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Internet Reviews

Joni R. Robertsand Carol A. Drost, editors

Dolan DIMA Learning Center.Hccess.- http://www.dnalc.org/.

The Dolan DNA Learning Center (DNALC), an operating unit of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, is devoted to public genetics education, with a particular focus on college and precollege students. The DNALC Web site provides extensive information related to the center’s role and mission as well as incorporates annotated lists of valuable links to a variety of well-established and reputable national (Chicago-Sun Times, Seattle Times) and international (BBC) Web sites. These links appear to change on a regular basis as new issues and stories related to genetics arise. Information about upcoming workshop and training opportunities for college and precollege educators is also included.

Although the background and current event information available at DNALC is both accurate and up-to-date, it is the presence of the five “companion” sites that are incorporated into the DNA Learning Center that make this Web site a worthwhile destination.

“Your Genes, Your Health” provides extensive descriptions of a number of different genetic disorders, including hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and Huntington disease. “DNA from the Beginning” incorporates a series of progressive multimedia lessons outlining central concepts related to the science of genetics.

“Eugenics Image Archive” provides a historical perspective of the American eugenics movement of the early 20th century. The archive includes reports, articles, charts, and pedigrees taken from the archives of the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor, which was the center of American eugenics research from 1910 to 1940. The archive’s purpose is to provide a documentary record of the Eugenics Movement, thus controversial content has purposely been included in the site.

“Genetic Origins” provides background information and instructions for experiments designed to allow students to use their own DNA “fingerprints” to study human evolution. The experiments rely on both biochemical methods and computer tools.

Finally, “Bioservers” provides an area from which both students and educators can begin DNA database searches, statistical analyses, and population modeling through the Internet.

Each of these companion sites is innovative in its approach and presentation. It is important to note, however, that some of the content, such as that incorporated into “Your Genes, Your Health” and “DNA from the Beginning,” resembles the information found in basic and advanced genetics textbooks. In contrast, the other sites, particularly the “Eugenics Image Archive,” provide extensive access to valuable primary and secondary source material that clearly would serve as useful additions to any library.—-Jennifer Cardwell, McMaster University, cardj@mcmaster.ca

UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency. Access:http://www.unhcr.ch/.

Recent events have focused our attention on refugees in Afghanistan. But throughout the world, more than 21 million people have been forced out of their homes because of conflict and persecution. The principal United Nations (UN) agency with a mandate to provide protection and assistance to these groups is the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It serves as an authoritative voice on refugee matters and represents a key resource for researchers, legal advocates, policy makers, and other practitioners who work in this field.

While its primary objective is to raise awareness about refugee issues, the UNHCR Web site delivers much more than press releases. Its wealth of full-text content comes in the form of official documents from the UNHCR Executive Committee, evaluation and research papers, a quarterly magazine, country reports, legal texts, handbooks and guidelines, maps, statistics, and photos. Its design is visually pleasing with bold colors and plenty of images interspersed with the text. News stories are updated daily, and documents are placed online frequently.

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

Despite, or perhaps because of, the sheer amount of content, browsing the site is challenging. At the uppermost levels, the divisions seem fairly straightforward, but the more you dig, the more you find. It is also impossible to know what new material has been added to the site. No “What’s New” feature is available, and only certain key publications are highlighted on the homepage. To benefit fully from what the site has to offer, one must be familiar with the work of the organization and be willing to take time to explore the site’s architecture. For this reason, it is not appropriate for undergraduates (with the exception of the “Basic Facts” section, which provides an introduction to refugee issues and the agency’s work and “News).”

Sophisticated search options are available to counter some of these navigational challenges, including the opportunity to restrict searches to different sections of the site, search titles versus full text, and look for only the most current results. There are also two separate search engines for the library catalog and the full-text country of origin and legal information databases.

UNHCR was one of the first international agencies to make the Web a primary information conduit. In exchange for investing some time and effort on this site, users will be rewarded with large quantities of quality results.—Elisa Mason, Forced Migration Online, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, elisa. mason@qeh. ox.ac.uk

Free Pint. Access: http://www.freepint.com/.

Where can you find 49,000 library and information science (LIS) professionals to answer tough reference and technical queries that no one else in the office can answer? Free Pint, of course. Free Pint is a British Web site, which allows LIS professionals and students to exchange ideas and tips. Its founder, William Hann, was named European Special Librarian of the Year (2000-2001) by the European chapter of the Special Libraries Association. Information World Review and the Library Association Record are two of the many periodicals that have introduced Free Pint to its readers.

Free Pint offers two free online forums, the “Bar” and the “Student Bar.” The “Bar” is where LIS professionals pose and offer suggestions. The queries range from the relevance of knowledge management to online discussions about the low salaries of LIS professionals compared to other professionals. At the “Bar” there are “tipples,” small bits of information that librarians, researchers, and information technology (IT) professionals can use to make their jobs easier. The “Student Bar” is where LIS students pose questions about LIS careers and request assistance on finding resources on a given topic. This is a great place for students to discuss topics that may be of interest in their classes or to other students.

“Portal” is the site map for Free Pint, which has links to previous and current articles and tipples. Also, there are links to research on various industries and countries. Those who like to sell things online, do online searches, or build and maintain Web sites would be interested in this section’s Internet links.

There is no charge to join Free Pint or to receive its online weekly digest and monthly newsletter. However, there is a charge to receive detailed reports about registered companies in the United Kingdom (UK) through the ICC Information link or to access the “Pub Crawl,” a weekly compilation of articles from 188 information, library, and Internet-related sources from around the world.

Free Pint is well suited for students and librarians who specialize in business research, electronic resources, technical services, and IT. Because this site is based in the UK, its slant is toward issues that are of interest to British LIS professionals. Nevertheless, that has not stopped more than 49,000 LIS professionals from around the world from joining Free Pint.— Vivienne Sales, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, salesecO@erau.edu

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