Internet Resources: March 2020 Edition

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

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Checkpoint. Thomson Reuters, 2019. Contact publisher for pricing.

Checkpoint is an accounting and taxation research platform [from] Thomson Reuters,” perhaps the most “widely used by accounting firms, corporations, and law firms,” wrote Sara Hess for ccAdvisor. Accordingly, it would best serve institutions with students looking to enter similar fields. Checkpoint offers users “analysis and editorial materials as well as primary source materials such as federal, state, and local tax codes,” Hess wrote, though available content will vary by package, which adheres to different practice areas. Some examples include the “Core Tax Library,” the “International Tax & Transfer Pricing Library,” and the “Estate Planning Library.” With a wide range of material, Checkpoint is dense but relatively navigable once users peruse the virtual training resources, including webinars, a quick reference card, and a training website. Even so, it may take some time for student users to become adequately acquainted with the site, making it best suited for upper-level students and faculty. “Different default home page views are available for each practice area,” depending on an institution’s subscription, though each will host “links to publications and features organized by type and topic.”

To search, users can filter by keyword with options for “Intuitive Search” and “Terms & Connectors.” Alternative search functions are also available (differing by practice area), including “Find by Citation,” “Legislation Search,” and “WG&L Tax Dictionary.” Overall, Checkpoint provides high-quality tax and accounting content, which is updated continuously, integrating primary source materials and analysis thoroughly so that users can easily cross-check relevant sections of federal, state, and local tax codes while reading a given document. Similar products include, BNA Tax & Accounting Center from Bloomberg, CCH IntelliConnect from Wolters Kluwer, and Accounting, Tax & Banking Collection from ProQuest. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Sara F. Hess, University of Virginia, Darden School of Business, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant. Virginia Contact publisher for pricing.

The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, a core collection of “documents by or concerning Grant dating between 1837 and 1885,” will be “useful to those whose research interests include the Antebellum South, the Civil War, Reconstruction, or his presidency,” wrote Lisa Miller for ccAdvisor. Created by the Ulysses S. Grant Association “to commemorate the Union Army commander and U.S. president,” the digital collection was first published by Southern Illinois University Press before being acquired by the University of Virginia Press, where it joined the Founding Era Collection. It compiles Grant’s “letters, photographs, endorsements, several accomplished drawings done as a cadet at West Point, military strategy diagrams, memos, field orders, receipts, bills of lading, his marriage license, oaths of office, and telegrams,” in 32 volumes, Miller added. However, although the archive documents are unquestionably of high quality, searching through them is cumbersome. For instance, to browse for a document with an unknown date, or to perform a comprehensive search, one must explore 32 indexes (one for each volume), whereas one integrated index would have made this process much simpler. Additionally, users cannot search according to specific fields (i.e., subject, title, etc.).

Given the existence of alternative, free sources this database may not be a frugal choice for academic libraries with limited budgets. Most notably, the Mississippi State University Libraries currently house 31 volumes of The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, the same content that was first published by Southern Illinois University Press, with the exception of the last volume, which has yet to be added. Access is completely free and the “search options are generous,” Miller wrote. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Lisa Karen Miller, a retired academic reference librarian, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

Routledge Historical Resources: History of Economic Thought. Routledge, 2019. Contact publisher for pricing.

Routledge Historical Resources: History of Economic Thought (HET) is an online platform” containing “journal articles, thematic essays, and primary and secondary source documents” covering economic thought from 1700 to 1914, wrote Sara Hess for ccAdvisor. Documents are organized according to eight “currents of thought,” including socialism, classical political economy, and the Enlightenment, as well as 12 top-level subjects, such as money and banking, poverty, and economic crises, with an introduction and suggested readings available for each thought current and subject. “Documents are also associated with notable figures,” like “Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill,” Hess wrote. According to the site there are more than 7,000 primary source documents and more than 2,000 secondary source chapters available, all Taylor & Francis–owned content, much of it accessible online for the first time.

To search content, HET offers user-friendly browsing that employs faceted searching by content type, subject, current of thought, country, period, contributor, and notable figure, with additional suboptions available for subjects and currents of thought. A VPAT assessment on the site also indicates that HET supports all relevant accessibility criteria, meaning those using assistive technology can easily access the material. One hindrance to usability, however, is the database’s lack of a “machine-readable text alternative for some primary source documents,” which are instead “rendered as PDF facsimiles of the original[s],” impeding “researchers using assistive technology [and] users attempting to search the full text of those documents,” Hess noted. Aside from this, though, the versatility of HET’s browse and search functions, combined with the introductory information provided for different subjects, makes this a useful resource, particularly for undergraduates. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Sara F. Hess, the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

TRAC. Beacham Publishing, 2019. Contact publisher for pricing.

The Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC) is a subscription-based, open source intelligence (OSINT) repository offering academic and news coverage of topics related to international and domestic terrorism,” wrote Amanda Kraft for ccAdvisor. Appealing to a wide audience, TRAC can be used for both professional and academic purposes. As Kraft elaborated, it houses expert analysis “of politically violent groups and individuals from over 2,800 consortium members,” as well as “profiles of geographic [areas] vulnerable to terrorist activity” and “images, videos, and links to outside resources” on the study of terrorism. Altogether, users have access to “tens of thousands of web pages of information, including over 4,500 group profiles,” and the content is well organized, Kraft added.

TRAC is also relatively easy to navigate. Users can sort search results by relevance, title, type, author, and date, and a “How to Use” guide is available for those seeking additional guidance. Though TRAC has received much praise for its accessibility since first launching in 2012, it is important for potential subscribers to consider that the system does not maintain “a transparent system for fact-checking,” nor a peer-review process, meaning the content “will be suspect,” Kraft noted. Further, with a plethora of embedded media users may frequently come across broken links, which can affect usability. Although few products offer content equal to the interdisciplinary, expert analysis offered by TRAC, the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), from the University of Maryland, and the RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents stand out as freely accessible alternatives. Potential users may also be interested in the fee-based International Terrorism Attributes of Terrorist Events (ITERATE) and Data on Terrorist Suspects (DOTS), which provide downloadable datasets, something TRAC does not offer. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Amanda Kraft, College of Charleston (CofC) Libraries, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

U.S. History in Context and World History in Context. Gale, part of Cengage Learning Contact publisher for pricing.

World History in Context (WHC) and U.S. History in Context (USHC) are parallel databases “developed to support student research and writing in history and related disciplines,” particularly at the secondary-school level, wrote Dr. Richard Saunders for ccAdvisor. Both offer “searchable pools of primary, secondary, and encyclopedic” sources, “with news, radio, and popular-press content” about relevant figures and events, in line with the Gale In Context suite of products, to which these two belong. In both databases, users can browse material by standard keyword search or by clicking through several broad topics (12 for USCH and 7 for WHC) listed beneath the search bar. At institutions that have subscribed to both sites, users may even search across databases simultaneously.

In terms of accessibility, both USHC and WHC provide full transcripts for audio and video resources, in addition to “an automated digital audio reader … which provides a slightly stilted but understandable rendition of [any] textual work,” Saunders noted. As Saunders also pointed out, however, the curated content available in both WHC and USHC generally covers topics “on which there has already been much popular comment.” This focus entails very minimal attention to “topics related to minority and marginalized populations,” as well as little consideration for more nuanced issues, such as “systemic judicial bias [or] economic conflict or repression.” Although these subjects may be addressed in Gale’s other products, including Opposing Viewpoints in Context, the onus would be on the user to search across multiple resources to find out. Users might also consider the History Reference Center from Altamira Press, which is less visually appealing than USHC and WHC, but maintains a broader pool of sources. Summing Up: Recommended: Two-year program students and general readers through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Dr. Richard L. Saunders, Southern Utah University, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.