Web sites worth the click

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www.xrefer.com

For those in love with research, this site provides innumerable encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri and books of quotations from the world's leading publishers. Resources include everything from Bloomsbury's Biographical Dictionary of Quotations to Oxford University Press's A Dictionary of Geography to the Thames and Hudson's Dictionary of Art and Artists. But the best feature of the site is that all the material is cross-referenced, providing a single source for reliable information. Visitors to the site can also sign up for free brainteasers, delivered by e-mail every Friday, promising to provide something to “sink your cerebral teeth into.� Who's hungry for knowledge?

www.embassyworld.com/maps

Fans of cartography and those planning a trip abroad may be interested in the maps section of Embassy World, which features a pull-down menu that leads to various maps for every country on the planet. For example, click on France and get links to 18 different maps of that country, all provided by other sites, but neatly organized and described by Embassy World. In addition, gain access to maps of 15 French cities, provided by Expedia.com, along with guidebook picks. Sick of maps? The site also functions as a digest for U.S. embassy telephone numbers and information on the location of various United Nations missions.

www.Kazstat.asdc.kz/indexe.htm

Visit the Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan's site for data on this Central Asian republic that gained its independence from the Soviet Union a mere 10 years ago. The agency functions as the clearinghouse for all government statistics including everything from macroeconomic indicators to basic demographics. Head straight for the “Main Socio-Economic Indicators� section to get the lowdown on this sparsely populated country, where there are only 14 people per square mile. Other interesting tidbits: the average annual per capita income is just 47,795 Kazakhstan tenges, the equivalent of US$325; and the average life expectancy at birth for men is age 60, compared with 71 for women. If you need more in-depth analysis, the site provides phone numbers and e-mail addresses for the agency's number crunchers.

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