Sample Web Reviews



Biography Reference Bank

H.W. Wilson, 2004. Price negotiated by site.


[Visited Nov'04] Part of the WilsonWeb service, Biography Reference Bank offers over 500,000 biographies from ancient times to the present. It indexes full-text articles from all the H.W. Wilson collective biographies (e.g., Current Biography, World Authors). Biographies are retrieved in response to a search link to articles indexed in Wilson publications (e.g., Biography Index, only from 1984 onwards). BRB is therefore an invaluable online resource for biography. The work's international scope is a major attraction, as is its comprehensive content. Students interested in finding out about recent Nobel Prize winners can find a wealth of data, including links to some full-text reports of the award announcements; for example, searching for Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai retrieves a Current Biography entry and links to articles and full-text sources. The interface works smoothly, but subscribers to multiple WilsonWeb resources can find the initial selection screen very busy. A browse feature allows multiple ways to search the database (e.g., by gender, place of origin). Searching Northern Ireland as a place of origin retrieves more than 40 hits, including Kenneth Branagh, who is not always associated with Northern Ireland. Icons at the top of the main window allow searches to be limited to biographies and obituaries or to entries with images. This is a highly usable, content-rich resource. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries, especially public, school, and undergraduate.— J.J. Doherty, Northern Arizona University

Humanities—Performing Arts


Masters of Cinima


[Visited Nov'04] Graphically attractive, informative, and user friendly, this invaluable Web site focuses on but is not limited to the work of major world directors. It is divided into numerous sections, the most significant of which are "The News Fountain," which runs down the left side of the main page and provides current news on directors and films (past and present), releases of historical and critically important DVDs, awards, and tributes. Down the center of the page is a month-by-month calendar of upcoming DVD releases of major films. The site's growing library of recent articles on international cinema is evident on the right side of the home page; there are links to articles and a list of more than 100 directors also included with links to at least a biographical essay and, at most, a Web site devoted to that director. This section also offers useful links to dealers in everything from DVDs and video to film posters; critical reviews; online writing support for budding screenwriters; and film publications. The particular appeal of this site is its commitment to world cinema--there is a good balance of international film and US movies, with overall emphasis on the achievements of the filmmakers and the films themselves. Summing Up: Essential. All film collections.— J. Fisher, Wabash College

Science & Technology—Astronautics & Astronomy


NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database


[Visited Nov'04] The NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) can be searched for data such as position and red shift for extragalactic objects. The data has been gleaned from catalogs and the published literature and is updated every two or three months. In addition, NED provides a searchable knowledge base of information relevant to astronomy and astrophysics. The NED knowledge base includes a wealth of review articles, journal abstracts, thesis abstracts, images, and a glossary of terms. The home page provides a well-organized table of links to its contents, arranged in five columns headed Objects, Data, Literature, Tools, and Info. The amount of astronomical information accessible through this Web site is enormous; for example, it contains basic data for more than seven and a half million extragalactic sources and gives more than two and a half million bibliographic references. The NED should prove indispensable for students and researchers in astronomy and astrophysics. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals..— M. Dickinson, Maine Maritime Academy

Social & Behavioral Sciences—Western Europe


The World War I Document Archive


[Visited Nov'04] The World War I Document Archive is a Web site constructed by the World War I Military History List (WWI-L). The most useful sections include a file on "Conventions, Treaties, and Official Papers" and an extensive "Documents Year-by-Year" collection that is the strongest offering. Site holdings stress the most important documents, though they are weighted toward an Anglo-Saxon bias, especially in the section that includes personal reminiscences. The site's biggest drawback, as with most such Internet offerings, is the eclectic nature of its holdings: there is a special file on the "Maritime War," for example, and information on medical developments, but nothing about the home front. French sources seem few, given the critical role France played in the war; and yet, the site contains links to an online version of Gabriel Hanotaux's difficult-to-find Illustrated History of the conflict, which he began in 1915 and which runs 17 volumes. Given that many of the contributors are themselves scholars of the Great War, the holdings are generally reliable. Though frequently updated (last in October 2004), the site has difficulty in staying abreast of the latest works in such a massive and dynamic area of study as the Great War. Revision is ongoing, however, and there are opportunities for interested scholars to offer contributions. There are links to other Great War Web sites. Navigation through the archive is simple. The site is of the greatest utility for undergraduates seeking the most important primary source documents of the war, and for teachers seeking an easily accessible document collection for use in courses. Summing Up: Recommended. Public and undergraduate collections.— G.P. Cox, Gordon College