College & Research Libraries News

Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts and Carol A. Drost, editors

Initiative and Referendum Institute.


The Initiative and Referendum Institute (IRI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan re- search organization dedicated to pro- viding information and resources in support of ballot initiatives and refer- enda. Their guiding principle, quoted in the words of Thomas Jefferson, is that there is “no safer depository of the ulti- mate power of society but the people them- selves.”

The IRI homepage features a color-coded map showing which states have initiatives or popular referenda. A pull-down menu of all 50 states links the user to individual pages with historical summaries, governmental bodies that oversee referendum processes, and initiative or referendum requirements. The homepage also features an initiative and referendum timeline and an offer to register for free e-mail updates. On the left side of every page, there is a static frame with a useful table of contents. Unfortunately, none of the pages have dates and some parts of the site, including pages for the advisory board, legal advisors, and attorney general opinions, are still “under construction.” Disappointingly, the “Library” page is a direct link to

Interesting features of the site include a section on statewide initiatives and referenda with a table listing various data on the initiative processes. There is also a section on historical initiative and referendum usage with statistics available for the years 1898 to 1998 and a separate free historical database (which requires user registration) contains information on numerous ballot questions that have appeared on statewide ballots since 1904. The database has search fields for subjects, status, states, type, election result, and date. There are brief results for each search, with links to full reports, as well as summary reports for each list of search results.

The IRI site is a useful starting point for activists and students wanting an introduction to initiative and referenda definitions and history as well as concrete advice on how to begin the process. However, parts of the site appear to be out of date, for example, the “Legislative Watch” section’s last entry is from 2001, and under important “Legal Cases,” the site links to the circuit court decision in Buckeyv.American ConstitutionalFσun- dation even though the case now has been heard by the Supreme Court. Users would need to do further research to uncover more current and accurate infor- mation.—Geni Foudy, University of Maryland at College Park, Gf48@ıı

Gabriel: The Gateway to Europe's National Libraries. Access: http://www.

Established in 1997, Gabriel is the official Web site of the national libraries in Europe. It offers a gateway to the bibliographic holdings and treasures of 41 national libraries, representing the 39 member states of the Council of Europe. The cooperative effort to develop and maintain the site is handled by the Conference of European National Librarians, a group created to expand and promote the national libraries’ role in Europe.

Gabriel offers access to the Web site in English, French, or German. Self-described as the “only trans-European library service on the World Wide Web,” its menu is straightforward and easy to navigate. One useful feature is the menu bar for “National Libraries of Europe,” which takes the user to a page with links to all national libraries. This offers a starting point for review of the many resources of these nations. The user can select any country, in alphabetical order from Albania to Vatican City, and then get a detailed record of the library’s collections, size, hours, phone numbers, and email addresses. This information could be vital for librarians seeking to contact particular manuscript departments or interlibrary loan offices for a particular national library.

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

Another key tool is the menu option “Online Services,” which provides links to the online public access catalogs of the national libraries, as well as “National Bibliographies” and “National Union Catalogues.” Many of these resources are Web-based and have English-language access, so researchers can review holdings from across Europe at their desktop. The “Online Services” option also lists “Periodical Indices” maintained by the national libraries, as well as “Digital Collections.” These digitized materials cover a variety of formats, ranging from German legal resources to Finnish historic newspapers.

One final noteworthy resource found here is called “Online Exhibitions,” which highlights treasures of the national libraries of Europe. Users can view historic materials by document type or topic. A general index lists individual treasures such as Chopin’s Preludes or a 16th- century atlas from Portugal.

For librarians who work in the humanities or area studies, and for students of European culture and history, Gabriel is a very useful Web site. It successfully serves as a bridge to the rich resources of Europe’s national libraries and offers a streamlined means of accessing their numerous catalogs and collections.—Barbara Hillson, George Mason University,

The National Park Service Archeology and Ethnography Program.

Access: index.htm/.

The Archeology and Ethnography Program is an important component of our National Park Service. The anthropologists in this program provide guidance to decision-makers regarding the preservation of the diverse cultures and cultural heritage found within our parks. The program originates from federal and agency mandates and has two primary objectives. The first is to preserve and protect the 6 to 7 million archaeological sites located on public land both within and outside of National Park borders. The second is to identify and represent contemporary people with cultural or historical attachments to National Park land or who rely on it for subsistence.

The program’s Web site is informative and speaks to several audiences: National Park Ser- vice administrators, anthropologists, students, and the general public. It is clearly intended to educate and involve as many interested parties as possible. It offers online professional train- ing through self-paced tutorials, which cover archaeological interpretation and technical site management, as well as ethnographic assess- ment. The training is geared to the National Park Service staff and management, but it is equally instructive for amateurs and the gen- eral public.

The site has a special area dedicated to the public, where visitors are encouraged to ex- plore, learn, and participate. Pathfinders point to anthropological sites and projects, museums, exhibits, and other interesting links. Educa- tional opportunities are presented and volunteerism is encouraged. Teachers will find curriculum-building materials and instructional tools. To further inform its broad audience, extensive bibliographies linking to the full-text of articles, laws, standards, reports, and tech- nical briefs related to the programs mission are scattered through the site.

As an entity providing government docu- ments to the public, the program’s site is nec- essarily straightforward. Visitors do not require any special plug-ins or media software. The information is largely text- based and presented in an ADA- friendly environment. The site’s de- sign is professional and the content satisfactorily organized. However, the sitemap does prove to be a handy tool since many pages have similar or ambiguous titles. The search function returns results for the entire National Park Service site, often leading the visitor away from the Archeology and Ethnography Pro- gram.

The anthropologists who work for and with the National Park Service are enthusiastic about protecting our interests and our cultural heritage; they seek to increase the public’s awareness of their mission and the importance of cultural resource management in general. The site is enjoyable and informative. Recommended for all audiences.—Sheri Webber, Purchase College, SUNY, sheri. ıυebber@pıırchase. edu

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