Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts; Carol A. Drost


Digital Library of the Caribbean. Access: http://www.dloc.com/.

Gene Hyde, University of North Carolina-Asheville, ghyde@unca.edu

The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) is a collaborative international digitization project involving 18 partner institutions from around the Caribbean region. Culling collections from academic libraries, private collections, and archives, dLOC documents the diverse historical and cultural legacies of the many islands and surrounding areas of the Caribbean.

The dLOC’s homepage is easy to navigate and provides instant access to a list of collections, search options, browsing options, language selections (English, French, or Spanish), and various informational links about the dLOC project. The prominently displayed collection groups include map collections, newspaper collections, teaching guides, “Partner collections,” “Haitian Law,” “Panama and the Canal,” and “News.”

For browsing, the collections are sorted categorically, including by format (manuscripts, maps, newspapers, books, photographs, oral histories, data sets, etc.) and thematic groups (culture, science and medicine, law, slavery and resistance, economics, etc.). There are also several dozen featured special collections and exhibits on a variety of topics.

Searching is easy and intuitive, and search options are easily accessed from the dLOC’s homepage. Using the simple search box on the homepage, a sample search for “Arawak” (the indigenous people Columbus first encountered when he landed) returned five results, including such diverse materials as a digitized dissertation from the University of Florida and a digitized copy of the 1958 novel The Arawak Girl by Herbert George De Lisser.

Searching for “St. Thomas” in the map collections returns 24 results, ranging from a number of 18th-century maps to a map of the St. Thomas campus of the University of Virgin Islands. To the left of the results are a number of limiters that allow you to narrow by language, publisher, topic, geographic area, and genre. Such limiters are found in every search and make it easy to tailor results.

While generally well organized, the dLOC site is not without a few problems. There is the occasional broken link, such as the link to the National Library of Jamaica, and a few incomplete works in progress, such as “Haiti: An Island Luminous” online exhibit. These are minor complaints, however, considering the vast amount of excellent, easily searchable material in this website.

Disability History Museum. Access: http://www.disabilitymuseum.org/.

Betty Landesman, University of Baltimore, blandesman@ubalt.edu

The goal of the Disability History Museum, a virtual-only project, is to foster research about and understanding of the experience of people with disabilities over time. It is a project of Straight Ahead Pictures, Inc., a nonprofit organization responsible for the “Beyond Affliction” radio series.

The website contains four sections: “About,” “Library,” “Education,” and “Museum.”

The “About” section describes the Disability History Museum and the people and organizations behind it. It acknowledges donors and offers opportunities to contribute financially.

The “Library” section is the most important section for readers of C&RL News. It contains collections of documents and visual stills associated with the cultural and social history of people with disabilities. Most of the records were produced in the United States from 1800 to the present.

Users can search materials by limiting to a library collection (documents or visual stills) or across the entire site using the Site Search box. In addition to collection type, search facets include format (e.g., Advertisement, Comic Book, Government Document, Manuscript, Newspaper, Photograph, Postcard, Sheet Music); source; keyword (by words or by frequency using a word cloud); and date. An alphabetical keyword list of terms used is provided.

In addition to the searching described above, browsing is available by selecting a collection and/or topic from drop-down lists, or by source of material. Sources include archives, libraries, and private collectors.

The “Education” section includes lessons with associated study guides and teaching tools, primarily essays. A helpful glossary of terms is also provided. At the time of this review, the “Museum” section was under development.

The primary source materials in the Disability History Museum’s Library are an excellent resource for anyone doing research in this area.

National Congress of American Indians. Access: http://www.ncai.org/.

Brad Matthies, Casper College, bmatthies@caspercollege.edu

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the nation’s oldest American Indian and Alaska Native organization. Since 1944, NCAI has served as the unified voice for tribal nations. Focusing on unified policy development, NCAI advances treaty rights, promotes economic development, and educates the public on tribal issues.

The NCAI website enjoys a clean and balanced design that makes it easy for visitors to locate needed information. A clearly labeled menu of eight categories link to: “Policy Issues,” “Resources,” “Conferences & Events,” “Initiatives,” “News & Updates,” “Native Youth,” “About NCAI,” and “Membership.” The top image header contains a site search box that is accessible no matter where you are on the site. The footer is also static and includes key links, contact information, as well as access to the NCAI’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

Of particular interest to those researching policy development and other tribal issues are the “Policy Issues” and “Resources” categories. The former contains clearly organized submenus that display recent information on policies. The section on resources also contains these same submenus, but also includes custom search boxes for most of the subsections. For example, one could browse the recent NCAI speeches or choose to use the custom search box to search the archive of speeches by keyword and year.

In addition to speeches, the “Resources” category also contains an archive of policy papers. Here users will find papers spanning such topics as important Native American issues, key legislation, and significant accomplishments that are important to tribal nations.

The other category that stands out is “News & Updates.” Researchers can browse recent press releases, general updates, subscribe to the updates via RSS, and share the content through hundreds of social media options. This category also leads to a rich Multimedia Center that includes many videos and an extensive collection of photos that are freely licensed to media, educational institutions, and tribal governments.

The National Congress of American Indians’ website will impress anyone seeking information on tribal polices or tribal issues. The site is a pleasure to navigate, the content is rich, and visitors can use a multitude of Web 2.0 features to stay current and share information.

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