ACRL

College & Research Libraries News

Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts and Carol A. Drost, editors

Education World. Access: http://www. educationworld.com/.

Education World is a free portal site developed to help educators to more easily incorporate the Web into their classrooms and to share information among professionals. The site includes lesson plans, articles on current issues, Web site reviews, and a search engine oriented to educational sites on the Internet.

On the positive side, Education World contains a number of helpful sections for educators—lesson plans, school issues, professional development, technology in the classroom, administrator’s desk, site reviews, and classroom management. The information is timely and useful to teachers and education majors. The teacher-submitted lesson plans provide clearly structured tasks and activities. “Technology in the Classroom” offers detailed lessons using the Internet as a resource. Advertisements, while present, are grouped together on the side and top of the page and provide little interference with the content.

On the negative side, the homepage is confusing with an overwhelming amount of information presented in distracting neon blues, reds, and greens and no sidebar frame to help navigate, so the reader is forced to identify the column headings before proceeding. The search engine, while identified as a safe search of

500,0 Web resources, comes with no indication of how these resources are chosen and it searches the entire Web. Despite this, it does yield appropriate results. A trial search for “spanking” yielded only the results that one would want to see on such a site.

The site can ease a teacher’s life. There is financial advice, mailing lists for humor and jobs, and templates for nametags. Areas include the “Sub Station” (advice for substitute teachers on lessons and difficult children), classroom management advice, “Reference Libraiy,” and national standards information. There is a great deal of useful information, but finding much of it is time-consuming.

There is a subject index at the bottom of the homepage that also appears as a sidebar once you enter the site. Articles are archived and retrieved through these subjects. The articles are dated, but some sections are not as current as others.

In general, the site provides excellent information for teachers and prospective teachers in grades K-8, offering a plethora of lesson plans, handouts, and templates. After using the site, experienced users can manage to locate what they need. First timers, however, may find it tedious and difficult.—Sheila Beck, Queensborough community college sbeck@qcc.cuny.edu

Center for Applied Linguistics. Access:http://www.cal.org/.

Founded in 1959 in a post-Sputnik plan to improve language instruction in the United States, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) performs research, analyzes language policy, and provides language program development and assessment seivices. CAL hosts two Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) clearinghouses: the ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics ancl the National Center for English as a Second Language (ESL) Literacy Education. Under “Topic Areas” users can find access to current CAL projects, including K-12 and adult ESL literacy; dialects and ebonies; refugee and immigrant concerns; and bilingual education, two-way immersion, and foreign language teaching.

“Links,” the last option on the homepage’s left-hand column, offers abundant free resources in largely the same subjects as those listed under “Topic Areas.” The “Links” pages vary in length but typically include connections to resource sites, professional organizations and e-mail lists, and electronic journals. Occasionally links to bibliographies, ERIC Digests, and conferences are also included.

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

Some notable site gems available at “Databases/Directories” include WorkWorld, a database of vocational ESL resources, and Nanduti, a resource supporting K-8 foreign language instruc- tion. Another interesting source is the

Cultural Orientation Resource Center, which publishes history and culture guidebooks on U.S. immigrant groups, such as Cubans, Hai- tians, Somalis, and Iraqis (Arabs and Kurds).

Site navigation is simple, whether through the site map (here called “Table of Contents”) or the site’s search engine. Searching is straightforward: the user selects “any,” “all,” or “phrase” searching and can limit the search to a specific part of a Web document. The user can also search the holdings of a particular CAL clearinghouse or research center; be aware that the drop-down list of choices presents acronyms and not full names.

Other than the homepage, most of the CAL pages do not have “last updated” dates, and the user will encounter a few dead links. On the “Foreign Language Education” page (linked from “Links” and not from “Table of Contents”), a test of 13 URLs found two incorrect, and an attempt to subscribe to a foreign language mailing list returned a “no such list” error from the processor.

Given CAL’s breadth and depth of content, librarians serving educators and education students in foreign languages, ESL, and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages programs should definitely include this site in their list of resources.—Heidi E. K. Senior, University of Portland, seitior@up.edu

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Access:http://people-press.org/.

Whether you want to track the nation’s current political opinions or chart trends in media use and news interest, this site is a great place to start. Formerly known as the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press (1990— 95), the center is now one of many interests funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and is a self-described “independent opinion research group that studies attitudes toward the press, politics, and public policy issues.” Directed by independent pollster Andrew Kohut, former president of the Gallup Organization, this nonprofit organization researches in the following principal areas: The People and the Press; The People, The Press and Politics; The News Index Interest; America’s Place in the World; and Media Use. The center studies public opinion both on current events, such as the military action against Iraq or genetic research, and perennial interests, such as religion, business, and the economy. A special “Global Attitudes” project offers an international perspective.

This thoughtfully constructed Web site is uncluttered and easy to navigate from the homepage, which features the most recent work of the center through the well-labeled content tabs in the header. The heart of the site includes the “Survey Reports,” accessible chronologically or grouped by topic or year back to 1995. Each report presents a clear summary of findings, details of the methodology used, and a copy of the questionnaire. “Search Questionnaires” provides simple keyword access to the site research and includes a helpful toggle to sort results by date or relevance. Finally, a unique “News Interest Index” lists by percentage of responses the most closely followed news stories from 1986 to 2002.

Researchers who like to work with raw data may appreciate the availability of the survey data sets, which may be downloaded from the site six months after the reports are issued. The center also offers a variety of commentaries that put the research in perspective. The “In The News” tab highlights Pew research studies featured by selected media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, News Hour with Jim. Lehrer, and National Public Radio. Finally, the center’s site links to a few dozen other recent media polls, such as those conducted by ABC, Gallup, and Newsweek.

Although intended for political leaders, journalists, scholars, and public interest organizations, the Pew Research Center site will also appeal to teachers and students in the fields of communication, media studies, business, and political science or anyone interested in survey research. In addition, individuals curious about American attitudes on political, domestic, and media issues will find the reports themselves illuminating.—Barbara Valentine, Linfield College, bvalen@linfield.edu

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