Internet Resources: November 2022 Edition

Selected reviews of digital reference resources from Choice.

Declassified Documents Online: Twentieth-Century British Intelligence: An Intelligence Empire. Gale, part of Cengage Learning, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

Declassified Documents Online: Twentieth-Century British Intelligence: An Intelligence Empire “provides over 500,000 pages of declassified UK government documents on activities pertinent to British intelligence, decolonization, and security policies from 1905 to 2002,” wrote Donna B. Smith for ccAdvisor. “Sourced from five government departments,” including the UK Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office, the Colonial Office, MI5 (the Security Service), and the Special Operations Executive, “these unique primary source materials support research in 20th-century history, politics, and international relations by highlighting British operations in a time of global conflicts and shifting alliances,” Smith added. Focusing mainly on the period from WW II to the late 1980s, “[t]opics range from specific events, such as the SOE Operation ‘Jedburgh’ in Europe, to policy issues during the Cold War … with considerable emphasis on activities in Europe, India, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.”

“The various department collections are well organized and diligently indexed,” with “a variety of means by which to explore the documents,” Smith contended. These include the “single search box prominently located on the top portion of the page,” browsing via the five UK departments, or advanced searching by title, subject, or document number. “Results can [then] be analyzed using Topic Finder and Term Frequency tools,” Smith noted. 

Ultimately, Declassified Documents Online is “an easily navigable, highly selective, unique collection of digital documents,” which will enable “[n]ovice researchers [to] effortlessly access the collections by browsing or using simple keyword searches.” As Smith concluded, its “wealth of information … makes it a valuable addition to any academic library.” As a fairly large and unique collection, the database can be difficult to compare to others, though the UK National Archive’s own website and Taylor & Francis’s Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War are possible alternatives. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers through faculty.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Donna B. Smith, Northern Kentucky University, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.—Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

Google Books Ngram Viewer. Google, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

“The Google Books Ngram Viewer is a [freely available] data mining tool that searches datasets derived from Google Books to generate frequency charts of language usage from the dawn of print until the present time,” wrote Anna L. Shparberg for ccAdvisor. “With a database of more than 2 trillion words,” Shparberg added, “it is the largest corpus of linguistics information in existence” and will be “a valuable resource for researching long-term cultural trends,” particularly in computational linguistics, as well as for research in fields such as literature, medicine and public health, economics, history, and political science.

Ngram Viewer has a simple, intuitive user interface” with a search box at the top of the page, into which “users input comma-separated n-grams,” or contiguous sequences of ‘n’ words, “and select the necessary [language] corpus.” Available languages include English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian. Notable advanced search options include inflection search, which “includes grammatical variations of a word by adding _INF to an n-gram,” and part-of-speech tags, which “[allow] users to separate the occurrence of identical lexemes with different syntactic functions, such as gauge (noun) and gauge (verb).” As Shparberg elaborated further, “users can [also] download … datasets for more in-depth analysis.”

The sheer amount of data and the easy-to-use interface are undeniable strengths. However, one major criticism of Ngram Viewer is “its potential to produce skewed results by relying on inaccurate metadata and overemphasizing certain genres, such as scientific literature,” as Shparberg pointed out. Some “smaller but better balanced and curated datasets” include the English Corpora website (, COHA (Corpus of Historical American English), and the open source version of Early English Books Online (EEBO). Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Anna L. Shparberg, Fondren Library, Rice University, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.—Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

SAGE Campus. SAGE Publishing, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

SAGE Campus provides 18 courses that students, staff, and faculty can take to learn more about topics such as critical thinking, research skills, programming in R and Python, data science, how to present your research, and how to get published,” as Joseph R. Kraus wrote for ccAdvisor. It is best suited for graduate students in the social sciences, though “undergraduate and graduate students of all disciplines may find courses that are worthwhile to investigate,” and in fact “many librarians and teaching faculty may recommend that students take these courses to supplement their education,” Kraus added.

“Self-paced and led by experts and authors in their fields,” the courses “contain a mix of video presentations, textual explanations, interactive elements, and short quizzes for learners to check their understanding of the content.” It can be difficult to tell when a module is completed, but otherwise the interface is relatively clean and easy to use, and the vast majority of the videos are high quality and have closed captions. As Kraus maintained, “teaching faculty may [wish to] assign these courses [to] students who need remediation, or [to] students who wish to supplement their education,” and they “can keep track of student progress on the faculty portal.”

“There are many other places where people can take online courses in some or all of these topics,” including “LinkedIn Learning (formerly, Learn without LimitsedXKhan Academy, and Codecademy,” as Kraus noted. “However, the courses on these other platforms may not have the same focus on academic research in the social sciences, and they will not have the instructors and authors found in SAGE,” Kraus concluded. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Joseph R. Kraus, Colorado School of Mines, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.—Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

Sex and Sexuality Module II: Self-expression, Community, and Identity. Adam Matthew, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

Sex & Sexuality, Module IISelf-Expression, Community, and Identity “is a collection of digitized primary sources from US, UK, and Australian archives” with “content from the 19th to [the] 21st centuries,” wrote Dawn Behrend for ccAdvisor. The module “focuses on the LGBTQ+ experience,” and “utilizes personal records, such as diaries and correspondence, and various organizational documents to delve into … lived experiences” Content is divided into 10 topics (e.g., “Organizations, Societies, and Advocacy Groups”; “Sexual Behaviors”; “Health”), with “[n]otable elements includ[ing] the National Lesbian and Gay Survey, capturing the experiences of gay people in late-20th- and early-21st-century Britain” and “[a]rchival content cover[ing] … the Stonewall Riots and HIV/AIDS crisis,” Behrend added.

Content can be sorted by choosing “View All Documents,” which allows “users [to] browse by collection or topic,” or by using Advanced Search, which enables searching by keyword, title, people, or place using Boolean operators, word stemming, or proximity. Results can then be filtered “by date, collection, topic, and document type or limit[ed] to secondary resources,” Behrend noted. 

As Behrend concluded, Sex & Sexuality Module II expands on Module I with its unique focus “on the personal experiences, activism, and touchstone historical events of the LGBTQ+ community … from the 1800s to the current day,” making it “a beneficial resource [for] those studying gender and human sexuality at the undergraduate and graduate levels.” However, by pulling content only from US, UK, and Australian archives, “the product cannot provide a truly global perspective on human sexuality,” and because of its “archival … nature, it does not provide access to emerging scholarship.” Therefore, “[u]sers seeking more current, global primary and secondary resources on gender, women’s, and LBGTQ+ topics may find ProQuest’s GenderWatch more suitable.” Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Dawn Behrend, Lenoir-Rhyne University, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.—Abstracted from, ccAdvisor