Internet Resources: August 2018 Edition

Selected reviews of digital reference resources from the August 2018 issue of Choice.

African-American History. Infobase Pricing is based on FTE, consortial discounts available.

[Visited May’18] “Infobase’s African-American History database offers an impressive variety of sources and content well designed for browsing or searching,” wrote C. Dunham-LaGree for CC Advisor. Novice researchers can orient themselves with time lines, topic centers, slide shows, and multimedia resources. Experienced researchers can dig deep into primary sources or search content in a variety of formats. Content type varies based on topic and time, as the database “takes a broad view of African American culture and the African-American experience,” writes C. Dunham-LaGree, “with resources covering more than 500 years.” The home page offers featured Primary Sources, Maps and Graphs, Topic Centers, videos and slide shows, featured people, and Controversies in History. The content in African American History is of high quality and varied. “It excels at bringing multiple types of sources together in a single search. The interface is clean and easy to navigate,” according to C. Dunham-LaGree. “The biggest strength is the curated content.” The time lines and slideshows provide dynamic combinations of visual , primary, and secondary sources. The search is simple, but some users may miss that there is a different results page for each source type. Advanced researchers may desire a more robust advanced search. Undergraduates used to more robust citation tools may be disappointed. “The content and interface make this a database worthy of inclusion at high school, college, and public libraries.” Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

African American Poetry, 1760–1900 and Twentieth-Century African American Poetry. ProQuest, 2018. African-American Poetry, 1760–1900: $805 – $1,104; Twentieth-Century African-American Poetry: $1,446 – $1,982; consortial discounts available.

[Visited May’18] “These are excellent databases for any users interested in African American poetry,” wrote Mike Tosko for CC Advisor. This is especially true, considering the extent to which users prefer digital to print materials. These are poems and poetry collections only, not criticism, though brief biographical sketches are included. The scope is wide, ranging from early poets like Phillis Wheatley, to a bevy of Harlem Renaissance writers such as Jean Toomer, to authors of the Black Arts Movement like Amiri Baraka. Navigation is simple, and the search functions are intuitive and effective. The two databases contain about 12,000 poems. The full-text not only of “numerous poems are contained herein, but of entire books of poetry by various writers,” said Tosko. According to the Information Centre link of the databases, the entire oeuvre of a poet’s work is included whenever possible. Biographical information is given for each author, ranging from a few paragraphs to over 4,000 words for some. Material herein should be usable and relevant to high school as well as college students, and both academic and public library patrons. Though comprehensive, there are notable exceptions such as Claude McKay, James Weldon Johnson, and Gwendolyn Brooks. “There are always justifications for such exclusions,” Tosko claims. MccKay is often dismissed for his alignment with communism, Johnson is perhaps more noted today for a novel and for leading the NAACP, and Brooks’s work has been criticized for being too simplistic or too subtle. Nonetheless, these gaps are pretty conspicuous, and it appears Johnson’s and McKay’s work is supposed to be included here. In any case, one must remember that any such resource cannot be unlimited. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

Biological Abstracts. Clarivate Analytics Biological Abstracts is a BIOSIS product.

[Visited May’18] Biological Abstracts is a major science database, wrote Alyson Gamble for CC Advisor. It covers a variety of fields, including biology, biochemistry, and biotechnology. It is produced by Clarivate Analytics, which owns Web of Science, and is published by Thomson Scientific. It is part of BIOSIS Previews, one of the largest life sciences bibliographic data services. BIOSIS traces its origins to Biological Abstracts, which is now a reference database of peer-reviewed life sciences journal abstracts. Biological Abstracts first began as a print publication in 1926. It continues to carry the ISSN 0006-2169. It was started by a group of American botanical journal editors in 1926 to fill a need for unifying biological literature in a single location. The database is updated about 24 times each year. It contains over 11 million records from 543 journals covering 1926 to the present. “It is somewhat frustrating that all of the BIOSIS materials cannot be directly searched as a set in Web of Science,” Gamble wrote. Saved searches are helpful. This feature is particularly useful when the user needs to combine sets. However, the search cannot link, for example, a search in BIOSIS Previews with a search in Zoological Record. Users can select to receive e-mail updates at different frequencies for saved searches. Citation and journal alerts are also available. Customer support and training is provided by Clarivate Analytics. This support includes tutorials and videos, as well as a training team and LibGuides, for the entire Web of Science platform. A searchable Knowledge Base of articles is also available. Summing Up: Recommended. With reservations. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. —J Stoehr, CHOICE

Proquest Historical Newspapers. ProQuest Pricing based on FTE; consortial discounts available.

[Visited May’18] ProQuest Historical Newspapers (PHN) will appeal to a broad range of people, wrote J. Coelho for CC Advisor. PHN offers subscription-based, full-text access to more than 45 US and international newspapers. You can buy a subscription to any stand-alone product, or combine titles to create a collection tailored to meet your needs. ProQuest also offers a perpetual access license (PAL) to institutions looking to permanently preserve PHN digital content and access. PAL institutional customers pay a substantial one-time fee upfront and pay much smaller annual fees for new and updated digital content. “Database coverage for the 19th and 20th centuries is particularly strong,” Coelho wrote, “and ProQuest offers two US titles that provide some coverage of 18th-century America.” PHN features popular papers, such as the Boston Globe (1872–1986), the Chicago Tribune (1849–1994), the Los Angeles Times (1881–1994), the New York Times (1889–2000), and the Washington Post (1877–2001). Every section of each newspaper is searchable, including all photos, advertisements, classified ads, obituaries, and editorial cartoons as well as articles. Researchers can download all PHN digital content in PDF format. PHN’s international collection features 9 major historical newspaper titles and a collection of 12 English-language Chinese newspapers. Also offered are nine black newspaper titles (1893–2005), four American Jewish newspaper titles (1854–2000), and specialist collections: Communist Historical Newspaper Collection (1917–2013) and Civil War Era (1840–2013). “PHN is appropriate for classroom use in some higher grade-school levels through graduate school and beyond,” Coelho wrote. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

Sociological Abstracts. ProQuest Pricing based on FTE, consorial discounts available.

[Visited May’18] Sociological Abstracts includes abstracts for 1,800 serial publications in 31 languages,” wrote Brad Matthies for CC Advisor. This is in addition to abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers. ERIC documents are no longer included. Of the indexed journals, 60 percent are published in North America, 31 percent in Western Europe, and the remaining 9 percent come from other parts of the world. The database classifies indexed journals as “Core,” “Priority,” and “Selective.” Core journals are top journals in the field, or those that have “sociology” in their title. All substantial articles are abstracted and indexed in Core journals, and citations are also provided for book reviews. Priority journals come from fields related to sociology (e.g., anthropology, education, political science, etc.), consistently address topics related to sociology, and include journals in which sociologists regularly publish. About 50 percent of the substantive articles in this category are indexed and abstracted. Journals categorized as Selective include those in which sociologists occasionally publish articles. Less than 50 percent of substantive articles appearing in this category are indexed and abstracted. The product’s greatest strength is its Basic Search screen, where, according to Matthies, “typical undergraduate students in a general course like Speech 101 can easily find quality information.” For example, a keyword search for “gun control” returns over 7,000 results. Refining the search with the peer reviewed filter yields approximately 6,000 results that only appear in scholarly journals. Most upper-level social science students confining themselves to the Basic Search screen will successfully find quality information for a typical social science research paper. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE