242_internet_reviews

Internet Reviews

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

Ancient History Encyclopedia. Access: http://www.ancient.eu.

The old Montaigne saying of the more things change, the more they stay the same can be said of the study of ancient history—that everything that is old is new again. The study of ancient history allows us to learn more about how our own histories and cultures evolved from ancient history and cultures. A useful and comprehensive online resource for studying ancient history and cultures is the Ancient History Encyclopedia.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the Ancient History Encyclopedia, to paraphrase its founder Jan van der Crabben, seeks to create a comprehensive web portal dealing with the many facets of ancient history across the continents of North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. According to the website, the Ancient History Encyclopedia is the most popular online history encyclopedia in the world, with more than 19 million visitors in 2017.

The Ancient History Encyclopedia website draws visitors by providing a centralized website dealing with many aspects of the history and culture of the ancient world. Searching consists of a basic search link. Unfortunately, there is no advanced search option, but there is a good alphabetized index of content found in a separate link, which does compensate for the lack of an advanced search feature. The “Maps” section of the website contains links to maps of the ancient world (including a unique map of museums in the ancient world). Lastly, a unique link found on this website is a link to an ancient cultures’ weights and measures converter, a feature not usually found on history websites.

There are some drawbacks with the website. One disadvantage is the necessity of always having to navigate back to the homepage. Another drawback is the advertisements found on the search pages. However, paying for a membership fee (as found on the membership section of the website) eliminates the advertisements.

Despite the drawbacks mentioned above, the Ancient History Encyclopedia is an important and useful reference tool for anyone interested in understanding more about a large number of ancient histories and cultures. Recommended.—Larry Cooperman, University of Central Florida Libraries, lawrence.cooperman@ucf.edu

Inequality. Access: https://inequality.org/.

Inequality.org is a project of the Institute of Policy Studies that focuses on what can be done to narrow the staggering economic inequality that effects almost every aspect of people’s lives. The site strives to disseminate high-quality information and insights about the historical and current inequalities in its effort to create a more equal place. The “Action” tab provides simple but critical steps to becoming engaged in campaigns that address inequality.

There are contributors from the United States and around the world. The editorial team consists of Sarah Anderson, Chuck Collins, Josh Hoxie, Negin Owliaei, Jessicah Pierre, and Sam Pizzigati. The institute also works on policy development and implementation at the state, local, and international level to address inequality.

Inequality.org has been in existence since 2011 and is funded by the Institute of Policy Studies along with personal donations. The site is easy to navigate and user-friendly. Tabs along the top include “Topics,” “Research & Commentary,” “Our Great Divide,” “Facts,” “Resources,” “Our Work,” and more. Social media is greatly used to share content. Information and data are collected from several sources such as federal government departments and agencies, national and international corporations, national and international nonprofit organizations, and more. Inequality.org is accessible on Internet-enabled tablets and smartphones with no loss of data or information provided. Users can share the information on social media, investigate further through the hyper-linked sources, and download or enlarge the graphs. The site’s content is licensed is under a Creative Commons 3.0 License.

Inequality.org gathers content from other sources on inequalities. Researchers will find the “Topics” section particularly useful.Subjects include “Gender Gap,” “Health Effects,” “Middle Class Squeeze,” and “Student Debt,” just to name a few. The subscription-based weekly curated newsletter offers easy access to current issues with subsections such as “Inequality by the Numbers,” “Words of Wisdom,” “Greed at a Glance,” and “Must Reads.” Students in business, social sciences, economics, history, political science, ethnic studies, and gender and sexuality studies will find this resource useful for finding facts, reports, data, and other resources on inequalities of all sorts.—Twanna Hodge, SUNY Upstate Medical University Health Sciences Library, hodgetw@upstate.edu

UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Access: https://www.unep-wcmc.org/.

The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is an organization that seeks to improve the management of biodiversity while minimizing the impact of humans on the environment. It does this by collecting data and creating tools that analyze or visualize this data. It partners with governments, businesses, and nongovernmental agencies that use these tools to strengthen and inform policymaking. UNEP-WCMC is itself a partnership between UN Environment and the British nonprofit WCMC.

The website is aimed at a specialized audience of experts conversant with the ins and outs of environmental policy issues rather than the general public. But rather than blandly dispensing technocratic information online, the organization has created a sprawling but aesthetically pleasing website. It has a sleek design that is easy to navigate, but also includes some stunningly beautiful nature photography on every page. Navigation tabs across the top of the homepage organize the site into various categories.

The “Featured work” tab briefly describes 28 different projects of the organization, and each description contains a hyperlink to a page with more detailed information on each project. These detailed pages discuss a particular problem or issue, the organization’s solution, and identifies individual team members who worked on the project.

One project developed tools to help countries track and manage protected species. Another project works to holistically examine the intersection of poverty, the environment, and natural resources. Another project created a database that allows businesses to access biodiversity data to improve their decision making about potential environmental impacts.

The “Resources & Data” tab allows users to access publications and data visualizations that could be useful for student or faculty research. It includes a listing of maps, spatial data tools, books, reports, and scholarly articles produced by the organization. Users can easily retrieve specific types of resources. Older resources are accessible through a link to the online Biodiversity Heritage Library. A sidebar on the page also outlines UNEP-WCMC’s data use and intellectual property policies.

Librarians who work with faculty or students interested in environmental science, biology, environmental policy, oceanography, or conservation should consider showing them the UNEP-WCMC’s website so that they can explore some of the unique tools that it has developed—Reiley Noe, Hanover College, noe@hanover.edu

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