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Site Work

The United States Government
The official site of the entire US government. It claims to make it easy — and it does! Launched in 2000, this extraordinary gateway offers quick, direct links to every federal, state, and local agency and office imaginable. Tweet your representative, pose a question through live Web chat, or research info on hot (!) government topics from native plant gardening to tax refunds. The Founding Fathers would be awed.

Citizens Connect
To add your voice to grassroots power, download the City of Boston’s free, award-winning smartphone app. And then, the next time you notice potholes, graffiti, or a burned-out streetlight, click away! Your photo and notes (complete with GPS location tag) go directly to the city’s to-do list, and you receive a tracking number to follow progress. Complaining has never been so satisfying.

The Central Intelligence Agency
Google is great, but can it beat the CIA’s World Factbook? If you’re traveling or working abroad, find reliable data here. And while you’re at it, take a virtual tour of the Langley headquarters, “visit” the CIA museum, and check out the kids’ section to try your hand at the Photo Analysis Challenge. Fun with the CIA — what a concept.

The Library of Congress
This is our national library, with enormous quantities of its mindboggling resources now available online and reaching far beyond books. Explore the American Memory section for its extraordinary photograph and map collections, including architecture and landscape materials. Or read up on current legislation, browse historic newspapers, and watch films of skaters in Central Park in 1902. It’s all here.

So, you’ve been thinking we need an extreme planet makeover? Give it a shot! NASA offers nonscientists great interactive features, such as the chance to create your own planet. In cyberspace, anyway. Don’t forget to subscribe to the image of the day for a change of perspective.

The Boston Atlas
Managed by the Boston Redevelopment Agency, this digital database includes city and private map collections covering Boston over the past four centuries, as well as current City of Boston information. If you haven’t yet incorporated this into standard site research, you will now.