Internet Resources: January 2018 Edition

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

Alexander Hamilton Papers, from the Library of Congress.

[Visited ‘Oct’17] In the wake of the highly successful musical Hamilton, the Library of Congress rewards enthusiasts with the digitized collection of the papers of Alexander Hamilton. Approximately 12,000 items document Hamilton’s life from his Caribbean boyhood to his marriage and legal work, aid to General Washington during the Revolution, involvement in state and national politics, and term as first treasury secretary. Materials date from about 1777 to his death in 1804. The collection’s series cover general correspondence, speeches and writings, legal files, financial papers, family papers, miscellany, and separate 1998 and 2017 additions. Users can browse by series, or conduct keyword searches across the full collection, limiting results by format, date, location, series, contributor, subject, or language. Brief record results list material type, series, title, contributor, and date; displayed items reveal their full bibliographic data. The document viewer is simple to use to zoom in and out of images on any device. Image quality depends on the condition of the original document, but sampled images are legible when viewed full screen. Also included are links to articles, essays, a time line, teaching resources, and useful finding aids. Site navigation is good, and users can make their way around with little difficulty.

Not included within this freely accessible site are transcribed versions of the documents, however. One should take the opportunity to examine and compare The Papers of Alexander Hamilton Digital Edition on the University of Virginia’s fine Rotunda platform (CH, May’12, 49-4827)—a collection based on the edition of William Syrett that includes document texts along with annotations that identify individuals, places, and events covered. This enhanced edition is a big help and tool of choice for serious researchers, but those lacking a license will find the Library of Congress’s version useful. Some, however, may have difficulty deciphering the documents without the contextual commentary. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduates through researchers/faculty. —S. L. Hupp, West Virginia University at Parkersburg

BBC News.

[Revisited Oct’17] The BBC News website, first launched in November 1997 (CH, May’98, 35-4826), is part of BBC Online, a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. It seeks to offer a news service that is “independent, impartial and honest” as written in the BBC’s 2017 mission and values statement (linked under About the BBC) on its corporate website at This dynamic service offers current, updated news and information (with a simple clock icon showing an item’s timeliness) in written stories, streaming audio and video, photographs, and links to BBC radio and television broadcasts available throughout the day. The service is in English, but the BBC also offers news in more than 40 languages, linked from the page footer and at; each site appears to highlight different news stories.

The site integrates stories from around the world provided by correspondents with the BBC World News TV channel, giving special attention to the UK, US, and Canada. A link to the World section leads to news emphasizing events in continents other than North America, although it is unclear whether the BBC News content varies according to the geographic location of a user’s IP address; in this reviewer’s examination, the home page clearly highlighted US concerns in the news. Users may also link to stories in topical sections (e.g., Business, Tech, Science, Entertainment & Arts, and Health). The Magazine section features longer stories, and while every page carries commercial advertising, ads are relegated to the edges and not excessive. Although it is easy to move around the site, the pages are so full of links to stories and videos that users must carefully scan what is available. Users looking for specific topics should deploy the keyword search feature and focus the results to News (using the filter option in the banner that appears with results) because the simple search box also covers other BBC divisions. While Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson-Reuters, formerly of the UK, also offers a similar, updated international news site at, it is the BBC News and its many related services, such as BBC News: Country Profiles (CH, Oct’05, 43-0669), that continue the tradition of disseminating high-quality news, background information, and analysis. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries. All levels. —D. A. Lincove, Ohio State University

The BroadwayHD Collection. Alexander Street, 2017. Academic pricing based on FTE ranges starts at $3,725.00 for annual subscription and $10,000.00 for one-time purchase.

[Visited Oct’17] Alexander Street’s new BroadwayHD Collection brings streaming video of New York (both Broadway and Off-Broadway) theater productions to the classroom. As of October 2017, 20 performances are available in this exclusive educational license, which the publisher promises to expand to 25 in 2018 when the collection is completed. The sidebar menu classifies these entries as 19 under “Theatre” and 10 as “Film,” although the categories actually overlap with one another. The current collection offers three Shakespeare plays (HamletKing LearRomeo and Juliet); additionally, Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, and Frank Langella appear in lesser-known works, while Ed Harris performs in Sam Shepard’s Buried Child. More than two-thirds of the performances occurred in the 1970s or after 2010; the 1960s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s are each represented by a single performance at this time. The remaining new acquisitions will probably emphasize the current Broadway season, according to the publisher.

The platform is simple to use. One can access the sidebar to search for plays by region or period, performers, directors, genres, or subjects. A simple search box supports more specific search strategies. Once a performance is selected, an embedded video player launches. Users can create smaller video clips or email citation information. Production details and closed captioning, which generate the platform’s sidebar transcripts, are available for all videos. A selection of “Related Items”—drawn from other Alexander Street collections, to which users may or may not have access—appear as icons below the video screen, although some relationships seem problematic. Heinrich Von Kleist’s play The Prince of Homburg, for example, based merely on shared keywords, is related to The Prince of Pot, a video from the 60 Minutes: 1997–2014 collection (CH, Jul’17, 54-4987), alongside a 2009 rap album The Prince of Houston. Streaming on a home computer was quick, with no interruptions during the download. Help support within the platform is minimal, however, so users will want to be aware of the separate LibGuides tutorial posted on the parent company ProQuest’s website at

BroadwayHD Collection offers a restricted—albeit exclusive—number of New York productions licensed and curated for classroom use, enhanced by the platform’s valuable searchable transcriptions. Individual academic subscribers may also be eligible to receive discounts through the institutional license for a limited number of live-streamed shows by negotiating with the collection’s commercial distributor BroadwayHD at (where one also finds informative articles under the News section of the site). Another educational-subscriber collection, the UK-based Digital Theatre Plus at, by comparison, features extensive interviews with players and directors and more than 300 performances from the New York stage as well as Los Angeles, the Globe Theatre, the BBC, and more. The Alexander Street collection is highly recommended for those institutions maintaining comprehensive collections in the performing arts. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Undergraduate students through researchers/faculty; professionals/practitioners. —A. J. Adam, Strategic Planning Online

Credo Online Reference Service. Credo Reference, 2017. Annual academic subscription starts at $5,600.00, based on FTE.

[Revisited Oct’17] Last reviewed almost a decade ago (CH, Feb’09, 46-2980), Credo Reference has grown into an essential, online, full-text collection of reference books covering a great variety of subjects and formats—dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, guides, and other quick, ready-reference resources. Publishers include familiar names: ABC-CLIO, Blackwell, Edward Elgar, Routledge, Wiley, Springer, SAGE, and many more. The resource also offers thousands of Topic Pages designed as starting points for research, from “Aachen (Germany)” through “Zworykin, Vladimir Kosma” (a Russian engineer who developed the cathode ray tube and electron microscope). Each Topic Page offers an introduction, links to related topics, images, and a visual tool called Mind Map, whose clickable graph nodes can be used to explore interrelated people, organizations, concepts, and fields of study.

A simple search box stays put at the top of each screen; having it remain visible as users scroll through the site would be a design improvement. Advanced searching allows further flexibility, limiting search terms to retrieve only images, topics, books, or Mind Map results. The excellent Help section is both brief and context-sensitive and can be used for more-detailed self-instruction. Users can set one of eight different languages for using the site, and a handy permalink icon generates a stable URL for citing a result. Each screen also presents a Browse option to find reference books or Topic Pages by title or by nearly two dozen subjects, most of which expand to detailed subheadings. Short videos and still images, along with suggestions for further reading, are available for many articles. At the level of an individual article, there is tool that translates the text into 60 supported languages, and a ReadSpeaker tool can read the English version aloud. Users may also save, e-mail, or print results, and a recommended citation format is available in APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard styles, along with an option to export to several different reference-management software platforms.

The publisher offers four different collections of materials for purchase: the Academic, Public, and Student (intended for grades 7–12) Cores are subsets of the all-inclusive Complete Core, which currently contains more than 1,100 books by more than 100 publishers, including materials that are not in any of the other collections. Libraries can customize the mix too. Librarians, instructors, and academic-success staff who work with undergraduates—and students who have discovered Credo Online Reference Service—will find it a first-rate place to visit first when they are looking for validated sources of information. General readers and advanced researchers will also appreciate this convenient way of getting a preliminary grasp on an unfamiliar area of inquiry. Summing Up: Essential. All libraries. All levels. —D. G. Ernsthausen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Fashion Photography Archive. Bloomsbury Digital Resources, 2017. Contact publisher for consortial pricing information; subscriptions begin at $779.00 and perpetual access purchases begin at $7,750.00 based on FTE.

[Visited Oct’17] Curated by fashion historian Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York City), the new Fashion Photography Archive is hosted on the Bloomsbury Fashion Central portal—host also to Berg Fashion Library (CH, Mar’11, 48-3586). Launching with 250,000 newly digitized photographs, the collection is meant to grow in increments to 750,000 images. They include runway, backstage, and street-style photographs taken by Irish-born British fashion photographer Niall McInerney from the 1970s to the early 2000s. One can download the “Valerie Steele Core Collection” in spreadsheet format listing collections by designer, season, and year (e.g., Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, etc.).

Upon signing in, the researcher sees an uncluttered home page. The hyperlinks at the top of the screen lead to sections where one can gain an overview of the archive, find a useful interactive time line, or browse a section labeled Resources, which contains biographies of more than 100 fashion designers, nearly 20 lesson plans (e.g., “Fashion and Gender,” “Victorian Fashion”), and a growing number of bibliographic guides (e.g., “Anthropology of Dress and Fashion”) written by academics. The image-intensive lower half showcases a rotating selection from the archive, including a “Key Collection” (e.g., Jean Paul Gaultier’s 1994 Fall/Winter show, featuring a male model wearing an orange kilt and a green velvet overcoat whose head is half-shaved, half-clad in a matching dreadlocked wig). Alongside is a “Focus” pane (at the time of review, highlighting Thierry Mugler’s equally arresting 1997 insect-like corsets) or a “Fashion Icon” profile (e.g., Vogue’s Anna Wintour shown wearing elegant Chanel).

The archive offers basic and advanced search functionality, and the underlying metadata allows users to trace and compare designers, trends, and seasons by color, decades, garment, and theme. However, many fashion researchers will presumably simply browse by image, so the Browse section offers well-developed options (e.g., by place, period, textiles and materials, the fashion industry, or organizations, including design houses). Among the search results, one finds solid academic content in excellent, footnoted, fashion-history articles on topics such as street style (also retrievable under Browse > Themes) or a short piece on Alexander McQueen’s signature “Bumster” trousers. There are a few related videos but, sadly, no live catwalk shows. Often the archive refers to (in a right-side pane) other Bloomsbury products, such as the Berg Fashion Library or imprints of Fairchild Books that require separate subscriptions. Whether from exaggerated catwalk shows or snapped on the street with cellphones, fashion photographs drive cultural and artistic trends while selling plenty of product. For libraries that support programs that make good use of core online fashion resources, such as ProQuest’s Women’s Wear Daily Archive (CH, Feb’17, 54-2561), this collection will expand offerings greatly. Summing Up: Recommended. Technical program students through professionals/practitioners. —C. Donaldson, North Seattle College

Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey, from the Library of Congress.

[Visited Oct’17] Administered by the National Park Service, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) have collected a comprehensive record of achievements in architecture and engineering, respectively, since 1933 and 1969; in 2000, the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) was added to the project. New documentation is created annually through fieldwork and research. All HABS/HAER/HALS records are accessible in the reading room of the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress, where staff have compiled extensive finding aids and catalogs. The online HABS/HAER/HALS collections were introduced in 1997 to provide digital access to the full range of materials of these surveys, also accessible through the Print and Photographs Online Catalog. Searching can be restricted to HABS/HAER/HALS records or combined with other holdings of the Prints and Photographs Division. Resulting from a cooperative agreement between the National Park Service, the Library of Congress, and the private sector, the records of these multi-format surveys include over a half-million measured drawings, large-format photographs, and written documentation for over 38,000 sites that range in date from the pre-Columbian era to the 20th century. Online records can be searched by name, features, building types, and other terms added after 1999 as part of a systematic review of the collection’s survey records.

This remarkable online collection comes with extensive user support by the Library of Congress. A search returns records that include photographs, drawings, data pages in PDF format, and extensive cataloging records. Digital photographs on the site (although not all are yet digitized) can be downloaded as small or large JPEGs and TIFF files. The website’s design is appealingly sober and functional, the clear focus being on providing efficient access to a complex resource for architecture and engineering students, professionals, and all who are interested in learning about the rich American landscape and built environment. Summing Up: Essential. All libraries. All levels. —M. Nilsen, Indiana University South Bend

Under-told Stories Project, from the University of St. Thomas.

[Visited Oct’17] Seeking out international news is a strategy often suggested to news consumers who are concerned with escaping their so-called filter bubbles, but locating reliable, easily accessible sources can be challenging. Hosted at the Univ. of St. Thomas (Minnesota) and partnering with PBS and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting at, the Under-told Stories Project provides access to high-quality news from around the world, bringing stories of people who are not often represented in the mainstream media to Western eyes. Video content on the site consists largely of PBS NewsHour and PBS Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly videos produced between 1997 and 2017 (usually between five and ten minutes long) and reported by Fred de Sam Lazaro, a well-respected international journalist—a regular PBS correspondent—ans director of the Under-Told Stories Project.

The archive of stories begins in 2008, although the site emphasizes current news coverage. Videos on the site are mostly available through PBS Video, but some can also be found on YouTube or Vimeo platforms. Transcripts are provided for each story, and in the few cases in which videos are no longer available, the transcripts remain. Viewers can easily search the site for content or browse all video content by world regions (Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, India, and the Middle East). Stories from the US are also featured—many of them focus on Minnesota. Users may browse by year, although “date premiered” information is not consistently presented for stories on the site. Because dates add a critically important element of context for news media, this is one aspect of this invaluable project that could be improved. This production of the Univ. of St. Thomas, which promotes a Catholic social, intellectual, and spiritual identity, provides an extremely worthy resource for those seeking to add solid international news coverage to their classrooms or their own daily news diets. Summing Up: Highly recommended. High school through undergraduate students; general readers; professionals/practitioners. —E. A. Nicol, Washington State University