Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts; Carol A. Drost

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Access:

Ford Schimdt, Willamette University,

Founded in 1910, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States. Its work is intended to be both nonpartisan and to lead to practical results.

The site itself is simply laid out, with a row of featured option buttons placed just below its banner. Choices for research include “Issues,” “Regions,” “Programs,” “Experts,” “Events,” and “Publications.” The “Issues” section separates subjects into broad categories, such as “Economics,” “Energy and Climate,” and “Political Reform,” with subcategories, such as “Global Trade” and “Development Policy” under “Economics,” and “Arab Political Reform” and “Rule of Law” under “Political Reform.” Topics covered are as current as the continuing Syrian conflict, the French response to Islamist rebels in Mali, and who will be the next Treasury Secretary of the United States.

The “Regions” section covers the entire globe, with particular focus on those countries or areas that are either of current concern or dominant economic powers or policy makers. For example, many of the countries in the Middle East are listed, as are countries of South Asia, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan; the United States, as well as European powers such as Germany and Great Britain, represent major players in the western world.

The “Programs” section offers specialists providing in-depth analysis of the topics listed in both the “Issues” and “Regions” sections. “Experts” provides brief biographies of the scholars and writers associated with the Carnegie Endowment.

The Carnegie Endowment see themselves as building the first worldwide think tank, with offices in Washington, Moscow, Beijing, Beirut, and Brussels. The selection of these sites indicates their importance as centers of international and regional governance, where the policies created will influence the Endowment’s goals of world peace and economic advancement.

A search box, located on the same bar as the featured options, provides access to the entire site. Searches can be limited by issue, region, document type, and date. Translation options are included for Russian, Chinese, and Arabic.

This site is highly recommended for students and researchers seeking information about current economic and political topics and events.

Guttmacher Institute. Access:

Barbara Valentine, Linfield College,

Reproductive rights leader, obstetrician-gynecologist, and president of Planned Parenthood in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Alan F. Guttmacher saw a need for an organization that now bears his name. With the goal to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide, the Guttmacher Institute provides information on sexual activity, contraception, abortion, and childbearing through an interrelated program of research, policy analysis, and public education.

While the pro-life perspective may not flourish here, the institute, overseen by a large multidisciplinary board, does claim to publish reliable, balanced, nonpartisan, scientifically rigorous material in its effort to address relevant public policy questions and issues. Nevertheless, an “Evidence Check” section (under “Media” section) debunking various assaults on Guttmacher reports, highlights the controversial nature of its work.

Directed toward policymakers, activists, health care professionals, researchers, and the media, this very current, easy to navigate site also provides a wealth of resources for the busy undergraduate, from new findings to decades of archival documents. The Web site distributes fact sheets, press releases, articles, and data gathered and researched by the Institute, including two peer-reviewed journals, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health and International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. The “State Center” provides easy access to the reproductive health and rights situation in each state via a handy interactive map. Similarly the “Data Center” includes customizable tables to extend fact-finding.

In addition, the site provides multiple, intuitive avenues for accessing material. Buttons down the left collate documents thematically: “Abortion,” “Adolescents,” “Contraception,” “HIV/AIDS and STIs,” “Men,” “Pregnancy,” “Services and Financing,” “Sex and Relationships,” and “Technology and Bioethics.” Main real estate features compelling news, data, and stories in attractive multimedia formats. Opportunities to donate or follow feeds and social network links fall to the right. A convenient search box offers alternative access. The Guttmacher icon, located on each page, quickly transports one “home” to start the hunt afresh.

Unfortunately, the site was inaccessible several times during review, whether overwhelmed by use or more nefarious visits. But the return was always worthwhile. Guttmacher fills a unique niche addressing provocative ideas and questions on reproductive health and rights issues. Discover surprising content and attractive visuals to enhance any debate or research paper, no matter what side one favors.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Access:

Lia Vella, Colorado School of Mines,

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is situated within the U.S. Department of Energy and physically located in Golden, Colorado. According to its Web site, NREL “develops renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and practices, advances related to science and engineering, and transfers knowledge and innovations to address the nation’s energy and environmental goals.”

The site offers much to assist the “transfer of knowledge and innovations.” NREL shares a wealth of information, spanning the spectrum from fact sheets for home owners to white papers on technical matters to links to published scholarly articles. Despite the massive quantity of information accessible through this site, navigation is made easy due to a well-designed interface with tabs for primary sections at the top of each page and a navigation bar on the left side, which changes to correlate to the section one is viewing.

Directories to resources and subject bibliographies can be found within specific subsections (such as “Geothermal Energy,” housed under the “Science & Technology” section). Datasets and online databases are also linked from relevant sections and subsections of the site. Alternatively, one can find resources on particular topics using the search box located at the top right of all pages.

Although the NREL library’s online catalog is available to the public for searching, the library and its resources are intended primarily for the use of NREL employees. This may explain why the link to the library is located at the bottom right of the NREL homepage in small typeface, as well as the very basic catalog interface with several broken links. Correspondence with library staff revealed that this barebones page is the “public-facing” side, whereas NREL employees may sign in for a more robust, aesthetically pleasing interface to the library’s resources. Aesthetics aside, this portion of the site provides access to information about the library’s holdings, as well as to a very well-organized online digital photo collection.

Anyone interested in energy or renewables—whether in the context of policy or science and technology—should be aware of NREL’s Web site and the resources it provides. This site may be useful to students at the high school, college, and graduate level, or members of the public.

Copyright 2013© American Library Association

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