Background Resources

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A Historical Dictionary of American Slang

  • The alphaDictionary Historical Dictionary of American Slang presents a unique way for studying slang. It contains over 2200 slang words with the centuries in which they were first printed. The dates were taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, the Online Etymological Dictionary, or the earliest occurrences their editors can remember in the case of recent terms.

An Etymological Dictionary of Classical Mythology

  • Etymology is a branch of linguistics in which the origin of a word can be traced through its transmission from one language to another, generally by its cognates in an ancestral language. While it is widely known that the Greek and Latin tongues have contributed many words to the English language through etymological study, it is also clear that there are hundreds of words in our vocabulary derived specifically from myths of gods and heroes.


  • Guide to museum-quality art on the Internet. Search hundreds of art museum sites for exhibits and artists. Great Books Online

  • Providing students and researchers with unlimited access to books and information on the web, free of charge.

  • Encyclopedia Britannica at your fingertips.

CIA World Factbook

  • The CIA World Factbook adds authenticity to the travel adventures of your characters. The entire book is available for download and gives fantastic information on every place imaginable.

  • The name says it all. from Electric Library

  • The name says it all.

Farmer's Almanac

  • Find almanac information here!

Federal Library Web Pages

  • Talk about resources! A ton of federal libraries at your fingertips. Everything from The National Defense University to The Federal Bureau of Prisons Library.

GunHoo: Gun Pages Central

  • Everything you ever wanted to know about firearms.

History Channel

  • You’ve watched their programs, now find transcripts, copies of documentary tapes, and links to further research.

Internet Medieval Sourcebook

  • Resources on everything medieval.

Internet Movie Firearms Database

  • The IMFDB (or Internet Movie Firearms Database) is a handy reference tool to see what firearms were used in different films and to see if they are stock, modified, or completely fantastical.

King James Bible

  • The complete text of the King James Bible. A University of Chicago Project. You may search the text in a variety of ways.

Medical Reference Encyclopedia by University of Maryland

  • A very thorough guide to all medical matters. An invaluable reference tool.

Military History Resources

  • If you’re working on a screenplay that requires research into world and American military history, this site contains an invaluable list of links created by U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Thomas D. Pilsch. Wide-ranging topics in this massive list include U.S. war statistics (casualties), war maps and timelines, wargaming software, specific weaponry, online military journals, military maxims of Napoleon, sound files of British patriotic songs, and scans of World War II Life magazine covers.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service

  • This is a deep information hub for “those interested in crime, victim’s assistance, and public safety including policymakers, practitioners, researchers, educators, community leaders, and the general public.” This, of course, also includes writers specializing in the crime genre.

National Museum of Natural History

  • The Smithsonian National Museum has a great search engine and links to tons of books and articles. From the Triceratops to Lewis and Clark, you can find it here.


  • Explore the inventions and ideas of science fiction writers – over 1,310 are available. Use the Timeline of Science Fiction Invention or the alphabetic Glossary of Science Fiction Technology to see them all, look for the category that interests you, or browse by favorite author / book. Browse more than 1,125 Science Fiction in the News and Beyond Technovelgy stories.

The Age of Sail

  • A searchable database of ships & shipbuilding terms.

The Costume Gallery

  • This library contains 3,417 webpages and countless images from original period publications, including fashion magazine articles, catalogs, books, and period photographs dating from 1804-1923. You may browse the table of contents for free, but to view images or articles you must first pay $25 for a three month subscription.

The Field Museum Web Site

  • The Museum’s curatorial and scientific staff in the departments of Anthropology, Biology, Geology, and Zoology conducts basic research in the fields of systematic biology and anthropology, and also has responsibility for collections management, and collaboration in public programs with the Departments of Education and Exhibits. Since its founding the Field Museum has been an international leader in evolutionary biology and paleontology, and archaeology and ethnography, and has long maintained close links, including joint teaching, students, seminars, with local universities – particularly the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. This is a good place to find background information.

  • Once again, the name says it all.


  • High end home decorating. Valuable insight into how the wealthy decorate their homes. Add authenticity to your writing…or do some fun shopping!

Ultimate Sci Fi Timeline

  • This is a CHRONOLOGY of the History of Science and Science Fiction, and the Cosmic/Human Universe it represents, a virtual encyclopedia oriented towards seeing who wrote what when, and how the field evolved from year to year, decade to decade, and century to century.

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