**Reference material**

**Rationale:** The Internet has been likened to a massive
encyclopaedia, and can be used as a means of looking up various kinds of
mathematical things for various purposes. A few different examples of this
species of web use are shown below. These might be used by
students from home, especially as few homes will have a mathematical
reference source such as a dictionary or encyclopaedia. They might also be used
in school, by both individual students and teachers or by a whole class,
seeking clarification or information of a reference kind. As well as
mathematical reference materials, statistical reference materials are also
available. Some sites allow users to undertake calculations, another kind of
reference.

Here are some examples:

The Intermath site has
been produced and developed by the University of Georgia and provides a great
deal more than paper-based dictionaries are able to provide. Pitched at
middle-school or lower secondary school level, it allows students to browse
maths terms or to search by entering a maths term, and then to explore many
aspects of the meaning of the concepts involved: a description, related
terms, everyday examples, interactive checkpoints, more web-based information
and a link to challenging investigation starting points related to the term.
There is also a |
This website provides a
reference of a different kind: it allows for automated execution of many
routine mathematical procedures over the Internet, using the powerful
software |

The MacTutor History of
Mathematics Archive at the University of St Andrews has deservedly won many
awards, and offers opportunities for students to see that mathematics has
involved the work of people throughout recorded history and continues into
the present day. The archive can be efficiently searched through the indexes
on the opening page. These in turn lead to other indexes (eg start with
Mathematicians of the Day and search on posters and quotations). Searches may
also be undertaken in other ways via the Search Index on the home page: by
topic, by person, by date, by geography, etc. The site has an excellent and
comprehensive glossary, which goes far beyond the needs of secondary school
Few students have good access to materials that allow them to see the place
of mathematics and mathematicians throughout history. |
As its name suggests,
this site comprises quotations from mathematicians and from others about
mathematics. Located at Furman University in South Carolina, the collection
may be browsed by author or searched to find quotations that include
particular keywords, which may be mathematical terms or people. It also
includes a random quotation generator, for those who are less systematically
inclined. The entire collection may be downloaded, although it is just as
easy to search it on the web. The quotations collectively give a rich idea of
what mathematicians and others have thought and felt about mathematics over the
years, at least as far as their words have been recorded. |

Jenny EatherÕs
dictionary is presented in lively colours, and (unlike most such objcets) is
Australian in origin |
This interactive
glossary, produced by Harcourt, has some nice features, including the
classification of mathematical terms into grade levels. As users become more
sophisticated, so too do the definitions offered. There are spoken
definitions available (with North American accents). Some definitions use
North American spellings and meanings. |

Wikipedia is a very
large online encyclopedia which can be edited by
anybody who accesses it. The Mathematics parts of Wikipedia are quite
extensive and provide a lot of useful information, as well as a good sense of
the scope of mathematics. Of course, some care must be exercised in regarding
such a resource as completely authoritative. |
This is the definitive
mathematical encyclopedia on the web, sponsored by Wolfram, makers of the |

This website can be used
as a kind of reference for prime factorisations. Andrew HodgesÕ Java applet allows
for an integer to be entered, and it will then generate a sequence of
factorisations. The website is mostly self-explanatory: after starting the
applet, enter an integer to find its factors, if any. Enter a number larger
than 1 in the right box to generate a sequence of integers, with their
factors. |
This website is clearly
designed to appeal visually to kids, young and old, but serves also to be a
rather good reference source for many aspects of school mathematics, while
also presenting a positive view of modern mathematics. Although it contains
an assortment of advertising, the basic messages and ÔfeelÕ for mathematics
that are provided would seem more likely to attract than repel students
looking for information. The site contains a dictionary as well as a large
geometry reference area, amongst other features. |

Described as a
prototype, this free web-based secondary school geometry textbook developed
by John Page incorporates student learning with interactive tools and Java
and Flash animations. Many of the tools and animations refer to specific
concepts or single-purpose mathematics tasks, such as constructions, and
could be used for a range of purposes, including demonstrations in class or
on an interactive whiteboard. Use the index link to find specific topics.
Recently, the materials have been expanded to include coordinate geometry and
some graphing applets. |
This site provides links
to a large number of websites that contain measurements of some sort, with a
wide variety of contexts, some of them unexpected sources of measurement.
Most of the sites linked to are interactive, in the sense that they will
generate results on the web, generally using JavaScript. As well as providing
measurements, many of the sites provide information about the underlying
mathematical relationships as well. |

The Gallup organisation
is well-known as a major market research company,
using statistical procedures to get good samples of data on questions of interest.
The term ÔGallup PollÕ derives from the organiserÕs founder, George Gallup,
who developed the techniques, which rely on mathematics and random sampling
to obtain credible data. This website contains limited (free) access to
various kinds of statistical information from around the world, and allows a
close look at data from individual countries (such as Australia). [Access the
limited version of Gallup WorldView for free. Complete access to the full
Gallup Worldview application requires a paid subscription.] |
This website may well be
the ultimate mathematical reference. WolframAlpha was launched early in 2009
and attracted a lot of attention since then. The website, built on a
Mathematica platform in part, makes the modest claim: ÒWolfram|Alpha's
long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and
accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data;
implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to
compute whatever can be computed about anything.Ó There are many examples on
the site to get you started. Enetr a computation or anything else and watch
what happens! Extraordinary. |

This website of the |
Although mathematics is commonly confused with
calculation, calculation is also useful. This site, hosted by CASIO, allows
users to calculate almost anything, with calculations divided into various
categories of interest: Life, Education (Mathematics and Science) and
Professional. Users enter data and the website calculates with it. Comments
made by users are also of interest, and users can add their own comments. |

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Last updated: 20 May 2015