Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts; Carol A. Drost


Administration for Children and Families. Access: http://www.acf.hhs.gov.

Barbara Valentine, Linfield College, bvalen@linfield.edu

As a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) includes programs that focus on empowering families toward economic independence; encouraging healthy, supportive communities; creating partnerships with frontline service providers; improving access to services; and addressing the needs of vulnerable populations. The ACF organizational chart is enormous, comprising 18 specialized offices across ten regions around the country. This well-organized website offers many ways to access the documents, communication, and connections made by the agency.

Tabs across the top of the homepage leverage the more current information by category. “Find Help” funnels resources to the appropriate level, whether parent/caregivers, individuals, or communities. “Programs” highlights the core areas, including children and youth, families, communities, financial security, emergency response, Hispanic outreach, human trafficking, LGBT, refugees, and native tribes. “Grant and Funding” lists opportunities and how to apply. “Data and Research” features ACF facts, figures, and reports, including research on ACF programs and populations from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation. Finally, the “Media Center” facilitates access to relevant blogs, videos, speeches, events, fact sheets, press releases, and more.

The search box provides Google-style access across dates (back to 2000) and materials to all the site’s information. For instance, a search on “sex trafficking” retrieved 300 results, including links to a fact sheet on LGBT Youth, notice of a conference, the Human Trafficking program main page, a chatroom, a blog, and a transcript to a recent congressional action with links to related laws. While some materials seem dated and at least one video was inaccessible, most content appears relevant, clearly presented, and useful.

Multiple formats offer different content experiences, inviting a variety of visitors, both professional and lay. All text pages include a “Listen” button as well as opportunities to share thoughts via familiar social media sites. Agency-produced videos, including counselor testimonials, program descriptions, and instructional webinars, along with slick Ad Council announcements, offer a range of perspectives and are all YouTube-available.

The site seems best suited to community members, caregivers, and individuals seeking practical information and connections. Researchers will also discover an enormous stash of agency-produced studies. While content here clearly shines through a government lens, the experience offers a diversity of issues and solutions that make it well worth the visit.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Access: http://www.mofa.go.jp/.

Jia Mi, The College of New Jersey, jmi@tcnj.edu

The site for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan is well organized and contains many resources on Japan’s foreign policy, news, relations with other countries, and consular services. This official website is clearly designed with menu choices at the top of the page in four major categories: “News,” “Foreign Policy,” “Countries and Regions,” and “Consular Services.” A search box located in the upper righthand corner of the homepage allows users quick access to all the resources and related websites.

“News” includes a listing of meetings, press conferences, speeches, press releases, and interviews. The news items are arranged by topic as well as by date. Available archival information is also presented, for example, monthly press conferences by the deputy press secretary are provided from 1995 to the present.

The “Foreign Policy” section is of particular importance to the user. The “Diplomatic Blue-book” is an annual report on Japan’s foreign policy and activities published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Users can access fully downloadable PDF reports from 1971 to 2014. Each report is arranged into four chapters including an overview, Japan’s foreign policy by region, Japan’s foreign policy on major global issues, and Japan’s diplomacy. This page also contains reports and white papers on official development assistance, “Japan’s Security/Peace & Stability of the International Community,” and economic and public diplomacy.

Another important feature on the homepage is the “Countries & Region” section. It offers basic data on Japan’s relations with other countries. Users can access the country either by clicking on the map or via the alphabetical list. Diplomatic relations, bilateral treaties and agreements, number of residents, trade data, direct investment, and economic cooperation with the selected country are presented. Archives and related topics are also available on the page.

“Consular Services” provides links to Japanese embassies and consulates in the world and embassies and consulates in Japan. The page also includes information on visas, certification, and useful links about Japan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan site is an excellent place to start exploring the resources on Japan’s foreign policy, bilateral relations, and trade data with other countries. Undergraduates interested in political science, foreign policy, economics, and international studies will find this a valuable and helpful site.

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Access: http://www.giss.nasa.gov.

John Repplinger, Willamette University, jrepplin@willamette.edu

The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) is a major research division of NASA that broadly studies global change brought about by natural and man-made environmental factors. Since its creation in 1961, GISS has become a leading international center in the study of atmospheric modeling and climate change in atmospheric, land surface, and ocean processes.

The homepage includes the most recent news about GISS in the form of Twitter posts, recent publications, and selected research and featured news reports. The main navigation box does a modest job of guiding visitors, but this site lacks a quick search box, which regrettably makes navigating much more challenging.

“News and Features” chronologically lists more than 170 of the most recent news releases, science briefs, and research features dating back to 1997; these are geared toward the general public. A few dozen videos highlight GISS research activities, such as the short video “Temperature Data: 1880–2011.” All of the video links unfortunately lead to the general NASA Video Gallery Portal instead of directly to specific videos.

Thirteen major research projects and group pages are listed in the “Projects and Groups” section. These range from Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Model Intercomparison Project to Astrobiology, Climate Impacts, and Global Climate Modeling. The pages succinctly summarize the scope of the project/group, current developments, team members, history, references, and contact information.

More than 3,900 publications dating back to 1961 are available in the “Publications” section, all of which are authored or coauthored by GISS scientists and colleagues. While most publications are refereed journal articles, there are also author bibliographies, doctoral dissertations, technical reports, book chapters, and conference proceedings. They are indexed by year and journal name/publication site, but there is again no search box. Each publication links to a general abstract page that occasionally links to the full text.

“Datasets and Images” will likely be the most useful to researchers and students, due to its wide variety of climate data. Much of the data is available as graphs, maps, and previously analyzed data, but a lot of raw data can be accessed, as well.

Overall, the NASA GISS website is recommended for students and researchers involved in climate research in atmospheric, land surface, and ocean processes, plus, to a lesser extent, astrophysics and planetary science.

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