Internet Resources: September 2021 Edition

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

Early Modern England: Society, Culture and Everyday Life, 1500–1700
Adam Matthew, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

Early Modern England “is a database for English history research from 1500 to 1700, focusing primarily on the lives and perspectives of the masses rather than the nobility and monarchs,” with “chronologies cover[ing] poverty; trade, commerce, and economics; the monarchy; arts, literature, and culture; war; religion; politics and foreign affairs; science, technology, and medicine; and exploration and colonization,” wrote Thomas J. Beck for ccAdvisor. Beck went on to add that materials are “grouped into several collections,” some of which may include “commonplace books, objects, hearth tax records,” while “others are drawn from collections or works of a certain author,” such as John Locke.

The landing page is easy to navigate with “a single search bar … at the center … and quick links to Essays, Collection Guides, Nature and Scope, Material Culture, and [Handwritten Text Recognition]” at the side. “Also available are short introductions to each of the 24 collections in the database,” Beck added. These browse and search options are fairly intuitive to use, though the search results often contain “a mixture of relevant and not-so-relevant” hits. 

Despite that, this database will be useful to “those researching English history from 1500 to 1700,” as well as “those interested in the history of England generally,” particularly those interested in the perspectives of average people. From an institutional standpoint, its value “will depend on [students’ and faculties’] needs,” Beck wrote. Accordingly, “institutions with more limited needs may prefer to use more general history databases or the free resources available on the internet,” such as European History Primary Sources (EHPS), which includes British History OnlineHistorical Abstracts from EBSCO and Original Sources from Western Standard are fee-based alternatives, though neither maintains the depth or focus of Early Modern England.

Summing Up: Recommended. General readers through faculty.

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

Gale Case Studies
Gale, part of Cengage Learning, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

Gale Case Studies screenshot

Released in October 2020, Gale Case Studies (GCS) is an online resource “designed to introduce lower-division undergraduates to primary sources in cross-disciplinary topics,” consisting of topical modules relating to social justice, wrote Kyle D. Winward for ccAdvisor. Each module consists of 10 to 12 case studies and are available as one-time purchases. At the time of writing this review, two modules were available: “Intersectional LGBTQ Issues” and “Public Health Issues,” with plans “to introduce four modules per calendar year,” Winward added. Each module is developed by an academic in the field and includes case studies drawn from primary sources (such as organizational and government reports) available in Gale Primary Source (GPS) collections with the aim of helping undergraduate students become familiar with incorporating primary sources in their own research. This is especially notable considering that “primary sources can be challenging to find and utilize in research processes, especially for lower-division undergraduates,” as Winward elaborated. 

“The GCS interface looks very similar to other Gale Academic databases,” with a “top banner [that] includes a library menu (local links may be added).” As Winward continued, “the main entry point for GCS content is the visual menu of modules and included case studies,” noting that “clicking on a case study takes the user to its content, which includes background,” as well as a bibliography, primary sources, and discussion questions.

Winward found that the majority of other case study collections or databases focused on LGBTQ+ rights or public health tend to be more specific in scope and not as introductory in nature as GCS. As a result, GCS appears to be a unique product, specifically intended to introduce undergraduate researchers to multidisciplinary, primary-source research with a modular layout that encourages further exploration of the topics covered. 

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All undergraduates.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Kyle D. Winward, Central College, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.–Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

Global Literature on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
World Health Organization (WHO), 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

Global Literature on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
World Health Organization screenshot

Global Literature on Coronavirus Disease (Global Literature), a World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 database, is one of the best, if not the best, aggregator of research on COVID-19,” wrote Chana Kraus-Friedberg for ccAdvisor. The database is freely available and “indexes grey literature from international organizations, preprint servers, and trial registers [and] also draws in literature from a number of publishers and databases (i.e., Elsevier, MEDLINEProQuest Central),” Kraus-Friedberg noted, making it a helpful one-stop resource. She added that its “biggest selling point is probably its international focus,” as “it contains more literature specific to non-US countries and incorporates articles more quickly” than “other COVID aggregators.” Global Literature is also larger than other aggregators with more than 200,000 articles, updated Monday through Friday. 

The home page, which is “essentially a results page for all the articles indexed in the database,” features a basic search option, which is fairly limited—“a drop-down menu allows users to search by Title, Subject, and Abstract together or by Title, Author, or Abstract separately”—but “the extensive list of filters on the left” allows “users to narrow their results without or before searching,” Kraus-Friedberg noted. Advanced Search expands the search options slightly to include Main Subject, Journal, or Publication Date along with Boolean operators. However, these limited options are offset by the extensive filters on the home page. 

Other free COVID-focused resources include the National Library of Medicine’s LitCOVID and the Epistemonikos COVID-19 collection. However, Global Literature “is distinguished by its broad geographic/linguistic focus, its inclusion of grey literature, [its size,] and its inclusion of full-text access for most articles,” Kraus-Friedberg concluded.

Summing Up: Essential. General readers through faculty.

This review is a summary of a longer review by Chana Kraus-Friedberg, Michigan State University, originally published in ccAdvisor.orgCopyright © 2021 by The Charleston Company.–Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

ProQuest African American Heritage screenshot

ProQuest African American Heritage
ProQuest, 2021. Contact publisher for pricing.

“ProQuest[’s] African American Heritage is a database for African American family history research,” with “primary and secondary sources … grouped into five collections: Birth, Marriage, Death; Federal Census; Freedman’s Bank; Military; and Slaves and Free(d) Persons of Color,” wrote Thomas J. Beck for ccAdvisor. “The quality and quantity of content … is not exceptional,” he noted, but added that it “will certainly be useful to those researching African American family history and, more generally, Africana studies.” African American Heritage “also offers access to AfriGeneas,” which “provides chats and forums, mailing lists, surname data, marriage records, death data, genealogical research advice, and even family reunions.”

Five tabs at the top of the home page enable users to navigate the site: Home, Search, Browse, Publications, and Community. Home and Search both allow searching for a person by name, state, and/or date range, though Search adds the option of narrowing results by collection. “Browse offers access to the same collections, but users can specify which portions to review,” while Publications enables users to mine available sources by standard limiters such as name, place, key words, title, and author, among others. “Community is little more than another access point to AfriGeneas,” which users can also enter through any of the options above.

“A number of genealogical databases provide access to marriage, birth, death, and military records,” and thus may serve as alternatives to this database, “including,,, Findmypast.comMyHeritage.com23andMe, and EBSCO’s MyHeritage, among others.” However, “many of those are designed for individual, not institutional, use and are not directed to an exclusively African American audience, so they are not directly comparable with African American Heritage,” Beck concluded.

Summing Up: Recommended. General readers through 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