College & Research Libraries News

Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts and Carol A. Drost, editors

Legends. Access: net/.

Legends offers “a personal journey through the worlds of Robin Hood, King Arthur, D’Artagnan, and other swashbuckling characters of balladry, fiction, and film, from the shores of Avalon to the dungeons of Zenda.” The site promises “guided access to primary source material and up-to-date scholarship, personal essays and extended reviews, and historical surveys and thoughtful commentary.” A view of the links under the general heading “King Arthur and the Matter of Britain” shows that Legends delivers on this promise.

On the King Arthur page, the researcher will find a link to TEAMS (Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages) Middle English texts, containing many primary Arthurian sources. “History & Archaeology” not only provides an overview of England during the Dark Ages, but also includes the article “The Historicity and Historicisation of Arthur,” a scholarly summation of the current debate on the historical Arthur by Thomas Green of Exeter College in Oxford, England. Further links— “Arthur,” “Gawain,” “Guenevere,” “Percival,” “Merlin,” “Tristan & Iseult,” and “Elaine of Astolat”—offer lengthy, scholarly articles, each with helpful bibliographies of print sources. Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Mort D Arthur is the source of the Arthurian sagas, as we know them today. More information about Malory and the redactional history of his works would have been helpful.

Legends is not confined strictly to Englishlanguage source material. The link “Sagas and Sea-Kings” from the homepage contains a translation of “The Story of the Volsungs” from the 13th-century Icelandic Edda. Under this general heading we also find “The Nibelungenlied” and other links and synopses to Wagner’s Ring Cycle. From the homepage, “Paladins and Princes” will link the researcher to “Chanson de Roland” in both Old French and English translation. “Orlando Furioso” and “The Cid” are also found under this link. Also on the homepage, “Erin and Alba” provides a corpus of early Irish tales in various medieval compilations.

Anyone interested in European and English folklore and mythology will find a treasure trove of fascinating and scholarly information in Legends. The site is easy to navigate, with obvious links and helpful annotations, but a few of the sublinks are broken. Finally, the Legends site offers “romance, adventure, and panache.” Legends is that rare site, offering scholarly information to the undergraduate student, and, at the same time, entertaining and useful background information for the general user.—Wendell johnson, Wαubonsee Community College, wjohnson@wαιιbonsβ

A Celebration of Women Writers. Access:

Developed in collaboration with the Online Books Page, a Celebration of Women Writers is both a database and a portal of materials by and about women authors. The purpose of the site is to promote awareness of the variety of women writers and the depth of their writings. This is done by developing and providing free “on-line editions of older, often rare, outof-copyright works” and links to specialty collections. Also available are links to biographical and bibliographical information.

In 2001, Celebration contained 10,347 women writers, links to 5,320 pages about women authors, and 2,983 online books. Of those online books (all of which are in the public domain or for which permission has been given by the copyright holders), 170 were tran-

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: scribed and proofread by Celebration volunteers. The remaining 2,813 available works come from sources such as Project Gutenberg, Making of America, Victorian Women Writers Project, American Memory, and Digital Schomburg.

A Celebration of Women Writers

Celebration’s usability is relatively straightforward. Browsing by author, country, century, and ethnicity is available. In “What’s Local,” one can also browse the online books that have been transcribed by Celebration volunteers and listed by author or category. Using the site’s search engine is another option. Not only can one search by name, birth and death dates, and country, but also by a time period in which the writer lived. This is especially useful for that patron who needs to find an author from the 60s.

About half of the entries are that, only entries. There is no information or links to online resources, just names and dates. More complete, biographical information could be found in reference sources such as The Bloomsbury Guide to Women ’s Literature. The site is most useful for its full-text editions of older, out-of-copyright materials. Celebration is continually putting these books online, so the site is still growing.

The look of the site is plain but easy to use, although several links to outside sources did not work. It is a good, secondary resource of online information. While the site does not replace conventional print resources, it does contain valuable information, an ever-expanding collection, and some very useful search functions.—Cassandra E. Osterloh, University of New Mexico,

Agriculture Network Information Center. Access: Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC) is hosted by a partnership between the National Agricultural Library and various universities, government agencies, and organizations within the agricultural community. The AgNIC partnership was formed in 1998 to act as a portal for agricultural information. Each partner is responsible for accumulating and maintaining information in designated subject areas.

This site offers three main search strategies: keyword (simple and advanced), thesaurus, or by subject. A keyword search will yield the title of a Web page, a brief description of the site, subject descriptors, keywords, and a URL address. The results of a search may be sorted by relevancy or title, and then displayed either by headline only or full description. The thesaurus offers alternative search terms (organized as broader, narrower, and related terms) that can be combined and searched.

Browsable subjects, located below the keyword box, are organized into 15 general topics, such as “Farms and Farming Systems,” “Insects and Entomology,” and “Plant Science and Plant Products.” These subjects are further subdivided into narrower terms.

Standard site information (site history, partners/sponsors, and contact information) is available through the navigation bar at the top of the page, along with a calendar option. The calendar lists agricultural conferences, meetings, and seminars. It is organized by date as well as by subject, includes an archive, and lists of more than 300 additional agricultural calendars. There is also a “Search Tips” feature, located in the search box, which provides a very brief description of what each function is and how it works.

One weakness of AgNIC is it relies on each partner to support designated subjects; some contribute more than others. Also, this site is updated infrequently, most recently in September 2002. Six redirected links and two “no server responses” were discovered during this review.

Most of the information available through AgNIC resides on other Web sites. One can find the same information through most search engines. However, the partners of AgNIC do a good job of collaborating, organizing, and disseminating information in one location. In addition, the interface is clean and fairly intuitive to use.

This site is geared toward the general audience, as well as the academic community, particularly those involved in agricultural research. Undergraduate students in the sciences will probably use AgNIC the most .—John Repplinger, Willamette University, jrepplin@willamette. edu

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