Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts; Carol A. Drost


Death Penalty Information Center. Access: http://deathpenaltyinfo.org/.

Wendell G. Johnson, Northern Illinois University, wjohnso1@niu.edu

The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) is a national, nonprofit organization providing information on capital punishment. DPIC seeks the abolition of capital punishment and offers analysis in a nonpolemical fashion. The toolbar on the DPIC’s home-page allows access to a wealth of information via various sublinks and will remind both the librarian and patron of CQ Researcher.

The homepage has a toolbar (“Issues,” “Resources,” “Facts,” “Reports”), which provides concise and far-reaching data to the county-level. For example, Harris County, Texas, has carried out fully 30 percent—115 of 379—of the executions in the United States since 1976. Various law reviews and articles are indexed, which can be filtered by topic; however, patrons will have to access a full text database for the actual copy.

Patrons can also obtain lists of aggravating and mitigating factors by state, find opinions and orders of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the death penalty, and read relevant press releases on the topic. Most of the controversial issues associated with the death penalty are covered by DPIC: mental illness, racial disparities, juvenile offenders, life without parole, capital punishment for nonhomicide offenses, etc.

There is also an extended entry on the history of the death penalty, complete with timeline and bibliography. Under the toolbar, visitors to the site will find four buttons: “Fact Sheet,” “Execution Database,” “State by State,” and “Newsletter.” “State by State” offers “State Pages,” which describe famous cases, notable exonerations, and other interesting facts for each individual state.

The homepage also has a search screen as well as links to DPIC on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and podcasts (available in English and Spanish). Visitors can also subscribe to DPIC’s newsletter. DPIC remains remarkably current—in fact, it was updated during this reviewer’s initial visit to the site.

The site seems particularly well suited for students working on lower-division English, speech, and communications assignments.

Upper-division students in political science, sociology, and history can be referred to DPIC when they have difficulty acquiring datasets elsewhere.

HubbleSite. Access: http://hubblesite.org/.

Kate Peterson, University of Minnesota, katep@umn.edu

HubbleSite is an example of what can happen if communications professionals support the dissemination of scientific discoveries. Part science and part advertisement, this site is from the Office of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is part of NASA.

The site is based on the Hubble telescope and its missions, images, and discoveries. It is visually stimulating with expert use of the unique images from the telescope. It includes the basics of how the Hubble telescope works and how the constant flow of data is managed. The site provides directions to create a model Hubble for an upcoming science fair as well as discoveries from the Hubble, including dark energy and Hubble deep field views.

And then there are the images, which is how many nonscientists know the Hubble. In “Gallery,” wall murals, wallpaper for your computer or mobile phone, and high-quality images are available for downloading and printing. There are no copyright concerns for using these images, and the site does a good job explaining this. There is information on how the images are created and enhanced with color and other techniques to help us “see” more. This may be the most compelling part of the site.

HubbleSite is integrated into social networking sites from Facebook to Twitter to Google+ and has its own YouTube channel with more than 50 videos getting nearly 600,000 views. It also has a mobile friendly site and an app available for free. The app includes facts on the telescope and missions, images, and a game where users can vote for their favorite images.

“Explore Astronomy” includes more general astronomy features, including monthly “Tonight’s Sky” videos with the location on the horizon for planets, constellations, and deep sky objects. Other videos, interactive guides, and podcasts explain more about space and astronomy and provide information on the next generation Webb Space Telescope.

Overall this media-rich, interactive site may be most useful for a K–12 audience, including teachers or others new to the study of space and astronomy. However, the high-quality, copyright free images would be useful for a wide variety of displays, Web sites, and presentations. The site’s frequent updates and visual appeal make it worth looking at again and again.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. Access: http://nichcy.org.

Debbi Renfrow, Moreno Valley College, debbi.renfrow@mvc.edu

Available in English and Spanish, the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) provides families and communities, early intervention providers, and schools and administrators a wealth of information and resources related to children with disabilities from diagnosis to intervention strategies to evaluation and placement issues. Users can find out how a child becomes eligible for special education and learn about parental rights, services, evaluating children, and transition to adulthood. Based in Washington, D.C., NICHCY also offers information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the nation’s special education law.

Funded by the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education, NICHCY is part of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network. Although the acronym NICHCY does not match the organization’s current name, they chose to continue the use of their original acronym to maintain the links to their past.

NICHCY encourages the sharing of information on their site, including providing research articles that are copyright-free. Articles range from such topics as math, reading, and writing interventions to interventions for students with autism spectrum disorders, to social skills and academic achievement. The research articles contain extensive bibliographies and related links.

The Web site is clean and easy to maneuver with consistent navigational options. The primary menu at the top of the page includes links to the following information: “Disabilities,” “Babies & Toddlers,” “Children (3 to 22),” “Disability & Education Laws,” and “Research.” Each page has a sidebar with quick links to an A–Z list, publications, state and national organizations, and an “Ask NICHCY” feature, where visitors can use a Web form to request information.

NICHCY offers several ways visitors can keep up-to-date with the latest information. Users can subscribe to NICHCY’s monthly e-newsletter, ask questions online, read their blog for the latest on serving students with disabilities in school, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter. They also welcome feedback on their site through an online form.

This site is an invaluable tool for parents and educators and anyone seeking the latest information on working with children with disabilities.

Copyright 2012© American Library Association

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