Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts is associate university librarian for public services and collection development at Willamette University, email: jroberts@willamette.edu, and Carol A. Drost is associate university librarian for technical services at Willamette University, email: cdrost@willamette.edu

Costs of War Project. Access: https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/.

The human and financial costs of combat are immense and eye-opening. According to the Costs of War Project website, the budgetary costs of post-9/11 wars is $6.4 trillion with a direct death toll of 801,000 people. As of this writing, tensions between the United States and Iran are mounting after the U.S. killing of Major General Qassim Suleimani. Documenting the hidden expenses of war is imperative, as the United States confronts another potential conflict in the Middle East.

Housed at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, the Costs of War website assembles news articles, academic papers, data and figures, and details about the social and political, economic, and human costs of warfare, and all focused on post-9/11 wars. The project directors, contributors, and board members include an impressive list of scholars from prestigious institutions, such as Boston University, Brown University, Harvard University, and a dozen others.

Within the costs section, various scholars set out the significant elements of each cost, providing crucial data and illustrations, commentary, key findings, and recommendations. One of the project’s goals is to shed light on all deaths caused by battle, including the jarring data concerning Afghani, Iraqi, and Pakistani civilian deaths, contractor and journalist deaths, as well as information about the displacement of refugees.

The economic costs include a comprehensive analysis of the long-term healthcare expenses for U.S. veterans and U.S. expenditures for direct war appropriations, as well as the budgets for the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon, and foreign assistance spending. The section on social and political costs of war contains fascinating material considering the impacts of such things as human rights, the lack of objectivity and media coverage of the wars, and the effects of ongoing environmental damage.

The Costs of War project team effectively provides meaningful and vital information within a visually appealing and engaging interface. Social media links and a search box are available at the top of each page. For those researching the often camouflaged and mind-boggling costs of war, this site is essential.—Colleen Lougen, SUNY-New Paltz, lougenc@newpaltz.edu

The Watercolour World. Access: https://www.watercolourworld.org.

Long before photography became the standard means of recording the people, places, and events we witnessed and experienced throughout history, watercolor paintings filled hundreds of thousands of books, desktops, hidden files, museums and archives, parlors, family histories, and untold other venues of historical expression. An easily portable, inexpensive and accessible medium, watercolor has been used for centuries and across the globe to record painters’ impressions of their lands, cities, natural environments, cultures, and conflicts.

The Watercolour World seeks to make publicly available the collected watercolor paintings that documented the world before the 20th century. By compiling digitized watercolors from public and private collections around the world into a searchable database, the site illuminates place and time in human history, in vivid color.

Funded by the Marandi Foundation, which “supports children’s health and education, cultural history and art,” this U.K. project builds its online, public access image collections by partnering with public and private collectors to locate, select, digitize, and share watercolor paintings on The Watercolour World website.

The site provides two primary ways to search for images. Visitors may enter keywords or browse by location. Search results are displayed as an unnumbered list of thumbnails, longer lists load with infinite scroll. Searches can be refined by continent, country, owning collection, artist, category, tag, or date range. In addition to keyword and location searching and browsing, the site offers a “Features” page, with curated exhibits, collections, and themes to browse, giving context to the selected images to guide the viewer through them.

Images published on the site are licensed by the owners. Some allow for reuse, while others maintain all rights reserved. Use restrictions and full metadata about each piece are displayed in the details, along with links to the original collections.

Although challenged with slow load times for each search initiated, filter applied, and image page opened, the potential for image discovery is apparently limitless. Overall, The Watercolour World is a beautifully presented database that is sure to make a valuable impact, connecting researchers, students, authors, artists, and wanderers to the visual record of history as told through watercolor.—Sarah-Lynda Johnson, Lewis & Clark Law School, sarahjohnson@lclark.edu

Wellcome Library. Access: https://wellcomelibrary.org/.

If browsing a virtual collection of intriguing and artistic medical curiosities sounds like your cup of tea, or if extensive medicinal history research materials or contemporary scientific literature is what you need, the digital collections at the Wellcome Library may have just what you are looking for.

The library was founded on the collections of Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936). Born and educated in the United States, Wellcome lived his adult life in London, where he built a prosperous pharmaceutical business, Burroughs Wellcome and Co., with partner, Silas Burroughs. The company thrived under Wellcome’s leadership and became known internationally as a key pharmaceutical research business and lab. Wellcome was also a voracious book and artifact collector. His collecting areas included the history of medicine, scientific literature, anthropology, and ethnography, as well as alchemy and witchcraft. The Wellcome Trust, established after his death, was used to support research in biomedical sciences and to maintain medical research museums and libraries.

The Wellcome Library, part of the Wellcome Collection located in central London, develops its collections in the following areas, “Archives and Manuscript,” “History of Medicine Collection,” “Medical Collection,” “Art Collection,” “Asian Collection,” and “Moving Image and Sound Collection.”

There are multiple entry points to the rich materials found in the library. A direct link to “Collections” is located on the navigation bar at the top of each page. It leads to a browsing list of all digitized items in the collection, including books, posters, photographs, and film and sound recordings. Users can also find online subject guides and detailed information concerning the breadth and depth of each library collection area.

The library is on an ambitious track to digitize a substantial portion of its world-class holdings. It is committed to open access and providing free public access to most of its materials. Staff are working with developers to build open source tools that can be used by researchers and cultural heritage professionals and institutions to present digital content online. The Wellcome Library is continuing the legacy of Henry Solomon Wellcome by making these rich and comprehensive medical history collections openly available to researchers and citizen scholars around the globe.—Sarah Goodwin Thiel, University of Kansas Libraries, sgthiel@ku.edu

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