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Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts and Carol A. Drost, editors

Matrix: A Scholarly Resource for the Study of Women's Religious Com- munities from 400-1600 CE. Access: http://matrix.bc.edu/.

The goal of Matrix is to collect and pro- vide access to all existing information regard- ing professional Christian women in Europe between 400-1600 CE. Primary and second- ary sources comprise the majority of this multilingual collection, which fo- cuses on unpublished archival materials. It is a collaborative project, with an international and multidisci- plinary assembly of editors, contributors, and board members.

The heart of Matrix is the Monasticon, a database of religious community profiles. Monasticon documents not only traditionally defined communal institutions and high profile figures, but embraced trends in historiography and incorporated voluntary and informal structures as well.

To fully capture the range of women’s religious communities, Matrix’s founders expanded the definitions beyond examples set by male religious communities, which failed to capture the entire history or experience for medieval women. Communities in the Monasticon vaiy from nunneries, beguinages, and congregations to hospices and spiritual groups. Profiles vary in depth of coverage, providing alternative names, medieval and modern locations, dates founded and ended, notable heads, and founding members. Contributors and record modification dates are included. By expanding beyond traditional definitions of religious communities, the Monasticon is the first systematic attempt to document the variety of women’s communities in the premodern period.

Three areas of Matrix elaborate on the Monasticon, supplying hundreds of years of research and documents. “Bibliographia,” a growing database of primary and secondary source citation, incorporates entries from several standard bibliographies as well as recent contributions from scholars. “Commentaria,” also under development, provides citations (some with links to full text) to secondaiy materials. A number of these papers are not available anywhere or have not been published. Matrix also includes a glossary of terms, an image database, and a biographical database of important figures in Christianity, medieval Europe, and religious women.

Navigating this site is not difficult. Each page within Matrix has a sidebar menu, listing all sections of the site, highlighting the chosen page, and displaying the browsing or searching choices, which varies from section to section. Matrix has improved since last reviewed {Choice, Supl999) with the addition of search tips screens, easier navigation, and the ability to truncate terms when using the search option.

Although Matrix’s intended audience is upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars, it is an excellent resource for anyone with an interest in medieval, religious, or women’s studies research. Much of this material is not available in other formats, making this site invaluable. Highly recommended.—Kimberly Bartosz, University of Wisconsin Parkside, bartosz@uwp.edu

Global Exchange.Access.- http://www. globalexchange. org/.

Global Exchange is a human rights organization founded in 1988. It describes itself as being “dedicated to promoting environmental, political, and social justice around the world.” Global Exchange’s program involves promoting global awareness through travel programs, education, and sale of products made throughout the world, and the Web site promotes itself.

The site opens with a graphic page containing links to its other pages. From the homepage, one can explore their “Reality Tours,” read world human rights news updates, find out about Global Exchange’s political campaigns, or learn about the global economy. Technically, the site works well, although there are some dead links to outside sources. The most informative links are those titled “Global Economy” and “Update.” The “Update” link reports recent human rights news from worldwide sources.

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 fortechnical services at Willamette University, e-mail: cdrost@willamette.edu

The “Global Economy” page lists links to outside sources that discuss ways to democratize world economies to make them friendlier to human rights.

Much of the information is self-promoting. The sections on reality tours, while informative to someone who wants to take one of these tours, is not applicable to those wanting to find reference information on the site.

From the title, the section “Fair Trade” seems as though it would be about fair trade. Although it does contain some information on fair trade and links to the page on global economy, it is primarily a store site for Global Exchange to sell items made in other countries. If you need information on Global Exchange, this is an excellent site; if you need information on human rights, you would be better served at another site.

For reference use, more informative sites on human rights are Human Rights Watch, available at http://www.hrw.org, and the United Nations Page for Human Rights at http ://w w w. un. org/rights.

Even though the site is attractive, it does not provide enough original material to serve as a general resource on human rights. A researcher’s time could be better spent on sites that are more subject-specific.

Nevertheless, for someone needing information on economies that promote human rights, Global Exchange is helpful.—Delores Carlito, University of Alabama at Birmingham, dcarlito@beowulf.mhsl.uab.edu

Web Developer's Virtual Library. Access: http://wdvl.com/.

The Web Developer’s Virtual Library (WDVL) is a site that offers the latest in Web development product news. It also provides an archive of articles and reviews, discussion outlets, job resources, and tutorials aimed at Web developers at all levels.

In fact, this site has so much to offer that it may overwhelm the casual Web browser. But if you know exactly what you are looking for, you won’t be disappointed. Around since 1998, the WDVL is updated daily and resides within the Internet.com realm (which confusingly enough sponsors a dozen or so other Web development-related sites). But Internet.com’s take on their WDVL as “the original encyclopedia of Web technology” is a fair and accurate assessment.

A strong classification system exists throughout this site, which has developed out of years of experience between its authors who emphasize balancing the “abstractionist” and “visualist” views of Web page design.

The advertisements are placed in the header and the left side bar, thus giving the viewer a clear path of options. The right side bar, with only one ad at the top, contains links to pages within the WDVL site, with a user poll at the bottom.

A nice irony is that while this site uses the latest and flashiest Web programs, it is presented in a straightforward and refined way, much like some of the more effective library sites that offer annotated lists with direct navigation.

The Web Developer’s Virtual Library would be useful to someone who is responsible for maintaining state-of-the-art Web pages with high visibility and who needs to stay informed of the latest news and software. It may also be useful for an intermediate Web page custodian who needs a quick refresher or needs to stay current with the latest terminology. However, it would not be a helpful site for someone looking for the latest book reviews about Web development and design or a beginner looking for a quick way to learn HTML in just a few easy steps.

Librarians may not benefit from all of the cutting-edge programs that are presented on this site, but they may benefit from some of the tutorials and product reviews that one has little time for in a multitask environment. Given this, I would recommend this site to a librarian in need of information about a specific topic or tool.—Daniel Lincoln Nolting, Bethany College, d.nolting@mail.bethanywv.

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