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Internet resources

Any good researcher can quickly find appropriate resources for themselves. The small list of resources given here is one I have found useful as a starter pack for authoritative sources of information.

Access to some academic sites can involve a fee so subscription sites are indicated with an asterisk.

Accretion of information

Knowledge, when used wisely, has proved beneficial, so as a well-intentioned researcher you are entitled to regard your contribution to the world pool of knowledge as a manifestation of progress!

Knowledge is cumulative: we are gathering more and more as time passes, even though, at times, it may be reconfigured into new categories (see world views).

The World Wide Web is a communications transformation that has taken place within a single generation as a step in the transition from language to written word, to printed word, to electronic word. Anyone connected to the internet now has access to the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of mankind while just sitting on their bottom.

Scholarly research is being transformed as entire domains of knowledge become digitised. Pacing up and down library shelves is rapidly becoming a relic of the past: the world’s cutting-edge research can be accessed on a home computer, and experts in almost any specialist field can now be heard on Youtube expounding the latest principles, theories, controversies and advances in their respective disciplines.

Classical & Renaissance Literature & information

Perseus Digital Library – The Perseus Project is a digital library of Classics Department of the Tufts University near Boston, Massachusetts. The project assembles digital collections of humanities resources.

Theoi Classical Texts Library is a collection of translations of works of ancient Greek and Roman literature. The theme of the library is classical mythology and so the selection consists primarily of ancient poetry, drama and prose accounts of myth.
Thesaurus Linguae Graecae Canon of Greek Authors and Works. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.

The Livius website offers information on ancient history. There are currently 4317 pages. You will also find more than 10,500 original illustrations.

World Data

We all need basic and up-to-date information about the world if we are to be well-informed global citizens.

Today’s compendium of human knowledge – the encyclopaedia of the 21st century – is the publicly-generated Wikipedia. Because Wikipedia can be edited by anyone it has, among many people, a poor reputation. It is, however, monitored for both vandalism and quality: it is a good starting place in any investigation.

The following sites are useful sources of  up-to-date world data:

OUR WORLD IN DATA – ‘Research and data to make progress against the world’s largest problems’

GAPMINDER – ‘The basic global facts’

HUMAN PROGRESS – long-term global trends


A picture is worth a thousand words. A map of the world indicates the surface area covered by each country. But surface area is generally of little concern. ? Worldmapper is a charting resource that expresses country size in relation to parameters other than surface area. – WORLDMAPPER – select a parameter to express in terms of relative country size – USEFUL CHARTS – wide range of subjects Map Archive

Refinement of knowledge categories

There is, in all disciplines, a constant refinement of our categories of understanding, explanation, and tools of trade (names, classifications, definitions, descriptions, principles, theories, laws, structures, technologies etc.). This is a routine part of every discipline and it too represents progress.

Natural history archives

WORLD HISTORY OF SCIENCE ONLINE (WHSO) – is an international bibliographical project aiming to become a major online resource for scholars who are looking for resources for their scholarly work. The website classifies and indexes online resources in the field of the History of Science and technology of scholarly merit and provides brief descriptions of these resources.

THE BIODIVERSITY HERITAGE LIBRARY (BHL) – gives free access to historical biodiversity knowledge: it improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community service.

SIR JOSEPH BANKS PAPERS an extensive archive held by the State Library of New South Wales. Section 5 contains 381 papers and correspondence relating to collectors and gardeners.


Trove – Australian and online resources at the National Library of Australia: books, images, historic newspapers, maps, music, archives and more.


* Early English Books Online (EEBO)
* Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)
Google Books


Best of web sites – EdTechTeacher –
The History Guide, Sources for Historians –
Web sites for world history –
World History Centre Resource Guie for historians –

Institute of historic research –


*Ngram viewer – Googles calculator for historical frequency of word use


Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
Other resources


*Archive of ebooks


Atlas of Living Australia – All organisms. Australia’s most comprehensive data bank for biological research and based in Australia –
Encyclopaedia of Life – a Smithsonian collaborative encyclopedia compiling as much information as possible about the world’s species of plants, animals and microorganisms
GenBank – an annotated collection of all publicly available DNA sequences –
Plants of the World Online – Kew Botanic Gardens –
Annual Statement of Global Plant Statistics, Kew –
Tree of Life web project –
garden plant names – Royal Horticultural Society database of plant name sand information –
Global Plants – the world’s largest plant image database –
Plant List – all the known species of plants in the world
List of world herbaria
International Organization for Plant Information
The Global Plant Checklist c. 300,000 vascular plant species and over 1,000,000 names, is IOPI’s first priority. Eventually, the Checklist will also include non-vascular plants (mosses, lichens, algae, and liverworts). The taxonomic backbone to which users can append their more specialized information. Part of the Species 2000 coverage of all organisms. A provisional Checklist is in operation.
Species Plantarum Project is a longer term project aiming to record essential taxonomic information on vascular plants on a world basis. It may be likened to a World Flora.

Plant (and animal) species numbers (Australia) –
Historical and ancient texts –
Trees & shrubs –
British biography – The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Trees Beech, E. et al. 2017. GlobalTreeSearch – the first Complete Global Database of Tree Species and Country Distributions. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, DOI: 10.1080/10549811.2017.1310049

 Scientific Research

Researchers keen to network with co-workers, look for jobs, and gain exposure for their work, use the following sites:

Google Scholar –
ResearchGate –

Environment, Sustainability, & Conservation

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is a multilateral treaty. The Convention has three main Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) including: the conservation of biological diversity (; the sustainable use of its components; and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. In other words, its objective is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) is the flagship publication of the CBD that summarizes the latest data on the status and trends of biodiversity and draws conclusions relevant to the further implementation of the Convention.

GBO-5 (2020) provides global summary of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and is based on a range of indicators, research studies and assessments (in particular the IPBES Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), as well as the national reports provided by countries on their implementation of the CBD. The national reports provide rich information about the steps taken in countries worldwide in support of biodiversity conservation, sustainable use, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits. This body of Information provides a wealth of information on the successes and challenges in implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and in reaching the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. GBO-5 draws on the lessons learned during the first two decades of this century to clarify the transitions needed if we are to realize the vision agreed by world governments for 2050 ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’.

We are heading into the year 2020, when the world will review its progress on sustainable development by means of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization is a 2010 supplementary agreement to the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The global scene is carefully documented in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Nations Environmental Program – World Conservation Monitoring Centre
Our World in Data

Living Planet Report 2018 of the WWF. Nations
World Bank Data –

GLOBIO calculates local terrestrial biodiversity intactness, expressed by the mean species abundance (MSA) indicator, as a function of six human pressures: land use, road disturbance, fragmentation, hunting, atmospheric nitrogen deposition and climate change. The core of the model consists of quantitative pressure-impact relationships that have been established based on extensive terrestrial biodiversity databases.

Kew’s State of the World’s Plants 


Global Compendium of Weeds –
Kew’s State of the World’s Plants and Fungi 2020

Media gallery

State of the World’s Plants and Fungi 2020

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – 2020 – 1:10

Bitesize Guide: Living Planet Report 2020 | WWF

WWF-UK – 2020 – 4:31

5th Global Biodiversity Outlook

Convention on Biodiversity – 2020 – 0:45

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