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September/October 2006 Web News

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Favorite Web Sites: History

The web sites featured this month have been critically evaluated and selected by the IU Northwest librarians as well as a group of academic and public librarians across the United States who compile a yearly Best Free Reference Web Sites List  for the American Library Association. Here is a list of selection criteria initially created by the MARS Best Free Websites Committee to choose these sites. The Library hopes our readers will find these web sites useful for locating reliable, accurate and authoritative information on the Internet.

AMDOCS is part of the University of Kansas' digital library, CARRIE: A Full Text Electronic Library. It contains links to the full text of over 400 primary source documents relating to the study of American history which have been digitized by a variety of academic institutions. The documents, which cover the 15th century through the 21st century, are easily accessible from a straightforward chronological listing of the events that inspired them. Because these documents have been created by many different institutions as part of separate digital projects, users will find considerable variation in the type of accompanying materials available for each and should take particular note of any copyright or other use restrictions noted. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee)

The American Civil War Homepage seeks to provide a comprehensive directory of hypertext links about the Civil War period (1861-1865). Intended for general audiences, this Internet directory covers the war from the major military, political, and social perspectives. Links arranged in broad categories take the user to sites that supply narrative overviews, bibliographies, photographs, and primary source documents. Updating is frequent, but the large number of listings does result in some dead links. The contact information is current and responsive to feedback. For both beginners and serious Civil War researchers, this site is a logical starting point. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee)

American Memory is an ongoing resource of digital images, audio and media clips embracing all aspects of American history and culture. This extensive collection provides access to over 7 million digital reproductions of primary sources from over 100 important historical collections from the Library of Congress and other participating museums and institutions. In addition to the digital resources, the site includes The Learning Page, a teacher's guide to assist in instructional support and learning, and Today in History which gives a brief historical account of an important event in American history occurring on that day. This excellent, frequently updated site is highly recommended for librarians, researchers, teachers, and students seeking to incorporate digital images into their presentations and class assignments. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee)

Originally created in 2000 by PBS as the online companion to its miniseries, "The American Presidency," this site was acquired by the Miller Center in 2001 and revised and re-deployed in 2003. The site consists of two sections. The Presidency in History section presents biographies and timelines for each president, first lady, cabinet member, and staff along with a list of key events and an image gallery for each president. The Presidency in Action section includes an organizational chart of administrative units and office holders, along with essays and bibliographies on key areas of presidential responsibility such as economic and domestic policy, national security, and legislative affairs. This is an excellent resource about the American presidency for high school teachers and students, undergraduate students, and the general public. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee)

As noted in the Introduction to this site, “American Women's History provides citations to print and Internet reference sources, as well as to selected large primary source collections. The guide also provides information about the tools researchers can use to find additional books, articles, dissertations, and primary sources.? What makes this site especially useful is the ease of navigation and intuitive layout. The guide has the depth to be useful to experienced scholars while at the same time being easy to use for the novice researcher. The links to primary sources on the Internet, categorized into seventy-five sub-fields, make this a goldmine for students studying American women’s history. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee)

This site's mission is to be a "portal created for students, history educators, and general history enthusiasts" and consists of annotated lists of recommended history sites that are divided by topic and rated by the site's creators for "usefulness and accuracy." Broad periods such as Prehistory, Medieval, and 20th Century history are listed and further subdivided into manageable topics and periods. Best of History Websites also identifies sites that are particularly useful for lesson plans, research and multimedia. Although coverage of the period between the Middle Ages and the modern/20th century is not particularly strong, overall this frequently updated site lives up to its name and its mission. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee)

This is an extensive and well-organized site featuring "high-quality historical resources for teachers and students for free and without advertising," a feat accomplished through partnerships with a variety of museums and archives. In addition to primary-source material, including multimedia, the site, which is presented in the form of a digital textbook, features resources such as an interactive timeline of U.S. History from 1590-present, subject guides, handouts, and lesson plans. Users are also invited to direct questions to the "Hyperhistorian," Steven Mintz, John and Rebecca Moores Professor of History at the University of Houston. The archives of these queries and answers are accessible as well. This site will be especially useful for high school and post-secondary level history instructors and students. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee)

Documenting the American South is a large-scale digital publishing initiative that features primary resources in history for the study of the history, literature, and culture of the American South. It is an indispensable resource for study of the Civil War and the Antebellum South, African-American history, and Southern literature. It includes public domain full-text books, pamphlets, personal correspondence, slave narratives, diaries, and oral histories. Documenting the American South remains an essential electronic research tool for anyone seeking original and scholarly documentation about this region. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee)

This online counterpart to the print Encyclopedia of Chicago, published in 2004 by the University of Chicago Press, is a major reference resource for the history of the city of Chicago. The site takes advantage of the features of web publishing to enhance the presentation of this vast body of information. For instance, the extensive Entries index features thousands of clickable links to such topics as the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago Architecture, Al Capone and the White Sox. The web site also includes essays, maps, city plans, and topical galleries. Navigation is easy and fun. Contributors include many high profile Chicago area scholars. Ultimately, this electronic treasure is invaluable for anyone interested in Chicago or Midwest history. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee)

Designed for teachers and students at the high school and college levels, History Matters is a gateway site to web-based materials about U.S. History. A search engine, as well as broad topical links, provide access to primary documents, images, audio files, and secondary articles that connect the user to people and places throughout U.S. History. Students can also find links to quality resources for guidance on research standards, citing material, analyzing primary sources, and evaluating web sites. Teaching resources include syllabi, strategies from successful history teachers, and sample assignments using web resources. History Matters is an excellent resource for students seeking a clearinghouse for information about U.S. History, and teachers looking for ways to enhance their teaching. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee)

"HyperHistory is an expanding scientific project presenting 3,000 years of world history with an interactive combination of synchronoptic [simultaneously presented and viewable] lifelines, timelines, and maps." The unique construction of the site allows history to be "viewed" rather than read, although the option of browsing and searching brief text biographies (1010 total) is available. The collection of timelines can be viewed by time period, event (including a new chronology of the 2001-02 terrorist attacks), and person; names on the timeline are color-coded to indicate area of primary influence (science, arts, religion, politics). There is also an extensive collection of event and time period-related maps. The site is complemented by linked text of a "comprehensive world history" that features bibliographies and web links for further research. A valuable site, especially for K-12 and undergraduate use. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee)


Datastream Advance 4.0 Available on Selected IU Northwest Library Reference Department Computers

For the past several months, the IU Northwest Library has subscribed to Datastream Advance 4.0 a powerful business and economics database. This online resource features economic and financial data focusing on main economic indicators, equities, bonds as well as exchange and interest rates from various financial sources. Datastream makes it possible to access and view this data in overview, chart ,graph or spreadsheet format using Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint software. Primarily intended for students taking specific economics and business courses, Datastream Advance 4.0 can be accessed from three designated computer workstations in the Reference Department.

EBSCOHost Adds McClatchy-Tribune and Library Information Science and Technology Abstracts to Its Inspire Database Lineup

Library Information Science and Technology Abstracts (LISTA) and McClatchy-Tribune Newspaper Collection have recently been included in the Inspire database.

LISTA indexes more than 600 periodicals along with books, research reports and proceedings pertaining to the library and information science field. Subjects covered include librarianship, classification, cataloging, online information retrieval and information management. Coverage dates back to the mid-1960's. This database along with Library Literature,  ERIC and Professional Development Collection provides a myriad of information for librarians and teachers.

McClatchy-Tribune Collection provides a 90 day archive of nearly 300 newspapers from the McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. The Chicago Tribune, The Times (Munster, IN) and the Indianapolis Star are included in this database which is updated daily.

The IU Northwest campus community can access LISTA  and McClatchy-Tribune Collection  on or off campus computers by going to the IU Northwest Library Electronic Information Page and clicking on the Library Databases link. At the next web page, choose Inspire Databases. At the next screen, click on EBSCOHost Web. At the EBSCOHost main menu, scroll down the database list and choose Library Information Science and Technology Abstracts or McClatchy-Tribune Collection to search these online resources.


, Library News Web Editor