College & Research Libraries News

Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts and Carol A. Drost, editors

National Center for Health Statistics.


National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a component of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), functions as the federal agency responsible for the collection and dissemination of America’s vital and health statistics. This site supports the NCHS’s mission to “provide statistical information that will guide actions and policies to improve the health of the American people.”

Users can browse publications and statistical tables, download files, access survey data collection systems, conduct searches in NCHS Web Search, track NCHS initiatives, and sign up for NCHS electronic lists. “What’s New” and “Top 10 Links” are areas on the site that list new releases of data and the most popular pages. “Information Showcase” highlights the agency’s major activities and findings. “Microdata Access” provides links to various databases and statistical systems, such as Statistical Export and Tabulation System (SETS). The SETS link is useful for public health researchers because large data files can be downloaded on personal computers. Another useful link in this section is the “CDC Wonder.” By using the database, a wide variety of CDC reports, guidelines, and numeric public health data can be accessed. The “Tabulated State Data” section provides pretabulated tables on each state’s birth and death statistics. In this section, users can download software that will allow tables to be customized or manipulated for use in other databases or spreadsheet packages.

A column down the left-hand side of the site offers links to different sections as well. “About NCHS” gives an overview of the National Center for Health Statistics and information about the Web site. For quick statistics on a variety of common health topics, users can click on “FASTATS A to Z.” A topical listing of information that can be accessed on the Web site is included in the “Site Index.”

There are also links to all NCHS surveys and data collections systems. Information on special programs that NCHS is involved with such as Aging, Disease Classification, Healthy People, and SETS can be accessed from “Initiatives.” Also included are links to NCHS’s research and development, news releases, fact sheets, publications, and electronic lists.

The site is a reliable and timely resource for public health researchers, faculty, and students. The general public will find useful information here as well.—Nancy M. Allen, University of South Florida at Sarasota-Manatec/New College of Florida,

Center for History and New Media.


Hosted by George Mason University, the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) combines electronic multimedia, digital archives, and new technologies with historical scholarship to advance research, instruction, and public awareness. A recipient of several national awards and major grants, the CHNM site contains numerous features that students, teachers, and scholars will find worthwhile.

The center’s list of current Web-based projects covers a wide range of subjects, interests, and time periods. “History Matters” and “World History Matters” provide high school students and teachers with curricular materials, primary source documents, and threaded discussion groups. “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution” is comprised of essays, images, documents, songs, maps and explanatory articles, including a short chapter on how to develop and use visual literacy skills. “The September 11 Digital Archive” and “The Blackout History Project” chronicle e-mail, audiovisual files, photos, leaflets and other ephemera, while providing a model for using new technologies to record

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: and preserve current history. “The Lost Museum,” based on P. T. Barnum’s American Museum, and “ECHO-Exploring and Collecting the History of Science and Technology Online” are additional examples of the center’s activities.

More than a virtual library or memory bank, the site serves as a gateway to academic directories, journal articles, databases, and annotated hyperlinks of related resources. In keeping with the center’s goal to encourage the use of technology in the study and use of history, the site provides access to several free software tools to assist historians and instructors in individual efforts.

The entire site is well designed and organized, visually appealing, and easy to navigate, as are the individual project sites. Given the center’s focus on the use of electronic media within the discipline of history, it is not surprising that full access to the riches of this site requires a robust computer and high-speed Internet connection that can handle Flash-generated movies and fairly large audio files.

While it would be interesting to have a little more information on how the individual projects were chosen for development, the finished product is informative, interesting, and unique. Serving as a prototype for other electronic history projects and, at the same time, providing tools and resources that other teachers, students and researchers can use, the Center for History and New Media is a dynamic example of ways that theory and application can be used to enliven the discipline.—Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, The Progressive Coalition for Equal Opportunity. Access: was founded by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), an organization recognized for supporting major U.S. civil rights legislation over the last 50 years. is a social justice network that works to support “the struggle against discrimination in all its forms, but also to build public understanding.” LCCR, the “nation’s premier civil rights coalition,” is made up of more than 180 national organizations and seeks to represent the diversity of our country. covers important civil rights issues under the broad headings of equal opportunity, civic engagement, communities and families, criminal justice reform, the judiciary, and human rights. In each of these areas there is information available in text and audiovisual formats. Use the “Issues” menu on the homepage to select a specific issue and you will be directed to a page that offers current reports along with “Why You Should Care,” a “Status Report,” a link to the “Daily Buzz,” and more valuable resources such as testimony, reports, court decisions, and speeches relevant to that issue.

The “Action Center” offers background on each issue and allows the searcher to get in e-mail contact with federal and state officials on the issue of choice. The “Action Center” also offers a brief introduction to the legislative process that could be useful for those unfamiliar with lawmakers and lawmaking.

The “Press Room" serves up the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the Web site as well as archives of press releases and contact information for those in charge of the site. The “Research Center” includes a glossary, a searchable A to Z subject index, an outline of major civil rights Supreme Court cases, a “For Kids” section and a handy, but limited, timeline.

Several online publications are available simply by registering your e-mail address, including “The Daily Buzz,” the “Breaking News Flash” alert system, and “This Week in Civil Rights,” a newsletter. “The Civil Rights Monitor” is a searchable quarterly online publication with accessible archives back to 1985-There are also easily accessed reports and curricula.

Overall, this is a well-designed and informative Web site for students of civil rights who are interested in keeping abreast of and acting on the daily news of civil rights issues in the United States.—Mary C. MacDonald, University of Rhode Island, marymac@ιιri.edιu

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