For those of us who, in high school, failed to foresee the value of Geography and/or Earth Science with regard to our future fictional settings, we might just find a little taste of redemption in Wikipedia’s List of Landforms. Now, as a librarian, I’m not in the business of promoting Wikipedia. (Let’s face it: in libraryland, Wikipedia is the Lord Voldemort of online info sources; the “site which shall not be named,” if you catch my drift.) But, me? I guess I’m siding with the death-eaters on this one, because I’m really loving this particular entry. </Harry Potter References>
Why I Like It:
Most glossaries/dictionaries/encyclopedias dealing with landforms are arranged alphabetically — which doesn’t help someone like me, who usually has a visual idea of the landform in question but no clue as to its proper name. This particular entry, however, groups landforms according to the processes by which they were formed. It’s not a huge leap in usability, but with a little critical thought about the feature you’re researching, you’ll not only be able to narrow down your pool of possible terms, you’ll also be introduced to related landforms you might not have considered or even known about. Did I also mention that there are a ton of pictures? (There are a TON of pictures.)
A Word of Caution:
Need I even explain? It’s Wikipedia, people. Pretty much anyone can create and edit entries, so be smart (read: skeptical and fastidious) about incorporating the “facts” on Wikipedia into your fiction or poetry. Remember: Wikipedia is a great place to start, but always cross-reference your research with a reliable source (see below).
I make no promises and no guarantees, but chances are your college and/or public library will own or subscribe to at least one online reference resource containing an encyclopedia or dictionary of geographical terms. Possible catalog searches: