Internet Resources: September 2018 Edition

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

Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers. Bloomsbury, 2018. Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers is available for purchase (perpetual access, $4,150 to $15,561) or by subscription ($830 to $3,112), with pricing based on size and type of institution, with discounts available from consortia. Annual Content Update fees (for purchase only) are $600 to $900 per year, based on size and type of institution. Purchase option is not available to K-12 libraries.

[Visited Jun’18] “The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers is an online biographical encyclopedia offering thousands of critical biographical entries,” wrote Martha Tanner for CC Advisor. “The only content type is articles detailing the lives and thinking of key people in the field of philosophy.” Entries are signed, and links allow searching for other articles by the same author. “This resource appears to continue Bloomsbury’s tradition of publishing scholarly encyclopedias in a number of subject areas,” Tanner wrote. Coverage is more selective than the site’s title implies. It focuses on the years 1600–2000. For the medieval period, there are 175 entries, most of them for Islamic thinkers. The category for the 20th century has the most (2,222). The site defines “philosopher” broadly to include political thinkers, literary figures, et al. The encyclopedia takes a global focus, incorporating philosophers from around the world (though Britain boasts the most entries, with 4,065 of 6,500). Bloomsbury plans to grow the resource and broaden its scope: new and updated content is added twice a year. “The publisher is aware of the need to update death dates for some entries and says it should have this completed soon,” Tanner wrote. Articles vary in length and content. Sojourner Truth’s entry is three paragraphs and focuses mainly on her life, not her philosophy. John Milton’s runs to 21 paragraphs, tracing the history of his thought over his entire life and career. “This is likely due to availability of information about subjects,” Tanner wrote. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry. Columbia, 2018. Pricing is based on size and type of institution, but is in no case more than $1,890 annually. High schools enjoy a flat rate of $495. Pricing lists are posted for academic libraries and public libraries. International libraries are instructed to contact sales staff at 212-459-0600 ext. 7112. A list of current subscribers is provided.

[Visited Jun’18] “Poetry, poems, poets, and criticism thereof,” wrote Lisa Karen Miller for CC Advisor. “This is the first stop for poetry critique and biography, as well as being a fount of wisdom for poetical reference questions.” Full text of selected Columbia poetry works provides users with illuminating explication and critique. Ease of navigation, multiple search options, quality source material, and affordability make this database “a valuable addition to school, academic, and public libraries.” Remember the weighty and beloved tome of Granger’s in our reference collections? Then you’ll appreciate the Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry. Its mission is to provide the most widely read poems in the English language, as well as in Spanish, French, German, and Italian. The database has become more multicultural, but “does not intend to be an anthology of world poetry,” Miller wrote. In addition to the full text of more than 250,000 poems (including the complete work of major poets), the database offers the full text of 13 Columbia poetry criticism titles, including Shakespeare and the Poet’s War, Modern East Asian Literature, and The Columbia History of British Poetry. The work is searchable and browsable by subject, title, poet, history and criticism, and glossary. Users may browse by Era, Language, or Schools of Poetry (Cavalier, Lake Poets, Sons of Ben, etc.), “which makes attacking assignments from these angles a breeze,” Miller wrote. Each entry gives its citation in MLA and Chicago styles—“thank you, Columbia!” Miller concludes that this is “perfect for middle school through college poetry assignments, or general users who wish to find a fitting poem for an occasional speech, eulogy, or presentation.” Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

Project MUSE Ebooks. Johns Hopkins, 2018. Pricing is based on number of users and total features purchased; contact publisher for complete information.

[Visited Jun’18] “Project MUSE’s ebook platform offers access to approximately 54,000 ebooks from over a hundred scholarly presses, primarily in the social sciences and humanities,” wrote Kevin McDonough for CC Advisor. Project MUSE, a division of Johns Hopkins University Press (JHUP), is a leading provider of humanities and social science content. URLs to chapters or book title pages are stable, and Project MUSE encourages direct links to books and chapters for electronic reserves and courseware systems. Pricing is available by subscription, purchased subject collections, individual titles (through GOBI or OASIS), and evidence-based acquisition. Per book cost ranges from $1 to $5 for subscribed books, and $25 to $27 for titles in purchased collections. All books are in a DRM-free, enhanced web-ready PDF format, searchable and retrievable at the chapter level. Unlimited downloading and printing of book chapters is allowed. Although usable on mobile devices now, automatic rendering will provide more functionality when the site is redesigned in summer 2018. Browsing or filtering search results by subject is confusing, and there is no way to restrict results to specific subject collections purchased by a library. While “the relevance ranking algorithm is poor,” McDonough wrote, the “display of book content is clean and neat, with a minimalist design that is pleasing to the eye.” Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

Springer Protocols. Springer, 2016. Contact publisher for complete information.

[Visited Jun’18] “Springer Protocols is an online database of protocols (methods) for scientists to use in the laboratory,” wrote Susan Kendall for CC Advisor. Each new protocol is a chapter from one of the books in the Methods in Molecular Biology, Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Neuromethods series. The content is high-quality and written by experts, but “the inclusion of all editions of the books from Volume 1 means some of the protocols date back as far as 1984,” Kendall wrote. There are multiple points of access. The site has its own interface, which has not been updated since 2008, and a new Springer Nature Experiments interface that lets one search the content along with content from a free protocols exchange and from two journals, Nature Methods and Nature Protocols. The new search interface is more contemporary and uses some newer indexing and “an ontology designed to return more relevant search results,” Kendall wrote. But libraries that don’t subscribe to all three products will see users getting search results whose full texts they cannot get. While the newer interface is better, it still lacks functionality to help identify the most relevant and most up-to-date protocols,” Kendall wrote. “Concerns about this were pointed out in my 2008 and 2017 reviews of this product on its older platform.” Even on the newer platform the product suffers from simultaneously trying to be an e-book archive as well as a current working tool. Kendall concludes: “As a functional tool for finding current laboratory protocols, it could be better.” Summing Up: Optional. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

World History in Video. Alexander Street. Contact the publisher for tiered pricing information and pricing models. World History in Video is available through subscription or a one-time purchase of perpetual rights through Alexander Street. Public performance rights are included with a purchase of the subscription.

[Visited June’18] “World History in Video is a database collection of streaming video focused on world history topics from the early civilizations through the late 1980s,” wrote Kaci Resau for CC Advisor. Focusing on history from 8,000 BCE through the late 1980s, the database contains over 1,500 videos, 800 hours of video footage, and 300 segments. Users can search by era, time period, historical event, place, political or cultural group, theme, and topic. Additionally, they can search semantically to see patterns in global themes. Each video comes with a searchable transcript. Clicking anywhere on the transcript goes to that location. Personal accounts allow users to create playlists from the database and around the web. Permanent URLs are available. Educators will find supplemental, full-text resources as well as discussion guides. Permissions for in-classroom and off-campus use are included in the license terms. Access includes Admin Portal, where users will find Collections; DDA (as applicable); MARC records; marketing options; and usage statistics. Usage statistics are COUNTER-compliant reports, SUSHI-enabled, and customizable by title, subject, and collection. “To be a true world history database,” Resau wrote, “the amount of content outside of Europe, Asia, and North America should be increased.” Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE

World Politics Review.

[Visited Jun’18] “World Politics Review (WPR) is an online-only publication that produces original commentary and analysis on current international affairs and global issues since 2006,” wrote Michael Rodriguez for CC Advisor. WPR publishes daily briefings, a news roundup, in-depth features, and in-depth country reports. Topics fall into one of three categories: “Issues: Defense and Security”; “Diplomacy and Politics”; and “Economics and Business.” Each comes with as many as nine browsable subcategories. Coverage focuses on issues relevant to Western policy makers, though articles like “What Syria Reveals about the Future of War” or “How Did Nepal Become a Global LGBT Rights Beacon?” are more broadly appealing. WPR’s About page describes its audience as “policymakers, analysts, academics and readers with a deep interest in international affairs.”

WPR sells subscriptions to individuals and institutions, using EBSCO as its sales agent to libraries and making its content available to all institutional subscribers. WPR is a for-profit, privately owned, limited liability company. Founder and publisher Hampton Stephens, who once covered Capitol Hill for the State News Service, launched WPR while in graduate school in 2006, began commissioning pieces in 2007, and stepped back from the editorial side to focus on growing the company in 2009. WPR now boasts five editors, including Editor in Chief Judah Grunstein, and five regular columnists; all other contributors are freelance journalists, university professors, former diplomats, think tank members, and other experts contracted on a per-article basis. With its self-proclaimed liberal internationalist worldview emphasizing issues relevant to Anglo-American policymakers, “WPR delivers a satisfying throwback to diplomacy and multilateralism, offering an alternative to fiery fledgling websites such as The Intercept or grizzled warhorses such as Foreign Affairs. WPR delivers depth, newsiness, and nuance,” Rodriguez wrote. For nongovernmental organizations and universities strong in international affairs, “WPR is a sound investment, though its non-scholarly output and the widespread availability of comparable free content online may give some libraries pause.” Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through professionals. —J. Stoehr, CHOICE