government Forms provides one-stop shopping for federal forms and applications. Search by agency or choose from a list of the most requested forms.

    • Social Security Administration
      Learn about, apply for or manage your benefits; find answers to frequently asked questions; use benefit calculators; read the Online Social Security Handbook; and more.

    • Travel.State.Gov
      Resources for international travelers, including country-specific information and travel warnings, passport forms and information, visa information for foreign nationals and information on legal issues that might affect American citizens traveling or living abroad. Provided by the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs.

    • US Citizenship and Immigration Services
      The USCIS website provides forms and information on laws, citizenship through naturalization, the US naturalization test and more.

    • US Department of Veterans Affairs
      Veterans and their dependents and survivors have access to information, benefits and services from the VA's website.

    • United States Government Manual
      Provides information about the agencies of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the US government as well as quasi-official agencies.

      "The primary gateway for new immigrants to find basic information on how to settle in the United States." The website covers topics such as immigration and citizenship, employment, education and childcare, money and finance, and facts about the United States.

  • State and Local Government

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Health and Medicine

  • Comprehensive Health Websites
  • Drugs
  • Health Care Providers and Facilities
  • Health Insurance

  • Comprehensive Health Websites

    • Family Doctor
      The American Academy of Family Physicians provides medical and health information for the whole family. Some information is available in Spanish.

    • Healthfinder
      A gateway to consumer health information developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Information is also available in Spanish.

    • Mayo Clinic — Health Information
      A comprehensive site for finding information about diseases and conditions, drugs, treatment decisions and healthy living topics.

    • MedlinePlus Health Information
      The National Library of Medicine provides current, reliable health and medical information. Includes descriptions of diseases and conditions, their symptoms, treatment and prevention; a medical dictionary and medical encyclopedia; information on drugs, herbs and supplements; and more. Watch videos and interactive tutorials, or sign up for free email updates on the latest health or medical news. Also available in Spanish.

    • The Merck Manual of Medical Information — Home Edition
      Provides information on medical conditions and their diagnosis, treatment and prevention in everyday language for consumers. The site includes a pronunciation guide for medical terminology.

    • National Institutes of Health
      Offers access to health and medical resources, including information on clinical research trials, and PubMed, a database of citations of professional medical literature (with links to free, full-text sources where available).

  • Drugs

    • Drug Information Portal
      This database, from the National Library of Medicine, provides information on more than 31,000 drugs, including prescription and nonprescription drugs, dietary supplements and investigational drugs. Searchable by generic or brand name.

    • Drugs, Supplements and Herbal Information
      From the MedlinePlus website, information on prescription and over-the-counter medicines as well as herbs and supplements.

    • NeedyMeds
      NeedyMeds is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals find low-cost patient assistance programs for prescription medicines, discount prescription drug card programs and more. You can search for programs by a drug's brand or generic name or by pharmaceutical company name. Information is also available in Spanish.

    • Pill Identification
      The National Library of Medicine provides a list of resources to help you identify prescription drugs in pill form.

    • VIPPS — Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites
      This site lists online pharmacies that meet the certification requirements of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Links to qualified pharmacies are provided.

  • Health Care Providers and Facilities

    See also Consumers' Checkbook database (available in library branches only).
    • Good Starting Points
      The following government websites enable you to verify whether physicians, dentists and other health care providers are licensed to practice, see whether there are any disciplinary actions against a practitioner, and file a complaint.

    • Is Your Doctor Board Certified?
      Verify a physician's board certification status or search for board-certified physicians by geographical area and specialty or sub-specialty. The site is developed and maintained by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Note: Free registration is required.

    • Nursing Home Compare
      This database provides information, including inspection results, of every Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the United States. The database is maintained by the Health Care Financing Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

    • Provider and Services Directories
      MedlinePlus provides links to directories that help you locate doctors, dentists and other health care professionals; hospitals and other health care facilities; and health care services.

    • Virginia Board of Medicine Doctor's Profiles
      The site provides information about doctors of medicine, podiatry and osteopathy who are licensed in Virginia, including education, certification, academic appointments, hospital affiliations and Medicare/Medicaid participation.

  • Health Insurance

    • Cover Virginia: Connecting Virginians to Affordable Health Insurance
      A guide to applying for low or no cost health insurance programs for eligible individuals, families or children. Among the programs included are Medicaid, FAMIS, FAMIS MOMS, Plan First, Smiles for Children and Health Insurance Premium Payment programs. Sponsored by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Also available in Spanish.

    • Enroll Virginia!
      A nonprofit, nonpartisan website that provides information and assistance to individuals and small businesses trying to obtain health insurance through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Produced by the Virginia Poverty Law Center.

    • FAMIS: Family Access to Medical Insurance Security
      Sponsored by the Commonwealth of Virginia, this program provides children and pregnant women with affordable health insurance.

      A provision of the Affordable Care Act, enables one-stop shopping for health insurance in each state's Health Insurance Marketplace (health care exchange). From this site, consumers can compare coverage from all the qualified health care options available in their state and enroll in the program most suitable to their needs and budget. The open enrollment period begins November 15, 2014 and runs through February 15, 2015. The website is managed by the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Also available in Spanish.

      Information on Medicaid and CHIP serivces for families in every state. Also available in Spanish.

    • Medicaid
      Provides health care and health-related services to low-income individuals and families. Medicaid is sponsored jointly by the federal and state governments and is administered by each state.

    • Medicare
      The federal government's health insurance plan for adults age 65 and older and certain younger persons with disabilities. Also available in Spanish.

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  • Codes, Statutes and Regulations
  • Constitutional Law
  • Courts
  • Dictionaries
  • Finding a Lawyer

  • Codes, Statutes and Regulations

    • Local

    • State

    • Federal

      • Code of Federal Regulations
        View the general and permanent rules for federal government departments and agencies as posted in the Federal Register.

      • Compilation of Presidential Documents
        Proclamations, executive orders and other materials released by the White House.

        Comprehensive federal legislative information, including the full text of bills and bill summaries from the 103rd Congress (1993) through the current Congress and the Congressional Record from 1995 to the present. Current and historical member profiles are also available. Note: This website replaced on November 19, 2013.

      • Federal Register
        "The official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents."

      • Federal Rules of Evidence
        For civil and criminal trials in federal courts, these are the laws governing the admission of evidence.

        "Your voice in federal decision-making." Read newly proposed regulations, post comments on proposed regulations, search for proposed and final rules, sign up for e-mail alerts about a particular regulation and more.

      • United States Code
        "The codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is divided by broad subjects into 50 titles and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the US House of Representatives."

  • Constitutional Law

  • Courts

    See also constitutional law for Supreme Court information, and our links to Virginia courts.
  • Dictionaries

  • Finding a Lawyer

    • Local Area

      • Fairfax Bar Association — Lawyer Referral Service
        Will help determine whether or not your issue is a legal matter or would be best resolved with the assistance of other agencies, and will provide a referral to an appropriate and qualified attorney in Fairfax County who can address your specific legal needs. The referred attorney will provide a 30 minute consultation for a predetermined fee.

      • Legal Services of Northern Virginia — What We Do
        A nonprofit law firm providing free, civil legal services to low-income residents, older adults and people with disabilities who reside in Northern Virginia and would otherwise be unable to obtain private legal services. Information is available in many languages.

        "A free website that offers legal self-help information in the civil law areas that lower- and middle-income Virginians most often confront. It also provides referrals to legal aid programs, lawyer referral services, court services and other relevant information." The site is a project of Virginia legal aid offices, the Virginia Poverty Law Center, the Legal Services Corporation of Virginia and the Legal Services Corporation.

      • Virginia State Bar

        • Attorney Records Search
          Provides information about attorneys licensed in Virginia who have been publicly disciplined since 1991. Information includes the type of action taken, status and the VSB order. Site also includes a second search option to determine if an attorney in private practice is without malpractice insurance.

        • Lawyer Referral Service
          Specialists with this service can help in determining whether or not your problem is a legal matter, and if so, refer you to an attorney in Virginia who can address your specific needs. The referred attorney will provide a 30 minute consultation for a predetermined fee.

    • Nationwide

        The American Bar Association offers this consumer guide to finding legal help in the United States and Canada. Includes state-by-state listings of lawyer referral services, free and reduced-fee legal services and more.

      • Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Locator
        Find lawyers in the United States and worldwide who are in private practice or employed by governments or corporations.

      • West Legal Directory
        FindLaw provides this nationwide directory of lawyers in private practice or employed by governments or corporations.

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Maps and Place Names

  • Maps
  • Place Names

  • Maps

    • Google Maps
      Maps and driving directions, worldwide.

    • Mapquest
      Maps and driving directions, worldwide.

    • Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection
      This University of Texas website makes accessible thousands of modern and historical maps from their collections. Genealogists will appreciate the many city maps of 1920s vintage (search the links located under Historical and United States).

  • Place Names

    • Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
      Enables quick lookups of geographic locations around the world. Provides a listing of historical names for the location, as well as latitude and longitude measurements.

    • International Geographic Names Database
      For international geographic place and feature names, find location and geographic coordinates, or link to the feature on MapQuest or Google maps. Provided by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's GEOnet Names Server.

    • United States Geographic Names Database
      For US geographic place and feature names, find location, longitude and latitude. Provided by the US Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System.

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Newspapers and Magazines

See also newspaper resources for current and historical US newspapers available in full text through the library, and magazine resources for current and back issues of magazines and journals available in full text through the library.
  • Chronicling America -- Historic American Newspapers
    Search digitized copies of American newspapers from 1836-1922, or use the US Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published from 1690 to the present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

  • Directories

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  • — Data and Statistics
    A central point from which to search for federal government data and statistics. Topics include general government; business and economics; defense and international relations; environment, energy and agriculture; family, home and community; geospatial data; health and nutrition; jobs and education; public safety and law; science and technology; and travel, transportation and recreation.

  • NationMaster
    Use statistics compiled from various sources to generate graphs that compare countries, or view international statistics on a variety of subjects.

  • Statistical Sites on the World Wide Web
    US federal and international statistics sources. Compiled by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Style Guides and Resources for Writers

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Telephone and Address Directories

See also ReferenceUSA database, for residential and business directory information.
  • AllAreaCodes
    Find a US or Canadian area code by city, or search by area code to identify the geographic area associated with it. Related prefix codes are listed to help narrow down the location of a phone number.

  • International Dialing Codes
    Find how to call from one country to another. Information for each country or territory includes its country code and an alphabetical list of cities with corresponding city or area code.

  • People and Business Finders

    • AnyWho
      Find phone numbers and addresses for people and businesses. Also includes a reverse lookup by telephone number, maps and directions, and international phone directories. US residential information is provided by local telephone company records for published telephone listings.

    • Infobel International Telephone Directories
      Search telephone directories for more than 184 countries. Also available in Spanish.

      Search for US businesses by name or yellow page category. Use their people page to search for individuals by name or by name and location or zip code. Reverse lookups for telephone numbers and addresses are included.

    • Verizon Directories Online
      Verizon business and residential white page listings for Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC and a number of other states. For local area directories, under Virginia, see Northern Virginia.

  • Zip Code Lookup
    Input an address, and the proper zip code is returned. Provided by the United States Postal Service.

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