Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts is associate university librarian for public services and collection development at Willamette University, email: jroberts@willamette.edu, and Carol A. Drost is associate university librarian for technical services at Willamette University, email: cdrost@willamette.edu.

Arctos. Access: http://arctosdb.org/.

Arctos began in 1996 through a National Science Foundation grant intended to create a collection management desktop application for the University of California- Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Over time, Arctos drew collaborators from across the United States and grew into a unique, collective web-based collection management system and consortial community that now provides open access to biodiversity data from 116 distinct specimen collections maintained by 22 separate institutions.

Arctos facilitates the logistical work of curators and museum collection managers at member institutions, while providing rich biodiversity data to a wide academic audience, including professional researchers, educators, students, and the general public.

Arctos’ homepage is a user-friendly entryway to the Arctos database. It provides relatively robust background, contextual, and instructional information navigable by a row of tabs near the top of the page. Of particular relevance to new users is the content under “About Arctos,” “Learn Arctos,” and “Search Arctos.” The “Quick Tour” link under “Learn Arctos” is a good starting place to begin to understand the database structure, search options, navigation, and key features. This homepage is undergoing a user-friendly spring 2017 redesign; users may temporarily encounter linking errors, which can be reported through the “Contact Us” page.

The Arctos database itself supports specimen data for plants, animals, parasites, frozen tissues, and ethnological materials. New or edited records are live within 24 hours. Arctos is relatively intuitive for basic searching, but there is a steep learning curve to full proficiency. Specimen information is connected through a complex network of links that associate records through relationship, taxonomy, locality, media, human agent, publications, and projects, with options to search any of these concepts individually or simultaneously.

Arctos is self-described as an “ecosystem of components,” linking content within Arctos and resources hosted elsewhere, including GenBank sequences, BerkeleyMapper geolocation data, and Google Custom Search of specific Arctos record content. Free user login accounts are available, which enable individuals to save, share, and export search results.

Overall, Arctos provides a rich portal through which to study natural history specimen data across time and place, and it makes physical resources discoverable to potential researchers. Ongoing efforts to increase corresponding digital media content and connect published scholarship to specimen records will continue to add value and relevance for the biodiversity research and education community.—Amy Jankowski, University of New Mexico, ajankowski@unm.edu

Black Grooves. Access: http://blackgrooves.org/.

Staying abreast of new music releases, especially those outside of the mainstream pop world, can be challenging. Here’s one solution: Black Grooves, a monthly online magazine that reviews the latest music releases and reissues. The primary focus of Black Grooves is on African American music. The genres with the largest quantity of current reviews are the following: jazz, blues, rap, hip-hop, soul, funk, gospel music, spirituals, world music, popular, and rock. Other categories include classical, doo-wop and vocal quartets, electronica and club/dance music, folk and country, Latin, reggae, soundtracks, and spoken word. While some featured releases are from familiar artists, other reviews spotlight new releases from indie and underground musicians that get ignored by mainstream publications.

Each issue of Black Grooves reviews about a dozen new releases. Each review usually includes a video of the artist, which helps the reader get instantly acquainted with an unfamiliar artist or just enjoy a performance by a familiar one. It’s an engaging way to learn about new releases: read, listen, and watch. Each monthly issue also contains an extensive list of other new releases from the past month. The occasional book review can be found here, as well, and archived book reviews are filed under “African American Media, Publications.” Black Grooves has been in continuous publication since 2006, and the complete archive is available online. To receive email notifications when new issues are posted, click the subscribe tab on the Black Grooves homepage.

Black Grooves is edited and hosted by the Archives of African American Music & Culture at Indiana University (IU). The site is geared toward students, scholars, faculty, librarians, and collectors. Reviews are penned by IU students, IU faculty, and others from educational and nonprofit organizations outside of IU.

Black Grooves is recommended for music librarians, librarians responsible for music collection development, black music aficionados, and anyone interested in learning about African American music.—Kim G. Read, Concordia University, kread@cu-portland.edu

South Asian American Digital Archives. Access: https://www.saada.org/.

The South Asian American Digital Archives (SAADA) is an archival repository that shares the history and lives of subcontinent diasporans who are now residing in the United States, including those with ancestry in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Using newspaper clippings, correspondences, photographs, texts, and other ephemera, the rich and complex history of South Asian diasporic communities is showcased. SAADA highlights details about these communities that are little known to most Americans.

SAADA is a not-for-profit organization founded by Michelle Caswell and Samip Mallick. As the executive director, Mallick, who is a librarian, maintains the repository with the help of Brian Cook, volunteer visual design and digital strategy manager.

Echoing the universal story of immigration and change, the site captures the struggles and successes of a diverse people as they moved thousands of miles to begin a new life as Americans, while seeking to maintain religious practices, languages, and cultural values. There are more than 2,900 individual items stored within the archives.

Organized according to 15 broad categories, such as theme, subject, and time period, the collection is equipped for browsing, as well as searching with keywords. A search for “food” brought back four pages of results with materials dating from the early 1900s, 1960s, and early 2000s, including oral history interviews, letters, and other digitized materials.

As a primary source on the South Asian American experience, SAADA would be of interest to scholars researching pivotal moments in American history from a South Asian diasporic perspective. An example would be the 1923 United States vs. Bhagat Singh Thind Supreme Court case, which blocked South Asians from obtaining U.S. citizenship until 1946. SAADA holdings include photographs of Thind, newspaper clippings, and documents authored by Thind.

This website would be valuable to anyone interested in researching the historical and present-day South Asian American experience.—Nikhat J. Ghouse, American University, ghouse@american.edu

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