Best quotation sources on the Internet

Canons of medicine from Avicenna, latin transl...

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I love words! And the only thing better than words are quotations. When I first started to write, my dream was to have a whole shelf full of quotation books. And now I have. It’s called the Internet.

When I Googled ‘quotes’ it promptly delivered 250 million sources in .12 seconds. Amazing! I didn’t look at that many, but I did drill down through about a dozen pages, and then surfed through other entries I found. Here are the sites that looked the most promising to me.

I used ‘Albert Einstein’ as one topic and ‘Creativity’ as another, to discover what the sites might deliver. Most had additional features such as forums and bios of authors and these are noted. The good ones gave you an attribution source as well.

Finally, a big beef of mine are over-commercialized sites. You know the drill. Lots of ads, annoying pop ups, and thinly disguised retail tie-ins to connected products, online stores and Amazon.

Sounds just like some of Blogs that I visit. 🙂 But I’ve annotated these for you, too, just in case.

OK, here goes.

BIG BOX STORES

Up at the top of the Google search are those quotation sites that have been in business the longest, have the largest number of quotes, or perhaps have paid Google for the privilege of being number one? At any rate, these are the equivalent of the Super WalMart of Quotation sites.

Quotations Page

The Quotation Page boasts they are the oldest quote page on the Web with over 26,000 pages and over 2100 authors to search for specifics. They have a forum and the capability to add the quote to your own directory or email to ‘a friend’ if you are a registered member.

For Einstein they listed 51 quotes. One of my favorites was included:

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

In the subject category, you cannot search for a term, but rather go to an alpha list that shows each term with the number of quotes in parathesis after. Creativity showed 21 quotes.

Three cookies AND a pop-up. 😦

Think Exist 

On the ThinkExist site, we move from the oldest to the largest. They claim 300,000 quotes from 20,000 authors including 300 from Einstein. The site is heavily commercialized, but does have a social media function. In order to add quotes to ‘your site’ you must register.

It also features a birthday link and for November 12 has a picture of Charles Manson and this quote:

Look down at me and you see a fool; look up at me and you see a god; look straight at me and you see yourself.

625 quotes were listed for ‘creativity.’

Why don’t I like this site? Probably the same reason I didn’t like Tom Hanks’ store  in YGM.

Brainy Quotes  

Brainyquotes gives the type of occupation as well as categories of quotes and authors.

It listed 190 quotes by Einstein, the most of any site. It gave his occupation as German physicist, his date of birth Mary 14, 1879, DOD as April 18, 1955. Nationalisty was German. And then it gave related authors as well, such as George C. Lichtenberg, Niels Bohr and James Cronin.

It listed 2670 quotes about creativity, although it seemed to key on the specific word rather than the topic. One such quote was:

Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.~~Donatella Versace

When I went to the psychologist career area, I found this quote by Anna Freud:

A first visit to a madhouse is always a shock.

To get to these I dodged several popups and was blasted with flash animations from Red Roof Inns and Toys R Us AND asked to take a survey by Safenet.com. 😦

 

Wikiquote 

 The English version of Wikiquote boasts about 16,000 pages thus far.

For Einstein, Wikiquote provided a good picture of the scientist and the most complete word-link (well, this is a wiki after all!) biography of all of the sites that I visited. What I like about this source is that most quotes have an attribution. For example for Einstein it  had the original German, followed by English and then the source:

Raffiniert ist der Herrgott, aber boshaft ist er nicht.

Subtle is the Lord, but malicious He is not.

Remark made during Einstein’s first visit to Princeton University. (April 1921) as quoted in Einstein (1973) by R.W. Clark, Ch. 14

The only downside to all of this information in Wikiquote is that it is not easily scannable. I’m not sure how many Einstein quotes were there—a lot!

When I then typed the word ‘creativity’ into the search bar, I was redirected to ‘invention.’ However, the term seemed to be broadly defined. For example, this quote was included:

Technology… the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it. Max Frisch

There was no specific attribution history, but contained a back-link to each quote author when available.

The Bartleby project

Bartleby is a unique project that has digitized most of the ‘dead White men’ list of books including the 70 volumes of the Harvard Great Books Series, the Columbia Encyclopedia, Roget’s Thesaurus, all of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, Bartlett’s quotations, the King James Bible, and many others.

The real strength is that they then add many of these to their list of quotations. They have 87,000 entries, the ‘largest of its kind.’

The site listed 63 entries for Einstein and 57 for creativity, plus ads in full living color for ATT, Audio Books and AARP. But if you can ignore the ads, the rest of the site loads quickly and is easily used.

Creative Quotations

Creative Quotations says they have 50,000 quotes by over 3000 authors, but the site design is clunky. Maybe it’s supposed to be creative?

They do have a section where you can look up birthdays: For example, Nina Simone and Erma Bombeck were born on the same day. Also listed is a very nice index of 800 creative women.

The section on Grandma Moses listed these quotes:

If I didn’t start painting, I would have raised chickens.

A primitive artist is an amateur whose work sells.

49 direct matches were listed for creativity, as well as 38 for Einstein.

 GENERAL DEPARTMENT STORES

These sites had a good collection of quotations, were sometimes less commercial, and had a more narrow focus. Think Penneys or Sears.

The Quote Garden

The Quote Garden  is one of my favorites. This is that little bookstore run by Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail. In addition to some nice quotes, it also boasts a section of ‘quotable tattoos’, quotes for teens including a section for yearbook quotes, and quotes for special occasions such as Groundhog Day, I love you Day, and Tooth Fairy Day.

Also listed is a list of quotation sources that THEY use including the Quote Hug site If you click in the middle of a teddy bear’s tummy, a quote pops out. Irresistable!

The Quote Garden lists 62 quotes for Einstein, although some of these are quotes with Einstein’s name in them, rather than quotes by Einstein.

When I keyed in creativity, there were only 8 hits listed, but these turned out to be subcategories of topics such as: inner-child, writing, intelligence, imagination.

Some commercialism.

The Other Pages

The Other Pages was the most individualist site I visited. Its introduction boldly states:

This site has been designed and written without any flashy bells or whistles, assuming that visitors will be primarily interested in the text content, not things that flash or blink…There are no Java apps, flash videos, spyware, or blinking sponsorship banners to worry about. This remains proudly free of advertising (well, except for collection #30). And no, I am not inclined to change it to some new, snappy name, or give it any extreme makeovers. It is what it is.

It includes about 28,000 entries in 30 collections. Categories include: The Bard, serious sarcasm, and stupid quotes. And, as the author notes, “Please don’t read them all in one sitting. You really should get out more.”

The site goes on to say,

The Quotations Home Page has received a number of awards since its creation in 1994. It has been recognized by Magellan (four stars), Yahoo Internet Life Magazine (Best on the Web) and most of the other rating services, and many, many, opinionated human beings (though very few space aliens).

I particularly like its selection of proverbs from around the world.

Einstein has 51 quotes including:

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.

16 quotes were listed for creativity.

Did I mention there are no ads on this site? 🙂

 

Quotation Reference 

Quotation Reference   This site has won numerous awards for design and quote inclusion.

In the Q&A question you get a sense of the site’s author’s personality:

Q: Wasn’t your site formerly named “The Dictionary of Inspirational Quotations”? Why the name change?

A: Well, my quotes aren’t all “inspirational”. Some of them are actually quite the opposite of inspirational. Some are pessimistic, some are humorous, and some are just plain ridiculous. So, I concluded that the title did not coincide with the content well and I should just change it.

AND

Q: Hey, I sent you a lot of quotes. Where are they? Why have they not been posted?

A: I don’t post all the quotes I am sent. I only post quotes on the site that I like. It’s pretty self-indulgent, but that’s the way I work the site.

The Other Pages site lists 41 quotes attributed to Einstein and 3 for creativity including one of my favorites:

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.~~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

The site is shaped in the form of a book and has NO advertising.

Quoteland 

Quoteland  has no indication of number of quotes. It does, however, have a large readers’ service group with forums and discussion groups. For example, forums included: “Who said it,” “I need a quote” and “favorite quotations.” From an aesethic point of view, site seemed amateurish and clunky.

However, they did have a nice checklist about how to find a quote if you only know a bit of it. Like the piano player who wants you to hum a few bars? Basically they suggest four steps: question your wording, run a search, ask the discussion groups, go to the library. And the checklist tells you how to do this.

They only show 7 listings for Einstein and 13 for creativity

Too many ads and popups! 😦

 

HeartQuotes

HeartQuotes seemed to be a vehicle for the company HeartMath, a ‘internationally recognized leader in personal and organizational development.’

Their content was somewhat skewed; however, they did have 107 quotes attributed to Einstein. Quotes and proverbs by ‘women’ only numbered 18! There seemed to be no way to search directly for an author or a topic.

SPECIALTY STORES

These quotation sites have one product, and they know it well. These are like your marathon running shoe store or a kitchen equipment store that, yes, even has a kitchen sink.

Specialty by author or topic

If you know your topic, you can always Google the name or topic with ‘quotations’ attached. When I did that for Einstein I came up with this site.

Einstein Quotes gave various categories such as mathematics, life, work, creativity. I found a similarly dedicated site on Mark Twain.

 Snopes

Snopes, The ‘Rumor has it’ site, also unfortunately has way too many pop-ups, flash ads, and adsense tagalongs.  I endure these because of the uniqueness of its content.

Snopes delves into all of the urban legends floating about, and has a special section for quotations. For example, for a time this quotation was being circulated as belonging to Einstein:

If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man had only four years left to live.

Follow the fascinating back story here. [Note: Spoiler—Einstein didn’t say it!]

Snopes showed no direct quotes on creativity

 Eskimo

Direct from the North Pole comes this great pic complements of an Alaskan Internet company called Eskimo.  

 

They have compiled some of the funniest programming quotes around including, (with apologies to Robert Service):

And the users exclaimed with a laugh and a taunt: “It’s just what we asked for but not what we want.” Anon.

Einstein argued that there must be simplified explanations of nature because God is not capricious or arbitrary. No such faith comforts the software engineer.—Fred Brooks.

iflanet

Librarians have their own site, of course. Go to IFLA (International federation of library assns and institutions) to find great quotes on words, books, and all things literary:

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.~~Groucho Marx

Soil and earth quotes

For quotes on muddy places visit the  US Dept of Agriculture quote site.  They have compiled a list of G-rated quotes for K-12 students including:

We are part of the earth and it is part of us … What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.~~Chief Seattle, 1852

The Comedy Zone

The Comedy Zone is the location for funny and/or satiric quotes on a variety of topics.

There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.~~Salvador Dali.

If it sells, it’s art.~~Frank Lloyd.

Movie Quotes 

Movie Quotes proudly announces that they are the number one movie quote site on the Web, with over one million entries. If you like trivia, you can even test yourself on their game site.

They had all three Godfather movies of course, with 218, 74, and 57 quotes respectively. Nothing was listed for Einstein or creativity. But hey, when you got da Godfather, what else matters?

Biblical Quotes

Biblical quotes seem to fall into two categories: You have the quote and you want to know where it came from, or you have the topic and you want to know what the Bible (usually King James) has to say on it.

For the first, try this Biblical quotation site from the University of Michigan.

For the second, you might want to visit Jerusalem 30 AD. The ‘A’ topic index, for example, includes verses for abandonment, achievement, age, astrology, apocalypse, and audacity, among others.

One quote for apocalypse is this one:

I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. (Rev. 6:8)

Shakespeare

Shakespeare is listed, of course, in almost every single compilation above. But if you want a specialized quote base for the Bard alone, simply Google ‘Shakespeare quotations’. I did, and came up with 560,000 entries.

Each has its own unique flavor, perhaps the subject of another Blog entry! But for now, let me leave you with these two to sample:

The About.com section on Shakespeare has a nice selection, again searchable by topic.

For example, the ‘Shakespeare on Horses’ category gives us, of course, from King Richard:

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse! King Richard III (5.4.10-17)

Enotes has over 200 Shakespeare quotes searchable by topic, play and speaker. It has a compendium of quotes that Shakespeare is supposed to have used, but didn’t.

In addition, it has listings for words he coined, such as bloodsucking, castigate, coldhearted, dauntless, and hedge-pig. No wonder I love this guy so much!

Final words

And there you have it. A drop in the bucket of the millions and millions of quote sites out there. The Big Box Stores, the Department Stores, and the Specialty Shops. We are indeed a productive species.

I like quotes, and I think that a judicious sprinkling of them through a long blog livens the flavor like fresh jalapeno.  A little bit is great.  Too much makes your readers dash for the Pepsi bottle.

I’ve tried to include a good sample of the best quote sources out there, but I have a feeling I’ve still missed some good ones.  If your favorite is not included, please let me know?

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.~~Isaac Asimov

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About Intrepid Explorer

By writing we discover the world
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