Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts; Carol A. Drost


CDC Environmental Health. Access: http://http://www.cdc.gov/environmental/.

Carol McCulley, Linfield College, cmccull@linfield.edu

The environment is integral to much of our lives, including our health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Environmental Health page is a great place to access information on these diverse health issues, with a focus on the United States. The Communicable Disease Center, began more than 60 years ago with the mission to stop the spread of malaria in the United States, mostly by killing mosquitoes. Now known as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC has taken on a broad global role of health surveillance and promotion.

CDC Environmental Health has statistics, reports, fact sheets, peer-reviewed articles, and more on topics such as “Climate and Health,” “Cruise Ship Health,” “Natural Disasters and Severe Weather,” and “Water.” CDC campaigns and programs provide information to promote environmental health.

For instance, the “Healthy Community Design” program can be used by undergraduates or community planners to gain an awareness of the connection between the design of a community and health promotion or to educate others about this relationship.

The “Lead Poisoning Prevention” campaign offers information that can be used at any educational level; there is even a link to a coloring book on the prevention of lead poisoning. This would be a great place for nursing students to get information to set up a public health campaign on the effects of lead on children. Other links include prevention tips, statistics, and policy resources.

The strength of the CDC Environmental Health page is the comprehensiveness of the information and the extensive links from each topic to other resources, including CDC centers and government agency pages.

For example, “Natural Disasters and Severe Weather” has information about health and safety concerns, disaster and weather emergencies, and resources for specific groups, such as response workers, pet shelters, or people with chronic conditions or disabilities.

The CDC pages are easy to navigate, and the majority of them were updated in 2012 or 2013. The CDC’s site on environmental health takes full advantage of the Internet and social media to bring information on these topics to the general public, health providers, and policy makers.

Darwin Correspondence Project. Access: http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/.

Betty Landesman, University of Baltimore, blandesman@ubalt.edu

The goal of the Darwin Correspondence Project, established in 1974 and managed by the American Council of Learned Societies and the University of Cambridge, is to locate, research, and publish all known letters written by or to Charles Darwin. The print edition, published by Cambridge University Press as The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, is in progress and scheduled for completion in 2022.

The Web site contains the texts of more than 7,500 letters and descriptions of many more, which are added to the Web site approximately four years after they appear in print. As of March 2013, all known letters written and received up to 1869 are available online.

Entries are very rich. In addition to transcriptions of the letters (full-text searchable), there are illustrations and other figures, letter summaries, editors’ footnotes, and meta-data including author, addressee, letter date, provenance, citation details, and physical description.

Keyword searches can be further limited to people, Web site, and letters. An advanced search allows combining keywords with the name of a correspondent, specifying a date range, or filtering on letter text such as summary, author, or addressee. Entering multiple keywords in the search box produces a list of entries containing any of the terms as well as their roots.

Lists of search results can be further refined by selecting from facets, including year, author, and addressee. Once a letter is selected, available facets include people, places, and scientific terms; all facets are linked. There is also an interactive timeline providing brief summaries and links to the full letter (where available) by date.

In addition to the letters themselves, the Web site includes the Natural Selections blog (postings from the project editors from July 2011), a list of correspondents (somewhat disconcertingly arranged in alphabetical order by first name) containing varying levels of biographical information, and educational resources such as “Darwin for Schools” and science teaching modules for universities.

The interactive timeline and the theme section are interesting features of the Darwin Correspondence Project. But the main—and amazing—content, the primary source material, is what makes this site well worth knowing about.

KnowLA: The Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Access: http://www.knowla.org/.

Doreen Simonsen, Willamette University, dsimonse@willamette.edu

KnowLA, the Encyclopedia of Louisiana, was launched in December 2010 by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities with the aim of building a permanent digital archive of scholarship on Louisiana.

The peer reviewed articles are written by leading scholars and authors in their fields and include links to files from most of Louisiana’s major archives and special collections, such as the Historic New Orleans Collection, the Louisiana State Museum, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation Archive. The intended audience is an adult lifelong learner “looking for accurate but concise answers to specific questions.”

The site can be searched alphabetically by region, by media, or by these six categories: architecture, art, folklife, history, literature, and music. The main essay for each category links to entries and other media. Each entry may include images, audio files, videos, and links to articles in Louisiana Cultural Vistas, the quarterly publication of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

Entries also include citation information and bibliographies. Most articles are up-to-date, and recent additions and revisions can be found under each A to Z letter listing. However, a keyword search for Hurricane Katrina, for example, will lead to an entry and several image files, but misses embedded discussions of Katrina’s impact in the main “literature” essay or in the video about photographer Debbie Fleming Caffery.

Currently from the homepage, visitors can link to a full-text version of A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana from 2012. The digital version is linked to detailed entries on each artist and genre in KnowLA. Access to this book and full issues of Louisiana Cultural Vistas are delightful features of this Web site.

Other state encyclopedias, such as the Encyclopedia of Alabama and The Handbook of Texas Online, all provide a larger number of categories, but most of their individual entries lack the multimedia richness of KnowLA. The staff at KnowLA plan to expand the subject categories to include: archaeology, business and industry, education, ethnicity, foodways, geography and the environment, government/politics, languages, law, media, religion, science and medicine, sports and recreation, travel and tourism.

They also plan to work with K–12 educators to develop materials for classroom use. KnowLA brings Louisiana to life in a clear and engaging way for everyone to enjoy.

Copyright 2013© American Library Association

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