Internet Resources: September 2017 Edition

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

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British Periodicals Collection III and IV. ProQuest, 2017. Contact publisher for pricing (based on FTE and Carnegie Classification); annual academic subscription begins at about $3,074.00; perpetual-access licensing begins at about $15,367.00 for each collection.

[Visited Jun’17] These final two additions round out ProQuest’s collection of British periodicals, bringing the digital historical archives fully into the 20th century. ProQuest offers four collections, each of which can be purchased separately, totaling nearly 500 titles. Just completed, Collection III consists of the full runs of the illustrated publications known as the “Great Eight” in British publishing history. Focusing on the first half of the 20th century and covering topics such as news, politics, art, photography, literature, and satire, these publications were highly influential, incredibly popular, and overtly reflective of a society and region in a time of great change. Not surprisingly, they provided a platform and canvas for many leading artists, photographers, writers, and illustrators of the day. This collection also includes serialized literature and journalism of authors such as Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, and Bram Stoker. Titles include Britannia and Eve (1926–57), Farm & Country (1874–1970), The Graphic (1869–1932), London Life (1965–66), The Sketch (1893–1958), The Sphere (1900–64), and The Tatler and Bystander (covering the predecessor titles from 1901 to 1940 and the combined serial 1940–65). Collection IV (completed in 2015) offers full runs of more popular and influential titles from the 20th century covering international conflict, travel and leisure, the arts, the labor movement, and politics. Titles in this collection include Answers (1888–1955), The Field (1853–2006), The Highway (1908–59), The Humorist (1922–40), The Marvel (1893–1922), Picture Show (1921–60), Tribune (1937–2007), and The Wide World Magazine (1898–1965). All of the contained collections offer full-color page images wherever color was used in the original.

Like Collections I and II (CH, Nov’07, 45-1508), content is available in high-resolution, page-image format with searchable full text. Articles can be downloaded as PDF or JPEG. British Periodicals is cross-searchable with other ProQuest collections, allowing for robust research results. Advanced searching has filters for document type (e.g., advertisement, cover, fashion, illustration, obituary, poem, recipe), document feature (cartoon, map, music, photo), and place of publication (Belfast, Cambridge, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, etc.). It also includes an author or publication title search, and the ability to look up publications by subject. The document viewer, in the full-text page view, provides the user with valuable features for advancing, rotating, and downloading, and a superior zoom control for more easily reading the small text. The tabs on this page for Abstract/Details, Full text (default), and Full text—PDF provide information on which collection the page image is included in, on mouse over.

Although small in title count, these collections are impressive in content and scope, and will provide researchers and scholars of the early 20th century with a wealth of historical information. They certainly offer a fashionable and current voice to any library’s archive of British periodicals. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general readers. —S. Markgren, Manhattan College

First Division Museum Digital Archives, from the Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center.

[Visited Jun’17] This website presents materials held by the Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center (part of the First Division Museum), offering a digitized version of four major collections, browsable in their entirety or in separate sections: Muster Rolls and Rosters (November 1912–December 1939); Historical Records of the First Infantry Division and its Organic Elements, WW II; 1st Infantry Division Publications—Vietnam; and 1st Infantry Division Publications—Balkans. This unique resource contains significant primary and secondary sources of information on the First Infantry Division, including battle records and magazines published by the division as well as a three-volume unit history of the division in Vietnam, which is heavily illustrated with photographs. The materials from the WW II components comprise nearly 150,000 pages of digitized battle records (including D-Day operations and the capture of Aachen); the modern collections from Vietnam and the Balkans consist primarily of the division’s serial publications.

The website, developed on the ProSeek digital library platform, is functional although not particularly intuitive unless one first consults the detailed Help documentation. Downloading and printing is a multi-step, seemingly complicated process, but the resulting PDF page-image files that one first adds to a Print Bundle work well enough and overcome typical browser-based printing limitations. The organization of the site is logical and lends itself to browsing the resources chronologically. The site offers full-text searching, with filters that show numbers of results and vary from collection to collection. The most useful filter is the topical subject index (e.g., in the WW II collection, one can limit search results to action reports for a specific date). Overall, this site provides an excellent example of a repository committed to digitizing primary materials and offering them freely to researchers. This museum and its website offer unique, powerful tools for students of military history, genealogists, and anyone researching the activity of the First Division. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries. All levels. —W. J. Rafter, West Virginia University Libraries

Folgerpedia, from Folger Shakespeare Library.

[Visited May’17] By its own description, Folderpedia is “a Wikipedia-style encyclopedia” operating as “the Folger’s public outreach/research tool.” In listing the Folger’s activities and programs, it succeeds admirably, although much of the content focused on the institution itself may be of little interest to the general public. Each Shakespeare play gets an entry, for example, but aside from the brief introductions adapted from the library’s Shakespeare editions, much of the information concerns productions staged or editions held by the library. The most interesting components are scanned versions of holdings within LUNA (an unexplained acronym for the Folger Digital Image Collection) at Sections (found under the Explore tab, following the links under Categories, namely, Performance Materials or In Popular Culture) would be considerably more valuable if they were actually populated with content. Somewhat more confusing is the Digital Resources tab leading to the prodigious list of databases the Folger subscribes to but not necessarily the Folger’s own formidable digitized collections (e.g., LUNA, already mentioned; the online critical edition of the plays in Folger Digital Texts at; or a new collection, Early Modern Manuscripts Online, at

Content on the site is rich but spotty. A featured article on a painting from the Folger’s collections—the portrait of Queen Elizabeth I holding a sieve (denoting chastity or perhaps her discerning powers)—is fascinating but appears as one of only a half-dozen among the site’s list of paintings. Of greatest interest is the section preserving content from the Folger’s special exhibits (e.g., Letterwriting in Renaissance England and Beyond Home Remedy: Women, Medicine, and Science). Dating from the 1990s (with links to older exhibition catalogues), these capsule accounts contain both primary documents and interpretive material that make good supplementary reading for literature or history students. The Elizabethan Court Day by Day section provides a detailed chronicle derived from published and unpublished sources, but it too is not well-integrated, discoverable only in the site’s Recently Updated section. Although this promising resource does not quite fulfill its ambition to be a public research tool, like Wikipedia, it offers an enjoyable excursion, replete with chance encounters. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers. —S. Magedanz, California State University San Bernardino

Histories of the National Mall, from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University.

[Visited May’17] Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and created by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, the Histories of the National Mall website is designed to work on any computer web browser or handily on a mobile device while one tours the mall. This responsive resource is not meant to provide a definitive history of the mall and so does not serve as an exhaustive historical archive; rather, it acts as an interactive tour guide to users both near and far from its physical impetus, offering historical narrative and ephemera (the “histories” of its title) related to the mall. With content spanning the pre-1800s to the present, the collection contains nearly 350 items. These can be accessed by clicking on a filterable map, browsing its topical sections (Maps, Explorations, People, Past Events), or doing a keyword search. Site content is sourced from recent historical scholarship providing a convenient linked bibliography, with archival collections including the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., the Library of Congress, the US National Archives, and the Smithsonian. The interactive scavenger hunts found in the Explorations section of the website are likely to be a favorite with on-site visitors to the mall. Summing Up: Recommended. All libraries. All levels. —E. Millspaugh, Grand Valley State University

ProQuest History Vault: Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century. ProQuest, 2017. Contact publisher for pricing (based on FTE and Carnegie Classification); annual academic subscription begins at about $2,369.00; perpetual-access licensing begins at about $11,843.00.

[Visited Jun’17] ProQuest’s History Vault LibGuides, available at, describe the scope of the four modules (each available to be licensed separately) in the new Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century collection: Federal Government Records (plus an additional Supplement module), and Organizational Records and Personal PapersPart 1 and Part 2. In its entirety, the resource offers memos, letters, law-enforcement surveillance files, and other digitized primary documents from federal government agencies and national organizations, along with personal files of well-known figures. Much information fits within the 1960s time frame of the civil rights movement and is centered on illuminating its leadership and organizations. Content from other periods, especially 1910–60 and 1970–90, provides critical contextual material on such issues as labor disputes, race riots, lynchings, affirmative action, and the Black Power Movement. This newest augmentation of the historical archives, launched with ProQuest History Vault: NAACP Papers, Parts 1 and 2 (CH, Feb’13, 50-3039), offers a rich set of primary sources that convey both support for—and opposition to—the civil rights movement (e.g., correspondence related to establishing the holiday commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.). While there is plenty of documentation found freely online and within other subscriber resources, it is not completely clear if the Black Freedom Struggle collection on African American history and civil rights is comprehensive or complete as it stands, or whether more resources will be added in the future.

Initially, the platform seems difficult to navigate, but with practice its sometimes awkward features can be overcome. Advanced Search returns results from all modules together, while the Browse option allows users to access a specific collection contained within a module (e.g., Black Workers in the Era of the Great Migration, 1916–1929; Civil Rights during the [George H. W.] Bush Administration). The navigation bar’s Timeline feature provides documents organized by topic (e.g., New Deal, War on Poverty) and by date, displaying leaders and events that may not be readily familiar to novice researchers (e.g., the race riots of the 1910s–20s). PDF files download quickly and export smoothly to citation managers. Most scans are of good quality; however, some inevitably are unreadable, and redactions of some FBI surveillance files (e.g., “FBI search for fugitive Eldridge Cleaver”) require extra patience to search and view contents.

This is a remarkable resource, drawn from multiple repositories as reflected in ProQuest’s microform set of University Publications of America (acquired in 2010 from LexisNexis). It will be of great value to academic researchers and all readers who are motivated to analyze primary documents in their quest to uncover the attitudes and actions of African American organizers as well as those of officials in power. Such resources are tremendously important in understanding the experiences of the Black community during the 20th century, and the connections to people today in their ongoing push to demand civil rights and respect. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Undergraduates through professionals/practitioners; general readers. —T. M. Hughes, University of Missouri – Kansas City

ResearchBuzz, from Tara Calishain.

[Visited Jun’17] Feeling overwhelmed by the fast-paced web? One way to stay up to date and yet not feel one’s attention is entirely consumed is by following Calishain’s WordPress blog, which reports the latest news on search engines, social media, online privacy, and other fascinating topics. Recent blog digests highlight retrieving deleted tweets, questioning Google Maps, and maximizing Amazon searches. Calishain posts several times a week and encourages users to stay updated via pushed emails or RSS feeds. She gathers information for her blog from Google alerts, Nuzzel, friends, and other news feeds. To find posts by topic, users can access the Research Buzz Firehose section at, which contains in-depth reports that are categorized and tagged for easier retrieval; a tag cloud illustrates the current top 75 subjects. Recent entries describe digital museum collections in Kenya and highlight Skype’s latest redesign.

Calishain has published numerous books on information retrieval, including Information Trapping: Real-time Research on the Web (CH, Nov’07, 45-1177). However, soon after writing that book, she switched to blogging instead of book publishing because of its timeliness. Her passion for helping people find useful information is clearly expressed in her 2015 interview with Robert Berkman—author of Find It Fast (CH, Jul’16, 53-4611)—on his Best of the Business Web at Furthermore, she encourages teachers to share ResearchBuzz information (with acknowledgement, as stipulated by the Creative Commons license). Her loyal fans love her as evidenced by the enthusiastic entries in the comments section. She acknowledges her blog is used by librarians, journalists, and teachers; however, students will also find it rewarding because they can personalize their RSS feeds to retrieve material matching their own interests. In fact, the frequent updates regarding Google alone are reason enough for students to pay attention to ResearchBuzz. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels. —K. Condic, Oakland University

Sanborn Maps, from the Library of Congress.

[Visited Jun’17] Librarians teaching local history classes and workshops are familiar with Sanborn Fire Insurance printed maps, although few libraries own collections of them. Those without them have had the option of obtaining the Chadwyck-Healey microfilm or licensing one of two collections that ProQuest has digitized from the microfilm (and thus available only in black and white): a basic version (CH, Jul’07, 44-5998), or the georeferenced edition that can be used with GIS software (CH, Dec’10, 48-1840). The Library of Congress (LOC) is digitizing their collection of Sanborn Fire Insurance maps in collaboration with the firm Historical Information Gatherers, which offers its own Fire Insurance Maps Online subscriber service incorporating the Sanborn maps along with those of other publishers. The freely accessible online collection at LOC is a vast improvement over the ProQuest offerings by virtue of being digitized in full color. Color on Sanborn maps is critical to their use, as it indicates the type of building material (wood, brick, cement, iron, etc.). The site now offers about 3,500 maps from 15 states, but should be completed by 2020. Maps can be downloaded as GIF (thumbnail), JPEG, JPEG2000, and TIFF images.

The Sanborn Maps website provides About this Collection, Collection Items, and Articles and Essays sections. The collections section displaying maps and explanatory text offers options to refine search results by date, location, subject, and other criteria; links in each category expand the results. Users wishing to view more locations are confronted with expanding lists of place names, starting with states and then county and city names, which some may find confusing. A search box at the top of the page can be used to find maps of a specific place. While site navigation could use some improvements, the collection itself when completed will be essential for all who seek detailed historical information about buildings and urban areas. Summing Up: Essential. All libraries. All levels. —L. R. Zellmer, Western Illinois University

Today’s Political Cartoons, from the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

[Visited Jun’17] Looking for a website that provides an array of editorial cartoons related to the 2016 presidential election—or the subsequent early days of the Trump administration? One good starting point could be this website of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC). Founded in 1957, the AAEC holds annual conventions, maintains a members-only listserv, publishes a quarterly magazine (also for members) and, on occasion, files friends-of-the-court briefs in first amendment cases. Visitors to the website are greeted on the landing page by, among other things, an array of around 25 of “Today’s Political Cartoons”—displayed for the current date, or for the past seven days. These and the nearly 3,500 other editorial cartoons on file via the website can be browsed/searched by keyword, cartoonist name, and date. Cartoons are searchable for each year from 1996 to the present, but coverage for earlier years is spotty and virtually non-existent before 1970. A copyright warning pop-up window appears as one scrolls over a cartoon on the site, although the window also provides methods to request reprint rights for the cartoon, and information on options for how to email or link to the cartoon.

Other types of information are also available, including current editorial cartoon news and a news archive; cartoon contents and events; lists of cartooning award winners; etc. Perhaps of greatest interest to librarians and instructors is the collection of downloadable cartoons in the Cartoons for the Classroom section, updated every two weeks starting in 2003. Nearly 350 lessons are available covering topics such as “How Politicians Profit from Politics,” “What Are the Dangers of Fake News?” and “Any Limits to Religious Freedoms?” Lessons appear to be geared primarily for use in grades 6–12, but many could doubtless be of some value in college classes as well. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries. All levels. —D. Highsmith, California State University—East Bay