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College & Research Libraries News

Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts and Carol A. Drost, editors

Public History Resource Center. Access: www.publichistory.org.

Public history is a rapidly growing academic field; more than 100 American and Canadian universities offer degrees in the discipline, and public historians work in countless museums, archives, and local history associations. The Public History Resource Center’s (PHRC) mission is to provide a “forum for research, scholarship, networking, and education in public history,” and their Web site serves this mission by providing a valuable online resource for students, librarians, and public history professionals.

PHRC’s Web site, redesigned in February 2003, is exemplary in design, delivery, and intellectual content. This easy-to-navigate Web site includes general information about public history, a collection of online publications by PHRC, and navigation aids and authority information.

The information section includes essays on the meaning of public history, descriptive essays on various jobs in the field, links to degree-offering programs, and dozens of graduate and undergraduate syllabi for courses in public history, oral history, archival studies, preservation, and other topics. It also offers a drop-down menu of resources selectable across a range of topics.

The publications section includes articles on archival and genealogical topics and “in the field” essays by practicing public historians. It includes a collection of Web site reviews organized by such topics as the Progressive Era, labor history, women’s history, and African- American history. Web sites are evaluated by such criteria as content/scope, authority/bias, and currency, and there is an impressive section outlining PHRC’s Web site evaluation methodology.

The site contains detailed information about PHRC, its mission, the editorial staff and contributors, and how to access and use materials on the site. It also includes a well-organized site map and an index that, as of this writing, was still under construction.

PHRC’s Web site is a newly invigorated and rapidly growing site, driven by a dedication to the organization’s mission, an excellent editorial board, and a group of highly qualified contributors. Through good Web design and a pleasing aesthetic sensibility, PHRC’s Web site makes it a pleasure to delve deep into its rich and growing trove of intellectual content.—Gene Hyde, Radford University, wehyde@radford.edu

Southern Oregon Digital Archives. Access:soda.sou.edu.

The Southern Oregon Digital Archives (SODA), funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is a digitized collection of items pertaining to the ecology and native peoples of the Southern Oregon region. Since July 2001, over 1,300 federal, state, and local documents held by the Southern Oregon University Library have been digitized. Also included are unpublished documents that are not easily accessible to the public and materials on loan from other institutions. SODA currently consists of two data collections: the Southern Oregon Bioregions Collection and the First Nations Tribal Collection.

Because of the diversity of the area, the Southern Oregon Bioregions Collection is valuable to those interested in ecology and environmental issues. According to the SODA Web site, the region is home to thousands of plant species, four mountain ranges, and five river drainages. The collection contains documents such as plant and animal studies, watershed assessments, environmental impact statements, and county land use studies.

The First Nations Tribal Collection is useful for the information it contains regarding the history, language, culture, and folklore of the Native Americans from this area. The SODA Project worked with area tribes to identify appropriate materials for inclusion in the database. In addition to documents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, other items include treaties, congressional hearings, monographs and journal articles, and specialized sources, such as tribal language dictionaries.

Joni R. Roberts is associate university librarian for public services and collection development at Willamette University, e-mail: jroberts@willamette.edu, and Carol A. Drost is associate university librarian for technical services at Willamette University, e-mail: cdrost@willamette.edu

Materials in both collections are browseable by title or author. Searching the databases defaults to title, author, subject, year and keyword, but search options can be modified to include almost any field in the database, as well as some more sophisticated options. Advanced options may be confusing for novice users, but the default options should be sufficient for most of those users.

The overall design of the site is well done and easy to navigate. Help screens are useful, although some of the explanatory language has too much jargon. The processes that went into the development of the archives are well documented, possibly because the project was the product of a grant. “Technical Aspects” lists all of the hardware and software used in the development of the project, as well as overviews of the processes involved. The credits page acknowledges designers, programmers, and others involved in the development. There is also an effort to acknowledge copyright and include all of the documentations and permissions for resources contained and images used.— Linda Maddux, Reed College, madduxl@ imap.reed.edu

Jamestown Rediscovery. Access:www. apva.org/jr.html.

The Association for Preservation of Virginia Antiquities has conducted archeological research in Jamestown Island, Virginia, since 1994. It maintains Jamestown Rediscovery as a source of information about the project.

The site is well organized, making it easy to find desired information. A section on “Findings” contains maps of the two main excavation areas, with interactive links to information about significant discoveries and locations within each site. Another section has links to two online exhibits. One showcases the history of the project and many of the artifacts recovered, while the second illustrates techniques used by archeologists to perform their work. The site also contains a history of the Jamestown settlement with information on key figures and events, including a historical timeline.

Links to research sources include a refereed e-journal, the “Journal of the Jamestown Rediscovery Center.” One link points to technical information about ceramics discovered at the site. Of particular interest to students are several interactive exercises illustrating how archeological research is performed. Finally, there is a link to information about the Jamestown 2007 Conference, a comparative historical and archaeological project conducted by a consortium of institutions and sites. Much of this information is limited but may be expected to grow as the project proceeds.

A number of publications are available from the Association for Preservation of Virginia Antiquities via links to the online store. Also in the publications section are a series of interim field reports for the years 1994 to 1999- These can be downloaded in PDF format and contain descriptions of the work done and major discoveries during each year. Contact information includes links to the parent organization, the staff office, and the program director. Finally, a link to a donations page offers a way for interested users to provide financial contributions to the project.

Overall, the site is very nicely designed but lacks current information, even though it lists a copyright date of 2003. For example, the interim field reports stop at 1999 and the two online exhibitions are derived from displays hosted in 1998 and 1999. The single online issue of the e-journal is dated January 2001. One wonders if the project is still as active as it was in the 1990s.

Despite the lack of current material, Jamestown Rediscovery can be useful to anyone interested in the history of early Jamestown or early colonial artifacts and culture.—Mark A. Stoffan, Western North Carolina Library Network,mstoffan@ıvncln.lib.unca.edu

Call for writers

If you’re interested in writing for Internet Reviews, please contact editors Joni R. Roberts, jroberts@willamette.edu, or Carol A. Drost, cdrost@willamette.edu.

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