Internet Resources: June 2020 Edition

Selected reviews of digital reference resources from the June issue of Choice.

American Underworld: The Flash Press. Readex, 2020. Contact publisher for pricing.

American Underworld: The Flash Press compiles 60 “rare, short-lived newspaper publications from the 19th-century US,” akin to today’s tabloids, “that exposed socially taboo and concealed aspects of urban life, including scandals, brothels, blackmail, gambling, and more,” wrote Megan Graewingholt for ccAdvisor. Published by Readex, a treasure trove of early American metropolitan journalism, “this collection fills gaps in content coverage by providing an earlier historical glimpse into” gender and queer issues, as well as “unique insights into urban life, criminal activity, dissidents, moralization, and the underground economy in the US,” Graewingholt added. As she also noted, this useful repository will be of great interest to “those working in urban studies, women’s studies, criminal justice, Victorian society, and 19th-century literature.”

Users can sort through these publications on the Readex platform using Basic Search, Advanced Search, or the “Browse by Publication” function, with the added ability to search within publications by key words. “Easy-to-use navigational tools enable optical zooming, downloading or saving to Google Drive, printing, emailing, and organizing material to folders,” Graewingholt mentioned. These tools are supplemented by an especially valuable feature: the ability to generate citations in MLA, APA, or Chicago style formats, among others. Also of note is the capacity for cross-searching across Readex collections.

American Underworld’s unique content makes it difficult to compare to other digital resources. Though ProQuest’s numerous historical databases may seem comparable, their focus on more mainstream and established titles indicates little overlap with American Underworld’s content. Ultimately, as Graewingholt concluded, “the value of this rare, unique primary source content cannot be overstated.” Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Megan D. Graewingholt (formerly Wagner), Pollak Library, California State University, Fullerton, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings. Adam Matthew, 2020. Contact publisher for pricing.

Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings draws from more than 60 ethnomusicologist field collections to provide users with primary source materials, including “audio field recordings, field notebooks, film footage, correspondence, educational recordings, and [other] ephemera,” as Sarah Holmes wrote for ccAdvisor. The content included offers a broad purview of indigenous music from around the world, spanning all continents. Users can peruse musical recordings and research ranging from Native American powwows, Assyrian songs, gamelan music from Indonesia, African American music, and Buddhist chants, among many other genres and locations. As Holmes astutely points out, “copyright is a delicate topic when dealing with indigenous communities, and the editors do a fine job of highlighting their commitment to repatriating materials to Native communities.”

Interacting with the interface is relatively straightforward. From the home page users may search content by “People,” “Field of Study,” and “Keywords,” with the option to “Browse by Region,” “Browse by Collection,” or “Browse by Media Type” available under the Content tab. The “Musical Instruments” section, which “furnishes a curated selection of instruments from 10 areas shown on a map,” and the “Image Gallery,” containing “a portfolio of fully searchable graphic images” are other notable channels for interacting with the database. Importantly, “the sound quality of the recordings is uniformly excellent,” and navigating through the tracks to create clips, which can be saved to “My Archive” is easy. In fact, Ethnomusicology is currently unmatched by other databases or digital products for what it offers. As Holmes asserted, it is “a rich, rewarding, expansive database,” which will be of use to students and scholars in education, art, anthropology, dance, religion, ritual, history, and gender studies. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Sarah Holmes, Northern Illinois University, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

OASIS – Openly Available Sources Integrated Search. Milne Library, SUNY Geneseo, 2020. Contact publisher for pricing.

OASIS “is a freely available web-based OER [Open Educational Resource] search tool that seeks to enable the discovery of open content,” wrote Robert Flatley and Daniel Stafford for ccAdvisor. It is currently set up to search almost 100 reputable sources of open content, including Cornell Open, OpenStax, and MIT Open Courseware, with new content added regularly. Users even have the option to submit additional potential sources using the Suggest a Source function and can “search for and find open textbooks, courses, course materials, simulations, books, audiobooks, modules, videos, podcasts, learning objects, and primary sources,” Flatley and Stafford added, noting that “librarians, other faculty, and independent learners seeking to identify open educational resources will find the site to be a powerful and user-friendly search tool.”

The main page features a one-search box, which serves as the primary gateway for accessing content, though Advanced Search is also available, with “dropdown menus for picking a Subject and Source,” and a Link search available as well, wrote Flatley and Stafford. Search functionality works well overall, though as the reviewers noted, “searching for and finding open educational resources can prove to be challenging” as “resources are scattered across many types of repositories and referatories.” Many other OER discovery sites are available as possible alternatives, including the Open Textbook Library, OER Commons, MERLOT, and OpenStax, but perhaps the most comparable general OER search tool is the Mason OER Metafinder, or MOM, from George Mason University, though it currently only searches 21 OER sources. Nevertheless, OASIS is an excellent resource to use when beginning a search, and is an overall “good search tool for finding quality OER materials,” concluded Flatley and Stafford. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Robert Flatley, Kutztown University, and Daniel Stafford, Kutztown University, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

PropertyShark. Property Shark.

ProperyShark is an online database of reports on residential and commercial properties for over 600 counties in nearly all 50 US states,” wrote Harold Gee for ccAdvisor. Each property report contains “building characteristics, title, sales history, estimated property value, liens, mortgage, foreclosure, zoning, [and] building photos,” among other information, Gee added. With property data gathered from public records, and other sources, the database also “provides information on foreclosures, auction results, homes for sale,” spaces for rent or lease, “map-based search tools, appraiser tools,” and much more, with tools available for generating property value estimate reports as well, as Gee detailed. New users may make use of free online tutorials and training webinars to acclimate to these many functions, although the site is very user friendly overall. On the main page users can browse the dashboard menu to search Foreclosures, For Sale/Lease, Comparables, Maps, or Mailing/Data Lists, or to select a state, and then search within major cities or counties for real estate data.

One notable competitor is RealQuest, a database owned by property data analytics company CoreLogic, which similarly provides property reports, property valuations, sales transaction history, and more (with the exception of for-sale listings for home buyers). However, PropertyShark still stands out as a convenient database, one that is widely used by “real estate industry professionals, developers, investors, home buyers, insurance agents, researchers, and college students,” wrote Gee. It is particularly useful for real estate degree programs at universities and colleges, especially for courses or research on “mortgage finance, investment valuation, construction and development, property management, and capital markets,” Gee noted. PropertyShark would also be useful in assisting non-profits and think tanks that conduct research on housing trends. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers through faculty; professionals. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Harold Gee, Baruch College, The City University of New York, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.