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5 useful research websites

Accrue expert knowledge online

Between them, the millions of users who surf the web every day have vast accumulated knowledge on everything from politics to baking, finance to car maintenance. So wouldn't it be great if we could harness all that information and collate it one place?

Yep, the web's managed to do that. Wikipedia and Google's Knol are online encyclopedea edited by web users, while sites such as Yahoo Answers reward other web users for answering your burning questions.

See also: 50 great websites and services for 2009

Europeana

europeana.com

So you're fed up with Wikipedia and have worked your way through the wealth of wisdom (at least, all those bits that interest you) in the BBC's online archives. By now, we'd hoped to be enthusing about the wonders to behold at Europeana - a year-in-development, multilingual web portal for all things relating to this fine continent.

As it is, interest in the Mona Lisa overwhelmed Europeana's servers as soon as it launched and, some weeks later, the overburdened website was still down. Right now Europeana is testing newly configured hardware. The site is open for you to use but the user experience mat be limited during this test phase. Tread softly.

Google Knol

knol.google.com

Launched earlier this year, Google Knol is another user-generated online encyclopedia. However, Google encourages writers to use their real names and stand behind their articles.

The search engine also allows readers to rate articles and write reviews of them. Unlike Wikipedia, Knol gives authors two options for licensing their work. They may choose to reserve some rights using a Creative Commons licence or they can reserve all rights.

Google knol

Google Knol

NEXT PAGE: the BA, HowStuffWorks, and Instructables

See also: 50 great websites and services for 2009

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