Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts; Carol A. Drost


Census of Marine Life. Access: http://www.coml.org/.

Linda Maddux, Reed College, madduxl@reed.edu

Ten years in the making, the Census of Marine Life (COML) established a baseline for the population of marine life, including 1,200 identified new species, and documenting not only population declines, but also areas of recovery. The information derived from the more than 30 million records resulting from the census are now available via this Web site.

The main page of the site is designed to highlight some of the COML resources and offers two ways to navigate the information: by category of information (publications, projects, images) via drop down menus and by stakeholder (scientists, general public, and a restricted section for the census community).

For a visual look at the information, COML provides many graphical representations of the results of the census. For example, all discoveries have been added to Google Earth and are available for viewing from the Ocean section. Other mapping projects include an interactive globe of census discoveries and a joint project with National Geographic.

COML provides access to images from the census; especially interesting are those of newly discovered species. In addition to the images, there are videos from the various projects and interviews with COML scientists. On the lighter side, there is a music video inspired by the COML and screensavers created from some of the projects’ pictures.

Users can access the full text of the COML’s reports and essays written about the project along with some of their scientific and popular books, which include links to the Encyclopedia of Life species pages. To help access published information there is a “Bibliographic Database,” containing citations to publications related to COML with links to full text, when appropriate.

Although the site appears well organized at first glance, upon closer examination navigation seems disjointed. Some of the links do not work or lead to sites for other sections of the census, with no obvious explanation of what the relationship between the sites is. That being said, there is so much interesting information available via this site, awkward navigation is forgivable.

LiveScience. Access: www.livescience.com.

John Creech, Central Washington University, John.Creech@cwu.edu

This site provides accessible science, health, and technology news for a general academic audience. Created in 2004, LiveScience.com is one of the brands of TechMediaNetwork, a Web-publishing group whose other brands include TechNewsDaily, OurAmazingPlanet, and BusinessNewsDaily. Content from LiveScience is regularly featured on the Web sites of content partners, including MSNBC.com, Yahoo, and the Christian Science Monitor.

The site features strong visual elements and rich multimedia materials, including thousands of images and videos. The editorial staff possesses excellent credentials, with most holding undergraduate or advanced degrees in a variety of life or applied science disciplines along with extensive journalism experience. The primary content of LiveScience consists of 11 subject areas: “Space,” “Animals,” “Health,” “Environment,” “Technology,” “History,” “Culture,” “Video,” Strange News,” “Images,” and “Topics.”

The daily “Top Stories” section typically presents five current news items along with a variety of rotating images. This section includes a substantial archive and offers a variety of interesting and pertinent science-related news topics. A series of four image galleries appears directly below the top stories of each subject area with links to considerable archives of each topic. Each topical area offers timely current news items and stories that will keep the reader up to date across science disciplines.

Many of the stories are interesting and entertaining reading. The “Strange News” section, for example, includes articles such as “Is the Hope Diamond Really Cursed?” and “Bugs of Death May Help Solve Murder Cases,” which might interest the general undergraduate student casting about for a paper topic.

All articles are clearly and concisely written for a general audience as an entry point into fascinating and complex topics, but the user should be aware that this is foremost a news and not a research site.

The “Topics” section, and indeed, perhaps the majority of this site, resembles an abbreviated and highly visual form of the traditional periodical CQ Researcher. The archive of topics in this section includes wide-ranging subjects such as Hurricane Irene, the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, geographic regions of the world, stories on the extinction of species and evolution, and summaries on single species.

The site will be most appropriate as an entry point for undergraduates looking for background information to inform topics they may be considering or for professionals wanting quick, interesting, and sometimes quirky reading.

National Jukebox. Access: http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/.

Ford Schmidt, Willamette University, fschmidt@willamette.edu

Produced by the Library of Congress (LC), in partnership with the University of California-Santa Barbara’s Davidson Library, EMI Music, and Sony Music, National Jukebox provides access to streaming music from the library’s collection of historical sound recordings. Included are recordings from the collection of the LC Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation as well as from other libraries and archives.

The homepage features a rotating offering of featured highlights, including featured songs, playlists, and news. A section titled “Making of the National Jukebox” describes the process undertaken to select and digitize the recordings from their original analog recordings, and includes a historical discussion of the techniques involved in creating the original recordings.

Recordings are available from as early as 1900. The collection is divided into five major genres; “Classical music,” “Ethnic characterizations,” “Popular music,” “Religious,” and “Spoken word,” with subgenres in some areas. For instance the popular grouping includes the subgenres “Blues”; “Ragtime, jazz, and more”; “Musical theater”; “Traditional/Country”; “Whistling”; and “Yodeling,” as well as others.

The collection can be searched by a number of terms and groupings, including artist, song, lyricist, composer, and genre. An advanced search is available that allows combination of search terms as well as limiting by date, label name, language, audience, and category (i.e., vocal, instrumental, spoken). Browsing is also available, and allows the user to appreciate the full extent and variety of the recordings available.

A number of selected playlists are included for listening pleasure, and an entertaining option is the ability to create personal playlists. “Playlist Basics” provides instructions on how one can create a personal playlist. Users can then submit their playlists to LC, which may include playlists submitted by the public in their regular playlist offerings.

Also included is the Victrola Book of the Opera, reproduced from the 1919 edition as an interactive e-book facsimile. It describes more than 110 operas, with links to many of the actual recordings listed therein.

National Jukebox is highly recommended to musicians and historians—both of music and American popular culture—as well as to anyone with an interest in the rich offerings of American sound recordings.

Copyright 2012© American Library Association

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