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

Atlas of Torture. Access: http://www.atlas-of-torture.org/.

Atlas of Torture: Observing the Situation of Torture Worldwide is maintained by the Human Dignity and Public Security team of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in Vienna and is supported by a team of researchers with extensive experience in the areas of torture prevention and the protection of the human rights of detainees. The main purposes of the website are to raise the awareness of the legal framework governing the prohibition of torture, compile information on whether nations investigate and prosecute cases of torture, and analyze the structural causes contributing to the continued practice of torture.

The Atlas of Torture seeks to do this through the following four major components. With an interactive search screen, “Country Situations” provides information on the torture and ill treatment of individuals in various countries, complete with official documents and NGO reports. The page on Syria, for example, provides a copious amount of material, but much of it is not up-to-date. It was last updated in May 2014 and several documents date from 2009. While valuable, these entries may not be pertinent for students and scholars wishing to research the current situation in Syria.

“Topics” provides background information on the definition, prohibition, and prevention of torture. Some of the material contained here is more recent, including a 2015 report documenting the widespread and systematic use of torture by all parties involved in the Syrian civil war.

“News” supplies updates, including a report by the United Nations on torture in Syria (2016) and a report by Human Rights Watch (2015) regarding conditions in Syrian detention facilities. Finally, “Things You Should Know” contains a glossary and links to further online resources.

Current news trends are tracked on the site’s homepage, which is relatively easy to navigate. Two of the stories featured in May 2017 were “In Response to President Trump: Torture is Absolutely Prohibited and it Does Not Work!” and “New Amnesty International Publication on State of Emergency in Europe.”

Atlas of Torture acts as an aggregator for researchers looking for background information on torture and the treatment of detainees. Patrons seeking more current data would be well advised to consult the results of investigative reporting found in newspapers.—Wendell G. Johnson, Northern Illinois University Libraries, wjohnso1@niu.edu

Cultural Equity. Access: http://www.culturalequity.org.

The Association for Cultural Equity (ACE) is a nonprofit organization established by Alan Lomax, a musicologist who dedicated his life and career to documenting and protecting folk art and music. He borrowed the phrase “cultural equity” to express the idea that the arts and values of all cultures should be equally displayed in media and curricula.

Initially supported by funding from the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress, Lomax traveled the United States, Haiti, and the Bahamas between 1933 and 1996. He gathered thousands of recordings of musical performances and interviews with the likes of Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives, and Muddy Waters. Most of his vast physical collection of recordings is now housed at New York City’s Hunter College, and the Cultural Equity site provides a portal into the digital archive.

This site is focused on teaching resources, the activities of ACE, and the concepts behind “cultural equity.” It is structured in six parts, represented by the menu options tabbed across the top of the page. Each tab opens its own unique left-hand menu, which illustrates the depth and complexity of information on the site. Because the left-hand menu is often changing, the best way to navigate the site is by using the tabbed menu across the top of the page, where visitors can choose between pages about ACE, Lomax, the nonprofit’s recent publications, or the ACE Online Archive, featuring the life work of Lomax.

The archive link opens a new site, which contains playable files of each recording. Browsing the archive is intuitive and navigation is simple. Sound, video, radio, and interview recordings can be keyword searched or explored by categories like artist, genre, or location. Some highlights in the online collections include Lomax’s man-on-the-street interviews conducted after Pearl Harbor, as well as thousands of hours of uncut audio from his recordings post-1946. ACE stresses the uniqueness of the uncut audio, because it still contains microphone checks, background noises, and false starts.

The depth and richness of the archive makes this site a good fit for researchers, especially college-level or above. Graduate students would make the most effective use of the almost overwhelming amount of information. However, because the site provides teacher resources aimed at grade school students, this site can truly be useful for learners of all levels.—Katharine Van Arsdale, Pacific Union College, kvanarsdale@puc.edu

New-York Historical Society. Access: http://www.nyhistory.org.

In 1804, during the same year and in the same city that Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel, merchant and philanthropist John Pintard Jr. founded the New-York Historical Society. After more than 200 years, the New-York Historical Society, the oldest museum in New York City, remains an important resource for its unparalleled collection of New York (both city and state) and American history objects and documents. The Historical Society houses almost 2 million historical items, ranging from James Audubon’s original watercolors for his book Birds of America, to a large collection of Hudson River School landscape paintings, to a large array of original Tiffany lamps.

Even more extensive is the Historical Society’s Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, “containing more than three million books, pamphlets, maps, atlases, newspapers, broadsides, music sheets, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings.” Highlights of the library’s collection include the original copy of Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox, and the archives of The New York Sun.

The Historical Society has performed a wonderful service for history students by creating its comprehensive and well-organized website. Twenty-two links, each containing drop-down boxes with additional links, at the top of the homepage take the visitor to many of the Historical Society’s vast holdings, as well as to any information a visitor would need to prepare a trip to the Historical Society. Of interest on the website are the Historical Society’s current and past exhibition highlights, containing slideshows for each exhibit, including the clear and well-documented rights and reproductions page.

Another unique website link provides information about historical figures, such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass, along with information about past Historical Society exhibitions dealing with these figures. Also included are historical items and audiovisual programs dealing with each historical figure.

The breadth and depth of the New-York Historical Society’s vast collections is well worth the trip to New York City. But if students of American history cannot make the journey, the New-York Historical Society’s website more than compensates for not being there in person. Highly recommended.—Larry Cooperman, University of Central Florida Libraries, Lawrence.Cooperman@ucf.edu

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