Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts; Carol A. Drost


Asia Foundation. Access: http://asiafoundation.org/.

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

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization working with public and private partners to address critical issues affecting Asia. The foundation’s website provides a superb resource for all programs on Asian government and law, economic development, women’s empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation. The site is clearly structured with easy navigation and keyword searching. Users can access the site by menu choices at the top of the page in six major categories: “About,” “Our Work,” “News & Events,” “Blog,” “Library,” and “Ways to Give.” The page features a modular layout listing most recent items under each category.

“Our Work” is a great resource for students and researchers. It is organized by “Countries” and “Programs.” Upon clicking the country name, users will find a country overview, publications, reports, and projects conducted in the country. The page also lists critical issues and staff experts on the country. “Resource Library” and “Projects” are searchable or users can browse by country or program area.

The “News & Events” section offers an impressive database for locating experts for each country from both the United States and Asia. The database is searchable by country or by program. It lists the experts’ contact information, expertise, news, and posts about or by the expert. The Asia Foundation News comes from “News Releases,” “Media Coverage,” “Events & Speeches,” and “In Asia Blog.”

“Blog” is another good section offering valuable information on the Asia Foundation and its programs. Written by more than 70 renowned experts in more than 20 countries, the weekly resource In Asia “delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as foundation-produced reports and polls.” This firsthand publication could be extremely helpful for students and researchers.

“Library” contains surveys, reports, research, analysis, handouts, brochures, and other materials that range from general overviews of our work to detailed, technical information carried out through programs supported by the Asia Foundation. “Ways to Give” lists all the methods to make donations to the foundation.

Students in international, East Asia studies, or political sciences (or anyone interested in information on Asia) will find a tremendous wealth of resources on this site.

Digital Collections, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Access: http://collections.nlm.nih.gov.

Larry Cooperman, University of Central Florida Libraries-Orlando, Lawrence.Cooperman@ucf.edu

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), a major research component of the National Institutes of Health, is well known in library circles for its extensive, open-source database, PubMed, as well as other extensive online medical resources. NLM has an additional web resource, entitled Digital Collections. NLM’s Digital Collections website contains digitized research material dealing with subjects such as “Medicine in the Americas, 1610–1920,” cholera, and medicine during World War I. The site also covers more contemporary topics such as HIV/AIDS, birth control, and drug use, and includes an extensive range of miscellaneous NLM publications and productions.

The collection consists of digitized books, pamphlets, posters, postcards, photos, films, etc. from around the world and are available in the public domain. Users can refine their searches by subject, author, titles, and date range, and format, and search result conveniently list the number of items available in the digital collections for each search limiter.

Unfortunately, there is no advanced search option available on the website. However, the “Help” link on the website does offer valuable and useful searching techniques (such as refining the user’s search terms), which does compensate for the lack of an advanced search option. “Help” also offers easy-to-understand directions on how to download digital collection items, as well as information on how to read and to understand specific resource records, such as multivolume sets of digital material.

NLM’s Digital Collections website is well suited to a professional medical researcher, as well as students and faculty interested in public health, sociology, and social history. The site is a particularly useful digital resource for medical researchers who are interested in searching for images or electronic books dealing with early medical history, especially pre-20th century subject materials.

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Access: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/.

Zachary Sharrow, College of Wooster, zsharrow@wooster.edu

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is responsible for ensuring the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products (other foods, including shelled eggs, fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration). As is the case with many federal agencies, its website serves a number of different constituencies: agency employees and the industries under its purview, as well as consumers and researchers. This makes for a sometimes unwieldy resource that is nevertheless packed with information.

Contents are broadly split into “Topics,” which is covered in more detail below; “Programs & Services,” including regulatory information for industry, ways to contact FSIS, and information for employees; “Newsroom,” which contains an archive of news releases from 1996 onward, records of meetings, transcripts of speeches, and communications to Congress; and “Forms.” An “About FSIS” page provides information on the agency’s structure, history, and mission.

The “Topics” section includes the bulk of the information likely to be of interest to academic audiences. Users will find dozens of fact sheets, addressing topics from safe food handling to inspection and labeling requirements. The FSIS Red Book, published yearly, reports the results of the agency’s chemical residue testing program, while the Blue Book describes planning for the forthcoming year’s tests. Reports on microbial contaminants and FSIS data collection and testing procedures are also available.

Other highlights include a directory of establishments under inspection, an archive of recalls issued by the FSIS, complete policy and enforcement documents, emergency preparedness guidelines, and laboratory guidebooks.

As one might expect with a resource this dense, locating a specific piece of information can sometimes be a challenge, even when making use of the search function, site map, or alphabetical index. Fortunately, multilingual question and answer databases are available for both consumer safety (“Ask Karen”) and inspection or policy issues (“askFSIS”). Users can search for previously asked questions or submit their own.

FSIS is an indispensable resource for consumers, students, and researchers interested in food safety and public health. Users will want to keep in mind that regulatory oversight is shared with the FDA as well as state and local agencies. Those interested in foodborne diseases will also wish to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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