Internet Resources: November 2021 Edition

Selected reviews of digital reference resources from the November 2021 issue of Choice.

Screenshot of COVID-19 (coronavirus): ADB Information Centre

COVID-19 (coronavirus): ADB Information Centre. BMJ Publishing Group, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus): ADB Information Centre “provides open access to evidence-based clinical decision supports, online courses, patient information, pamphlets, and procedural videos on coronavirus disease (COVID-19),” intended “for frontline health care workers in Asian Development Bank (ADB) regional member countries,” wrote Marcia Salmon for ccAdvisor. “It is a creditable, authoritative source of evidence-based COVID-19 medical information,” she added. “Content is primarily [drawn] from BMJ Best Practice, an authoritative source of clinical health decision support with a rigorous knowledge synthesis and peer review process to provide the most current clinical, evidence-based practice material for clinical decision support, patient information, and procedural videos,” Salmon noted. Meanwhile, BMJ Learning provides high-quality, evidence-based continuing education courses for doctors and other health care professionals. Together, the information from BMJ Best Practice and BMJ Learning offers the latest guidance on diagnosis and treatment, essential skills on caring for patients, and other pertinent information. As Salmon further elaborated, “the evidence-based content is continuously updated.”

“Content includes decision supports, online courses, patient leaflets, videos, news, and webinars,” and is available in English, Russian, and Mandarin. The site offers a clean, user-friendly interface, so that even inexperienced users can easily navigate the content. Although search functions are not available, users may browse content with the navigation bars at the top of the home page, which “also includes a brief description of the content with links to those sections.”

“Although Best Practice is an authoritative source of evidence-based practice documents on COVID-19, the comprehensiveness of the Centre site would be greater if clinical health decision supports had sources other than Best Practice,” Salmon concluded. There are “not many evidence-based, clinical decision support websites [that] directly compete with COVID-19 (Coronavirus): ADB Information Centre,” though EBSCO’s DynaMed: COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) is a possible competitor.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and faculty.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Marcia Salmon, York University, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.–Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

Issues & Controversies in History. Infobase, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

Screenshot of Issues & Controversies in History homepage

Issues & Controversies in History “offers viewpoints on contentious topics ranging from antiquity to the present,” intended primarily for students in grades 8–12, though university students will also find it useful, as Thomas J. Beck wrote for ccAdvisor. Content consists of “more than 8,250 articles, 5,300 encyclopedia entries, 2,040 primary sources, and hundreds of journal articles and teacher resources,” divided into four broad categories: American History Eras, World History Eras, History Regions, History Subjects, and Featured Resources, which can be navigated from the home page. Examples of topics covered include civil rights, colonialism, the environment, revolution, and war, among others. Though all subjects relate to international history, “they best serve an American or Western audience,” Beck added.

A single search bar at the top of the landing page allows users to sort through content, aided by an Advanced Search option. Designed to meet teachers’ needs, the database’s “Browse Standards function offers … access to [browse] professional standards, such as Common Core State Standards [and] International Baccalaureate Organization Standards,” by Geography, Subject, and/or School grade. After performing a search, the “results page is broken into three sections: Articles, Primary Sources, and Images,” which “can be further sorted into Book Chapters, Encyclopedia Entries, Pro/Con Articles, Spotlight Articles, Chronologies, Maps, and/or Photographs.” Both “the Search and Browse functions are usable and understandable, but Search can produce mixed results,” Beck continued.

Other databases that deal with controversial issues include EBSCO’s Points of View Reference Center, Congressional Quarterly Press’s CQ Researcher Online, and Gale’s Opposing Viewpoints. However, while those alternatives generally address topical controversies, Issues & Controversies in History addresses those disputes through a historical lens. Overall, this will be a useful resource for those researching controversies in history, or history in general.

Summing Up: Recommended. General readers, undergraduates, and two-year program students.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Thomas J. Beck, University of Colorado, Denver, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.–Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

Peterson’s Test and Career Prep. Gale, part of Cengage Learning, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

Screenshot of Peterson's Test and Career Prep homepage

Peterson’s Test and Career Prep is a comprehensive resource suitable for high school users, undergraduates (including community college), graduate students, or general users,” wrote Tracy A. Salvage for ccAdvisor. It “is a flexible, all-encompassing college and career development tool containing a wide array of information to help users make appropriate college, career, and job choices,” she added. “The Test Prep [portion] supports many of the tests required or encouraged for entry to higher education in the US, including the ACT, SAT, PSAT, GRE, MCAT, and LSAT.” From the career angle, “interest assessments help students select colleges, careers, and jobs that align with their interests and strengths,” and are also “linked within the product to align with current job postings—a real help in locating and applying to pertinent employment opportunities,” as Salvage elaborated.

The database is “well-organized and accessible to users at various levels,” offering “a user-friendly design with streamlined text and graphics.” Beneath a search bar on the home page, four primary sections help users navigate the site more specifically. These include Improve Your Score, Find a School, Explore Careers, and Vocational Test Prep. “Gale frequently updates the college and career information in the database,” Salvage noted, which offers great “savings in time and money” for libraries that no longer need to “purchase revised print editions of college and career guides to update a collection.”

“Although this online resource provides much that is important for career development, understanding a library’s career resource needs is important in deciding what iteration of this resource to purchase: the combined Test and Career Prep or either Test Prep or Career Prep,” Salvage concluded. Possible alternatives are EBSCO’s PrepSTEP and Learning Express Library.

Summing Up: Recommended. General readers, undergraduates, and two-year program students.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Tracy A. Salvage, Schenectady County Community College, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.–Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

Policy Commons. Coherent Digital, LLC, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

Screenshot of Policy Commons

Policy Commons is a new and growing web-based resource” that “collects and archives policy documents from current and inactive think tanks, nongovernmental organizations, and institutions,” wrote Jennifer S. Beach for ccAdvisor. The database includes both freely accessible content, such as publications from the WHO, and “premium content licensed from select presses, such as the Environmental Law Institute.” As Beach pointed out, it also contains “publications from inactive and discontinued nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), allowing researchers access to information that might have been lost.” Altogether Policy Commons has an impressive holding of “more than 24 million digital pages of material[,] includ[ing] books, case studies, working papers, and statistical publications from more than 16,000 organizations.” Much of the content is already freely available online, though “difficult or impossible to find on the open internet,” making Policy Commons noteworthy for bringing disparate publications together in an easily searchable repository. Free accounts are available for individual researchers, though some content is only available to paying subscribers.

“All collected content is discoverable through a comprehensive, user-friendly search platform,” which users can navigate using the basic search function on the homepage and at the top of the site, or by browsing through the Organizations, Publications, or Topics tabs at the top. Notably, “though most content is supplied through contracts with organizations,” any user can upload content independently using the Upload button in the top navigation bar, though this could lead to copyright disputes down the line.

Though easy to use, the database’s content is complex and varied, making Policy Commons most suitable for experienced users. Very few existing resources are comparable to Policy Commons in scope or depth. ProQuest’s Policy File Index may have some crossover, though it doesn’t maintain “the community tools or backfill of extinct NGOs” that Policy Commons offers.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Jennifer S. Beach, Longwood University, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.–Abstracted from, ccAdvisor