Internet Resources: May 2020 Edition

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

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Cold War Eastern Europe. Taylor & Francis Group. Contact publisher for pricing.

Cold War Eastern Europe (CWEE) provides access to files from the political departments of the UK Foreign Office, including embassies and consulates, located within countries of the former Soviet Union,” wrote Susan Maret for ccAdvisorCWEE is published in three chronological modules covering the years 1953–75 (Module I spans 1953–1960, Module II spans 1961–1966, and Module III spans 1967–75) and compiling approximately 13,700 source files, such as administrative records, legal and treaty documents, parliamentary and official government material, and press and media documents, Maret elaborated. Offering a “uniquely comprehensive, English-language history of post-Stalinist Eastern Europe,” CWEE covers a wide range of topics, including Stalin’s death, the Warsaw Pact, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the invasion of the former Czechoslovakia, and social change in Eastern Bloc countries. There are multiple options for sorting through this content, with tabs for “Quick Search,” “Explore Content by Theme,” and “What People Are Searching For” available on the landing page. As Maret detailed, “the Explore Content tab filters and refines searches by document type, date, module, country, theme, and language,” and advanced search offers additional tools to limit and filter results. Further, each file is accompanied by a document description and copious keywords to provide users with substantial context. Users familiar with other Taylor & Francis products will find this platform intuitive to navigate, though newer users may need some help to adjust to its functionality.

Some content available in CWEE might overlap with “existing collections, such as Taylor & Francis’s Secret Files: From World Wars to Cold War” and “Brill’s Cold War Intelligence.” However, as Maret concluded, CWEE is a unique database with no obvious competitors. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Susan Maret, School of Information, San Jose State University, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

Disability in the Modern World: History of a Social Movement. Alexander Street. Contact publisher for pricing.

Disability in the Modern World is a database of archival and secondary materials for researching the international history of disability,” wrote Malia Wiley for ccAdvisor. Content is still being added to the platform; however, there are currently over 62,000 pages of material, including over 2,250 books and documents and nearly 240 videos. In total, 150,000 pages are expected to be available on completion of the database at the end of 2020. “Texts range from historical periodicals, books, brochures, advertisements, government documents, memoirs, patents, and press releases to poetry,” dating from the 20th century to the present. Among them are seminal texts from the field of disability studies, such as The Disability Studies Reader, and periodicals that have been highly influential to the disability rights movement, such as The Disability Rag. Users can search through these sources using basic search (with very limited Boolean search capabilities) or advanced search, through which users can select author/creator, topic/theme, person discussed, historical era, place discussed, organization discussed, and publisher, from an index of terms. Results can then be filtered by different disability studies topics, among many other limiters, and “each result is accompanied by … basic bibliographic information, and a brief summary of the content,” according to Wiley.

No other products directly compete with Disability in the Modern World, given its special focus on disability studies, though resources like Academic Search Complete and Sociological Abstracts can be used to find scholarly articles within the discipline. Supporting diverse scholarship, Disability in the Modern World helps address a pressing need to further examine the history of disability through “a thoughtfully curated mix of primary and secondary sources from the field,” Wiley concluded. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Malia Willey, James Madison University, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

Shakespeare’s Globe Archive: Theatres, Players & Performance. Adam Matthew. Contact publisher for pricing.

Shakespeare’s Globe Archive (SGA) is a digital database preserving the history of the Globe Theatre during the period when it was designed and rebuilt (1970–1997) and covering the first 20 years of productions (1997–2016), as Joe Badics wrote for ccAdvisor. This educational resource contains 14 areas of digitally curated archival resources, including prompt books, wardrobe notes, show reports, performance photographs, programs, and oral histories, among others. To search through these items, users may take advantage of either basic or advanced search options, which permit visitors to specify certain criteria, such as play, author, cast, director, or production. Some search capabilities are also offered under the “Documents” heading on the landing page, through which users can filter all available documents in SGA by date range, document type, season, theater, author, or director. Additionally, the “Image Gallery” heading provides “hundreds of photographs of the construction of the new Globe Theatre,” while under the “Explore” heading, the “Essays & Interviews” section offers important historical background on the theater, which Badics proclaimed should not be skipped. To facilitate user experience, patrons can locate guides under “Teaching” (found under “Help”), with helpful instruction on how best to use the archive and correctly cite its contents.

Though SGA “will certainly appeal to any Shakespeare connoisseur,” its niche focus and high price tag may preclude libraries with limited budgets from purchasing it. Alternative databases include Shakespeare in Performance (also hosted by Adam Matthew), which highlights various interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays over time; the Folger Shakespeare Library’s website, which provides access to a wealth of information, including a digital image collection; and, which provides free access to Shakespeare’s texts. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Joe Badics, Eastern Michigan University, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

VoxGov. VoxGov Inc. Contact publisher for pricing.

VoxGov is a cutting-edge discovery platform for finding and analyzing government information, encompassing a vast collection of official documents, legislative information, and social media content all in one place,” wrote Megan Graewingholt for ccAdvisor. Considering the volatility and plethora of government web presences, she added that “VoxGov is [a] well-timed aggregator of ephemeral online content.” Indexing content from over 8,300 sources, the database altogether compiles “over 41 million federal government documents, communications, and other official materials.” Additionally, new content is constantly added, and navigating the platform is fairly simple. With an “engaging, modern, and innovative user interface” that “integrates data tagging, keyword analytics, and filtering technologies,” VoxGov incorporates numerous advanced search options, allowing users “the flexibility to stipulate … specific documents, sources, and demographics,” Graewingholt elaborated. The My VoxGov feature also allows subscribers to create customized reports on any number of topics, a particularly useful feature for academic research. Although “much of the information collected … is freely available in the public domain,” Graewingholt noted that the database’s value stems from its “ability to archive, organize, and curate data [easily] and quickly across content sources and platforms,” providing a single access point for otherwise widely dispersed materials.

One potential competitor is ProQuest Congressional, although it compiles “newly digitized historical documents,” whereas VoxGov maintains more contemporary content. Libraries must consider their patrons’ needs in considering which might be a more useful tool. Ultimately, however, Graewingholt concluded that, with superior analytical features, VoxGov surpasses comparable products in the value and diversity of its content, making it ideal “for academic libraries and research universities, especially those with programs in political science, history, journalism or communications.” Summing Up: Essential. 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.