Free Online Databases for Rural and Small Libraries

Joint Conference of the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services & Association of Rural and Small Libraries

Radisson Hotel Worthington, Ohio, October 13-16, 2004

Presenter:Bob Flatley, Electronic Resources and Periodicals Librarian

Rohrbach Library, Kutztown University

Kutztown, PA 19530; 610-683-4168

This page is a summary of a presentation the author gave at the 2004 Association of Rural and Small Libraries Conference in Columbus, Ohio. The web provides many wonderful free databases.This article attempts to highlight some of the authors favorite sites that he feels would be of special benefit to rural and small libraries. The topics are arranged alphabetically. Please email Bob at with other sites.

NOTE: This page highlights non-government databases available free on the Internet.For recommended free government databases for small libraries visit my other page at





Digital Images











Popular Culture







Art and Architecture Thesaurus.

Provides a structured vocabulary of around 125,000 terms, scope notes, and other information for describing fine art, architecture, decorative arts, archival materials, and material culture. Provided by the Getty Museum and the Getty Vocabulary Program.


Art History Image Database.

Includes 4000 digitized reproductions of works of art and architecture ranging from the period before written history through the 20th century. Included here are representative examples from around the globe.




Nobel Prizes and Laureates.

This site provides quick access to the names of Nobel Prize winners in each of the five categories. The site also provides information about the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. For each Laureate, you may access biographies and, occasionally, view in-depth presentations of his or her work.


Biographical Dictionary.

This dictionary has information on over 18,000 people and provides birth and death years, professions, positions held, literary and artistic works and other achievements of people throughout history.




Better Business Bureau.

BBB reports provide information on over two million organizations. It is a good idea to check before you invest or give.


Hoover's Handbook.

The free site provides a brief overview of company, key numbers and people, competitors, rankings, subsidiaries.Profiles public and private companies.


Mortgage Loan Calculators.

Features over 100 different finance-related calculators.


Yahoo Finance.

"Yahoo! Finance is a leading financial destination, providing consumers with a broad range of comprehensive online financial services and information essential stock information."


Digital images


Free Foto.

Site claims it has over 20,000 images. For non-commercial use only.




Foundation Finder.

Basic information about private and community foundations within the U.S.Provided by The Foundation Center, an independent, nonprofit information clearinghouse that collects, organizes, analyzes and disseminates information on foundations, corporate giving, and related subjects. is an online directory of lawyers and law firms around the world. It allows for searching by name, geographic location, and area of practice.



One of the most popular telephone directories on the Internet, can search white and yellow pages across USA, only includes people who are listed.




The On-line Books Page.

A fairly complete listing of various sources for online texts, including Project Gutenberg, and specialty and foreign language sites. Recommended because its index is searchable.Most of the eBooks are older literary works that are in the public domain in the United States. All may be freely downloaded and read, and redistributed for non-commercial use




Electoral Vote Predictor.

Tracks the electoral vote (EV) state by state.Also includes a history of the electoral college and itís purpose, weaknesses, strengths, and current controversies.


Polling Report.

Includes polling data from all major polls about current events and politics of interest to Americans.


Genealogy Resources


DAR Genealogical Records Index.

For almost a century DAR members have been collecting unpublished genealogical materials, largely Bible and cemetery transcriptions, into the Genealogical Records Committee Reports of their state chapters. There are nearly 18,000 volumes of these typescripts in the DAR library with a searchable online index in progress. It is recommended that searchers NOT limit a search to a particular state because many records from eastern states appear in the typescripts for the state in which the donor/transcriber lived. Note that these records are not limited to DAR member ancestors.


Ellis Island: American Family Immigration History Center.

Covers the period 1892-1924 when 22 million passengers and crew members entered the Port of New York through Ellis Island. Search for an immigrant's name and view a digitized page of the passenger manifest. Covers the period 1892-1924 when 22 million passengers and crew members entered the Port of New York through Ellis Island. Search for an immigrant's name and view a digitized page of the passenger manifest.Requires free registration to view actual records.


FamilySearch Internet Genealogy Service.

This Web site, produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, provides access to family history information including transcriptions of 1880 U.S. and British Censuses and the 1881 Canadian Census.

  • Ancestral File: Over 35 million pedigrees and family group records.
  • Census: Every-name index to the 1880 U.S. Census, the 1881 British Isles Census, and the 1881 Canadian Census.
  • International Genealogical Index: More than 300 million birth, christening, and marriage records.
  • Family History Library Catalog: The catalog of the collection located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of the microfilmed records can be ordered through more than 3,200 Family History Centers worldwide.
  • Family History SourceGuide: An automated collection of more than 150 publications from the Family History Library.
  • Web Sites: A guide to web sites with useful family history information.



Social Security Death Index (Rootsweb).

Social Security Death Index is generated from the U.S. Social Security Administrations Death Master File. The free database only includes the personís name, birth date, SS#, and last residence. You can also order a full report for apx. $25.This is a copy of the application that was filled out when the person applied for a SS#.




HyperHistory Online.

3,000 years of world history with a combination of colorful graphics, lifelines, timelines, and maps.




ALA Great Web Sites for Kids.

Popular site from the American Library Association highlights many innovative web sites for children.


Internet Public Library Kidspace.

Contains links to many free resources for kids, categories include reference, the world, computer, health, reading, math, science, etc.


Literature and Languages Great Books Online.

Full-text access to a variety of standard reference books, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The preeminent Internet publisher of literature, reference, and verse provides students, researchers, and the intellectually curious with unlimited access to books and information on the World Wide Web, free of charge. Highlights of this site include the 18-volume Cambridge History of English and American Literature, published between 1907 and 1921; the Oxford Book of English Verse, published in 1900; and the Yale Book of American Verse, published in 1912.


Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.

Online version of the 1901 edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations may be browsed by author (chronologically or alphabetically).




Map Collection, Perry-Castaneda.

The Perry-Castaneda Map Collection displays selected digitized images from the printed collection housed at the University of Texas at Austin. Included are many maps produced by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, world historical maps, and links to other online map collections.



Popular mapping tool for locations and directions.Also try Yahoo Maps <> for comparison.




News Link.

News Link, produced by American Journalism Review, offers information about and links to Web sites of media sources, including newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, and publishers.




Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Indepth articles about famous philosopher and philosophical concepts.Original articles written by professors and scholars.


Popular Culture


Creative Commons.

Features movies, music, and more of artists who are willing to share their work freely on the Internet.


Internet Movie Database.

Huge, fully-searchable database of film information, including credits, plot summaries, character names, movie ratings, year of release, running times, soundtracks, country of production, genres, production companies, distributors, special effects companies, reference literature, filming locations and movie trivia. From 1892-present.




Information Please Almanac.

Includes full-text of the Information Please Almanac as well as an online dictionary and an online encyclopedia. Current news is also included.


Your Dictionary. provides access to language and language-related products and services on the Web including dictionaries, polyglot dictionaries, courses, synonyms and antonymns, and other services that act as a research tool for linguists and non-linguists alike.


Babelfish Translation.

Provides the online text and web page language translation.


The Britannica Concise.

This free short-entry encyclopedia does not have as much content as the full Encyclopaedia Britannica (it's based on the one-volume printed Merriam-Webster Collegiate Encylopedia), but it does offer a searchable and browsable collection of more than 25,000 entries on a variety of topics.


1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

This free online encyclopedia is based on the eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Each entry, written by an expert in the field, contains a detailed article and bibliography. Users can look for articles alphabetically or search the site.


Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Begun on January 15, 2001, Wikipedia uses collaborative software to offer this free-content encyclopedia. As defined by the website, "free" means free to add, free to edit, and free to copy and redistribute. Wikipedia is a multilingual open-content online encyclopedia, continually evolving through collaborative development. It is managed and operated by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. In March 2004, it contained over 220,000 articles in English and more than 300,000 in other languages.




Thanks to Dr. Bernard Vavrek and the Association of Rural and Small Libraries for asking me to their 2004 Conference in Columbus, OH.If you have additions or comments please share them with me.


Many descriptions on this page from the New York Public Libraries excellent Free Databases page,

The free databases are arranged alphabetically but can be searched by catalog, all contents are described and cataloged.Includes over 130 databases.