Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts; Carol A. Drost


The Chile Pepper Institute. Access: http://www.chilepepperinstitute.org/.

Vivian M. Linderman, Long Beach City College, vlinderman@lbcc.edu

Hot! Hot! Hot! Grab a tall glass of water before navigating through this website of all things related to chile peppers. The Chile Pepper Institute proudly boasts itself as the “only international, nonprofit organization devoted to education and research related to Capsicum or chile peppers.” The institute conducts research, hosts a teaching and touring garden and the New Mexico Chile Conference, and publishes and sells reports, books, art, and hundreds of chile pepper seed varieties.

The site, managed and hosted by New Mexico State University (NMSU), disseminates information on the pepper from research teams of the College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences and provides links to publications of the NMSU Chile Task Force. External links lead to information about the pepper industry and additional research on the pepper, including physiology, genetics, breeding, growth and pest management, and uses and health benefits. One link actually leads to a LibGuide prepared by the El Paso Community College Libraries highlighting the “Men Behind the Chile Pepper.”

The site is clean and colorful with an easy to navigate interface of main menu tabs with dropdown items. Menu tabs include “Shop,” “News,” “FAQs,” “Chile Info,” “Events,” “Programs,” and “Links.” The FAQs page quickly points out that the “chile” spelling is used when referring to the plant or fruit of the plant, while “chili” designates the tasty dish of the Southwest.

Academics and researchers will likely benefit from the “Chile Info” and “Links” menu selections, although there is interesting information shared throughout the website. The Chile Info tab offers up a number of reports and articles on “Diseases, Disorders & Insects,” “Growing Chile,” “Heat,” “Nutrition,” and more. On the “Nutrition” page, one can find documentation on chile terminology along with salsa recipes and information on cooking with or canning and freezing peppers. The “Links” tab takes web visitors to government agricultural sites and sites on plant science and horticulture. The Chile Pepper Institute site does not have a search feature.

The website is useful to students, educators, researchers, and scientists in the fields of agriculture and horticulture and is a good jumping off point into the world of peppers and the science behind their heat, propagation, uses, and curiosities.

Digital Schomburg. Access: http://schomburgcenter.org/digitalschomburg.

Kim Read, Concordia University, kread@cu-portland.edu

Digital Schomburg is the online component of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Located in Harlem and part of the New York Public Library system, the Schomburg Center is a major research and educational institution concentrating solely on African-American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.

With a history dating back to 1926, the Schomburg Center grew out of the personal collections of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, a “Puerto Rican-born Black scholar and bibliophile.” It is important to note that the Schomburg Center has a global focus on the history and culture of people of African descent, and resources are not limited to an American-only Black experience.

Digital Schomburg brings to life this preservation and curation of the experiences of people of African descent through a variety of different resources. These resources include “Online Exhibitions,” “Books,” “Images & Illustrations,” “Africana Heritage Newsletters,” “Audio/Visual Resources,” and “Selected Resources.” “Books” features more than 400 digitized titles, including 41 books from the African American Women Writers of the 19th Century collection. “Images & Illustrations” offers 500 images of African Americans from the 19th century and more than 11,000 images of Africa and the African Diaspora from the 17th through 20th centuries.

“Online Exhibitions” contains images, full-length books and articles, manuscripts, timelines, maps, and essays. Many of the maps and timelines are interactive. The current Digital Schomburg online exhibitions covers such topics as “The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World,” “Africana Age: African & African Diasporan Transformations in the 20th Century,” “The Abolition of the Slave Trade: The Forgotten Story,” and “In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience.”

This site is a user-friendly resource for college students studying African American history, culture, literature, and politics; the global African Diaspora; notable African Americans such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Malcolm X; and major events and time periods, such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Harlem Renaissance. Devices that don’t readily play Flash files will have trouble with some of the older online exhibitions.

Due to the variety of resource types, from interactive timelines to in-depth articles and full-length books, Digital Schomburg would be appropriate for both college undergraduates (and even secondary students), as well as graduate students.

ReliefWeb. Access: http://reliefweb.int/.

Sue Wortman, University of Michigan, swortman@umich.edu

ReliefWeb is a database developed in conjunction with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and is designed to act as a gateway of information on global natural disasters and crisis areas. The primary audience for the information gathered on this website is international humanitarian workers and those working for nongovernmental organizations, but the site offers a wealth of timely information useful to academic researchers and students across many disciplines.

The landing page of the site highlights geographic areas under the greatest stress around the world, based on the number of updates posted to the site over the last seven days. A basic search box is also available for keyword searching on each page. The help page describes options for advanced search strategies; however, using these options provided mixed results. Despite this weakness, there are myriad other options for finding useful information on this site.

The site is organized using broad categories, which makes it easy to search by specific countries, specific types of disasters, and broad indexed topic areas. For a more comprehensive search, researchers will want to use the “Updates” section, where they can quickly narrow results by county, information agency, format, language, topic, population group, or date of publication. The primary focus is on current information, but some information is available from as far back as the 1970s; the majority of the information was published over the last decade. Undergraduates may find the “Topics” section an excellent place to start their research. Each topic area is organized to provide an overview of information ranging from useful links to other websites, “must read” reports, graphics, and videos.

ReliefWeb also provides a link to its jobs database, where users can search across thousands of international organizations for jobs around the world, ranging from administrative positions to internships and volunteer opportunities.

Overall, this site provides an excellent gateway to research on recent and emerging disasters across the globe. Both beginning and advanced researchers, ranging from those in the health sciences, geology, natural resources, environmental sciences, public policy, international social work, women’s studies, or education would find ReliefWeb an important starting place for their research. Its job listings would also appeal to students interested in transformative careers that can make a social impact.

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