12_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

The Free Speech Project. Access: https://freespeechproject.georgetown.edu/.

The Free Speech Project is a nonpartisan and independent resource for tracking free speech events and news, mostly as it relates to higher education. The two-year project launched in 2018 and is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. This project is initiated and supported by Georgetown University faculty, although it is an independent resource from Georgetown. The Free Speech Project endeavors to provide a foundation to support “open conversation in the public sphere.”

Of particular note on the site is the Free Speech Tracker. This tool is a web aggregator that maps out free speech controversies around the county. Each incident is briefly described by date, location, key players, outcomes (if any), further details, and external resources. The speech tracker tool is the most dynamic area of the site. Although the details of the maps are crowded in certain areas, this is a great resource to quickly bring researchers up to speed on a topic. Topics range from a union protest involving inflated balloons to state legislatures limiting teachers sharing political ideology. Free speech incidents are categorized by Campus, State and Local Government, and Civil Society. Some of the reports are retrospective, detailing free speech incidents that happened as long as five years ago. Free Speech Tracker acknowledges that it is a work in progress, and can by no means attempt to keep track of every free speech controversy in the United States. Its far-reaching goal is to generate public awareness and interest in the protection of free speech.

Overall the site is very interesting, but it can be a little tricky to navigate all the incidents via the national map or the accompanying chart. It is easy to get lost in the navigation or lack thereof. There is a very rudimentary tagging system, supported by a keyword search box. The site hosts a very current news area and visitors may sign up to receive emails from the project. There are six issues of a newsletter dated June through December 2018. It is not clear if the newsletters are only biannually released. Recommend as a resource for upper-level high school students or undergraduate college students researching first amendment issues.—Molly Susan Mathias, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, mathiasm@uwm.edu

The Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal. Access: https://plateauportal.libraries.wsu.edu/.

The Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal is a digitization project featuring content curated and managed by Native Americans from the high plateau region of the Northwest United States. Produced in collaboration with Washington State University, the portal has clearly defined roles for university and tribal leaders that ensure content is vetted by tribal members and includes “tribal knowledge and metadata.” The resulting portal, in the words of Yakama Nation Librarian Vivian Adams, “gives us the opportunity to use our own words to interpret our history.”

The homepage opens with Tribal Paths, a series of eight images that link to content specific to each of the tribes and groups represented in the portal: the Coeur d’Alene Tribe of Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, the Confederated Tribes Of The Colville Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, and the Nez Perce Tribe.

Selecting the Nimiîpuu [Nez Perce] Tribal Path opens a section of materials curated by the tribe, and features an audio greeting in the Nez Perce language with a list of recently added items below it. A range of content types is found throughout the portal, including documents, audio files, video files, and photographs of people, places, and artifacts, with many names in Native languages. Content is culled from both tribal collections and materials housed at Washington State University, and there are plans to add more content.

In addition to Tribal Paths, the portal is also organized by “Categories” and “Collections.” The “Categories” section includes Education, Religion, Lands, Artistry and Artifacts, Wars/Military/Conflict, Natural Resources, and others. “Collections” include oral histories and the “Confluence Story Gathering Collection,” which features 66 video interview excerpts of indigenous elders and leaders discussing culture, history, traditions, adapting to modernity, connection to the land, treaty rights, and other topics.

The Plateau People’s Web Portal is an important resource that presents the Native American perspective on modern and traditional life in the plateau region. Highly recommended.—Gene Hyde, University of North Carolina-Asheville, ghyde@unca.edu

United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics (UNU-WIDER). Access: https://www.wider.unu.edu/.

The World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER), founded in Helsinki, Finland, in 1985 as the first research center of United Nations University (UNU), offers economic analysis and policy advice to support “sustainable and equitable development” for African and other evolving economies. UNU-WIDER brings researchers from different parts of the world together to grapple more broadly with pressing issues of mutual concern to policymakers, such as inequality, poverty, and climate change. Creative approaches might include, for example, how Bangladesh’s way of coping with environmental “shocks” might help countries now having to adapt to climate change.

The site features a wealth of information. Try the introductory video under “About” for a quick engaging look at UNU-WIDER’s efforts. Then browse the header main menu categories—“Projects,” “Publications,” “Data,” “Experts,” “Events,” “Learning,” “Blog,” and “Impact”—to sample what’s here and to serve as a guide when needed.

“Projects” features “Current Programmes” and themes (e.g., Transformation or Inclusion), which link to ongoing and completed work. The layout is a bit chaotic, but subjects, searching options, and filters help facilitate wandering. “Publications” seems more orderly, providing access to research by type (e.g., working paper, book, blog, policy brief), topic (e.g., Agriculture and Food Security, Gender) projects, and methodologies plus filters by date, region, and country. “Data” offers downloadable datasets produced during the course of UNU-WIDER work (e.g., “World Income Inequality Database” or “Government Revenue Dataset”).

“Experts” highlights the roles of the 32 international economists and scholars who coordinate and engage in the research and programs. “Events” links to conferences, seminars, and workshops, recorded and freely available. “Learning” connects scholars to research opportunities, including fellowships.

The WIDERAngle Blog includes meaty commentary, reports, and policy briefs, as well as specific questions and answers that also link into related projects. (e.g., “What should Mozambique do with the revenue from natural gas projects?” “Why are workers getting a smaller share of the cake in Mexico?”). “Impact” showcases some of the projects affecting the world of development, providing another way to browse content.

UNU-WIDER presents independently researched and uniquely global approaches and solutions to the future of development. Undergraduates may find the research articles intellectually daunting, but the site provides multiple formats and ways of engaging with and exploring the material. Everyone will likely find here new ways of thinking about the world’s challenges.—Barbara Valentine, Linfield College, bvalen@linfield.edu

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