Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts; Carol A. Drost

Joni R. Roberts is associate university librarian for public services and collection development at Willamette University, e-mail: E-mail: , Carol A. Drost is associate university librarian for technical services at Willamette University, e-mail: E-mail:


American Folklife Center. Access: http://www.loc.gov/folklife/index.html.

Emily Hamstra, University of Michigan, ehamstra@umich.edu

In 1928, Robert W. Gordon hit the road collecting American folksongs for the Library of Congress. His collection became the basis for John and Alan Lomax and other folklorists to preserve American folklife under the purview of the Library of Congress. The American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress was officially established in 1976 to “preserve and present American Folklife.” At the time of its creation, AFC absorbed various related projects and departments at the Library of Congress, and today houses nearly 4,000 collections preserving traditions from around the world. AFC’s holdings span from the 1890s to the present, and include collections of songs, stories, dances, material culture, and community life and celebrations. Eighteen of these collections have been made available through the American Memory Project, and a few have been digitized as special “presentations” by the AFC.

Though the number of collections available online is quite modest, the collections may prove indispensable to some researchers and students. Some of the collections that may be most interesting to academic libraries are “The Center for Applied Linguistics Collection” (providing online recordings of dialects of spoken English across the United States and Canada), the “Voices from the Days of Slavery” (providing recordings and transcripts of former slaves telling their stories), and the “Veterans History Project.”

In addition to providing access to collections, AFC’s Web presence also contains educational resources for teachers and students of folklore and American traditions. The lesson plans included in these resources are mainly aimed at a K–12 audience, and are easy to search or browse by topic. Also included in the educational resources is the e-book Folklore & Fieldwork, which provides a practical introduction to the practice of folklore and collecting, and has potential for use in introductory courses in folklore, anthropology, or ethnomusicology.

AFC’s online collection is an eclectic mix containing American Memory collections, presentations and essays, bibliographies, and finding aids. Searching may prove difficult because of the varied interfaces and search capabilities of each collection. Though the collections are specialized, the American Folklife Center’s site is a treasure trove of primary source audio recordings, and is essential for the preservation and study of American folklife.

Migration Policy Institute. Access: http://www.migrationpolicy.org.

Steven Hoover, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, steven_hoover@hks.harvard.edu

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is, “an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C. dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide.” Its staff includes policy scholars from a variety of backgrounds, and a wide range of donors support the institute.

MPI provides access to policy analysis papers, news items, and data collected from governments and international organizations. The policy analysis papers and reports tend to be relatively dense and in-depth. While the reports cover a variety of subjects, finding a paper on a particular topic can be rather hit or miss. None of the publications by MPI available on the site pre-date 2000. The number of papers produced varies from year to year, and up-to-date content from 2010 is available. The site also provides a link to Migration Information Source, an online journal produced by MPI. Migration Information Source includes additional articles and information about migration and migrants that are more easily digestible than the content found on the main site, but they are still well researched and informative.

“MPI Data Hub” is a subsection of the site that includes maps, charts, and data. Some historical data is included and the dates of coverage vary by the statistic and country in question. The information is attributed with varying levels of specificity. Some sections provide users with direct links to national and international statistical agencies that can provide additional information.

Navigating around the site is not difficult. There is a persistent menu bar on the left side of the page and a dropdown menu at the top. Pages often include multiple columns of text and tend to be a bit busy. Using the “Publications” drop-down menu and browsing by subject was the most effective way to locate papers on a given topic. The information in the Data Hub is broken down by category and will often require some fishing around to find exactly what one is looking for. The site also includes a search function and notification system for new content.

The potential audience for the site is broad and includes everyone from academics and policymakers to grassroots organizers and community leaders. The site would also be helpful to undergraduate and graduate researchers in political science, international studies, or policy studies in search of data and scholarship related to migration.

PhysOrg.com. Access: http://www.physorg.com.

Carol McCulley, Linfield College, cmccull@linfield.edu

Anyone wanting a broad overview of what is happening in science and technology will find it at PhysOrg.com. The busy page is a kaleidoscope of choices from the many sci-tech stories that populate the news every day. Users can narrow to a particular subtopic or see what is latest, most popular, or spotlighted on the Web page. Many of these stories include video, RSS feeds, and various Web 2.0 interactive features. PhysOrg.com claims to publish about 100 stories a day. The contributing authors listed have backgrounds in science or science journalism.

The range of articles is broad, including “Nanotechnology,” “Physics” “Space & Earth,” “Electronics,” “Technology,” “Biology,” “Chemistry,” “Medicine & Health,” and “Other Sciences.” “Other Sciences” include “Mathematics,” “Archaeology & Fossils,” “Social Sciences,” and “Economics.” Subtopics for each main topic are listed below the numerous links related to account features and other links on the right-hand side of the page. It would be helpful if the main topic links at the top of the page had a dropdown menu to choose a subtopic.

Registering for a free account allows the user to comment on any of the stories. Having an account is supposed to reduce ads, but I did not notice a difference after registering. Users can also subscribe to a free customizable daily newsletter with sci-tech news stories from favorite areas in PhysOrg.com without advertising. Clicking on a link to an article takes the user back to PhysOrg.com and the ads, but it is helpful to filter the stories to a subject area of interest.

Each article offers a Related Stories box, which includes helpful abstracts. The articles contain links to definitions or related articles to a particular concept, but many of the links go to Wikipedia or information based on Wikipedia. Researchers, as with many news articles, are often mentioned, and links are available at the end to the news sources. Frequently there is no citation to the research paper, which would be very helpful for anyone looking for more depth or original research.

Undergraduate students looking for timely subjects for a research paper, however, might find this page useful for ideas and general overviews of topics in the news.

Copyright © American Library Association, 2010

Article Views (Last 12 Months)

No data available

Contact ACRL for article usage statistics from 2010-April 2017.

Article Views (By Year/Month)

2020
January: 4
February: 3
March: 0
April: 3
May: 3
June: 0
2019
January: 5
February: 7
March: 2
April: 2
May: 3
June: 7
July: 1
August: 4
September: 1
October: 4
November: 0
December: 1
2018
January: 2
February: 5
March: 4
April: 2
May: 2
June: 6
July: 0
August: 2
September: 2
October: 1
November: 7
December: 4
2017
April: 2
May: 2
June: 3
July: 4
August: 7
September: 4
October: 6
November: 2
December: 4