'Think & Roll Famous Quotes 01' photo (c) 2009, paperfreakette - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

I periodically look for quotations — for articles, posters, etc.  I get pretty frustrated by most of the online quotation sites because they often don’t provide the source for the quotes, nor any information about the person who supposedly said the quote.

I’ve searched and searched, and I still I’ve only found four sites that consistently provide sources for quotes and have a decent searchable database. I do have to say, though, that one way I’ve recently discovered to get around this problem is by pasting the quote in the query box at Google Book Search. Often, that will bring me to the primary source. (Can’t Confirm That Quotation? Search Google Books is from Mind Shift.)

The importance of this kind of accurate “sourcing” has been highlighted by the attention paid to the mistakes made on the new Martin Luther Kind Memorial in Washington, D.C. I thought I’d bring together a few articles about those problems. They include:

The Effect Of An Absent Clause On Dr. King’s Cause is from NPR.

Martin Luther King a drum major? If you say so. is from The Washington Post.

Coincidentally, The New York Times ran a column about the same problem, even though it wasn’t related to King — Falser Words Were Never Spoken.

‘Beam Us Up, Mr. Scott!’: Why Misquotations Catch On is from The Atlantic.

This is an extremely short “The Best…” list.

My choices for The Best Places To Find Quotations On The Web are:


Lit Quotes

Quote Snack (This is a blog. It doesn’t seem to have a complete “search” system in place, but it does have a “tag cloud” you can use).

Another site that deserves an “honorable mention” is called Quotes.net. It doesn’t provide the sources for their quotes, but it does have two other neat capabilities that could be helpful to English Language Learners — it provides audio support for the text, so that users can hear the words; and it provides the option of translating the quotes into many different languages.

iWise is another site that doesn’t meet my criteria, but the fact it offers audio support for the text is a real plus.

Finally, even though the listed sites don’t meet my criteria, you might want to look at the exhaustive list of quote resources that Presentation Zen has at Where to get quotations for presentations? (the post is about three years old, though, so there might be a fair amount of dead links).

Tara Benwell lets me know that The English Club has a quotes section designed for English Language Learners. It’s in its beginning stages now, but will be expanding.

Quote Investigator is a blog that…investigates if well-known quotations are accurately sourced.

The 10 best last lines – in pictures is a slideshow from The Guardian.

Reel Life Wisdom is a “movie quote directory.”

TED has begun a new searchable feature called TED Quotes. They highlight great quotes from their TED Talks, and they link back to the presentation.

Changemakrs is a new site that lets you create nice visual online posters with famous quotes. It’s still “invitation-only” to be able to register and create them, but anyone can see the ones already made and tweet them or post them to Pinterest. I requested an invitation, so don’t know yet how easy it is to create ones, but I assume it’s simple. There’s one big problem, though — the quotations don’t seem to cite sources. So I’d double check them before using any…

Quotacle is that gem, and here’s its description:

It’s early days for this site, which lets you search for classic movie quotes along with the relevant video clip. But we’re hoping it quickly expands beyond its current catalog of 143 movies — and that Hollywood doesn’t get antsy and try to shut it down.

“LibQuotes” Looks Like A Good Place To Find Quotations – With Their Original Sources!

Quotationize shares quotes and their source.

I recently discovered that the Good Reads site has a search tool that lets you find quotes that have been highlighted by readers from specific books. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the books themselves are accurate indicators of their source, but it certainly increases the odds of their veracity.

Any additional suggestions are welcome!