Internet Resources: June 2021 Edition

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

Bloomsbury Architecture Library website image

Bloomsbury Architecture Library. Bloomsbury, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

Bloomsbury Architecture Library provides a comprehensive examination of architectural history divided by place, period, style, material, and architect,” ranging “from before 3000 BCE to 2019 (at the time of this review),” wrote Cason Snow for ccAdvisor. A majority of the collection comes from Sir Banister Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture, supplemented with additional ebooks and an image collection. All of this content is primarily accessible through the Explore tab, the keyword search bar, or the browse by content type function, which enables users to peruse ebooks, key buildings, timelines, maps, images, and glossaries. 

Overall, the platform does a good job of presenting a comprehensive overview of architecture with fairly representative coverage from around the world and high quality, current materials introducing various aspects of architecture and design. Regular updates should also expand the scope of this tightly focused resource, which is “authoritatively researched and presented, providing quality information that can be buried in other more generalized art and architecture resources,” Snow elaborated, making it ideal for undergraduates and secondary-school students in particular. Additional advantages that Snow pinpointed include Bloomsbury‘s use of a controlled vocabulary and short description for search results, as well as the regional and chronological presentation of information, which can be useful in other disciplines. Helpfully, multiresource navigation is also fairly seamless if working across Bloomsbury products.

Three other products that are prominent in the academic field that also cover architecture include Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals and Art, Design & Architecture Collection from ProQuest, and Art & Architecture Source from EBSCO. However, “none of the competing resources have the specific focus of Bloomsbury Architecture Library and can lead to a high signal-to-noise ratio in search results,” Snow concluded. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through two-year program students.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Cason Snow, University of Maine, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.—Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

Public Health. Readex, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

Public Health is a subcollection of Readex’s Joint Publication Research Services (JPRS) Reports 1957–1995, which created reports for the US government from translations of unclassified news, radio bulletins, journals, and reports from foreign countries and international agencies,” wrote Elisabeth Leekley for ccAdvisor. Reflecting shifting national interests over time, the material ranges in focus “from Cold War interests to a more comprehensive global overview.” Users can navigate the content using the Advanced Search function, which includes options to sort by “All Text, Full Text, Article Title, Article Date, Language, Source, Citation Text, and Author,” or by perusing the Suggested Searches chart on the homepage, “which [displays] broader topic terms linked to coded Boolean searches”; for example, “Social Aspects includes a list of subtopics that include Health Education.”

The database is not necessarily easy to navigate, making it best suited for “advanced, graduate-level researchers with a specific need for geo-political historical material.” As Leekley detailed, “the original JPRS reports are found only in [print or] microform” and “thus most likely lacked in-depth indexing.” Because of this, “the viewing and navigation options are similar to a microfilm machine experience,” though perhaps inadvertently, as users are only able to navigate documents by paging through them. The translated content available through this resource is a possible advantage, though the “limited indexing and sorting features possibly obscure” the usefulness of “what might be rare translations from the Cold War era,” Leekley added. She also pinpointed the inability “to filter or sort by nation, region, city, gender, or age group” as a prominent hindrance given the emphasis on global perspectives on public health.

Possible alternatives include Global Health Archive and Global Health from EBSCO, as well as EMBASE from Elsevier. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and faculty.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Elisabeth Leekley, Information Management Consultant for FAO, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.—Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

Retronews. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

“Launched in 2016, RetroNews is a dynamic [and] growing collection of historical French newspapers, magazines, and journals digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) and affiliated partners,” wrote Jennifer Dekker for ccAdvisor. The database contains “media sources [relating to] French and European history, politics, and culture,” and “currently offers access to 700-plus titles published between 1631 and 1950,” including their original accompanying images, Dekker added. Given the time span covered, users can track policy and legislative changes as they unfold through the documents, making this “a rich source of content about France and Europe from the 17th century to the 20th.” This is complemented by the fact that “the editors have worked to make historical content accessible to nonspecialists, pairing historical sources with contemporary content such as videos and podcasts that help explain or decode the primary source materials,” Dekker noted. However, given that content is only available in French, without translation, this resource may be less accessible to students at North American institutions (this may be less of a concern to Canadian institutions). Still, RetroNews is an incredibly useful tool for anyone seeking French sources for research on French history, European history, the evolution of mass media, publishing, philosophy, political science, and related fields. Users can browse this content by “time period (1631–1950), title or location of publication, type of publication, and theme,” and they can even conduct term frequency searches or download text files in bulk for personalized analyses.

RetroNews offers unparalleled, visually appealing access to digitized, historical newspapers, even including newspapers from former French colonies, and can work in tandem with the existing free content available through Gallica, the flagship digital library of the BnF. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Jennifer Dekker, University of Ottawa, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.—Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

Unsub. Our Research, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

Unsub is a browser-based decision-making tool made for an academic library’s journal collection management team,” wrote Grant Hardaway for ccAdvisor, adding that the goal is “to simplify the difficult process of evaluating the losses and savings of unsubscribing from a journal.” Although the site is not comprehensive in its publisher coverage—Hardaway noted that only journals published by Wiley, Elsevier, and Springer Nature were covered at the time of his review—the site plans on adding more publishers in the future. As Hardaway elaborated, Unsub “allows users to forecast potential journal cancellation and subscription decisions” through a data dashboard, which is personalized using an institution’s COUNTER data. For institutions within a consortium, Unsub “provides a free consortium dashboard that compiles the data from all participating institutions.” 

The dashboard displays a list of journals, organized by a calculated cost per use (CPU) based on the institution’s COUNTER data, subscription history, and price lists, though these data parameters can be customized via the Parameters tab. For instance, users can customize ILL cost or the percentage of yearly subscription cost growth, among other factors such as “the weight of an institution’s citations and authorship for a journal.” 

“Clicking on an individual journal data entry enables the user to view a breakdown of annual usage and cost,” while a stacked bar chart on the dashboard offers an overall forecast of “the annual cost of the subscriptions and the percentage of articles that can be instantly accessed.” This easily readable and customizable forecast enables librarians to make well-informed decisions and clearly report to administrators, faculty, and colleagues the cost savings of journal cancellations. Overall, Unsub is an effective and affordable tool to help libraries make difficult budget decisions, especially considering the lack of comparable products. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and faculty.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Grant Hardaway, Trinity University, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.—Abstracted from, ccAdvisor