Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Encyclopaedias & Dictionaries

Online "premium" databases you can access for free with your library card. Not a member? Join online

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online offers over 73,000 encyclopaedia articles, both short and book-length. Other content includes a world atlas, thousands of images and videos, an online dictionary and thesaurus, over 300,000 articles from respected magazines and journals, today's news headlines from the NZ Herald and BBC News, and links to relevant websites.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Oxford English Dictionary Online

The Oxford English Dictionary is the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. It traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books. Updated quarterly with at least 1000 new and revised entries, OED Online offers unparalleled access to the 'greatest continuing work of scholarship that this century has produced' (Newsweek).

Oxford English Dictionary

Other useful sites

These are sites that don't require a login (freely available online sites), that you may also find useful:

Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

In Māori, Te Ara means 'the pathway'. Through interlinking text and image trails, the Encyclopedia takes you on a journey of discovery. When complete, it will be a comprehensive guide to New Zealand - its peoples, natural environment, history, culture, economy, institutions and society.

The site also includes New Zealand's last official encyclopedia from 1966. It is published here in full, with all the original drawings, maps and photographs.

Search Te Ara

Ngata Dictionary

The H. M. Ngata Dictionary offers over 14,500 headwords, illustrating their use in sentences and phrases drawn from a wide range of contemporary and traditional contexts. It is available online for English to Māori and Māori to English searching. Based primarily on Ngati Porou dialect, the dictionary embraces a wide variety of tribal usages and is accessible to students at a basic level, as well as to those with an advanced knowledge of Māori language. The Dictionary complements the use of other dictionaries of Māori and English, and glossaries produced by other agencies such as Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission).

Ngata Dictionary


This site combines contemporary and classic reference works including the Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed., (2001), American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed., (2000), Roget's Thesauri, The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), The Bible, King James version (1999), Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, 20th ed., (1918), along with many others on English usage, literary history, mythology etc.