Internet Resources: October 2018 Edition

Selected reviews of digital reference resources from the October 2018 issue of Choice.

Arcadian Library Online. Bloomsbury. Contact publisher for pricing.

[Visited July’18] Bloomsbury’s Arcadian Library Online (ALO) is a valuable contribution to studies on the Middle East and on the cultural, scientific, and diplomatic relations between the Islamic and Western worlds,” wrote Michael Rodriguez for ccAdvisor. Slated for expansion, the Arcadian Library Online currently features 200 classic books dating from the 9th through the 20th centuries, chiefly printed books with a handful of manuscripts and incunables (a manuscript printed before 1501), most in Latin or Arabic but many in English, French, or other European languages. The library is located in London, but its precise location is a closely guarded secret, and visits are by invitation only. Its stated mission is to “ensure peaceful dialogue between East and West” by illuminating the intersections of Middle Eastern (primarily Islamic) and Western cultures, sciences, and histories. “These books are made available as high-resolution, beautifully rendered images,” Rodriguez wrote. The platform offers robust searchability and a user-friendly image viewer, alongside a visually appealing interface, intuitive navigation, and mobile responsive site design. The platform enables users to toggle seamlessly between English and Arabic keyboards and site versions without loss of functionality. Prospective customers for the Arcadian Library Online include large or specialized research libraries serving researchers in the history of science and medicine, Middle Eastern or Islamic studies, and related disciplines. In 2018 the ALO won the American Association of Publishers’ R. R. Hawkins Award, the industry’s highest honor. Summing Up: Essential. All readership levels. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

Bloomsbury Cultural History. Bloomsbury. Contact publisher for pricing.

[Visited July’18] “The Bloomsbury Cultural History website provides an overview of cultural history written primarily for secondary and undergraduate students,” Carson Snow wrote for ccAdvisor. Divided by Period, Place, and Topic, the content allows users to explore the site in a guided fashion. Resources consist of a digital version of Bloomsbury’s “Cultural History” series of books, with each covering a topic in cultural history. Additional ebooks provide further depth. A small but growing image collection allows users to see artifacts discussed in textual materials. Hyperlinks are provided. The collections can be accessed through keyword search, advanced search (by date range and type), or by using curated features at the top of the interface. These curated features allow a user to explore by period, place, or topic, or to browse by contents: ebooks, timeline, or image collection. Featured content highlights a specific theme in cultural history and provides links to resources on the website to learn more about the theme. “This website is tightly focused and compact, providing an excellent starting point for users to conduct research about cultural history,” Snow wrote. “The pace of expansion should not overwhelm users and will continue to provide new and updated information, keeping the website relevant for the years to come.” Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through professionals. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

Digital National Security Archive. ProQuest. Contact publisher for pricing.

[Visited July’18] The National Security Archive (NSA) was founded by journalists and historians in 1985 with the mission to enrich research and public debate about national security policy,” wrote Donna B. Smith for ccAdvisor. It is considered to be “one of the largest collections of contemporary declassified national security information outside the US government.” Partnering with ProQuest, the NSA has produced a subscription-based database, the Digital National Security Archive (DNSA). There are currently 50 curated collections containing more than 750,000 pages of declassified documents dating from 1945 to the present. Many were obtained by way of the US Freedom of Information Act. Many are released publicly for the first time. Topics range from specific events (i.e., the Berlin Crisis) to policy issues (i.e., Mexico-United States counternarcotic policy). Some collections are very broad, such as ones that cover Japanese and US diplomatic, security, and economic relations from 1960 to 2000. “Overall the coverage is global, with a considerable emphasis on activities in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and South Africa,” Smith wrote. Compiled by foreign policy experts, each collection features scholarly overview essays, bibliographies, chronologies, and glossaries. Some include photo archives. Smith wrote that collections are well organized and diligently indexed. Researchers have a variety of means by which to explore the documents across several layers simultaneously. A wide range of resources is presented, including presidential directives, memoranda, policy papers, official reports, telegrams, briefing books, and maps. “All of these can be printed, downloaded, saved, or emailed,” Smith wrote. The majority of the documents are dated after 1945, but a few go back to 1942. The latest document date found at the time of this review was 2014. Summing Up: Essential. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

IOPscience. IOP Publishing. Contact publisher for pricing.

[Visited July’18] “Created by IOP Publishing, IOPscience is an online database featuring 78 electronic journals, eBooks, and conference proceedings from the Institute of Physics,” wrote Michelle Ehrenpreis for ccAdvisor. The database was launched in 2010 from the previous Axiom platform. It contains proprietary and open-access content in the disciplines of physics and related sciences. Multiple pricing and packages offer a variety of options as well as IOPscience extra and IOPcorporate as add-ons for additional charges. “IOPscience is a valuable service for institutions in need of access to essential physics and related subject matter research,” Ehrenpreis wrote. IOPscience contains important and unique scholarly content for physics research. The librarians’ page shows subscriptions, free access, “and all the information needed for setup.” Support materials are free to download, and users can request pre-printed copies. The homepage is concise and features multiple search options. The database’s open access and ability to search by filter enables users to drill down for any type of content. “Downloadable spreadsheets of multiple priced packages are helpful for librarians in curating content and sharing it with discipline faculty,” Ehrenpreis wrote. “A section on accessibility outlining current and future steps is timely and encouraging from a specialty vendor.” Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

OpenStax. Rice University. Open access.

“OpenStax is a non-profit organization that produces and distributes openly licensed textbooks,” wrote Robert Flatley and Daniel Stafford for ccAdvisor. The goal of the site is to provide textbooks for introductory college courses. It is based at Rice University, and supported by many large philanthropic foundations. Textbooks are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License, except for the Calculus series, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. As of this review, there are 40 eBooks available. They are arranged in the following subject areas: Math (11), Science (13), Social Sciences (9), Humanities (1), and AP (6). The intended audience is AP high school and undergraduate college students. Ebooks are available in three formats: View Online (html version with added graphics and multimedia); PDF (high and low-resolution options); and Kindle. Users can order print copies from Amazon. Several titles are available on Bookshare, which is an ebook library that allows people with reading barriers to customize their experience. “In the reviewers’ opinion, OpenStax provides good alternatives to traditionally published textbooks for the subject areas it covers,” Flatley and Stafford wrote. “The combination of expert, paid authors and editors, a robust peer-review process, and free or low-cost access options provides a compelling value proposition for instructors and their students.” Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

Periodicals Index Online. ProQuest. Contact publisher for pricing.

[Visited July’18] “Periodicals Index Online prides itself on having deep retrospective coverage for every title,” Susan E. Brazer wrote for ccAdvisor. It is one of the largest retrospective humanities and social science indexes. It contains articles in more than 60 languages and dialects, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and other Western languages. About 30 percent of the articles are from non-English sources. Coverage goes back to volume 1 issue 1 for each journal (the earliest back to 1665) until 1995, or the ceased date for a particular title. Some material as recent as 2005 was found. As of mid-2017, PIO indexed 7,282 scholarly journals, 268 magazines, 157 trade journals, 145 historical periodicals, and a small number of conference proceedings. Thirty-seven key subject areas are covered, including agriculture; ancient civilizations; anthropology/ethnology; archaeology; architecture; black studies; business/management; economics; and education. Given its deep historical coverage, the collection is aimed at advanced undergraduates, graduates, and faculty. No special installations or plug-ins are required. Although content is focused in the historic arts, social sciences, and humanities, “interdisciplinary faculty may still find themselves pleasantly surprised to discover relevant articles appearing within their search results,” Brazer wrote. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

Resources for College Libraries. ProQuest. Contact publisher for pricing.

[Visited July’18] “This resource is a seminal tool for library collection development, maintenance, and assessment,” wrote Christina Miller for ccAdvisor. “It is a tool for curricula enhancement; a conduit for librarian-faculty collaboration; and a benchmark for creating quality library collections. A multitude of training videos, webinars and help documents make this complex resource easy to use.” Resources for College Libraries (RCL) is a subscription bibliographic database produced by ProQuest, Bowker (a ProQuest affiliate), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), and Choice. Primarily a collection development tool, the database provides titles of print and electronic books, websites, and databases deemed essential by subject specialists for four- and two-year college and vocational and technical school library collections. The current version, RCL2.0, is a vast improvement over RCL.web, which replaced a seven-volume print set published in 2006. Archived webinars and “help documents” are available as well as training tutorials that can be accessed from links on the RCL main page or viewed in YouTube. The database is updated continuously and currently contains over 85,000 titles in 117 subject areas. Summing Up: Essential. Graduate students through professionals. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE