Dictionaries and Research Sources

Roget’s Thesaurus (1911)This is a far more useful thesaurus than you will find in your word processing program. You still have to be careful to use the words correctly, and in context.

A Web of On-line Dictionaries This site includes the Webster’s dictionary of the English language, and a list of about 1000 glossaries and dictionaries, in 190 languages, plus synonyms, antonyms, homophones, etc.

Artcyclopedia A dictionary and encyclopedia for the visual arts — includes a search engine for artists, art galleries, and museums. You can browse for artists and artworks by movement (e.g. Pop Art, Impressionism), by medium (e.g. sculptors, illustrators), by subject (e.g. landscape painters), by nationality, and there’s a section that’s devoted to women artists only.

The Encyclopaedia Brittanica and the Oxford English Dictionary are available through the Emily Carr library.

OneLook Dictionaries If you go directly to the site marked “General,” and then click on one of the sites, such as “homonyms,” you’ll find this to be quite helpful. It even has a dictionary for sign language.

Cambridge International Dictionary provides a dictionary of phrasal verbs and idioms as well as an American and English Dictionary of the English language. It is an excellent resource for ESL students.

The Librarian’s Index to the Internet. This resource includes links to Politics, Religion, Literature, Art, Science, Social Science. It’s extensive and certainly worth a browse. For example, under the heading of Art, there are links to pottery, painting, aesthetics, art history, pop art, modern art, comics, cartoons, etc.
Writing Across the Disciplines — WAC’s on-line site offers many insights into academic writing and rhetoric and compositon studies. Though this may be of more interest to instructors, those in advanced writing classes, or those who are simply interested, might enjoy perusing the site. There is also a special edition devoted to Writing about the Visual Arts, Communication, Media, etc.

A Dictionary of Literary and Rhetorical Terms can be found on the University of Victoria Writing Guide main page (in alphabetical order and in categorical order). A similar dictionary can be found on the Capital Community College site. This dictionary has fairly extensive definitions (and a “self-test”) that will help any student of literature and/or the visual arts understand what constitutes allegory, metonymy, synecdoche, alliteration, voice, tone, consonance, point of view, etc. If you’re writing about Theatre, here’s a wonderful list of theatrical and stage terms (please be patient while we re-establish this link)

The Norton Litweb site also provides a glossary of literary terms.

Words of Art Dictionary: The Okanagan University College has compiled this dictionary of terms related specifically to the visual and literary arts. It provides a more detailed context than most dictionaries.

A Dictionary of Science and Technology Terms: This online dictionary contains over 130,000 definitions and it covers over 130 fields of science. You can browse through fields such as
Engineering & Technology, Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Mathematics & Computers, Artificial Intelligence, Chaotic Dynamics, Computer Programming, Computer Science, Computer Technology, Mathematics, Statistics, and the Social Sciences. The Biotech Dictionary provides definitions and illustrations of terms in the life sciences, biotechnology, chemistry, etc. The science.komm Internet Directory and Resource Site will provide you with hundreds of links to dictionaries and glossaries in the scientific fields.

If you’re wondering what terms such as postcolonialism, postmodernism, differance, camp, and deconstruction mean, you might want to check out these sites. Theory.org, Swirl (your guide to Post-Millennial Paradigms) and Terry DeHay’s postcolonial resources page are also extremely useful. And if you’re wanting some background information about 18th or 19th century history, art, design the Voice of the Shuttle — especially the Art & Art History section is extremely comprehensive. Simon Fraser University’s English Department has set up useful links to various theorists (Walter Benjamin, Bakhtin, Habermas, Foucault, Kristeva. . . to name a few). Professor John Lye’s web site on literary and cultural theory provides such a wealth of information, it’s nearly impossible to list here. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, check out these ones: Aesthetics and Visual Culture, Cultural Theory Course (UBC), K.I.S.S (Keep it simple stupid site on reading Cultural Theory)

Randy Lee Cutler’s Course Notes for Cultural Theory provides a great week by week analysis and summary of key theoretical terms and ideas.

The Perseus Project put together by Tufts University has a dictionary, encyclopedia, atlas, and links to images of art and architecture that will be extremely useful if you are attempting to understand references to Greek and Roman mythology, philosophy, or archeology.

The Internet History Sourcebooks are “collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use.” The site includes an Ancient History Sourcebook Medieval Sourcebook, Modern History Sourcebook, a Byzantine Studies Page, and Other History Sourcebooks: African, East Asian, Indian, Islamic, Jewish Women’s, Global, Science, Lesbian and Gay, Personal Home Page and a Medieval Studies Course. Many of these sites have links to samples of renaissance, classical and midieval music you can actually hear!


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