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College & Research Libraries News

Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts and Carol A. Drost, editors

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

Virtually Missouri. Access:http://www.virTuallymissouri.org/.

Coordinated by the Missouri Digitization Planning Project (MDPP), Virtually Missouri is a portal to dozens of digital collections and exhibits created by Missouri archives, libraries, museums, galleries, and historical societies. With more than 60 digitized historical, cultural, scientific, and artistic collections and exhibits, Virtually Missouri is a valuable archival resource for researchers and students.

Virtually Missouri provides access to a number of online collections of primary source material, often with JPEG or GIF representations of original documents. The Dred Scott Web site documents Scott’s legal battle for freedom that ended in the landmark 1857 U.S. Supreme Court “Dred Scott” decision, and includes JPEG representations of the legal records of his 1846-1857 court cases.

“The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb,” from the Truman Presidential Museum and Library, is a comprehensive documentary history of the policies and decisions that led to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Along with contextual readings, the Web site features hundreds of pages of Truman’s diaries, letters, memos, White House minutes, and other official documentation. Other Truman Museum documentary collections are devoted to the United State’s recognition of Israel, the Berlin Airlift, and Truman’s decision to desegregate the armed forces.

Springfield-Greene County Public Library has several excellent Ozark historical and cultural resources, including the Max Hunter Folksong Collection of 1,600 Ozark folk songs complete with transcriptions and audio files— an essential resource for any academic folklore program. Other collections and exhibits document Kansas City’s jazz heritage, the history and flora of the Missouri Botanical gardens, Native American artifacts, Civil War letters, and Gregorian chants, to cite a few examples in this rich and varied site.

Access to the collections and exhibits is provided through an alphabetical list of entries containing a brief description, representative graphic, and URL for each individual collection. Collections and exhibits are also searchable by keyword, subject area, collection name, and project name.

In addition to being an online archival repository, Virtually Missouri also serves as MDPP’s information clearinghouse for participating agencies. The Web site includes guidelines and standards for creating metadata, scanning images, dealing with copyright issues, and posting collections to the site. Funded by the Library Services and Technology Act, MDPP’s Virtually Missouri is a noteworthy example of a successful, interagency digitization initiative. As such, it serves as both a model and a resource for librarians and archivists who are considering developing online access to individual or collaborative digitization projects. —Gene Hyde, Lyon College, ghyde@lycn.edu

World Resources Institute. Access:http://www.wri.org/.

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is an environmental think tank that “goes beyond research to find practical ways to protect the earth and improve peoples lives.” WRI is the publisher of the standard reference book World Resources; this and other titles are available in PDF format on the Web site.

The initial page has a four-column layout, which seems a bit much at first glance. Sticking to the major headings on the left of the page will get the user to the bulk of the information. These choices include “About WRI,” “Global Topics,” “Earthtrends: the Environmental Information Portal,” “Newsroom,” “Publications and Multimedia,” and “Taking Action."

Clicking on a subtopic leads to information about specific projects WRI is involved in, or publications that resulted from the project, and links to contact names related to it. “Publications and Multimedia” lists all 2002 publications, with instructions for ordering print copies and offers a PDF option for full text, an excellent feature. “Taking Action” tells what WRI is doing and how individuals can help. WRI’s headquarters, for instance, are comprised of “green” office space with environmentally friendly design, facilities, and technology.

“Earthtrends” includes various categories such as “Coastal and Marine Ecosystems” or “Forests and Grasslands” and each category contains the following options: “Searchable Databases,” “Data Tables,” “Country Profiles,” “Maps,” and “Features.”

Searching the database is a bit complicated; the user must go through several screens, and just before the data is displayed, the user is asked to register. This might be less frustrating if it were placed earlier in the process. Also, fewer choices in the menu would make for less clutter and faster decision making on the part of the user, but, nonetheless, this section provides a wealth of environmental statistics from around the world.

All in all, WRI is an excellent site with vital information for anyone researching the state of the world’s environment or social problems. —Lisa K. Miller, Paradise Valley Community College Library, liskaren.miller@pvmail.maricopa.edu

Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database. Access:http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/ lit-med/lit-med-db/.

The Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database is a comprehensive resource for teaching and scholarship in the medical humanities. This annotated bibliography of prose, poetry, art, film, and video is an excellent tool for exploring how the humanities disciplines can engage and illuminate the study and practice of medicine.

The database is a multi-institutional project with close ties to the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. The editors include faculty in medical schools and literature programs throughout North America who have experience with teaching and scholarship in the medical humanities.

Annotations are written exclusively by the editors and by individuals working under their supervision.

Annotations include a brief summary of each work and commentary on its themes and potential usefulness in teaching. Some 139 keywords are used to index the entries, including medically relevant topics such as AIDS, caregivers, depression, doctor-patient relationship, euthanasia, family relationships, gay/lesbian/bisexual issues, medical mistakes, and psychotherapy. Indexing is generous, with more than a dozen terms applied to most entries. The annotations are well written and concise, and serve well as a jumping-off point for further research, as it would be difficult to fully address the themes in a few paragraphs. A link to the Medical Humanities homepage at NYU provides such resources, including archives of the literature and medicine discussion list and syllabi from numerous institutions.

Sections of the database specific to art, literature, and film and video may be searched separately and have their own unique features. The literature section includes additional indexes by genre, era, and special categories of authors, such as physician authors. Links are provided from many annotated entries to online texts and audio files in which authors read from their work; lists of available online versions can also be found in the “Reading Room” and “Listening Room” from the main page.

Nearly all of the art annotations also include links to reproductions of the art works at external sites, generally museum sites that provide additional resources on the works and artists. A “Meet the Artist” index leads to online sites for the artists represented in the database.

Connections with literature can be found in indexes to annotated art books and to annotated fiction or poetry centered on works of art. The film and video section is well developed, with 121 annotations, but has minimal online content at this writing—excerpts from one film and one theatrical performance.

The homepage gives an excellent overview of the status of the database, which is updated quarterly with dates of most recent and upcoming revisions, clear paths to new material, and total number of annotations in each category. The site design is impressive; search options and results are clear and intuitive. The Literature, Arts and Medicine Database would be an essential resource for any institution with programs in the health sciences, but would also be valuable more generally, as a specialized resource in literature and art collections.—Lori Robare, University of Oregon, lrobare@oregon. uoregon.edu

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