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Association of College & Research Libraries

Internet Reviews

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

ARTFL Project. Access:http://humanities. uchicago.edu/ARTFL/ARTFL.html.

Scholars in the humanities are often characterized as reluctant to adapt to the increasingly electronic nature of information resources, yet it seems clear that the Web offers the potential for exciting new approaches to scholarship, particularly in textual analysis. The ARTFL Project is an excellent example of the power of technology in enhancing scholarship in the humanities.

ARTFL, American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language, is a cooperative project established in 1981 by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago (UC). Based at UC, the project has developed an impressive database of full-text resources in French, as well as a Web site with a variety of resources for francophiles.

ARTFL’s main database includes nearly 2,0 texts written between the 13th and 20th centuries, ranging from classic works of French literature to various kinds of nonfiction prose and technical writing. The collection covers a broad range of disciplines, including religious, philosophical, political, and scientific works. A bibliography of the main database is available for browsing or searching. More specialized databases have been added as well, including databases of Provençal poetry and works by French women authors. Denis Diderot’s monumental Encyclopedie is also available as a separate searchable database.

Users explore the databases using PhiloLogic, a search engine designed by ARTFL for easy yet powerful searching of large fulltext databases. Extensive help is available on each of the search pages, including instructions on use of accents and special characters, and database-specific details on problems or idiosyncrasies. Users may search for a single word, word root; prefix or suffix, or a list of words in a single text, full database, or subset. The combination of this powerful software with the breadth of the collection offers exciting possibilities for textual analysis.

Access to the ARTFL databases requires an institutional subscription, but the ARTFL page includes many freely accessible resources. The ARTFL Reference Collection, may be of interest to undergraduate students of French, with a searchable collection of classic French dictionaries and a verb conjugator. A list of collaborative projects includes intriguing resources for historians, such as digitized pamphlets and periodicals of the French Revolution.

The ARTFL Project site is well organized and easy to navigate, with quick links to resources and clear paths to background information. Contact information for the authors is readily available. It is difficult to determine the currency of the pages, as dates of updating are not provided; this would be a useful addition to an otherwise excellent site.—Lori Robare, University of Oregon, lrobare@oregon. uoregon.edu

SciQuest.com. Access:http://www. sciquest.com/.

SciQuest.com is the rich virtual presence of SciQuest.com Inc., based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. “The Internet Source for Scientific Products,” the site is in essence a huge e-market for scientific products used worldwide by pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology, industry, and education organizations. More than 840 suppliers offer customers an extensive line of products in this efficient, online marketplace for laboratory products and services. Customers can search alphabetically or via a text-based search to locate products by supplier or category, then complete their online purchases. Categories, when selected, automatically offer a selection of narrower subcategories so users may truly refine their product searches.

SciQuest provides much more than straight commercial product and vendor information. A significant portion of this site is dedicated to providing research news. For example, in the SciCentral gateway, the “What’s New" section includes press releases from various sources. The “Research Highlights” section allows one to searching the current contents of Nature magazine and the full text of news releases from various academic institutions. “Science in the News” offers the latest science news from such news sources as the BBC News and Reuters. Sidebars contain links to conference and tradeshow directories, scientific databases, online funding services, and much more. A “Special Features” section highlights a changing selection of topics, such as K-12 science, ethics, and women in science. A “Latest Additions” section alerts users to fresh material.

This is a sophisticated, well-designed site; it is streamlined and easy to navigate. For example, there are numerous access gateways to the same information, from broad subject category to the more finely tuned. Despite the amazing amount of information provided in its pages, the site does not seem cluttered and is kind to the eyes. It includes an advanced search feature, site map, help in its standard footer information, and a customer 800 number.

Free registration is required to gain access to the Web site’s full features, such as a monthly e-newsletter and the personalized news alerts. However, one can explore the site and take the site tour without registering. While this is clearly a commercial site, and probably most useful to the serious scientific community, there is much here to explore. Anyone with an interest in tracking the latest scientific news, for example, will find a visit to SciQuest.com worthwhile.—;Judy Matthews, Michigan State University, matthews@pa.msu.edu

International Theatre Design Archive.

Access:http://www.siue.edu/PROJECT2000.

The International Theatre Design Archive (ITDA) is an online archive whose goal is to provide access to images and information about theater productions from around the world. To theater faculty, students, and professionals, this is an idea that sounds almost too good to be true. ITDA is sponsored by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and is partially funded by Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.

Scenic, costume, and lighting designs are submitted to ITDA from professional, regional, or educational productions. Once submitted, the designs are reviewed by a panel of theater professionals before being added to the archive. According to a banner on the site’s front page, ITDA set a goal of offering “2000 Theatre Designs by the Year 2000.” However, as of September 2000, there are a total of 745 theater designs available.

The archived production designs fall into three categories: “Scene Designs” (428), “Costume Designs” (256), and “Lighting Designs” (61). Each of the three categories has indexes for play title, playwright, designer, and producer. Producer in this case means the theater group putting on a particular production. By selecting one of these choices, the user is given an alphabetical list from which to choose. Clicking on an entry, one is given a summary of the production, including the title of the play and production credits. Entries in the “Scene Design” category may include playwright, director, scene designer, lighting designer, and costume designer.

The images are the most exciting feature of this site. For each production listed, a hypertext link leads the user to a Web site that contains photographs or drawings of the various designs. The peer review process is evident here, as the designs are of high quality, although the number of designs available for each production varies greatly. The user will find these images helpful as a source of ideas for productions or as a way to research the design history of a given play.

Unfortunately the site is in need of updating, as there are a number of dead or referred links to the image sites. Also, the use of the word “international” in the site’s name should be taken with a grain of salt. Although productions from many countries are included, the majority are from the United States.

While the content of the site falls short of its intent, ITDA demonstrates the great potential for this type of online archival resource. By no means a comprehensive collection of productions, it does provide access to images and information that will be useful to all those involved in theater production.—Ford Schmidt, Willamette University, fschmidt@willamette. edu

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