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Choice , March 2014

[Visited Dec'13] American Indian Histories and Cultures (AIHC) provides access to a wealth of textual and visual materials drawn from the Edward E. Ayer Collection of Chicago's venerable Newberry Library. Arguably the premier collection of American Indian research materials, the Ayer Collection includes millions of items ranging from manuscripts to photographs, art, historic maps, and rare books.

Focusing on Native peoples of North America and Mexico, AIHC's coverage ranges from earliest European contact to 21st-century Indian activism. The database's key thematic areas, which were created with sensitivity to content--particularly relating to religious practices--include American Indians and the European Powers; Indigenous Peoples of Mexico; American Indians and the US Government; Military Encounters; Observation, Representation and Cultural Encounters; Missionaries and Education; Trade and Indian Economies; Civil Rights Movement; and First Nations of Canada. AIHC complements and is cross-searchable with Adam Matthew's The American West (CH, May'09, 46-4787).

AIHC
's intuitive tabbed banner has an embedded search bar with links to popular searches and advanced Boolean searching by keyword, title, author, tribe/nation, and culture area. Boolean searches may be limited by date range and primary/secondary resources. Clicking the Documents tab brings up browsable lists of treasures (200 entries/page), e.g., explorers' journals, scrapbooks, rare books, photographs, art portfolios, newspapers, and more. Loading long results lists can be slow but is well worth the wait. Thumbnails facilitate retrieval, particularly for multi-page digital objects; detailed metadata provide useful contextual information. Document results may be filtered by type (e.g., art, treaty, photograph), culture area, or theme. Clicking a thumbnail opens the associated item; users may zoom, move easily between pages/chapters, and download documents or save them to My Archive for future use. References are exportable into EndNote (CH, Feb'08, 45-2929) and RefW'orks. Other great features are the interactive chronology, the map gallery, and interactive map. The Visual Resources tab links to online art galleries, organized by genre; online exhibitions; and more. Additional features include background essays, information on culture areas and tribes, brief biographies, external links, FAQs, and teaching resources.

In breadth and depth of primary sources, AIHC surpasses Infobase Publishing's American Indian History Online (CH, Jan'07, 44-2456), ABC-CLlO's The American Indian Experience (CH, Apr'09, 46-4196), and a plethora of open-access sites that focus on either a specific type of primary resource (e.g., Duke Collection of American Indian Oral History, CH, Nov'09, 47-1616); geographic area (e.g., Alaska Native Collections, CH, Sep'lO, 48-0352); or topic (e.g., National Indian Law Library, CH, Feb'10,47-2951). Despite a hefty one-time price, AIHC is an excellent resource for all libraries supporting programs in American history and Native studies. 

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above.

M. Cedar Face, Southern Oregon University
Choice

CHOICE , May 2009

The American West. Adam Matthew Digital. ISBN Contact publisher for pricing (based on Carnegie Classification and JISC); includes nominal hosting fee, payable every 5 years.

Users will strike gold with this selective collection of materials from the Newberry Library's Graff Collection. The American West compiles more than 1,200 items (often one-of-a-kind) including broadsides, correspondence, currency, diaries, directories, pamphlets, periodicals, photographs, and rare books, among others. Editor Richard Slatta (North Carolina State Univ.) and three other academic historians screened all the rare printed materials against the Sabin Collection (CH, Jul'06, 43-6263) to avoid duplication. The materials selected are organized into themes: Native Americans; Pioneers, Hunters, and Explorers; Mining and the Gold Rush; The Mormon Exodus; Homesteaders, Overland Travel, and Early Settlements; Cattle Ranchers; Railroads, Transportation, and Urban History; Outlaws, Vigilantes, and the Law; Agricultural Development and the Environment; The Imagined West: Wild West Shows and Fiction; and Borderlands (of both the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest). Users may do a basic search by keyword. Advanced Search's key features include Boolean and proximity searching, and the capability to use wildcards and word-stemming. One may search by Author/Subject, Notes, Places, Names, or Topics; restrict results by date; and use drop-down menus for Theme, Region, and Document Type to further limit results. Printed material appears first in the results listing. Users may sort by date, title, relevance, or reference, and e-mail results or export them as a plain-text file. Full-text search results display either as a highlighted, searchable transcript or in original image view. Users may export citations to either Refworks or Endnote (CH, Feb'08, 45-2929).<p>One may view original images by clicking on the thumbnail, and also click and drag, increase or decrease magnification, rotate, download, print, or save images. Additionally one may create a "bespoke slideshow of visual material" by selecting images from the thumbnail list. The two categories of maps available are Original Maps and Data Maps (which present Physical/Environmental, Political, Urban/Travel, and Native American themes, each accompanied by a fact box). The license agreement provides for freedom to network, fair use, and a five-year access guarantee (governed by UK laws). Also available is a brief collection of essays on the West in general and this collection in particular. The help screen should answer most queries. A couple of criticisms are that the Topics subject heading section lacks a controlled vocabulary thesaurus; and that, for searching by Region, the pull-down menu lumps together North and South Dakota, and Dakota Territory, under "T" for "The Dakotas." Nevertheless, this is an excellent resource for libraries wanting access to primary sources and rare materials for this region.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty/researchers.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

D. Liestman, Viterbo University
CHOICE

Library Journal , January 2009

The American West: Sources from the Everett D. Graff Collection at the Newberry Library, Chicago

This e-version of the Graff Collection of Western Americana contains over 300 original manuscripts; 120 zoomable maps; ephemera (trade cards, wanted posters, photos, claim certificates, and newssheets); printed sources (ranging from extra-illustrated volumes and association copies to city directories, pamphlets, and leaflets); papers of early pioneers, explorers, and hunters (e.g., the original manuscript journal and papers of James Audubon); accounts of the gold rush; prospectuses and city directories; records of key railroad companies; emigrant guides; manuscript travel journals; store catalogs; illustrations; and firsthand accounts of the lives of vigilantes and outlaws. The file also documents Native American history and culture. Most of the material in the collection is unique and spans the years 1722 to 1939; the heaviest concentration of material dates from 1830 to 1939.

HOW DOES IT WORK? The opening screen features as backdrop a "typical" mid-to-late-19th-century Western town: loggers fell trees, Conestoga wagons head for the outskirts of town, children play outside the one-room schoolhouse, townspeople bid friends and relatives goodbye aboard the railroad running through the town, and Native Americans sit astride ponies behind the train, with the vast, unspoiled plains and mountains beyond them. There's a search box in the upper right-hand corner and a tool bar with links to Introduction, Documents, Essays, Searching, Maps, Further Resources, and Help.

The Introduction includes a Nature and Scope section and related material, as well as a description of the Thematic Areas covered by the collection: Native Americans; Pioneers, Hunters, and Explorers; Mining and the Gold Rush; The Mormon Exodus; Homesteaders, Overland Travel, and Early Settlements; Cattle Ranchers; The Railroads, Transportation, and Urban History; Outlaws, Vigilantes, and the Law; Agricultural Development and the Environment; The Imagined West: Wild West Shows and Fiction; and Borderlands. The Documents link lists all the documents in the collection and is browsable Alphabetically or by Theme, Region, and Document Type. There are five Essays: "Building an Urban West" by Carl Abbott; "Native Americans in the American West: An Introduction to the Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana at the Newberry Library" by Ned Blackhawk; "Gunmen, Outlaws and Vigilantes of the Old West" by Richard Slatta; "An Historian Views the Everett D. Graff Collection" by Ray Allen Billington, from the Newberry Library Bulletin, December 1960; and "The Everett D. Graff Collection in the Newberry Library" by Colton Storm, from the Newberry Library Bulletin, December 1960.

The Searching link lets you do simple and advanced searches, using word stemming and proximity, as well as date limits and limiting by Theme, Region, or Document Type. The Maps link lets you browse through two sections of Maps: Original and Data Maps, filtered by Region, Date, or Theme. The Further Resources link includes a Slideshow Gallery, a Chronology of the American West from 1528 (when "Captain Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and eighty Spaniards are shipwrecked on the Texas coast and enslaved by Indians") to 1946 (when the Bureau of Land Management was created).

CAN YOU USE IT? I'm a librarian first and foremost, so I went right to the Documents link, where I got a 27-page list of documents, arranged alphabetically by author, ranging from James Abbey's "California. A trip across the plains, in the spring of 1850, being a daily record of incidents...sketches of the country, distances from camp to camp. Etc....New Albany, Ind.: Kent & Norman, and J.R. Nunemacher, 1850" to "A Catalogue of The Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana at The Newberry Library, compiled by Colton Storm." When I clicked on an individual record, I got full documents details (Subjects, Themes, Regions, Places, Chapters in the Book, Visual Material, etc.) and the options to View the original image, go Back to List, see the Next Document Details Page, See the Previous Documents Details Page, or Export the citation to RefWorks/Endnote. Very nice.

Next I skimmed through the Essays—I had to see what was in "Gunmen, Outlaws and Vigilantes of the Old West"! In that essay, I was pleased to find (in addition to scholarly yet accessible historical writings) active hyperlinks to documents in the Graff collection embedded throughout the essay. So I (innocently) clicked on the link, "George Doud Freeman, Midnight and noonday; or, dark deeds unraveled. Giving 20 years experience on the frontier; also the murder of Pat. Hennesey, and the hanging of Tom. Smith, at Ryland's Ford, and facts concerning the Talbert Raid on Caldwell. Also the death dealing career of McCarty and incidents happening in and around Caldwell, Kansas, from 1871 until 1890. (Caldwell, Kansas, 1890), pp. 275–77. Graff 1411." Several hours later, I clicked another link, "Calamity Jane (pseud. Marthy Cannary Burk) Life and adventures of Calamity Jane. By herself. (1896), p. 1. Graff 484.

"If you're a Map person, the Maps section may keep you in thrall for years. Even Search got me into trouble: a search for "Bat Masterson" took me into The Life and Adventures of Deadwood Dick, and there went another few hours. Make no mistake—when I say I spent hours in this file, it was because it was so downright fascinating. Reading within the Essays led to Searching, and Browsing, and I could easily have spent several days just within the "Gunmen, Outlaws and Vigilantes of the Old West" essay. It is remarkably easy to move around in the original documents, and the quality of the digital images is excellent.

WHAT'S THE COST? The list price for the file is $41,000; this is a onetime only purchase, with no cost-per-user charges and no annual subscription or maintenance fees.

HOW GOOD IS IT? The content is a ten. The design is a ten. The delivery is, you guessed it, a ten.

BOTTOM LINE Highly recommended for academic, public, and special libraries serving American history researchers, as well as American cultural researchers. Now let me get back to The Life and Adventures of Deadwood Dick!

Cheryl LaGuardia
Library Journal

Choice 'Outstanding Academic Title'

The American West has been awarded an ‘Outstanding Academic Title’ by Choice Magazine, America’s leading academic review journal.

One of just 40 electronic resources and 652 books selected, The American West has been recognised as “the best of the best” out of an original 7,065 titles reviewed by Choice editorial staff in 2009.

Through a mixture of original manuscripts, maps, ephemeral material and rare printed sources, The American West provides a rare and fascinating insight into tales of frontier life, Native Americans, vigilantes and outlaws. Coupled with materials covering the development of urban centres and the expansion into the 'Wild West', this collection is a dynamic teaching and research resource.

Irving Rockwood, Choice editor and publisher, comments:

these outstanding works have been awarded for their excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to the field, and their value as important – often the first – treatment of their subject.”

American West Project Editor Jennifer Bullock said:

We are delighted to have received this prestigious award from Choice Magazine. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the production of this resource, especially the Newberry Library and our Board of Academic Editors, who along with the dedicated staff at Adam Matthew who worked incredibly hard to make this such a great success".

Free, four-week trials of The American West and all other Adam Matthew collections are available. Please use the 'Request a Free Trial Today' tool to request access.

Adam Matthew offers institution-specific discounts on all resources based on banding. Please contact us for further details.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

Irving Rockwood
Choice 'Outstanding Academic Title'

CHOICE , February 2013

China: Culture and Society. Adam Matthew. Contact publisher for pricing (based on Carnegie Classification and JISC); includes nominal hosting fee, payable every 5 years* [see Publisher's Note below]. Reviewed in Feb 2013 CHOICE.

[Visited Nov'12] This online resource complements Adam Matthew's database China: Trade, Politics and Culture, 1793-1980, which uses sources from the School of Oriental and African Studies and the British Library, London. China: Culture and Society encompasses the digitized Charles W. Wason Pamphlet Collection on East Asia from Cornell University. Comprising some 1,200 pamphlets bound in 220 volumes, this rare and unique collection is written mostly in English by academics, diplomats, merchants, missionaries, and travelers who came in contact with China over several centuries. The pamphlets are mainly in the form of addresses and speeches, guides, lecture notes, letters, and meeting minutes, published ca. 1750 to 1929. Very few of them survived elsewhere. The contents of this incredibly rich primary resource effectively cover all aspects of history and culture of the people of China and foreign involvement there. Topics explored are remarkably broad, including the Chinese diaspora, architecture, education, foot binding, the foreign presence in China, international relations, language and literature, missionaries and Christianity, opium, religion and mythology, and more. Besides the full text, the database features several secondary resources: an interactive Chronology, Essays, Mini Guides, a Visual Resources Gallery, and a useful External Links section. Of particular appeal is the Visual Resources Gallery, which not only displays illustrations and artworks, but also allows downloading of images (exportable as PDFs) and running slide shows on selected images. As with other Adam Matthew digital resources, this collection is full-text searchable and digitized in full color, capturing beautiful illustrations, photographs, maps, and cover art designs.

Users are provided with an Introduction, Documents, Further Resources, Help, Advanced Search, and Popular Searches tabs on the main resource page. The entire collection, in alphabetical order, can be viewed via the Documents tab or filtered by themes using advanced search. The Help section consists of a Tour, Page by Page Guide, FAQ, and Teaching tabs to guide users through the resource. The database is best viewed using the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and Adobe Acrobat to read the PDF images. Its interface is quite user-friendly and easy to navigate. This database also provides metadata on individual pamphlets and downloadable MARC 21 catalog records, free of charge. Documents and images may be saved in My Archive and My Lightbox, respectively. Users may create personalized collections and slide shows, and also export selected documents to RefWorks or Endnote (CH, Feb'08, 45-2929). A free four-week trial is open to academic institutions and libraries. This impressive resource will be valuable to scholars and students of China and East Asia, and also will facilitate interdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences. 

Summing Up:
Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

Publisher's Note: As of January 2013 our standard hosting model requires annual, rather than quinquennial, payments.

K. T. Wei, Emerita, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
CHOICE

CHOICE , December 2012

This archive is a compilation of "Confidential Print"--significant documents issued by and circulated within the British Foreign and Colonial Offices and among high officials concerning Africa (excluding Egypt) during the period of European imperialism, colonial governance, and African resistance and decolonization. Covering roughly 1834-1966, this collection of electronically scanned primary documents is part of a series of similar databases that encompass other regions, including the Middle East, North America, and Latin America. "Confidential Print" documents have been available to scholars for decades in print volumes; however this is the first online, fully searchable database of these African documents, which substantially increases access. The documents themselves are a mix of reports, dispatches, correspondence, and analyses of the political and economic climate as well as profiles of influential people in Africa. While the focus, of course, is British activities, the documents discuss other European powers and their African holdings as well. The database's strength and weakness is that it derives from a singular point of view--that of the British. The documents present substantive descriptions of events and personalities, providing insight into the mindset of the imperial machine across more than a century. On the other hand, the indigenous point of view is absent from the database by design. Thus it lacks the critically important African perspective. Nonetheless, this collection is invaluable for the study of the British presence in Africa during a crucial phase of development for both the empire and the continent. Documents can be browsed, but not efficiently, since they are listed without subject groupings from which to select; searching is the better bet. The advanced search allows for stemming, and for Boolean, proximity, and date limit searching. Once the documents are opened, their contents are searchable; records can be exported to EndNote (CH, Feb'08, 45-2929) and RefWorks. Other features include a fairly comprehensive, illustrated chronology and a collection of approximately 300 maps (some with color contrast). The map zoom options are limited, making highly detailed maps virtually unreadable at a fine level. Entire documents can be downloaded in PDF (unavailable as part of a free trial); this feature may provide better zooming options. At the time of this review the link to essays was only a placeholder, with essays slated for future development

Summing Up: Recommended. Research libraries with an extensive Africana collection; lower-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

B. D. Singleton, California State University--San Bernardino
CHOICE

CHOICE , September 2013

Confidential Print: Latin America, 1833-1969. Adam Matthew. ISBN Contact publisher for pricing (based on Carnegie Classification and JISC); includes nominal hosting fee, payable annually.

This latest offering in the Confidential Print digital series comprises several groups of primary documents issued by the Colonial and Foreign Offices of the government of Great Britain as treaties, dispatches, and investigation results relating to Latin America over 136 years. The title refers to the coding given to important papers created within the government, which were then printed out and circulated to officials in the cabinet and heads of British missions worldwide.

Chronological Coverage for the set begins in the 1830's and extends to the Cold War, with no additions planned. Formats included are biographies of notable individuals, statistical reports and economic studies, maps, correspondence, and the texts of significant treaties. The Nature and Scope section of the main page is useful for quickly comprehending the organization of the documents. In addition to this section, the database features a list of items included, a general introduction, an essay (forthcoming at the time of this review), and a reference chronology of important events in Latin America between 1833 and 1969. Editorial board members are listed, and links to maps and to nine databases of Latin American historical texts are offered.

Search options include keyword and advanced (e.g., standard Boolean and proximity functions), with search tips provided.

One issue is that the approach to the contents is more by region or continent than by specific countries or political units. Also, the descriptive language used reflects the usage current at the time the various documents were produced. Some of this terminology may be unknown to researchers not already familiar with the details of Latin American political history, e,g., the use of the phrase "River Plate countries" to refer to Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina. While most countries of the Latin American region are represented in this body of documentation, only Mexico, Chile, and Brazil have separate files under their names.

The contents of this resource overlap significantly with the print product titled British Documents on Foreign Affairs--Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print, issued by University Publications of America beginning in 1989. Series D of the print set, edited by George Philip, is devoted to Latin America, with the collective coverage of parts l and 2 encompassing 1845-1945; treaties are not included. Many large, research libraries may already have Series D in their collections. This online database will be most useful for college and university libraries that did not acquire the earlier print publication. 

Summing up: Recommended
. Libraries supporting upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty in history, political science, and economics; general readers.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

R. B. M. Ridinger, Northern Illinois University
CHOICE

Reference Reviews (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd) , December 2013

The following excerpts are reproduced from Reference Reviews 27.6 item RR 2013/243.

"The broad range of items in the collection coupled with the clear, high resolution scans of the documents make Confidential Print a very user-friendly product that will appeal to scholars and students alike."

"The search interface is simple and allows users to perform full-text keyword searches within the digital documents. Each item has an extensive list of subject terms for countries, places (cities, geographical regions, rivers, etc.), people, and topics (such as industrialization or sugar production). For full-text keyword search results, there are links to the page images on which the keywords occur, and users have the option to download the page or the entire document as a PDF file for printing or saving. The scans are all sharp and can be magnified or rotated for easier reading. Results can also be exported to either the EndNote or RefWorks bibliographic management software platforms."

"...for a large academic or special library focusing on British and/or the history of the Americas, it forms an important body of primary source documents that will save researchers time and travel money."

Reference Reviews
is a subscription-only journal available from Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. See their website for further details: www.emeraldinsight.com

Professor David D. Oberhelman, Oklahoma State University
Reference Reviews (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd)

CHOICE , October 2008

Everyday Life and Women in America. Adam Matthew Digital. ISBN Contact publisher for pricing (based on Carnegie Classification and JISC); includes nominal hosting fee, payable every 5 years.

A collaboration between Duke University's Sallie Bingham Centre for Women's History and Culture and the New York Public Library, this database offers a wealth of primary source material related to women’s lives in the US between 1800 and 1920. Searchable images, rare books, pamphlets, periodicals, and broadsides have been individually selected according to a five-step process, which is thoroughly described in the database’s Introduction. The thoughtful selection of the material, which span a wide array of women’s issues, makes this resource unique among history databases. Topics covered include politics, society, race, religion, health, cookery, family life, fashion and beauty, education, work and farming. Fiction and children’s prescriptive literature round out the selections. Materials included are listed alphabetically by format but may also be searched using keywords. An advanced search feature allows users to employ Boolean logic, phrase search, and truncation. Once results are generated users have the option of looking at the entire text of a work or going straight to the pages that contain the relevant search terms. Scanned images are clear and readable. Users may view one page of each work at a time or download the entire document as a PDF (a feature that undoubtedly allow for more efficient printing but was not available for this free trial). A useful section for teachers details copyright and fair use restrictions. In addition to the primary content, the site also highlights four essays by English and women’s/gender studies scholars, including one offering research advice for using the site’s periodicals. An extensive bibliography leads to additional secondary source material related to the database’s coverage. Finally, a chronology allows users to select one or two of any seven subject categories to create customized time lines. The specialized nature of this database may make it seem most appropriate for instructions that offer programs in the women’s studies or women’s history, and to a large extent this perception is true. Nevertheless, others will also find the content pertinent, including students and scholars of English/literature, family and consumer science, religious studies, education, and all areas of history.

Summed Up: Highly recommended. Upper division undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

R.I Attebury, University of Idaho
CHOICE

CHOICE , August 2012

Foreign Office Files for China, 1949-1980. Adam Matthews Digital. ISBN Contact Publisher for pricing (based on Carnegie Classification and JISC); includes nominal hosting fee, payable every 5 years.

Adam Matthew Digital offers a smoothly functioning search engine via the portal Archives Direct for accessing digital copies documents (1949-80)—primarily on the People’s Republic of China, but also on Hong Kong and Taiwan—residing at the UK’s National Archives in Kew and compiled by the Foreign Office. This interactive database provides metadata on the items and then full-text copies of the official records themselves in the form of PDFs. To obtain results, which can be printed, saved, shared, or exported to bibliographic management software, a researcher’s computer must have Adobe Reader 7.0 or above. The FO for China, currently in two sections with a third scheduled to follow soon, are invaluable in not being limited to relations between Britain and greater China. They also include US, Soviet, European, and Commonwealth Chinese connections as recorded by one of the few Western countries with continuing ties with China from 1950 on. The editorial board consists of three academics who have written on aspects of China and whose respective bases in different parts of the world enhance their perspectives. A sample list of seven books in England on the PRC appears on the site as the basis used for checking facts (and presumably as suggestions for further reading). FO files address internal politics, industrial policies, trade, and cultural changes within China, such as the transformative events of the Cultural Revolution and the later rise of Deng Xiaoping, through the assessments of diplomats and eyewitness accounts. The navigator bar consists of Home, Introduction, Documents, Chronology, Maps, and Help drop-down sections (the latter with useful graphics and hints on searching by keyword and Boolean operators.) The Maps section allows searchers to click on the East Asian landmass; in then provides much information that a good geography book should, e.g., on population, education, the military, agriculture, and sports, as well as on dissidents and defections arranged by years. A range of researchers, from undergraduates to experienced international researchers, would benefit from this gateway to what appears to be the most comprehensive and accessible set of official UK documents on modern China available in any form.

Summing up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

F.J. Augustyn Jr. Library of Congress
CHOICE

Reviews in History , February 2010

Globalization, some have argued, has created a borderless world by breaking down the physical barriers to the movement of people, products and ideas. Technological advance further facilitates the free circulation of information. Despite their obsession with the past, historians, archivists and publishers in the history field have not been slow to embrace the new digital technology. In the past two decades or so, many digital resources for history, covering both primary and secondary sources, have been published. Gone were the days when historians had no choice but to travel to overseas archives or libraries for research. One of the latest digital resources is Foreign Office Files for China sourced from The National Archives at Kew by Adam Matthew Digital Ltd. Published in three sections (1949–56; 1957–66; 1967–80) over 2009–2010, this collection is the most comprehensive set of British Foreign Office/Foreign and Commonwealth Office documents on China available in digital and print forms.

This review is about section one of the collection. Most of the documents concern correspondence between the British Embassy in Beijing and the Foreign Office in London between 1949 and 1956, for example yearly, monthly and weekly reviews, political reports, economic assessments, eye-witness accounts and so forth. Certainly, this short review cannot do justice to this very rich collection. Instead, it will give a ‘snapshot’ of some of the documents from three main perspectives – mainland China, Cold-War Asia, and colonial Hong Kong – and discuss some of the themes underlining them – China’s attempts to end the ‘century of humiliation’ at home and abroad, the impact of US policy and the Cold War, the importance of the Anglo-American ‘special relationship’ to London, Britain’s pragmatic approach to Communist China, and the precarious coexistence between Hong Kong and China. A few comments will also be made of the research potential and digital presentation of the resource.

The year 1949 was pivotal to the political future of China and of Anglo-Chinese relations. On the mainland, the Chinese Communist Party under Mao Zedong was winning the civil war against the Nationalist government under Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek). A total of 45 files (FO 371/75734–75778) thus detail, almost on a daily basis, the Communist takeover of major cities/provinces, from Beijing (Peking) through Nanjing (Nanking) and Shanghai to Guangzhou (Canton). As early as 2 March, after the fall of Beijing but before the Communist crossing of the Yangtze, the British Ambassador in Nanjing sent a rather pessimistic report to the Foreign Office: ‘Despite all Chiang Kai-shek’s efforts it is in my view out of the question that further successful resistance to the Communists can be organised’ (FO 371/75743). The main concern of the British government was the situation in Shanghai, where the bulk of British properties and nationals concentrated. Notwithstanding the British evacuation planning, the Communist takeover of Shanghai turned out to be relatively smooth and uneventful. As the British Consul General in Shanghai reported in late May: ‘No British subject injured … No serious looting. Damage to utilities and British property generally only incidental’ (FO 371/75757). Indeed, in establishing and consolidating their power in 1949 (and in the subsequent few years), the Chinese Communists adopted a gradual and cautious approach to the treatment of foreigners (and of domestic capitalist elements). The documents on events leading to the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 thus reveal some degree of hope and optimism among British officials as far as future relations with the Communist regime were concerned.

In view of the political change on the mainland during 1949, British decision-makers and officials in London had to ponder the question of recognizing the People’s Republic. To them, recognition was not only a bilateral issue with the Chinese Communists but also an issue that had wider implications for Anglo-American relations and British relations with the Asian Commonwealth. The Labour government’s deliberations of recognition between 1949 and January 1950 constitute more than twenty files (FO 371/75810–75830; FO 371/83279–83284), many of which feature discussions and consultation with the US administration. Because of Britain’s political decline in post-war Asia, economic interests in China, and colonial interests in Hong Kong, London wanted to ‘keep a foot in the door’ by recognizing the People’s Republic. On the other hand, Washington, for domestic and Cold War reasons, could not immediately shift its recognition from the Nationalist government, which by the year’s end retreated to the island of Taiwan, to the new Communist regime. The result was that, after a series of meetings, Britain went ahead on de jure recognition of Communist China on 6 January 1950, and America agreed to disagree with its key ally. At a time when the British government decided to recognize Beijing, Mao Zedong made the decision on ‘leaning to one side’ by aligning China with the Soviet Union. The conclusion of the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance on 14 February (FO 371/75832–75835; FO 371/83313–83315) was to have significant impact on the politics and economy of China as well as China’s interactions with the outside world.

Between 1950 and 1956 (and beyond), the Chinese Communists sought to build a new socialist state by eliminating all privileges and institutions established by Western imperialist powers during the previous ‘century of humiliation’. The bulk of the documents in section one of the collection thus feature how British diplomats on the ground observed first hand the political, economic and social transformations of China especially those affecting British interests. In the first half of 1950, the Communist authorities announced a number of new regulations concerning registration, travel, and entry and exit permits for foreign residents. The aims were to place foreigners (mostly Britons) under tighter state scrutiny and control. Not only for those who wanted to stay, Beijing also made life difficult for foreigners who desired to leave by denying, or at least delaying, the granting of exit permits (FO 371/83507 and FO 371/83509). The Chinese attitude to and treatment of diplomats were no better. Despite London’s recognition of the People’s Republic, Beijing refused to reciprocate and agreed merely to the opening of talks for establishing diplomatic relations. The British representatives sent to Beijing for that purpose were recognized as ‘negotiating agents’ rather than a formal British Mission. The Chinese regime also refused to recognize the status of British consular officers stationed across the country. Between 1950 and mid-1951, it compulsorily took over His Majesty’s Consulate at Fuchou (Foochow), and, by refusing visas for staff replacements, forced the British government to close a number of its Consular posts such as Nanjing and Hankou (Hankow). Beijing’s treatment of British nationals and properties in China was summed up in a telegram by the Commonwealth Relations Office to British High Commissioners abroad: ‘All this suggests a deliberate and consistent policy of squeezing out by degree those United Kingdom – and, indeed, Western – interests which are not of practical use and assistance to the Chinese People’s Government’ (FO 371/92251).

China’s policy of ‘squeezing out’ Western interests, to be sure, included British economic concerns, especially in Shanghai. At first, the British government and major British firms in China hoped that, with the end of the civil war, the new Communist regime would again look to the Western world for trade and capital. As time progressed, however, it became clear that China’s policy was to restrict and utilize, if not expel and nationalize outright, foreign companies. Accordingly, British firms were subjected to heavy taxation and strict labour regulations; they were not allowed to close down and lay off their (Chinese) workers until after settling their liabilities with the local authorities. By mid-1952, the British government decided that the majority of the British firms could no longer operate satisfactorily in China, and it was the time for their withdrawal. The British consuls were instructed to protest to the Chinese government about the difficulties of the British companies and later to exert pressure on the authorities to facilitate more expeditious and reasonable settlement of their closure – but all to no avail. In the event, it was the British firms themselves that negotiated their own withdrawal after sacrificing their assets and capital. The related files on the years 1950–52 give meticulous details on the gradual collapse of the British ‘informal economic empire’ on the mainland (FO 371/83344–83353; FO 371/92259–92267; FO 371/99282–99297).

The Foreign Office files also show China emerging from the shadow of European imperialism to become a great power to be reckoned with in Cold-War Asia. In late October 1950, China intervened in the Korean War, a ‘hot war’ in which the Chinese volunteers would fight the United States and the United Nations coalition to a standstill. The Korean War strained the Anglo-American ‘special relationship’, while putting an end to the fruitless Anglo-Chinese negotiations over the establishment of diplomatic relations. Although supporting America’s war efforts, Britain was also eager to restrain the more belligerent tendencies in US policy, such as the use of Chinese Nationalist troops (FO 371/99259), a naval blockade of the Chinese coast (FO 371/99261), and a total trade embargo on China (on debates in 1951, see FO 371/92233–92240; FO 371/92272–92287). The war, moreover, reversed the US ‘hands-off’ approach to Taiwan: just two days after the North Korean attack, the Truman administration announced the despatch of the Seventh Fleet to ‘neutralize’ the Taiwan Strait in order to prevent a possible communist invasion of the island. The Sino-American confrontation over Korea and the US protection of Taiwan had deep impact on Anglo-Chinese relations. As the Foreign Office documents reveal, throughout the 1950s, British officials were constantly caught in the policy dilemma of supporting the Americans over Taiwan (notably the Nationalist representation in the United Nations) and pacifying the Chinese Communists for the sake of regional peace and Hong Kong, among other factors.

Indeed, Britain’s attitude and policy towards Taiwan after 1950 had been ambivalent and even self-defeating. On the one hand, despite its recognition of the People’s Republic, the British regarded Taiwan’s legal status as ‘undetermined’, maintained a consulate at Tamsui, and refused to vote for China’s admission into the United Nations. All these were criticized by Beijing as London’s pursuit of a ‘two Chinas’ policy, and the main reasons for the lack of progress on the establishment of Anglo-Chinese diplomatic relations (FO 371/83285–83295). On the other hand, British diplomats and officials found Jiang Jieshi’s repeated attempts to ‘return to the mainland’, perhaps by involving the United States, disturbing and destabilizing. Back in June 1949, the Nationalists had declared a ‘closure’ of the Communist-controlled ports. After their retreat to Taiwan, the Nationalists continued the civil war on the maritime front by searching and detaining suspicious foreign ships, the majority of which were British-owned or Hong Kong-registered. The British regarded the Nationalist harassment of China’s coast as ‘illegitimate and unfriendly’, bringing economic inconvenience to the British shipping and political tension to the region. (On events during 1949-1952, see FO 371/75900–75917; FO 371/83424–83438; FO 371/99326–99329.) Of course, the Chinese Communists were as responsible for the maritime civil war as the Nationalists. In September 1954, Mao’s China began to bombard the Nationalist-held offshore islands, thus triggering off the First Taiwan Strait Crisis which lasted for some eight months. The crisis was another major challenge to the Anglo-American ‘special relationship’, with Prime Minister Winston Churchill (and later Anthony Eden) disagreeing sharply with President Dwight Eisenhower over the defence of the off-shore islands, if not of Taiwan. A total of 49 files illuminate Britain’s role in the 1954–5 crisis, from its support for the New Zealand-sponsored ceasefire resolution in the United Nations to its discussion and debate with the US administration over the protection of the offshore islands. (FO 371/110231–110243; FO 371/115023–115055; FO 371/115075–115077)

China’s attempts to repudiate the legacies of Western imperialism were not extended to the British Colony of Hong Kong, however. Although the collection is sourced mainly from the Foreign Office files, it also contains many documents relating to the Colonial Office and Hong Kong, especially those which have implications for British foreign policy and Anglo-Chinese relations. The documents are revealing of how the Cold War and Anglo-Chinese relations were played out in Hong Kong. Some of the topics include: the defence of Hong Kong in light of the Communist victory in 1949 (FO 371/75871–75879); British deliberations of export controls against China via Hong Kong during the Korean War (FO 371/92272–92287); Beijing’s criticisms of the size and activities of the American Consulate General in Hong Kong (FO 371/83557 and FO 371/92385); and the Nationalist attempts to use Hong Kong as a base for sabotage against China, for example the Kashmir Princess Incident of 1955 (FO 371/115133–115146). Taken together, these topics portray a picture of how British officials had to strike a delicate balance between China and Taiwan/America in view of Hong Kong’s vulnerability. Notwithstanding that Beijing did not seek to destroy British influence in Hong Kong, as it did on the mainland and in the wider world, the British were acutely aware that Hong Kong existed in China’s shadow and thus should not be used as a base of subversion against the mainland in the Cold War.

The Foreign Office Files for China, then, provides vivid and thorough documentation of the great transformation of Chinese polity and society post-1949, of China’s role in Cold-War Asia, and of Britain’s precarious position in Hong Kong. It is a valuable source to our understanding of the making of Britain’s China policy, especially from the vantage point of the British Mission in Beijing and the Foreign Office. (The collection also features telegrams of other departments such as the Board of Trade, the Colonial Office, and the Ministry of Defence as well as extracts of British Parliamentary debates.) Besides, the files represent important primary sources for the study of modern China. The British diplomats in Beijing and other Chinese cities were among the few Westerners who were allowed to stay after the communist takeover. Their direct access to Chinese officials (however difficult and frustrating at times) and first-hand observations of the domestic scene mean that the Foreign Office documents can provide revealing insights into the Chinese Communist mindset and policy, which otherwise could only be gauged from the open sources of Beijing’s propaganda machinery.

In view of the British government’s thirty-year rule, the bulk of the Foreign Office documents on the late 1940s and the 1950s have been released to the public since the early 1980s. The digital publication of these long declassified materials thus provides nothing new to researchers. In the past two decades or so, a number of scholars have made extensive use of the Foreign Office records (available at the Public Record Office/The National Archives) and published research monographs on Anglo-Chinese relations from 1945 to the 1950s, covering such topics as Britain’s recognition of Communist China, the evolution of Anglo-Chinese economic and commercial relations, British policy towards China in the wider Cold War context, Britain’s relations with Taiwan, and Hong Kong’s role in Anglo-Chinese and Anglo-American relations.(1) Nevertheless, the number of archival-based, book-length publications on Anglo-Chinese diplomatic history remains surprisingly small as compared with that of other topics such as Sino-American relations. Even more surprising is that historians and scholars of modern China, perhaps preoccupied with a ‘China-centred’ approach and ‘history from below’, have largely ignored the British Foreign Office records in their research. With the recent flourishing of the field of International History, which goes beyond state-to-state relations to include the interactions of peoples and cultures, the line between diplomatic/foreign history and domestic/national history has become increasingly blurred. The British diplomatic documents should be of interest to scholars who want to study modern China within a wider international context. They warrant greater use by not only diplomatic but also political, economic, social and cultural historians of China.

Finally, on the technological side of the Foreign Office files, the digital layout and design of the resource is admirably clear and simple. Historians who are put off by the ever-changing computer technology will find it easy to navigate. ‘Searchability’ is another valuable feature of this resource: the files can be searched by keywords and the search terms are highlighted. And the files are downloadable, either in full or in part. In other aspects, however, the digital delivery of primary sources may not be as ‘users-friendly’ as the conventional publication of documents. In the case of printed documentary collections, editors are normally able to provide lengthy footnotes to place the primary materials in context, identify the individuals mentioned in the documents, and recommend related secondary sources to the readers. But this is not the case for the digital resource under review (although the detailed chronology of events on the website may help the readers somewhat). Nevertheless, the greatest value of the Foreign Office Files for China is its accessibility. Students and scholars of Anglo-Chinese relations and modern China can now consult the British archives from afar and with ease.

Dr Chi-kwan Mark, Royal Holloway, University of London
Reviews in History

CHOICE , July 2013

Global Commodities: Trade, Exploration and Cultural Exchange. Adam Matthew. ISBN Contact publisher for pricing (based on Carnegie Classification and JISC); includes nominal hosting fee. payable annually. URL: http://www.amdigital.co.uk. [Visited April '13].

Designed to offer a unique way to teach world history, this visually pleasing database focuses on 15 "commodities that changed the world." For some obvious commodities, like silk, that are missing, the editors defer to coverage by other websites. Primary sources constitute most of the content. The images are of high quality and downloadable as PDF files. Under Further Resources, nearly 20 essays, signed by authoritative authors, are offered, but some lack references and further reading suggestions. Although the publisher is adding content, not much information is available on the site about additions and updates. Separate sections include Visual Resources galleries, Data and Maps, and a Chronology (which offers various browsing and filtering options). Navigation requires some orientation. The main menu directs users toward the key commodities or thematic areas such as Art and Literature, Health and Welfare, and Social Practice. One a topic is selected, the database offers descriptions, diaries, images, shipping manifests, travel logs, and more. The glossary is excellent in providing brief (sometimes too brief) entries covering many more commodities, but it lacks links to references for further reading. The site does include a section of links to external websites that are authoritative and enhance the user experience.

The search engine is thorough, but can quickly overwhelm users with results. Images load quickly, and search terms are highlighted. Users also may browse documents in several ways, e.g., by Commodity, with Filters for Document Type, Regions, Library and Theme. The narrow scope of the database makes it distinctive, compared to other websites. For those seeking information on commodities, the quality and quantity of material offered surpasses Fordham University's Internet History Sourcebooks Project <http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/index.asp> and UC-Santa Cruz's Commodities in World History, 1450-1950 <http://cwh.ucsc.edu/commodities.html>. The editors at Adam Matthew seem to be conscious of avoiding duplication with those sites. Since the content of Global Commodities comprises mainly primary sources, some undergraduates and high school students may require further context.

Summing Up:
Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

W. M. Fontane, McNeese State University
CHOICE

CHOICE , August 2009

The India, Raj and Empire database is an extremely valuable resource for scholars and students of South Asian history/studies. It focuses on the manuscript collections of the National Library of Scotland, chronicling South Asian history beginning with the establishment of the East India Company in 1615 until the attainment of political freedom of India and Pakistan in 1947. The documents in this database are organized according to nine themes: (1) The East India Company: Government and Administration c.1750-1857; (2) Agriculture and Trade c.1750-1857; (3) Society, Travel and Leisure c.1750-1857; (4) The Mysore and Maratha Wars; (5) Indian Uprising 1857-58; (6) The Raj: British Government and Administration of India after 1858; (7) Agriculture and Trade after 1858; (8) Society, Travel and Leisure after 1858; and (9) India: Literature, History and Culture. The interface is very user-friendly and easily navigable. Users are provided with an introduction, a chronology, a glossary, information on the nature and scope of the collection, a description of the nine themes, a biographies section, and maps. The collection can be browsed via the Documents tab or searched via Advanced Search. A Search Topics listing allows users to search specific topics related to their research interests. Documents can be sorted in thematic as well as chronological order. Users may also select and export the documents to RefWorks or EndNote (CH, Feb'08, 45-2929). Moreover, they can take a quick tour of Help before getting started with their research. Apart from documents, images are also available from the Slideshow Gallery. Users may select multiple images to create a slideshow and then export it in PDF format. In addition, External Links leads to freely available research resources. The publisher plans to add more research materials from other archival collections that would be useful both for research and teaching purposes. This database will be very useful for all libraries that support South Asian studies programs or scholars with research interests in South Asian studies/history.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

C. Vaidyanathan, University of Miami
CHOICE

Library Journal , May 2011

CONTENT Jewish Life in America c1654–1954 is a digital archive of original manuscript materials from the holdings of the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) in New York. Materials to be found here include organization and institutional records and papers, as well as autobiographies, letters, notebooks, and scrapbooks dating from the 17th to the mid-20th century. The file draws from six institutional collections (American Jewish Historical Exhibition Records, American Jewish Tercentenary Collection, Baron de Hirsch Fund Records, Board of Delegates of American Israelites, Industrial Removal Office, and the Papers of the Jewish Immigration Information Bureau) and 24 large personal collections.

In addition to the manuscript collections there are full-text searchable rare printed books and pamphlets from the Soble and Rosenbach collections at the AJHS and supplemental resources including biographies, a chronology, interactive maps, scholarly essays, a selection of American Jewish Year Book articles, links to related websites, and a visual resources gallery that draws from two collections of photographs: the Baron de Hirsch Fund Records collection and the Graduate School for Jewish Social Work (New York) Records.

Usability The opening screen of Jewish Life in America has a title bar at top (with a Search box at top right) and a toolbar below, with buttons for Introduction, Documents, Maps, Further Resources, Help, Advanced Search, and Popular Searches. Below that the screen has three sections: at left, a revolving carousel of images, and links into specific collections; at center, a welcome, introduction, and outline of the nature and scope of the file; and at right, a Getting Started box (containing links to View the User Guide, See the Collection Highlights, Go Straight to the Documents, and Explore the Interactive Maps) over a Register for “My Archive” Now box, which lets you create personalized slideshows, build your own library of documents, and save your searches.

First, I dipped into the User Guide, where I found a short and informative history of the AJHS (with links to the AJHS website and the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan website), a Guide to Archival Collections (with links to collection research guides and finding aids, as well as to original digitized documents in the collection), and a guide to thematic areas within the file (including Business, Industry and Enterprise; Civil Rights and Liberties; Culture, Literature and the Arts; Early Jewish Experience; Everyday Life: Personal and Family Narratives; Immigration and Settlement; Politics and the Law; Reflections on the Jewish Experience; Religion, Tradition and Community; War, Conflict and Persecution; and Welfare, Health and Education). Each of the thematic areas expands to provide direct links to related documents.

I selected Reflections on the Jewish Experience and got a table of some 130 documents, ranging from the 1881 Chronological Table of Jewish History (with a thumbnail link to read it) to The Settlement of the Jews in North America, an 1872 address by Charles P. Daly at the 50th anniversary of the Hebrew Benevolent Society of New York. Then I clicked on Date at the top of the table to arrange the materials in ascending chronological order and found the Lucien Moss Scrapbook Collection Vol. 1 1840–1881 (from the Moss Family of Philadelphia Collection), with material covering thematic categories such as Immigration and Settlement; War, Conflict and Persecution; Civil Rights and Liberties; and many others. I pulled up the thumbnail, chose the large view, and started paging through the scrapbook.

At this point, this file completely hooked me. I was able to read the contents of this scrapbook better through this file than I could have in print, because I’d have been scared to death of disturbing some of the clippings and destroying some of the very detailed information there. Not only could I read the clippings clearly, I could read the marginalia, too (it’s faded, but it’s there).

Devising a quick test, I thought I’d try a search to see if these clippings, most of them quite brief, were really searchable. My search for “abraham hart” and “bnai jeshurun” located the clipping I sought in about three seconds.

The content is phenomenal, and interactive features are not just “add-ons”—they’re integral parts. The Map feature is superb, the Chronology is eye-opening, and the Visual Resources Gallery is vividly evocative. The organization is brilliant, making material accessible to a range of researchers from school children to subject scholars. Beginners can go directly to the Date and Theme sections to find resources for term papers, while scholars can examine collections in detail, as well as run sophisticated searches across the vast primary-source material.

PRICING The price, however, may make it unattainable to the broad audience it could serve. The list price for Jewish Life in America is $51,000 (this is a one-time price with no annual maintenance or cost-per-user fees). Please note that Adam Matthew Digital uses a banded pricing structure to determine discounts and payment plans for institutions of all sizes, and that they want you to “contact [them] to request a bespoke price quotation for your institution,” which leads me to believe you can get a lower price if you’ve got a good negotiator on your acquisitions/collections team.

BOTTOM LINE The main elements of Jewish Life in America rate a scale-­busting 12. This is strongly recommended for all libraries serving Jewish studies researchers.

Cheryl LaGuardia
Library Journal

CHOICE , September 2011

Jewish Life in America is a rich collection of archival materials and primary sources documenting the history of Jewish settlement and life in the US from colonial times through the mid-twentieth century. It provides digital images of documents from the American Jewish Historical Society in New York in addition to biographies, interactive maps, articles from the American Jewish Year Book, visual resources, and contextual scholarly essays, "bringing to life the communal and social aspects of Jewish identity and culture, whilst tracing Jewish involvement in the political life of American society as a whole." Digitized archival documents from 6 organizational collections, 24 personal collections, and other rare books and pamphlets that originated in typescript or print are searchable from the full text. Consultant editors Hasia Diner (New York Univ.) and Jonathan D. Sarna (Brandeis) organize the material into 11 thematic areas: Business, Industry and Enterprise; Civil Rights and Liberties; Culture, Literature and the Arts; Early Jewish Experience; Everyday Life: Personal and Family Narratives; Immigration and Settlement; Politics and the Law; Reflections on the Jewish Experience; Religion, Tradition and Community; War, Conflict and Persecution; and Welfare, Health and Education. Browsing and searching are also possible within specific collections such as the Emma Lazarus Collection, the Gratz Family Papers, and the Franks Family Papers. All sources include finding aids and contextual notes that further understanding of the item's historical and cultural significance.From the home page, users can access resources through the Introduction, Documents, Maps, and Further Resources tabs. References are also made to outside sources and Web sites. Special features include the capability of storing searches, documents, and images across sessions in My Lightbox and My Archive. The Getting Started section provides instruction and tips to those viewing the User Guide and exploring all the other sources. Searches can be approached through Simple, Advanced, or Popular Searches modes. Jewish Life in America is not an encyclopedia or article index; except for the contextual essays, it does not offer interpretative perspectives on the information provided. Many other resources can be consulted for literature research and background information on the topics within its scope. What it does offer is a rich treasure trove for the scholar or researcher looking for primary documentation of the history of American Jewish life and culture.

Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars; knowledgeable general readers.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

D. Mizrachi, University of Calfornia, Los Angeles
CHOICE

Library Journal , November 2009

CONTENT This is a unique collection of original (many holographic) Victorian manuscripts, rare printed materials (including early editions annotated by authors themselves), literary drafts, correspondence, unpublished poems, diaries, working notebooks, photographs, financial documents, personal items, and drawings from the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library. The authors represented include Matthew Arnold, the Brontës, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Wilkie Collins, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, George Gissing, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin, Alfred Tennyson, and William Makepeace Thackeray. Author collections are included in their entirety, so researchers can browse and search manuscripts online just as they would in the Berg Reading Room.

The opening screen has a Basic Search box in the upper right corner, with a link to Advanced Search beneath it. Advanced Search lets you do keyword searching, use word stemming, limit by date, and search by author collection, document type, document subtype, item author, and recipient. Below the search box is a tool bar of buttons for Home, Introduction, Documents, Biographies, Chronology, and Help. Much of the screen is occupied by (unidentified, but appropriately aesthetic) photographs and illustrations.

USABILITY I explored this file much more systematically than usual, because I wasn't sure what to expect from it. So I worked my way through the tool bar's buttons, going into the Introduction, Documents (to enter the author collections individually), Biographies, Chronology, and Help.

Next, I dove into the Documents section; I wanted to see what kinds of things I'd find there. I clicked into the Thomas Hardy collection, where I found six different subsections: Manuscript, Related Manuscript, Correspondence, Financial Documents, Legal Documents, and Pictorial Work. Here's just a smattering of what I found within these subsections: a check for 12 pounds and 12 shillings made out to Thomas Hardy by Ford Madox Ford on April 14, 1909, for the single serial rights to a contribution Hardy made to No. 5 of that year's English Review; the signed holographic manuscript of "A committee-man of 'The Terror,' " first published in the Illustrated London News, Christmas number, 1896; a letter dated June 18, 1911, to Ford Madox Ford (in the hand of Florence Emily Dugdale Hardy) declining his "kind invitation to the Court Theater"; the baptism and birth certificate of Hardy's first wife (Emma Lavinia Gifford); and so much more.

It is remarkably intuitive (and easy!) to manipulate images of documents and other items in the online image viewer, just as it's remarkably easy to download documents and images as PDFs, and easy to convert images to PDFs for saving and printing. This is high tech at its most accessible and usable.

A closer examination of the Biographies section revealed that "names in bold within each biography denote people whose correspondence or manuscripts are contained within each author collection"—a nice enhancement and appropriate use of digital technology. The Chronology makes it possible to compare events common to several authors' lives—or all of the authors in the file at once. It's nicely detailed, giving good context but not overwhelming in data. Help actually does! And the FAQ usefully spells out the uses researchers can make of the materials in the collection for their own purposes.

Again, not quite knowing what to expect in this collection vis-à-vis searching, I started very broadly, with a search for "sister*" (the asterisk being the multiple character wildcard symbol), and got results in nine author collections. I pulled up the Elizabeth Barrett Browning results to find pertinent hits within Manuscripts, Related Manuscripts, and Correspondence. At this point, the system displayed clear links for emailing results or for "exporting ticked items to RefWorks/EndNote." Very nice.

Next I tried an Advanced Search, looking for "moonstone" in the Wilkie Collins collection, and hit pay dirt: a holographic scenario and draft of Acts 2 and 3 of The Moonstone (with several pages mutilated as described in the notes). A search for "james and yeats" located an August 25, 1915, letter from Henry James to William Butler Yeats, which sent a frisson of quivering excitement down my spine.

One note about the quality of images here, since that's a key aspect to this file: for the most part they are very good, but in some cases the originals must have been faded without clear contrast, because it can be tough to read some letters or see some photographs clearly. The quality of the digitization is good, but no amount of digitization can bring back the vibrancy of original inks and images.

PRICING The list price for the Berg Literary Manuscripts Online is a one-time cost of $25,500. There is no annual subscription and no maintenance fee or cost-per-user charge. Institution-specific discounts are available; discount levels are influenced by the Carnegie Classification of 2005 and JISC.

BOTTOM LINE For the excellent combination of content, displays, features, and usability, this file is a solid nine. Without doubt, it will be invaluable to those scholars of Victorian literature not based in close proximity to the print Berg collection. Recommended for libraries supporting serious researchers in Victorian literature.

Cheryl LaGuardia
Library Journal

CHOICE , August 2009

This database features the original manuscripts of 15 Victorian authors--Matthew Arnold, Emily Bronte (along with material on the other Brontes), Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Wilkie Collins,,Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, George Gissing, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin, Alfred Tennyson, and William Makepeace Thackeray--digitized from the 19th-century holdings of the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of the New York Public Library. Most of these manuscripts are unavailable in any medium elsewhere. Designed to promote greater use of primary material, this database includes introductory information about the establishment of the Berg collection in 1940 and its expansion over the years to become a major manuscript repository of English and American literature. By examining this resource, researchers can study the evolution of texts over time and Victorian publishing practices, and thus achieve a much clearer picture of Victorian literature than was previously available.<p>The heart of the resource is the Documents collection. Arranged by author, the works are subdivided into material types that may include Manuscripts, Related Manuscripts, Correspondence, Financial Documents, Legal Documents, Diaries and Journals, and Pictorial Works. Advanced Search lets users locate material according to type, and by searching the document description and brief notes, among other options. Included in this resource are a brief biography and notable works of each of the 15 authors, and a chronology that allows users to select either single or multiple authors and combine them with subject categories (Historical Events, Cultural Events, and Literature) to create customized time lines. The database permits users to download items or documents for printing as PDF files, and to export citations to EndNote (CH, Feb'08, 45-2929) or RefWorks. Downloading was not available during the free trial. For those who can afford it, this is a very valuable resource for those doing serious research on Victorian authors and their era.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

R. B. Meeker, Chicago State University
CHOICE

Review in History , May 2011

Metropolitan underworlds, where the illicit and illegal rub up against the grime and extreme poverty of those at the bottom of society, have always fascinated contemporaries and later audiences. This is particularly true of the Victorian underworld in London. While unprecedented population and geographical growth from the turn of the 19th century combined with transformative building programmes and the effects of industrialisation entrenched the urban slums, technological changes in the leisure industry breathed new life into entertainments which either appealed to, or projected images of, ‘low life’. 21st-century tourist attractions continue to use this image of the seedy and dangerous underbelly to draw in visitors – at opposite ends of the spectrum, the London Dungeon takes paying pleasure seekers through the dark streets of Whitechapel in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper and, in its ‘People’s City’ gallery, the London Museum deliberately juxtaposes Charles Booth’s poverty maps of London against scenes of West End glamour. These representations are in part so attractive because they feed into a popular narrative about the Victorian period: while they paint an alternative picture of the Victorians (who are so often portrayed as rather stuffy and restrained), their classification as part of an ‘underworld’ ensures that they support rather than challenge the dominance of respectable society in the nineteenth century. As the story goes, a fairly clear line marked the respectable from low life (which any crossover or transgressions only seemed to reinforce), and, as the century progressed, the latter was increasingly subjected to control and reform.

On the one hand, the producers of the resource under review, London Low Life: Street Culture, Social Reform and the Victorian Underworld (2010), have used this popular interest and grand narrative to market their product, which, in fact, has a much broader coverage than its title would suggest. However, on the other hand, the primary sources digitised as part of this resource have the potential to encourage some overdue rethinking of the way in which we conceptualise the Victorians, especially the city dwellers, offering alternative avenues for research and teaching. London Low Life draws upon the resources of the Lilly Library at the University of Indiana (Bloomington), presenting digitised material from several important collections relating to life in the metropolis, including: Michael Sadleir’s Ephemera, Chapbooks, the Virginia Warren Collection of Old Street Cries, Rare Books, Periodicals, Tallis’s Street Views, London Maps and George Gissing’s scrapbook from the Pforzheimer Collection. Although some material dates from the 18th or 20th century (and this has been included for good reason, to preserve the integrity of the collections), the overwhelming bulk is from the 19h century and predominantly from the Victorian period.

These items are digitised to the extremely high standard we have come to expect of Adam Matthew Digital. Each pamphlet, book, map, periodical, chapbook and poster (to name but a few of the types of documents) is reproduced at high resolution in full colour, can be enlarged to reveal intricate detail and texture, and, if a printed text, is accompanied by a transcript. Users of the resource are encouraged to jump straight to document viewing on accessing the site. The rolling widget on the front page featuring themes under which the documents are collated is irresistible. On clicking, as I quickly did when seeing the captivating title, ‘Disreputable London’, users are presented with a list of items that have been digitised. Similarly, an extremely tempting quick search box appears in the main header, which similarly presents users with a list of hits for their keywords (again, I also succumbed to this, typing in my favourite search term, ‘Punch and Judy’, which returned 23 items, most of which I had never seen before).

My experience of working on other digital resources and of teaching students how to use them suggests that undergraduates especially find lists of source material either off-putting or very difficult to interpret, sometimes seizing on the inconsequential rather than viewing the resource as a whole. This is no criticism of London Low Life: the editors have followed current trends in web design, based on usage research, which aim to get users to relevant information with as few clicks of the mouse as possible. But what works for information heavy websites does not necessarily function so well in humanities resources which are meant to encourage individuals to interpret evidence they are presented with from different angles. Contextualisation is fundamental in this process; and clicking more can aid in the critical appraisal of the documents. In other words, this is largely a pedagogical issue which the wider digital humanities community may wish to consider in due course.

Certainly the students or researchers accessing London Low Life have not been left without supporting material to guide them through the collections. In particular, under ‘Further Resources’, users are encouraged to ‘find your feet in Victorian London with our consultant editors’ essays’. These are exceptionally useful for understanding the collections that have been digitised and I would strongly encourage both students and researchers to begin their exploration of this resource right here. Similarly, all users should be made aware of the useful dictionaries under this section and the bibliography (which I hope Adam Matthew Digital will continue to update). An alternative method for exploring the scope of London Low Life can be found in the visual resources section, which contains both image galleries (by theme) and online exhibitions. The latter, necessarily short exhibitions which are text light and image heavy, can only ever hope to glide briefly across a tiny sample of the material in the database, but do suggest some starting points for viewing the material and arouse anticipation and enthusiasm for getting stuck in (even if I thought there was far too little blood in the third exhibition!).

This brings me to the meat of this resource: the digitised documents. Apart from the quick access points on the front page, the documents in London Low Life can be viewed via searching or browsing. Given the great diversity of material the search facility is necessarily limited to general keywords or specific keywords from the title or author of an item, with some options to restrict results by either collection or document type. To assist users who want to experiment with searching, the editors have provided a list of ‘popular searches’, a feature that students let loose to find material for projects will certainly appreciate. As an active researcher in this area, I found that I enjoyed browsing much more, using the various categories provided by the editorial team to limit my lists (collection, document type and theme) because this process gave me both an understanding of the richness of the collection, its potential uses and the implications of its digitisation.

Overall, the digitised holdings in London Low Life amount to around 1386 items, some of these being quite substantial (for example, books and Gissing’s scrapbook) while a large number are single sheets or small pamphlets. These latter items are of particular value. The resource contains a wide range of ephemeral material, from advertisements and broadsides to picture cards, chapbooks and cheap fiction. Although ephemera may well have comprised the bulk of reading material in previous centuries because it was cheap and widely circulated, its fragile quality and the tendency of contemporaries to discard these items once they had served their purpose has meant that much has been lost to us. Digitisation of ephemera is thus of great importance, most obviously for reasons of preservation, but also, by increasing access to limited collections, it will deepen our understanding of both culture and the workings of daily life for nearly every level of society. While browsing through the lists of contents, I was especially excited to find a copy of Beeton’s Penny Book of Cab Fares (c.1872/4), a directory, rather than, say, a poster, but an item with a set shelf life for the primary user. Only recently have historians begun to pay sufficient attention to these sources, showing how books of cab fares and railway timetables were designed in particular ways to communicate information rapidly and develop skills of literacy, and I hope that the inclusion of Beeton’s and similar material in London Low Life will encourage researchers to continue to use ephemera in more creative ways.(1)

Yet the discovery of Beeton’s in the list of holdings immediately led me to question how much of this resource was focused on ‘Low Life’? And so I conducted a rough survey based on the themes selected by the editors to describe the items in the collection. There seemed to be a good deal of crossover – one item could have multiple theme tags. However, it was notable that those themes most obviously connected with low life were associated with a relatively small proportion of items: for example, just over six per cent were tagged as ‘crime and justice’, around 4.5 per cent were tagged as ‘disreputable London’, and slightly fewer than 11 per cent were tagged as ‘sex, prostitution and charity’. By far the largest number of items were tagged as ‘street literature and popular print’, around 66 per cent; this is unsurprising given the large number of chapbooks and the collection of street cries included. Many of these could be said to provide colour to ‘low life’, being images of street sellers contained in the street cries or being literature read by the lower classes or slum dwellers. But a few more clicks revealed that the second largest theme in the resource was ‘geography and the built environment’, with around 30 per cent of items tagged as such.

This experimentation with the thematic terms leads me to make two points with respect to this resource and its use. First, that London Low Life contains a vast array of material that is more about life in London than specifically ‘low life’. No doubt this material serves to provide context to those items that do focus on low life, but it also has tremendous value apart from that, and I hope that the title of the resource does not limit its take-up or the great uses that this material could be put to in both teaching and research. Second, there is an element of messiness in this tagging by theme which I feel the editors have shied away from at times (for example, they should not be afraid of grouping fast guides with tourist guides under the heading tourism, because they did serve that purpose), but which they should relish. This is precisely where a large part of the value of this resource lies: in its problematisation of the term ‘low life’. What were the boundaries of the Victorian underworld? Who was defined as low life – participants in illicit or illegal activities, or slum dwellers, or both? How should we define ‘participation’? These were questions which the Victorians wrestled with and which we still have not yet satisfactorily answered.

Much of the material in London Low Life defies rigorous categorisation as the following summary of the documents demonstrates. This resource contains a range of items, often crude, produced by printers or entertainers in the lower classes for consumption by the lower classes, which did not contain overtly violent or pornographic content (themes usually associated with the ‘low’), revealing evidence of a culture that was not necessarily respectable but also not offensive to those values. Next, we have a large number of similar products or entertainments, again produced by the people and for the people, that did draw upon ‘low’ themes, for example broadsides or penny fiction focusing on crime, human tragedy or scandal. Yet the producers and consumers of each of these were not necessarily exclusive. Similarly, some of the publishers of street literature were also involved in producing, alongside others of a slightly higher class background, a range of publications and entertainments which boasted semi-pornographic or scurrilous content and were targeted at a predominantly male and middle to upper class market. Moreover these producers found their copy and directed their consumers to activities in both low and high life. Finally, we are presented with a large number of publications produced by those who were not of the lower classes but presented street life, especially slum life, to respectable audiences, from the colourful vignettes of city wanderers or flâneurs to the exposés of the charitable and religious reformers, all of which offered captivated audiences a form of vicarious participation in ‘low life’.

In other words, given the range of sources and possibilities, ‘low life’ had many dimensions and was, throughout the Victorian period, a shifting category, which, in different forms, permeated every level of society. Clear boundaries between the respectable and the unrespectable never existed. This is where the process of digitisation, and the options it offers us in viewing evidence from different angles, might help us to better understand the term, and its role in Victorian society. The editors of London Low Life have already provided us with some signposts and suggestions, most notably in their use of interactive maps.

Adam Matthew Digital has not only digitised over 100 maps of London in the period c.1700 to c.1920, but, in partnership with Axis Maps LLC, they have brought these maps to life. For instance, by combining the collection of Tallis Street Views with a base map, 19th-century London is represented in 3-D: in much the same way as the well-known Google Street View, users are able to walk down the streets of London. If that function proves to be an excellent method for engaging students (which no doubt it will), the maps dealing with historic data, twinning population information with the provision of institutions and illustrating change over time, will certainly help to deepen their knowledge. However, for researchers, these interactive maps have the greatest potential when they attempt to chart the ‘data’ provided by the sources contained in the resource. It is possible to generate a map which shows the location of a number of entertainments (or parks or monuments) described in the documents. The editors have chosen to keep the representation of the data visual – at the moment, the entertainments that appear on the map are ones for which there are accompanying illustrations (and these are displayed when the icons on the map are activated, in a similar way to ‘street view’). This data thus adds to the attempt to make Victorian London ‘come alive’.

But I did wonder whether it might be possible to map ‘low life’ in a similar way. For instance, we could use maps to compare tourist guides and fast guides, to highlight the differences and similarities in the paths that these distinct types of pleasure-seekers travelled. A rapid keyword search for one of my favourite 19th-century entertainments, Madame Tussaud’s waxworks, revealed that the museum featured in both tourist guides and fast guides. How often did these two paths cross? Did some tourists have access to multiple guides, sampling pleasures from each if they found themselves in particular neighbourhoods? (I am sure they did, but some visual evidence would be helpful to back up what can only be supposition.) This is far from a criticism of London Low Life. Rather, the editors should be congratulated for encouraging researchers in this area to think about their source material in new ways.

In sum, this is an engaging and timely resource. In particular, it complements, without duplicating, a number of other resources released in the last three years, including the John Johnson Collection: An Archive of Printed Ephemera, Old Bailey Online: The Proceedings of the Old Bailey and British Library Nineteenth-Century Newspapers. By exposing source material previously difficult for many students and researchers to access, and encouraging users to employ technology as part of the analytical process, these resources have the potential to change the way we have approached the Victorian period and imagined life in London.

Dr Rosalind Crone, Open University
Review in History

CHOICE , May 2011

London Low Life is a digital collection of fiction, cartoons, maps, posters, ballads, advertisements, broadsides, and reform literature relevant to the social history of London from 1800 to 1910. The core of this online resource is derived from the Michael Sadleir Collection of London Low Life, the Chapbook Collection, the Pforzheimer Collection of George Gissing's manuscripts, and the Virginia Warren Collection of Street Cries, all held in the Lilly Library of Indiana University. Users may search for content by author, title, and keyword while restricting the scope of searches to particular collections and/or document types. A useful feature is the ability to restrict results to primary documents only. Content may also be browsed by collection, document type, and theme, e.g., Leisure and Entertainment, or Sex, Prostitution and Obscenity. Primary documents are available for viewing both as facsimiles and transcribed full text, in a single interface. London Low Life provides documents that can be downloaded and printed in PDF format. It is fully compatible with EndNote (CH, Feb'08, 45-2929) and RefWorks. Interactive searchable maps include Historic Basemaps, Tallis Street Views, Thematic Data, and a detailed map of Victorian London that provides geographic references to primary documents held in the collection. The Tallis Street Views, in particular, enable users to take a look around Victorian London in a 3-D environment. Visual Resources includes individual images and online exhibitions with thematic collections such as Politics, Scandal and the News; and Women and Gender. Reference tools such as a Dictionary of Slang, Chronology, and Essays help contemporary users understand the historical context of primary documents. The My Archive feature adds convenience for individual users, offering a personal bookshelf for saving documents, images, and searches. London Low Life is well designed, easy to use, and rich in content.

Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general audience.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

G. A. Stachokas, Indiana State University
CHOICE

Review in History , December 2012

The formation of Mass Observation, conceived as a programme for the scientific study of human social behaviour in Britain or, in other words, as an ‘anthropology of ourselves’, was publicly announced in a letter printed in the New Statesman of 30 January 1937 and signed by Tom Harrisson (1911–76), Humphrey Jennings (1907–50) and Charles Madge (1912–96). Harrisson, a schoolboy ornithologist who had turned into an anthropologist during the course of four international scientific expeditions, was enjoying fame as the author of Savage Civilisation (1937), a polemical account of his experiences with ‘cannibals’ in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu), which came out as a Left Book Club edition. Jennings was a documentary film-maker, painter, set-designer and surrealist, who had sat alongside his friend André Breton on the organising committee for the International Surrealist Exhibition held in London the previous summer. Madge, besides being a reporter for the Daily Mirror (a position obtained for him by T. S. Eliot), was a communist, a poet and a regular contributor to the influential journals Left Review and New Verse. Despite, or perhaps because of, the esoteric and heterogeneous interests of this trio of founders, Mass-Obsession has endured to the present after passing through a number of incarnations including collecting ‘home intelligence’ for the Ministry of Information during the early 1940s, working as a commercial market-research company during the 1950s and 1960s, becoming an archive at the University of Sussex in the 1970s and being relaunched in the 1980s as what has become a longitudinal life-writing project. While the data collected during this latter, ongoing phase is increasingly becoming of interest to contemporary scholars, it is the earlier material from the 1930s and 1940s that has become established as an indispensable primary resource for social historians of the period.

This material was collected as the result of a two-pronged strategy by Mass Observation, which initially saw Harrisson head up a project to investigate the everyday lives of the industrial working class in Bolton (‘Worktown’), while Madge and Jennings organised a National Panel of volunteers from London. In Bolton and Blackpool, where the Worktowners went on holiday, teams of observers recorded every aspect of life from the contents of sweetshop windows to the behaviour of courting couples. The National Panel initially invited volunteers from around the country – recruited through the pages of publications ranging from the Daily Mirror to Left Review – to keep day diaries of the 12th of each month as well as to answer ‘directives’ instructing them to describe aspects of their lives ranging from their smoking and reading habits to the contents of their mantelpieces. After the first year, the day-diaries gave way to more structured directives covering a number of different areas of enquiry for each month. However, at the outbreak of the War, Mass Observation asked its panellists to begin keeping day-to-day personal diaries for them and, although many started and gave up after relatively short periods of time, there are about a hundred diarists who kept going for at least several years and one or two, such as the celebrated Nella Last, who even continued up until the mid 1960s. Aside from these diaries and directives, Mass Observation also investigated and filed material in 85 topic collections ranging from ‘Housing’ to ‘Drinking habits’. More than 3000 file reports, some of which are book length, were compiled from all of this data by Mass Observation staff. Virtually none of this material has gone missing – Last’s diary entries for 1944 being one of the few notable losses – and it can all be found in the archive.

How much of this material is available on Mass Observation Online? All of the day surveys, all of the directive replies and diaries until the end of 1942, 13 of the topic collections, all of the file reports and also the full text of the 25 books and other publications produced by Mass-Observation including May the Twelfth (1937), Britain by Mass-Observation (1939), War Begins at Home (1940), The Pub and the People (1943), Britain Revisited (1961), as well as all issues of US: Mass-Observation’s Weekly Intelligence Service, the weekly newsletter which ran from February to May 1940. In other words, there is a huge quantity of invaluable material, most of which is fully searchable. However, not only does this online resource make the contents of this unique archive available globally to subscribing institutions, it also facilitates a major ongoing shift in the way that Mass Observation is being used by scholars. This is the increasing importance that is being attached to the diaries because, as Robert Malcolmson argues in ‘Diaries for Mass Observation 1939–40’, one of a number of specially commissioned essays for Mass Observation Online, they necessarily disrupt and complicate any attempt to generalise on the everyday experience of the ‘home front’ during the Second World War.

Initially, the focused file reports, with their indexed titles, were the first ports of call for the historian researching various period topics and, of all the material, it was the diaries which were the most underused. However, over the last 15 to 20 years there has been a huge growth in the academic study of Life Writing, corresponding to a rise in the public interest for biographies and autobiographies; especially historical accounts by ‘ordinary’ people. Mass Observation itself is directly linked to both of these trends: the development from the early 1990s of the Sussex MA programme in Life History Research, which included modules focusing on the archival material, did much to legitimate such areas of study and the publication of edited Mass-Observation diaries and anthologies has both contributed to and benefited from a popular boom in wartime nostalgia. The most famous of these diaries is Nella Last’s War, which was first published in 1981, but gained national recognition following its adaptation for television in 2006 as Housewife, 49 by Victoria Wood, who also won a BAFTA for her performance in the lead role. The problem that has always existed for the researcher wanting to read an individual diary, such as Last’s, at the Mass Observation Archive is that the various monthly instalments are each filed with all the other diary instalments Mass-Observation received for that month, so that one cannot simply ask the archivist for a particular diary but has to work in succession through what are, in effect, a series of 12 different boxed collections for each year of the diary. The great advantage of Mass Observation Online is that the researcher can now read any diary straight through simply by clicking on from one monthly instalment to the next. Well, it’s not quite that simple because it is necessary to download each set of entries as a PDF file, but these can be saved or printed and therefore studied offline as well. The problem that remains, of course, with many of the diaries, such as Last’s (diarist 5353), is that of deciphering the handwriting, but even here the zoom options provide benefits over the traditional archival setting. Among the few diaries that are typed is that of the novelist Naomi Mitchison (diarist 5378), which has also been published in an edited edition.

A useful tool on Mass Observation Online is the interactive map which allows researchers to find the diarists located in a particular region. For example, there were five Mass Observation diarists based in Norfolk. Two of these (diarists 5323 and 5324) were the sisters running a garage in Snettisham with their widowed mother, who are given the names Jenny and Muriel Green in Dorothy Sheridan’s anthology Wartime Women. Muriel’s diary, which Sheridan quotes from 1939 and 1940, is particularly engaging and many who have read the published excerpts will want to read more. This highlights what is always a problem with Mass Observation: the tendency of the material to draw us in as though we were the readers of a novel rather than academic researchers. Fortunately, in his recent book on the Mass Observation diaries, Nine Wartime Lives, James Hinton has produced a compelling argument that allows us to have our cake and eat it. He makes the point that these diaries are unique: ‘Mass-Observation offered a discipline and a context which transcended the purely private, meeting a need to frame individual quests in relation to larger public purposes’. The diaries, Hinton suggests, ‘take us as close as a historian can hope to get to observe selfhood under construction’ and, in particular, reveal to us the everyday unfolding of what, following the work of Charles Taylor, he takes as the central process of modernity: the radical disembedding of individual subjectivity from received sources of meaning.

Thus if we return to the example of ‘Muriel Green’, who is not one of the diarists Hinton analyses, we see a young woman of 18 at the outbreak of the War writing about everyday activities in the village she lives in, which would all be perfectly ordinary apart from her strong understanding that she was part of an extraordinary collective practice that everyone ought to have heard of:

Afternoon – Jenny and I went to Lynn … We went to W.H. Smith’s and son’s best and biggest bookshop in Lynn, to buy a Penguin book and asked if they had War Begins at Home just to see if they had. I did not expect they had as I had never seen it there, and if the girl had produced it I was preparing to say it was too expensive. Anyway she had not got it. Nor Britain. I felt insulted and offended with the shop. She did not even seem to have heard of them either which was all the more annoying …

Before we caught the bus home we went in the town library to ask if they had got ‘our’ book. (We always call it ‘ours’, hope MO doesn’t mind, but you see we’ve never had anything we’ve written in print before and claiming 14 lines and J. 25 lines we feel a proprietary interest in the publication, and that everybody ought to sell and read it.) Were delighted to see that the paper cover was pinned up inside the main entrance with other new books they had bought this month for the library (19 April 1940).

This sense of belonging to Mass Observation repeatedly occurs in her diary culminating in her account of an impulsive trip to the organisation’s London office, when she meets Tom Harrisson at the door. Harrisson, despite being too busy to stop and talk for more than a few moments, comes across as polite and friendly:

I then came away and for the next half-hour could do nothing but laugh to myself about it. I wondered what TH really thought and how he probably was cursing inwardly all the time he was being nice and polite. I expect he was terribly annoyed but I was triumphant that I had actually been and not quite got kicked out. He also had thanked me so much for doing the MO directives, etc. I thought him very charming and did not mind at all being got rid of, as I expected it. I was very glad I went, however he and the MO in general would be about it (10 May 1941).

The diarist’s ability to provide not only her own unspoken thoughts but also those of Harrisson as well generates an equivalence between the two that is amplified by the fact that the description of the encounter is then fed back to Mass Observation and Harrisson by being submitted as part of her monthly instalment. The potentially endless reflexivity of this process captures the logic of Mass Observation that if everyone were a Mass Observer than the observation of another would always be in some way an observation of oneself and so, therefore, the divisive boundaries between people – between classes, between genders – would dissolve. It is this inherent logic that makes a Mass Observation diary, at least potentially, collectively self-reflexive in a way that exceeds the self-reflexivity of a normal diary.

This self-reflexivity beyond self-reflexivity affects the way that we need to read these diaries. Muriel, on a brief trip home from her war job as a gardener in the South West, realises that she can never go back to her life as a garage girl amidst the vibrant pre-war modernity, which George Orwell described as ‘a rather restless, cultureless life, centring round tinned food, Picture Post, the radio and the internal combustion engine’. She does not just recognise the loss entailed in growing up or that caused by the war but both of those things combined with a implicit recognition that the self-reflective act of writing a diary as part of a collective enterprise is irrevocably distancing her from her younger less reflective self:

There are very few cars on the road and absolutely none pulling in the garage sweep. This life would soon get on my nerves if I was at home again while the war is on. There seems no one about at all (15 June 1942).

My last day’s leave. Tonight I cried bitterly. I had not cried for ages. It was not about going back … I cried because of the war. It has altered our life which can never be the same. To see the desolate emptiness of the seaside upsets me. When you are away and Mother writes to say the latest desecration, the latest boy missing, the latest family to sacrifice, it is just words. But in the home it is mortifying. Life will never be so sweet as before the war and the last two summers and early ’39 were the most perfect years of my life when all seemed young and gay (16 June 1942).

What such painful self-recognition highlights is how fundamentally the process of disembedding oneself from the past in order to move into the future is part of everyday life. It was the particular form of self-reflexivity generated by the practice of writing about themselves for Mass Observation that allowed the diarists to realise that they were agents of history, which is to say that they became aware of themselves making history through the process of going about their everyday lives, and thereby gave them the confidence to pronounce on public matters with an authority they would not otherwise have had in a hierarchical society. This authority and sense of agency can be seen in Muriel Green’s reflections on the 1945 General Election:

I feel that at last the working classes of this country have begun to think for themselves and wake up. They have not been fooled by the bogey of voting ‘National’ or by Churchill’s smiling face. They do not want to get back to 1939. The conscription and shortages have taught them democracy and that all men are really equal. I feel confident that a better world is going to be the result of this election and that the future in spite of so many difficulties is bright. Now is the chance of the Labour Party to show the world what they can do and what can be done. Churchill is an old man and as a war leader against Japan not irreplaceable. It is for the young people of this country to support the new government to success (31 July 1945).

What this brief overview of one diary is intended to illustrate is that Mass Observation material should never just be viewed as a source of illustrative quotes concerning various aspects of the wartime experience but needs to be read according to the logic of Mass Observation. To this end, Mass Observation Online also includes a selection of past papers and, as mentioned above, specially commissioned essays that provide new scholars encountering this material for the first time with a comprehensive and heterogeneous critical account of the many contexts that need to be kept in mind while they search through this rich and varied collection of data. It is particularly heartening to see Tom Jeffery’s ‘A Short History of Mass Observation’ here, which was first published as an Occasional Paper by the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in 1978. Of the new essays, Jennie Taylor’s ‘Sex, Snobs and Swing: A Case Study of Mass Observation as a Source for Social History’ provides an excellent and accessible account of the repeated attempts to map the sexual dynamics of Worktown dancehalls, while Lesley Whitworth’s ‘Getting Beneath the Surface of Things: Mass Observation and Material Culture’ provides a refreshing account of the organisation’s trajectory that highlights the continuity between the original phase and the commercial market research of the 1950s and 1960s. ‘The Mass Observation Archive: A History’ written by the current Director of Mass Observation, Dorothy Sheridan, who has worked there since 1974, provides a concise and useful account of the provenance of the archive. However, perhaps the most essential essay for those seeking to get to grips with the logic of Mass Observation is Ben Highmore’s ‘Everyday Life and the Birth of Mass Observation’ which outlines the context and ideas underlying its original formation. His final paragraph offers a salutary warning to potential users of Mass Observation Online:

An archive is open. Dip in to it at will. Discover the dreams and nightmares of generations living through momentous historical circumstances. Find the way that necessity and aspiration are threaded through the activities of social life. But take care too. Pay heed to the fabric of memory, to the moment of memorial. These documents were not collected primarily, to furnish material for the social and cultural historians of the future. They are explosive documents, or at least they are meant to be. Treat them with the respect they deserve. They are meant to be detonated.

What is particularly explosive about Mass Observation is the link it highlights between its collective form of self-reflexivity and social agency. In many ways, the internet provides the ideal location to reveal such links because it allows the kind of searches and analyses that Harrisson, Jennings and Madge could only dream about when they expressed the desire to produce weather maps of the unconscious. We can now view any of the panel contributions, whether it is a directive reply or a diary instalment, more or less simultaneously as part of a single ongoing body of work by the participant or as part of a collective set of responses. The apparent blurring of vision resulting from those simultaneous perspectives is indicative of the difference between Mass Observation and other ways of seeing. It is the task of the researcher to resolve this form of observation into focus. To this end, despite some glitches and minor editorial errors such as not all entries in the bibliography being in alphabetical order, Mass Observation Online is a superb resource and its value can only increase as further materials, and the remaining years of the wartime diaries in particular, are digitalised and added.

Dr Nick Hubble, Brunel University
Review in History

Library Journal , July 2012

CONTENT Mass Observation Online (MOO) is derived from the Archive of Mass-­Observation, founded in 1937 by three Englishmen, “anthropologists, documentary film makers, and surrealist poets,” aiming to create an “anthropology of ourselves.” They outlined their initial London-based project in the New Statesman, asking for volunteers to “reply to regular questionnaires on a variety of matters.” MOO offers access to material from this project archive, including a complete set of the File Reports, 1937–72, with full-text searching ability; access to the Day Surveys, Directives, and Diaries, 1937–45; Topic Collections covering Capital Punishment, Dreams, Drinking Habits, Famous Persons, Film, Gambling, Household Budgeting, Juvenile Delinquency, Korea, Peace & the Public, Posters, Radio Listening, Reading Habits, Religion, Smoking Habits, Victory Celebrations, World Outlook, and the September 1946 exhibition held at the Victoria & Albert Museum, “Britain Can Make It”; the Worktown Collection, 1937–40; nine contextual scholarly essays describing the archive and suggesting research and teaching strategies; photographs by Humphrey Spender; and interactive maps.

USABILITY The MOO opening screen shows a circle surrounded by illustrations from everyday British life (children at play, women socializing). The circle itself has an outer, interactive ring of six links (Contents, Introduction, Search, Essays, Resources, and Help) with inner static rings that describe the subjects covered, e.g., eating, queuing, kissing, traveling, washing, sleeping, sex, cooking, holidaying, hearing, dreaming, laughing, art, courting, fearing, relaxing, drinking, politics, reading, happiness, dying, looking, playing, and working.

I took a look at Contents first, and the screen switched to a clever, sepia-colored depiction of period index cards and files. I was asked if I wanted to view listings from the Digital Holdings tab or the Entire Collection (the material available online plus microfilm and print materials in the Archive). Up at screen top right, there’s a Search box with links to Advanced Search and Popular Searches beneath it. Both tabs under Contents list the following collections: Mass Observation Studies File Reports 1937–72; Topic Collections 1938–65; Worktown Collection 1937–40; Worktown Photos, Publications, Diaries and Personal Writings: Diaries 1939–45; Day Surveys 1937–38; and Directive Replies 1939–45. Each of these areas has a live “scope note” describing what you’ll find there—very nice!

The Topic Collections caught my eye, so I delved in and found listings perusable by number or letter. I chose the alphabetical list and went into Dreams 1937–48, where I found an entry on War Dreams. When I clicked on it, I was taken to typed accounts from the archive. The level of description is phenomenal, and I can only imagine the enormous value these personal accounts offer researchers on the World War II period in the UK.

Next I clicked on the Introduction tab (being left-handed, I always go about spatially arranged material in unusual ways) and was able to read a Brief History of the project, as well as sections on the Archive Today, Nature and Scope, and Selection Criteria. These are mostly textual sections, with links to other related parts of MOO. The Essays tab took me to a list of 16 essays ranging from “Everyday Life and the Birth of Mass Observation” by Ben Highmore (Sch. of Cultural Studies, Univ. of the West of England) to “Sex, Snobs and Swing: A Case Study of Mass Observation as a Source for Social History” by Jennie Taylor (doctoral candidate, dept. of history, Univ. of Auckland).

The Resources tab provides access to a Chronology (actually, two: a World War II chronology from 1939 to 1945 and an Interactive Chronology from 1937 to 1957), Interactive Maps (of various regions in the UK, with zoomable versions), a Bibliography, External Links (to related archives, libraries, museums, and research projects), and an Image Slideshow. The Help section is truly helpful and includes specific and direct tips for using the collections in teaching. This is an electronic product well designed to be used in classrooms as well as for individual scholarly research.

Advanced Search lets you search the Digital Holdings or Entire Collection, using Keywords; wild cards (* or ?); word stemming; and, or, and not Boolean operators; and restricting your search by date and document type. My search for “dream?” and “food?” located not only 268 documents, but also the amazing amount of indexing that’s been done for material here; much of the archive is in the original volunteers’ handwriting.

In a few cases, it took ten seconds to load a couple documents. That’s about the worst thing I can come up with to say about this product, which should give you an idea of how good it is.

PRICING The onetime price range for this file plus Updates I and II (a complete package to new purchasers) is $28,000–$96,000, dependent on institution. Contact info@amedu.com directly to receive a bespoke price quotation. Adam Matthew Education uses a banded pricing structure to determine fair discounts and payment plans for institutions of all sizes.

BOTTOM LINE The look and feel will appeal to youngsters, while the extraordinary content, which is unique, extensive, and granular, will fascinate scholars across the disciplines. The easy ability to download entire documents in PDF adds to the utility of this as a research and teaching tool. On my one to ten scale? It’s an 11. A remarkable combination of superb content and effective delivery that will serve researchers at all levels, from high school to postdocs. Brilliant! For a free trial please go to ­amdigital.co.uk/Online-Trials.aspx.

Cheryl LaGuardia
Library Journal

CHOICE , April 2010

Much of this mammoth archive, subtitled British Social History, 1937-1972, has been available for many years in paper and microfilm formats. Mass Observation, a British sociological and anthropological research project that was conducted between 1937 and the mid-1960s, is now based at the University of Sussex, along with its archive. The project was resurrected in 1981 and continues. The online archive covers only the earlier period, but that should provide more than enough fodder for researchers in literally dozens of fields. This project was launched because of the judged inaccuracy of ways to measure public opinion; following the 1936 abdication crisis, this issue was of major concern to many within the UK. With this database, users may access Digital Holdings or browse the entire collection, which includes microfilmed material and material available only at the Mass Observation Archive. To assist the user, the online version of the archive includes references to the microfilm index. The archive includes most of the original File Reports (over 3,300), Diaries (nearly 500), Day Surveys (around 900), hundreds of Directive Replies, nearly 100 Topical Collections, and all of the publications that researchers drew from these collections. Public opinion on family planning, shopping patterns, pacifism, astrology, juvenile delinquency, the Korean Conflict, nursery schools, sex, advertising, dancing, smoking, anti-semitism--the list goes on and on--is collected in these files. The archive also connects to the Worktown Photos, a collection that provides researchers with many significant images to accompany the data. Like other Adam Matthew Digital databases, Mass Observation includes essays written by scholars, a chronology, interactive maps, a bibliography, external links, and an image slideshow. This is a wonderful site; everything seems to work the way it is supposed to work, and it does so easily and efficiently.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

S. J. Stillwell Jr., University of Arizona
CHOICE

Library Journal , September 2010

Content

Medieval Family Life (MFL) is a collection of manuscripts dating from approximately 1400 to the 20th century. The collection, created from source material from the British Library, Chetham's Library, the National Archives, and the West Yorkshire Archives, consists of the Paston Family Papers, the Celys Family Papers, the Plumpton Correspondence, the Stonor Correspondence, and the Armburgh Family Papers (represented by the "Armburgh Roll," a single parchment roll written on both sides in ink); these include the only surviving family letter collections from the medieval period in England.

The manuscripts reveal the details of medieval life in the areas of business and trade, politics, community, family affairs, and relationships. Transcripts of the correspondence are fully searchable, and contextual secondary source material accompanies the manuscripts, along with original images linked directly to the transcriptions. Also included are a chronology, a glossary, family trees, a slide show of medieval images from the British Library, an interactive map, and links to related freely accessible research sources.

Usability

The opening screen consists of a welcome statement outlinig the content of the collections. At the top there's a toolbar (containing buttons for the Introduction, Documents, Further Resources, and Help and Teaching), illustrations from the collection, and a Get Started section with links to View the primary sources, Read the introductory essay, Explore the interactive map, Discover more about the families, and Go to the help pages.

The Introduction details the nature and scope of the product and includes the essay "The Family Letter Collections of Fifteenth Century England" by Professor Joel T. Rosenthal, SUNY at Stony Brook. Documents lets you view the various manuscript images and printed editions; Further Resources is a screen full of buttons leading to the Visual Sources Gallery, Family Trees, Chronology, Map, Glossary, and External Links to The Anglo-Norman On-Line Hub; the Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts; The Court Rolls of Ramsey; Hepmangrove and Bury, 1268-1600; Digital Scriptorium; Early Manuscripts at Oxford University; Free Library of Philadelphia's digital collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts; the Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516; The Labyrinth: Resources for Medieval Studies; The Middle English Compendium; The Online Medieval and Classical Library (OMACL); and Teams Middle English Texts.

Tucked at the very top right of the screen is a Search button. The Search box lets you do a Basic, Advanced, or Popular Search (for people and places of importance among the families in the collection). I tried a basic search for "sarsenet" and got 11 results, eight from the Paston letters, and three from the Stonor papers. I examined the first hit, in a letter from John Paston to his mother, and quickly discovered the many variant spellings of "sarcenet" (my first spelling was wrong, but it located hits). The Viewer employed here is excellent and easy to use-you can read the original manuscript on screen left, maneuvering and zooming with ease, while also viewing the transcript, featuring search words highlighted in yellow, on screen right.

Next I went into the Documents section and clicked to view the (more than 1000) Paston manuscripts. The first manuscript in the list was the will of Sir John Fastolf, dated November 3, 1459. The holograph version is completely legible-creases, slight stains, and all-but the transcript at right makes it easy to read through the document. Pulling up other documents that piqued my interest, I also noted that it was very easy to download them and export them into EndNote and RefWorks.

Then I browsed through the Visual Sources Gallery, full of images depicting a wide variety of medieval activities, including "a woman defending her castle," "an amorous encounter" of a man about to embrace a woman at her spinning wheel, a group of men "bird snaring," and much, much more. The image detail is superb, and the colors brilliant.

Family Trees includes pop-up biographies for individuals listed; the Chronology identifies births, deaths, and significant events among family members; the interactive map lets you view key places relating to the papers and "explore the main towns and important battles and castles in late medieval England." The Glossary translates medieval words and phrases into modern language, and the External Links have been selected by the Editorial Board to provide stable scholarly information from free sites.

The Help and Teaching section is particularly effective, using screenshots and balloons to explain the system, all done in a manner that will be accessible equally to digital natives and technophobes.

Pricing

The price for MFL is $15,000 (a one-time-only purchase price with no annual maintenance and no cost-per-user fees). Given the importance of the material and its value to researchers, this is not out of line.

Bottom Line

MFL contains a treasure trove of significant primary source material that will inform the scholarship of all medieval researchers. Content: ten. The online system lets users approach the material in an appropriate variety of ways, allowing them to see broad brushstrokes of the period as well as very granular detail. Design: ten. For a fairly esoteric area of research, MFL is remarkably easy to use and accessible. Technology: ten. That makes it pretty conclusive: it's a ten, through and through. Highly recommended to any library-academic, public, or special-serving medieval period scholarship.

Cheryl LaGuardia
Library Journal

CHOICE , December 2010

This database brings together letters and documents from the four major 15th-century English family collections, along with a range of complementary resources. The families included represent different social groups, regions, and time periods: the Pastons, an ambitious gentry family originating in Norfolk, 1417-84; the Celys, London wool merchants, 1472-88; the Plumptons, a longstanding Yorkshire gentry family with service to the crown, 1460-1519; and the Stonors, an Oxfordshire gentry family whose members served as local office holders, 1326-1480. The database also includes papers from the Armburghs, a Warwickshire gentry family involved in an inheritance dispute, 1420s-50s. The letters, mostly written in English, are presented both in manuscript images (easily enlarged and manipulated for close study) and in printed editions (with the exception of the Armburgh papers, which are restricted to images from the manuscript roll). Some editions include introductory remarks and explanatory notes, whereas others pass over complexities in silence. The correspondence provides much information on social, economic, and political history, but librarians will need to provide users with secondary studies like Alison Hanham's The Celys and Their World (1985) so that they can better interpret and understand the issues involved. The depth of the collections allows users to follow themes like a family problem across a generation (as when Margery Paston secretly married her family's bailiff). Comparisons among the four collections can provide a more nuanced understanding; e.g., in the Cely papers men write about what women need, whereas the Paston wives send letters directly to their husbands and sons. Keyword searching requires a liberal use of truncation and alternative versions as spelling is rarely consistent ("howr mother schulld go on preschesyon on Corpys Kryste day in a cremsyn gown ...," Letter 91, Richard Cely). Note, however, the Popular Searches option, which has links to set searches for people and places important in the four family collections. Display of manuscripts and transcripts works very well, allowing side-by-side comparison with options for both landscape and portrait views. All manuscripts, printed editions, and transcripts are in PDFs for downloading and printing. The database provides auxiliary aids including an introductory essay by Joel Rosenthal, a well-known scholar of late medieval England; a glossary; family trees; chronology; interactive map; image gallery; and selected links to resources. A section devoted to teaching includes a tutorial briely treating 18 diverse social history topics. This database is an important resource with manuscript images and searchable transcripts for all letters and documents associated with the major family collections from 15th-centuryabout:newtab England.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

M C. Schaus, Haverford College
CHOICE

Choice , March 2009

The Perdita Project, based at the University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University, encompasses early modern British women authors who were "lost" because their writing exists only in manuscript form (perdita means "lost women"). For this database, these 16th-17th-century manuscripts have been sourced from archives and libraries in the UK and US. One of the key features of Perdita Manuscripts is that it gathers little-known material from various locations. It contains more than 230 digitized entries, and the manuscripts themselves are varied in their content. Genres represented include account books, diaries, prayer, prose, translations, travel writing, and verse. Short of visiting these repositories, most scholars previously lacked access to these documents. Whereas other sites, such as Early Modern Resources and the University of Maryland's Early Modern Women Database (CH, Dec'02, 40-1881), offer online early modern documents, they provide neither digitized photos of documents, nor such a gathering of women's writing in one location.

An attractive layout and perhaps over-generously sized sidebar allow for browsing of the manuscript images by alphabetical listing, genre, repository, date, and language. One may locate documents through names in general, places, genre within document, first lines--poetry, or first lines--prose. Each route provides a listing, and clicking on an entry will generate a search. A basic keyword search box is available on all screens, and sample searches were successful. The database is searchable using wild cards, "phrase searching," word proximity searches, and Boolean operators between keywords. Networking access is unlimited with a paid subscription. No limits (aside from the usual caveats of fair use and publication law) exist on the number of images one may print/download and use for educational purposes. Downloads for viewing are speedy; the option to download for printing as a PDF file was not included in the reviewer's trial version. A section on biographies of authors is clearly an on-going project—some blanks are understandable, based on lack of information on the author, but others for well-known figures such as Elizabeth I have not yet been added. A zoom in/out function helps, but those with a 15-inch monitor will find that getting a full-view page while also having the necessary detail to read the manuscripts can be tricky. While this is an interesting, useful resource for scholars and graduate-level students of history, women's studies, or literature, the lack of transcribed texts, coupled with non-standardized spelling and old-fashioned handwriting, likely would challenge undergraduate users.

Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and faculty/researchers.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

A. B. Johnson
Choice

Library Journal , August 2008

The Perdita Project was established in 1997 by the Nottingham Trent University. It is a microfilm collection of approximately 400 manuscripts created by women in the British Isles during the 16th and 17th centuries, consisting of accounts, autobiographical material, cooking recipes, medicinal recipes, poetry, and religious writings.

The word perdita is Latin for "lost," and the Perdita Project was so named because heretofore its writings were "lost" in the sense that they existed only as manuscripts. It has been the work of the project to "rediscover" these works and make them available to researchers.

The collection is now housed at Warwick University, and a free online catalog of the collection (it's British) is available at human.ntu.ac.uk. There you will find bibliographical information and descriptions of the contents of manuscripts for use by historical researchers.

Now comes this full-text online product, which links the catalog descriptions with full digital facsimiles of many of the manuscripts. As stated on the product's introductory page online, over 230 of the entries from the Perdita Project were selected to be digitized for this resource: "Many of [the] entries were chosen for the large amount of detail they contain, all of which has been painstakingly captured by the project's dedicated researchers over a number of years."

"Additional cataloguing and images may be added at a future date in an effort to continually improve and update the site and to ensure that this exciting resource remains at the cutting edge of research."

HOW DOES IT WORK? The home page has three sections—Introduction, Documents, and Search—all accessed via miniature portrait images of women whose work is in the collection. The Introduction describes the nature and scope of the file and gives context to the collection via two essays ("Introduction to the Perdita Project Catalogue 1997–2007" by Dr. Jill S. Millman of the University of Warwick and "Renaissance Women's Manuscripts: A Beginner's Guide" by Dr. Jonathan Gibson), a list of the libraries participating in the project, and "the bibliographic sources used in the compilation of the Perdita database that are relevant to the manuscripts included in this Adam Matthew Digital project."

Documents present an alphabetical listing of the works included, a list of works organized by genre (Account book, Advice, Almanac, Autobiography, Biblical writing, etc.), a list of works available at each of the participating repositories, a chronological listing of works, and a list of works according to language (English, French, Greek, Italian, Latin, and Spanish are all represented within the collection).

Search offers access to the collection by an alphabetical author list, "names in general" (individuals about whom something has been written in the collection), places, genres within documents, first lines in poetry, and first lines in prose.

Throughout all three sections, there is an omnipresent Search box at screen top right letting you do a simple keyword Search. A link to Advanced search lets you limit searching by date, source, document type, genre, and language and also lets you use word stemming and proximity operators.

But that's not all. An extensive Help section offers detailed instructions for using each feature of the file, as well as "Perdita in the Classroom" (ideas for teachers), a remarkably intelligent FAQ that addresses issues of fair use of the material for educational purposes, and contact information.

CAN YOU USE IT? I first tried a simple keyword search for "miscarriage" and got two results: the Meditations of Anne, Lady Halkett (7 March 1659–May 1660) and the Diary, Volume 5, of Sarah Cowper (1709–11).

I pulled up the first document description, did a Ctrl+F search of the page for "miscarriage," and found this note: "These meditations cover a range of topics, including her miscarriages, a coal pit, the illnesses of her own children and other children she treated, political events during the Commonwealth, the sacrament, her servants, charitable acts, the weather, fires, the birth of her son Robert on 1 February 1660, and the Restoration of Charles II."

Then I clicked on the manuscript item number link and went directly to the digital scan of the Lady Halkett's holographic meditations. Taking into account the differences in spelling between now and then, I found the pages were quite easy to read. The publisher enhances the ability to read the manuscript by offering a zoom feature ready on the page, and it is simple to move the image around with the mouse.

And then several hours passed as I searched and browsed through this extraordinary resource. I did more keyword searches, browsed through the various listings (the genre section was particularly engrossing; there's some heartbreaking yet fascinating material to be found here), and explored materials available through different repositories.

Throughout, I found it easy to search (but more interesting to browse) and fast and easy to download entire documents for later perusal. The scanning is very good for the most part; in some cases the writing has faded, so you have to zoom in to read the text. But considering the dates of the material, everything is amazingly legible.

WHAT'S THE COST? The file lists for a one-time purchase price of $19,000. There are no annual maintenance charges or cost-per-user charges, and the purchase price includes remote access by an unlimited number of users, free MARC records, and free backup disks on DVD.

Discounts are available (personally negotiated by institution) based on the Carnegie Classification of 2005 (United States) and JISC (UK).

HOW GOOD IS IT? This is a truly scholarly resource whose combined content and design merit a resounding ten. BOTTOM LINE This fine product is recommended for a wider audience than one might first think. Women's studies collections will certainly want access to it, but so, too, will broader history collections, along with cultural studies collections in all academic libraries. Adam Matthew Digital continues to be a classy—and substantial—act.

Cheryl LaGuardia
Library Journal

Library Journal , April 2012

CONTENT Rock and Roll, Counterculture, Peace and Protest (RRCPP) collects international archival materials. The database offers original manuscripts and typescripts; photo graphs; letters; pamphlets; advertisements; clippings; censorship documentation; leaflets; government files; images of posters, pins, and other period memorabilia; video clips from ITN Source and Huntley Film Archives; and a chronology from 1950 to 1975 containing embedded articles and images.

Period magazines are a major feature; the database includes complete runs of Gandalf’s Garden magazine, the Sydney and London Oz magazine, and a variety of zines from Bowling Green State University’s collection. Users will also find scripts and production notes from the films of Peter Whitehead; interviews with notables from counterculture movements on both sides of the Atlantic; University of California, Berkeley’s Social Protest collection; and introductory essays on a variety of topics, including The Permissive Society and Popular Culture and Recollections of Liverpool in the 1960s.

Material in the file comes from several academic sources: the Ray and Pat Browne Library for Popular Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Sussex, and Britain’s National Archives at Kew. More unusual sources include Rock Source Archive, Beaulieu National Motor Museum, fashion label BIBA, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Labour Party research department, Mirrorpix, NASA, the People’s History Museum, and the Robert Opie Collection.

Usability RRCPP’s opening screen features seven inviting vintage images that link to information on the file‚ About, Nature & Scope, User Guide, Editor’s Choice, Editorial Team, Participating Libraries, and Copyright Information. The user guide provides an overview of the individual archives contributing to the file, while at Editor’s Choice, members of the RRCPP team highlight their favorite parts of the collection. These images are topped by a simple search box and a toolbar with links to an introduction, the documents, a chronology, videos and other visual resources, further reading, a help page, and advanced and popular searches.

My first search, for Julian Bond, the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a member of the Georgia House and Senate, and chairman of the NAACP, found 215 hits from pamphlets, underground press articles, government files, and fanzines. Working through the results (by clicking a title, then scanning through links to image snippets) revealed some false hits for just the word bond (as in bond issue, a term in the first hit), along with valid material on Julian Bond. Using advanced search allowed a Keywords Anywhere query for Julian Bond, which resulted in 92 hits, all of which were right on target. A similar search for Captain Beefheart uncovered 23 accurate hits, including the delightful DPP 2/4670: The International Times: Conspiracy to Corrupt Public Morals & Conspiracy to Outrage Public Decency, from the collection UK Government Files: Records of the Director of Public Prosecutions, material that includes ads for the Captain’s gigs in the UK.

Searching the database’s videos for convention returned only one hit, The US election year of 1968, but browsing the list of videos showed that the offerings include Anti-Vietnam War protests in Chicago during the Democrat Party Convention, August 1968, material that should have come up in the search. Frankly, the drop-down windows for filtering a search by document type or display options are close to impossible to use. I clicked on the drop-down, but the system wouldn’t let me choose an option and apply it before the menu closed.

The chronology area of the resource allows users to browse or to Explore Visualization, a 1960s-sounding option that offers a whimsical image with linked bubbles floating up from the bottom of the screen, with the instructions, Click a bubble to see items in that category. I clicked a music bubble and went into the chronology at the Jan. 1, 1950, entry, Fats Domino Achieves U.S. Chart Success With ‚ÄòThe Fat Man.’‚Äâ I was able to browse by date, theme, or artist from that point; by clicking the theme drop-down, I cleared my music choice and got the entire chronology from the first item for 1950 (1 Jan 1950: In the UK Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s Post-war Labour Government Are Still in Power) to the last 1975 listed item (25 Dec 1975: Iron Maiden is Formed by Bassist Steve Harris).

Notable, too, are the Clear Filters search feature, which makes it easy to change a search by document type, collection, and theme; specific image links in results that make it much easier to zero in on relevant material than it would be in paper; and video that allows users to view higher-resolution entries in a larger on-screen player. In a welcome nod to digital social mores, the publisher notes in the chronology, if you would like to see a particular event featured, please email us at chronology@ amedu.com and we will put your suggestion to our editorial board.

Of all the content here, the video section brings back the period most powerfully, reminding us just why there were so many protests. With material covering everything from reactions to the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy to images of women’s and children’s bodies lying in a My Lai ditch after the March 1968 U.S. Army massacre, RRCPP is a vivid testament to the upheaval and ferocious cultural conflicts of the era.

Pricing Adam Matthew Education uses a banded pricing structure to determine fair discounts and payment plans for institutions of all sizes. The one-time price for RRCPP ranges from $17,400 to $58,000. Email info@amedu.com for a quote.

Verdict While search quality can vary, the content here is outstanding, and overall discoverability and accessibility are good. I recommend the database enthusiastically to public, academic, and special libraries serving serious American and British cultural and historical researchers.

Cheryl LaGuardia
Library Journal

CHOICE , June 2012

The content of this online collection of original archival material extends well beyond rock and roll, documenting youth culture, counterculture, and cultural change with pamphlets, letters, government files, fanzines, underground magazines, photos, album covers, and other texts and images. Even the date range of the collection exceeds the title's claim; some of the content (mainly ephemera) extends into the 1990s, e.g., searchers may come across the program for the 1992 Chicago Comicon. Some features have a noticeably British point of view, but the content is well chosen to represent the era in both the United States and the UK. Material is drawn from such institutions as the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University; the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley; and the National Archives at Kew. This collection offers easily discoverable documents to students new to the use of primary sources; furthermore, its abundance of well-chosen content should prove valuable to more experienced researchers. The database structure and interface follow the patterns used in other Adam Matthew Education products such as Victorian Popular Culture (CH, Mar'09, 46-3599) and Everyday Life and Women in America (CH, Oct'08, 46-0654). Features include selected video from ITN Source and the Huntley Film Archive; other visual materials arranged in thematic collections and slideshows; a chronology with 2,500-plus entries and a visualization tool that gives an overview of a topic in a given year; a dictionary of relevant terms; useful external web links; four topic-specific essays that give context to the collection; and separate search features for accessing the Documents, Video, Visual Resources, and any or all of the other products from Adam Matthew Education (via Archive Explorer). (Full text access is, of course, limited to those collections to which a library subscribes.) All the search tools are useful, and the advanced search for documents offers a number of options and restrictors for precise full-text searching. The choice of multiple search screens, however, could be confusing to new users; help screens list the major features, but provide little guidance on how to use them. Similarly, document views are appealing and highlight search terms, but are not entirely intuitive. The site provides a number of additional tools for working with its content. Users may register to save searches with a My Archive feature or save images and generate slideshows in My Lightbox. Citations are exportable to RefWorks and Endnote (CH, Feb'08, 45-2929), and static URLs and social networking buttons provide for easy linking to specific documents. The interface, much like the content of this collection, shows considerable thought regarding the needs of both researchers and instructors.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

W. L. Svitavsky, Rollins College
CHOICE

CHOICE , January 2013

Produced in partnership with the Wordsworth Trust, Romanticism focuses on primary and supplementary materials pertaining to William Wordsworth and other British Romantic literary figures such as Dorothy Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Although it does not include material on the number of literary authors represented in Gale's British Literary Manuscripts Online, 1660-1900 (CH, May'10, 47-4754), Romanticism offers depth of specialization, thus providing strong context for researchers and students. In addition to manuscripts, early editions, journals, financial records, and other primary sources, the collection features historical maps, photographs of places important to Wordsworth and his literary colleagues, and images of some 2,500 artworks by contemporaneous artists such as Turner. Although the collection is organized by browsable categories including Documents, and Maps, browsing within these specific categories is confusing and somewhat tedious. Fortunately, a strong Advanced Search function for documents and visual resources is available. Additionally, a My Archive feature allows users to create smaller collections of materials to return to later. The Literary Lives section offers short biographies, including the Wordsworths and other important literary figures such as Tennyson, Shelley, and Byron. The Further Resources section includes five essays, a chronology, and external links. Overall, Romanticism represents a specialized, deep resource that British Romanticism researchers and students likely will find very useful. However, libraries that serve less specialized programs (and that have cost concerns) may want to consider broader primary source databases instead.

Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

J. Stevens, George Mason University
CHOICE

CHOICE , March 2010

Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice, 1490-2007. Adam Matthew Digital. ISBN Contact publisher for pricing (based on Carnegie Classification and JISC); includes nominal hosting fee, payable every 5 years.

Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice, 1490-2007 joins a similar fee-based database released earlier this year--Cengage Gale's Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive (CH, Dec'09, 47-1792), which has a very similar scope and time frame. Also available is a patchwork of free archives offered by universities, museums, and other academic and cultural organizations providing access to thousands of digitized books, documents, records, and ephemera. For instance, Antislavery Literature (CH, Nov'09, 47-1277), from the English Department of Arizona State University, offers an extensive collection of free original and linked primary resources on the topic.The producers of Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice have selected materials based on 17 themes covering major areas of research; these include Education, Resistance and Revolts, and Slavery Today, Legacy of Slavery. The documents are an impressive mix of previously published materials, unique manuscripts, maps, and other items contemporary to the era. Documents are nicely arranged into browsable categories such as Thematic Areas and Geographical Region, each with subcategories; however, the lack of specificity within the subcategories can be frustrating. For instance, the subcategory Resistance and Revolts presents three screens of 130 results listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the description of each item and not by any further breakdown. Users may conduct a basic or advanced search to retrieve items, which somewhat compensates for this shortcoming. The database provides an extensive chronology, a bibliography, links to other electronic resources, and an image slideshow, along with 13 brief topical essays on slavery and abolition. The database is stable, but the interface is unremarkable and dated in appearance for a fee-based product. The document viewer is easy to use and navigate, and users conveniently may view an original digitized document or a transcription. Those who purchase the database may download documents as PDFs, although this feature is not available during database trials. Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice may be useful for libraries with extensive slavery collections.

Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

B.D. Singleton, California State University
CHOICE

CHOICE , May 2012

The First World War: Personal Experiences. Adam Matthew Education. ISBN Contact publisher for price.

This database uncovers and documents the wartime lives of men and women through a diverse collection of primary and secondary sources ranging from 1905 to the present. Sources include not only the textual (e.g., diaries, letters, trench literature, reminiscences, essays), but also the visual (e.g., war art, photographs, artifacts, posters, cartoons, comics) from sources such as the National WWI Museum in the US, Cambridge University Library in the UK, the Bibliothek für Zeitgeschichte in the Württembergische Landesbibliothek in Germany, and other library and museum collections located within Europe and the former British Commonwealth. The full text of printed works and trench newspapers is searchable, and all materials are fully indexed to facilitate discovery. The horizontal navigation bar present on every page allows users to navigate across each major category--Documents, Maps, Visual Resources, and Experiences. Additionally, each section has a local navigation system relevant to the category. Of noteworthy interest are the interactive maps and time line, the 360-degree panoramas, and virtual walk-throughs of the Sanctuary Wood Museum Trench System and the Memory Wall. The Visual Resources section provides another 360-degree display system of museum artifacts integral to life on the front and in the trenches (along with detailed metadata for each artifact)--from standard trench equipment to unique pieces of folk art made from shell casings. As an introduction and gateway to studying the personal lives of those who fought in the Great War, this resource succeeds in connecting users to the stories, images, artifacts, and even physical spaces within a seamless, engaging interface. Although the visual design allows for a remarkable browsing experience that requires little knowledge of the topic in order to retrieve results, the database retains an expansive corpus of primary source material useful for an audience that includes graduate and professional researchers. Included are a chronology, external website links, and glossaries. This resource provides an unparalleled experience in accessing library and museum collections from around the world on a historical topic of ongoing interest. Libraries that collect materials in this area and cater to patrons with an interest in 20th-century and military history should definitely consider this product.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

J. A. Reuscher, Pennsylvania State University
CHOICE

Library Journal , January 2014

The First World War: Personal Experiences and Propaganda and Recruitment

Content. The First World War Portal is comprised of two modules: “Personal Experiences” and “Propaganda and Recruitment,” which collectively cover the period from 1914 to 1919. “Personal Experiences” includes such material as audio-recorded interviews, cartoons, comics, diaries, letters, paintings, panoramic views, photographs, postcards, propaganda, recruiting posters, reminiscences, scrapbooks, sheet music, sketches, souvenirs, trench journals (from Australian, British, Canadian, French, and New Zealand troops), trench maps, war art, 360° views of personal items and objects, and ephemera. The file also presents material from the Vera Brittain Archive (the author’s wartime diaries and letters and a heavily annotated early version of her first autobiography, Testament of Youth).

The second module, “Propaganda and Recruitment,” contains aerial leaflets; Le Bonnet rouge (newspaper articles suppressed by the French government); cartoons; Daily Mirror wartime front pages; German and Russian propaganda postcards; guidelines for recruiting officers; Kitchener Papers on manpower, morale, and recruitment; minute books of recruiting committees; Mirror Group n­ewspapers’ cartoons and photographs; posters; cabaret, concert, and theater programs kept by the German Army; scrapbooks; and training manuals.

The database also contains secondary sources that provide context for the primary source material. These include case studies, chronologies, a “Glossary of the Great War,” interactive maps, scholarly essays, a slide-show gallery, teaching pages, visual galleries, and a “My Archive” feature by which users can save searches, collect a library of documents, and create personalized slide shows.

Portal material is sourced from institutions such as the Alexander Turnbull Library, the National Library of New Zealand; Bibliothek für Zeitgeschichte in the Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart; British Library; Brotherton Library, University of Leeds; Cambridge University Library; Hooge Crater Museum; Hoover Institution Archives and Library; Imperial War Museum; Mills Memorial Library, ­McMaster University, Canada; Mirrorpix; the National WWI Museum at Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, MO; Over the Top Collection; Sanctuary Wood Cemetery; and the National Archives (UK).

Usability
. The opening screen has a simple search box at top screen right, below which is a toolbar leading to documents, maps, other visual resources, print materials, advanced search, and popular searches. The opening screen also offers a revolving selection of full-color images from the collections and a list of quick links to: “Nature and Scope: Personal Experiences”; “Nature and Scope: Propaganda and Recruitment”; essays; interactive maps; case studies; and popular searches.

I leapt into popular searches and explored “Searches by Keyword” (in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish) by countries, places, names, battles and other events, and theaters of war. I was surprised not to find Ypres under “Y” in the alphabetical list, but that list is short enough that by looking carefully I found it listed in the F’s (First Battle of Ypres), S’s (Second Battle of Ypres), and and so on. Oddly, there was no entry for the Fourth Battle of Ypres, also known as the Lys Offensive.

Returning to the opening screen I made my way through the buttons in the toolbar. “Introduction” includes sections on nature and scope, participating libraries, editor’s choice pieces, copyright information, and a chance to take a tour. “Documents” offers 43 pages of the collections’ contents, filterable by document type, library or archive, theater of war, language, and module; it takes some time to load the full documents section, but considering the type and amount of material available it’s not unreasonable. However, even on my full-size laptop screen, I couldn’t view all the listings in the library/archive drop-down “Filter By” menu within the documents section, though that’s a minor problem considering the cornucopia that’s here.

Maps and visual resources are divided into two sections each: Interactive Maps and Map Gallery, and Visual Gallery and 360 Object Gallery, respectively. The databases’ “Further Resources” consist of essays, case studies, accounts of war experiences, a chronology, the glossary, popular searches, external links, and Archive Explorer, a function that queries other Adam Matthew resources to which your library subscribes.

Next I tried an Advanced Search for the keywords “vera brittain” and “vad,” restricting the search to primary documents (you can stipulate you want these or Secondary Resources) and got a list of 49 items, including Vera Brittain’s diary from 1917, and here’s where I located the real glory of this file. There were 29 pages compiled by Brittain chronicling her life in 1917, including newspaper clippings (many Times announcements of the deaths of loved ones), pressed flowers from places and fields significant to her (in full color and practically palpable), and later hand-written notes added from 1918.

I spent the next couple of hours trying the myriad features and searches. Maps are easy to find with advanced searches, and the resolution is amazingly clear. The items in the 360° display gallery are so realistically shown I’m sure I’m going to have trouble sleeping after viewing the nightmarish tube helmet for protection against gas attacks.

A series of searches too numerous to list revealed the wealth of highly relevant material—both primary and explicative secondary—to be found quickly and easily. For a file loaded with so many different kinds of material it is surprisingly searchable.

Pricing.
The one-time price for both modules in the First World War Portal ranges from $27,000 to $90,000, with a nominal annual hosting fee. Adam Matthew uses a banded pricing structure to determine discounts and payment plans for institutions of all sizes.

Verdict.
This content is stunning in depth, breadth, and multimedia versatility. Interactive maps and items in the 360° gallery are eye-openers, but the archival manuscripts and the extent of the overall collections are the real discoveries to be made here. The First World War Portal is a remarkable resource that will bring the Great War directly to the desktops of researchers ranging from high school students to the most advanced World War I scholar. Highly recommended for those libraries able to afford it.

Cheryl LaGuardia is a Research Librarian for the Widener Library at Harvard University and author of Becoming a Library Teacher (Neal-Schuman, 2000).

Cheryl LaGuardia
Library Journal

Library Journal , March 2014

“Stunning in depth and range; this First World War portal will bring the Great War directly to the desktops of researchers ranging from high school students to the most advanced World War I scholar.”

Best Reference
Library Journal

Library Journal , January 2014

The First World War: Personal Experiences and Propaganda and Recruitment

Content. The First World War Portal is comprised of two modules: “Personal Experiences” and “Propaganda and Recruitment,” which collectively cover the period from 1914 to 1919. “Personal Experiences” includes such material as audio-recorded interviews, cartoons, comics, diaries, letters, paintings, panoramic views, photographs, postcards, propaganda, recruiting posters, reminiscences, scrapbooks, sheet music, sketches, souvenirs, trench journals (from Australian, British, Canadian, French, and New Zealand troops), trench maps, war art, 360° views of personal items and objects, and ephemera. The file also presents material from the Vera Brittain Archive (the author’s wartime diaries and letters and a heavily annotated early version of her first autobiography, Testament of Youth).

The second module, “Propaganda and Recruitment,” contains aerial leaflets; Le Bonnet rouge (newspaper articles suppressed by the French government); cartoons; Daily Mirror wartime front pages; German and Russian propaganda postcards; guidelines for recruiting officers; Kitchener Papers on manpower, morale, and recruitment; minute books of recruiting committees; Mirror Group n­ewspapers’ cartoons and photographs; posters; cabaret, concert, and theater programs kept by the German Army; scrapbooks; and training manuals.

The database also contains secondary sources that provide context for the primary source material. These include case studies, chronologies, a “Glossary of the Great War,” interactive maps, scholarly essays, a slide-show gallery, teaching pages, visual galleries, and a “My Archive” feature by which users can save searches, collect a library of documents, and create personalized slide shows.

Portal material is sourced from institutions such as the Alexander Turnbull Library, the National Library of New Zealand; Bibliothek für Zeitgeschichte in the Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart; British Library; Brotherton Library, University of Leeds; Cambridge University Library; Hooge Crater Museum; Hoover Institution Archives and Library; Imperial War Museum; Mills Memorial Library, ­McMaster University, Canada; Mirrorpix; the National WWI Museum at Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, MO; Over the Top Collection; Sanctuary Wood Cemetery; and the National Archives (UK).

Usability
. The opening screen has a simple search box at top screen right, below which is a toolbar leading to documents, maps, other visual resources, print materials, advanced search, and popular searches. The opening screen also offers a revolving selection of full-color images from the collections and a list of quick links to: “Nature and Scope: Personal Experiences”; “Nature and Scope: Propaganda and Recruitment”; essays; interactive maps; case studies; and popular searches.

I leapt into popular searches and explored “Searches by Keyword” (in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish) by countries, places, names, battles and other events, and theaters of war. I was surprised not to find Ypres under “Y” in the alphabetical list, but that list is short enough that by looking carefully I found it listed in the F’s (First Battle of Ypres), S’s (Second Battle of Ypres), and and so on. Oddly, there was no entry for the Fourth Battle of Ypres, also known as the Lys Offensive.

Returning to the opening screen I made my way through the buttons in the toolbar. “Introduction” includes sections on nature and scope, participating libraries, editor’s choice pieces, copyright information, and a chance to take a tour. “Documents” offers 43 pages of the collections’ contents, filterable by document type, library or archive, theater of war, language, and module; it takes some time to load the full documents section, but considering the type and amount of material available it’s not unreasonable. However, even on my full-size laptop screen, I couldn’t view all the listings in the library/archive drop-down “Filter By” menu within the documents section, though that’s a minor problem considering the cornucopia that’s here.

Maps and visual resources are divided into two sections each: Interactive Maps and Map Gallery, and Visual Gallery and 360 Object Gallery, respectively. The databases’ “Further Resources” consist of essays, case studies, accounts of war experiences, a chronology, the glossary, popular searches, external links, and Archive Explorer, a function that queries other Adam Matthew resources to which your library subscribes.

Next I tried an Advanced Search for the keywords “vera brittain” and “vad,” restricting the search to primary documents (you can stipulate you want these or Secondary Resources) and got a list of 49 items, including Vera Brittain’s diary from 1917, and here’s where I located the real glory of this file. There were 29 pages compiled by Brittain chronicling her life in 1917, including newspaper clippings (many Times announcements of the deaths of loved ones), pressed flowers from places and fields significant to her (in full color and practically palpable), and later hand-written notes added from 1918.

I spent the next couple of hours trying the myriad features and searches. Maps are easy to find with advanced searches, and the resolution is amazingly clear. The items in the 360° display gallery are so realistically shown I’m sure I’m going to have trouble sleeping after viewing the nightmarish tube helmet for protection against gas attacks.

A series of searches too numerous to list revealed the wealth of highly relevant material—both primary and explicative secondary—to be found quickly and easily. For a file loaded with so many different kinds of material it is surprisingly searchable.

Pricing.
The one-time price for both modules in the First World War Portal ranges from $27,000 to $90,000, with a nominal annual hosting fee. Adam Matthew uses a banded pricing structure to determine discounts and payment plans for institutions of all sizes.

Verdict.
This content is stunning in depth, breadth, and multimedia versatility. Interactive maps and items in the 360° gallery are eye-openers, but the archival manuscripts and the extent of the overall collections are the real discoveries to be made here. The First World War Portal is a remarkable resource that will bring the Great War directly to the desktops of researchers ranging from high school students to the most advanced World War I scholar. Highly recommended for those libraries able to afford it.

Cheryl LaGuardia is a Research Librarian for the Widener Library at Harvard University and author of Becoming a Library Teacher (Neal-Schuman, 2000).

Cheryl LaGuardia
Library Journal

Library Journal , March 2014

“Stunning in depth and range; this First World War portal will bring the Great War directly to the desktops of researchers ranging from high school students to the most advanced World War I scholar.”

Best Reference
Library Journal

Review in History , December 2009

The Grand Tour was ‘a phenomenon which shaped the creative and intellectual sensibilities of some of the eighteenth century’s greatest artists, writers and thinkers’. So reads the opening paragraph of Adam Matthew Digital’s new website, The Grand Tour. It is a substantial claim to make, but a fair one. The Grand Tour, which attracted British travellers to the continent between c.1550 and 1850, was hugely influential in terms of Britain’s cultural, social, political, architectural, gastronomic, sartorial and artistic evolution. Among its many and far-reaching influences, it fuelled the transformation of Britain’s finest historic houses and provided much of their contents, defined the syllabi of many English preparatory schools, and introduced the authoritative architectural language of neoclassicism to British governmental and institutional buildings. It is perhaps not surprising then that the Grand Tour currently enjoys great popularity among scholars. In a research community where interdisciplinarity is celebrated and visual sources have finally won their place in peer-reviewed historical research, the Grand Tour holds appeal for researchers and reading audiences alike.

The recent avidity for ‘all things Grand Tour’ might justifiably be attributed to a succession of exhibitions on the subject over the past 15 years. One of the earliest, the Tate’s Grand Tour: The Lure of Italy in the Eighteenth Century (1997), provided the model for much that was to follow. In this substantial exhibition the curators presented an array of visual material ranging from busts and oil paintings to sketches and panels. The result suggested comprehensiveness, but it was in fact, focused squarely on the image and experience of Italy. Four years later, between 2001 and 2002, a trilogy of exhibitions at the Getty in Los Angeles ensured ongoing international interest in the essentially British phenomenon. Again, the focus was Italy. Naples and Vesuvius on the Grand Tour, Rome of the Grand Tour, and Drawing Italy in the Age of the Grand Tour were accompanied by musical performances and talks which fuelled popular as well as academic enthusiasm for the subject. More recently, these broad, inclusive shows have given way to exhibitions that address a specific element of the Tour, or which contextualise it more explicitly within 18th-century society and culture. Although small, From Reason to Revolution: Art and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (2007–8) positioned the Grand Tour alongside the Industrial Revolution, exploration, scientific discovery, and slavery. In so doing, the Fitzwilliam revealed to visitors some of the Tour’s wider social, cultural and artistic implications. The importance of the Grand Tour’s legacy and influence is also reflected in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s British Galleries, which opened in 2001 and continue to attract large numbers. In 2008, the National Gallery’s Pompeo Batoni exhibition gave visitors a different perspective of the Tour through the portraits painted by that artist. Although it attracted large crowds, this particular show may have prompted more ‘Tour fatigue’ than enthusiasm. Other specialist shows such as the Victoria and Albert Museum’s James ‘Athenian’ Stuart, 1713-1788 (2007) and Thomas Hope: Regency Designer (2008), and the Royal Academy’s Andrea Palladio: His Life and Legacy (2009) testify to the seemingly endless potential for interesting and challenging exhibitions on the Grand Tour and its associated art and architecture.

Despite the evident appetite for exhibitions, digital resources on the Grand Tour have been slow to materialise. Jeremy Black’s complaint, made in The British Abroad in 1992, that ‘much tourist correspondence is poorly catalogued and scattered in general political or family correspondence and, in consequence, difficult to find’ remained unanswered for 15 years. The Grand Tour website is the first coherent attempt to respond to this challenge by collating letters, diaries, printed guidebooks, travel writing, maps, paintings and architectural plans within one searchable, online resource. It is, therefore, a notable achievement and much-welcomed by the research community.

Technologically, The Grand Tour provides a number of benefits to scholars and general readers alike. The transcript feature enables a full-text search, leading viewers quickly and directly to relevant passages throughout the collection. The inclusion of original colour scans on a separate tab means that readers can alternate between the two formats, checking references and viewing illustrations as they read. This combination of searchable, easy-to-read transcripts and original scanned material is one of the greatest strengths of The Grand Tour. However, the effective integration of digital technologies does not end there. A download feature enables readers to download either a single image or an entire chapter in PDF format, while the inclusion of an export feature for Endnote and Refworks ensures that references can be easily and accurately recorded in the reader’s own files. Of course, other websites and digital archives have incorporated similar electronic features. However, by making these elements more intuitive to use, the architects of The Grand Tour have broadened their potential user group. In doing so, they may prove to have played a significant role in reshaping the way in which scholars approach archival research.

The inclusion of a substantial number of manuscript sources, scanned and indexed represents a significant new resource for scholars and students of the period. There is no denying the sheer pleasure in being able to skip easily between such delights as The frauds of Romish monks and priests set forth in eight letters (1725), Maximilien Misson’s cool and blasé observations on prostitution in Rome and Venice (1739 edn.), and Joseph Addison’s surprisingly vehement criticism of the beef tax in Naples (1705). It is this diversity of material that attracts scholars to the Grand Tour as a subject, and the digitisation of these sources certainly makes the appeal all the greater. The search engine is powerful enough to be both specific and fast and there is no doubt that it can handle the volume of information currently uploaded to the site.

The digitized manuscripts and printed books constitute the richest resource on The Grand Tour website. However, the editorial board and designers have clearly made efforts to make the website as interdisciplinary as possible and visual material holds a prominent position within the site. It is perhaps the same fundamentally visual character of the Grand Tour, which lent the subject so easily to colourful and attractive exhibitions, which also makes it so well-suited to an interactive online resource. In fact, at its most basic level The Grand Tour website can be viewed as an online exhibition. However, the range and organisation of the visual material is a little disappointing. Within the ‘Visual Sources’ section of the site, items are categorised uneasily under the headings of ‘maps’, ‘art gallery’ and ‘photo gallery’. Unfortunately, the ‘maps’ section is an interactive map, rather than a gallery of historical cartography. Similarly, the ‘photo gallery’ is, rather inexplicably, a collection of specially-commissioned modern photographs of extant historic Italian landmarks. Some of these are far more ‘poster art’ than historical resource, making the ‘photo gallery’ appear more like a page from Flikr or Facebook than a valuable scholarly resource. The ‘art gallery’ is the most rewarding of the three ‘galleries’ and the most valuable for academic research. Although hardly comprehensive, the gallery brings together paintings and sketches from a number of prominent collections, including the Paul Mellon Collection and Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. Works by Richard Wilson, William Pars and Claude Lorrain appear here alongside one another, providing novices with a useful introduction to the role of the visual arts in the Grand Tour experience. However, here, as with many museum exhibits, the material has taken centre stage at the expense of effective contextualising commentary.

Perhaps the most traditional element of the website, in terms of publishing at least, comes in the form of the three essays written by distinguished scholars, expert in this field. The essays by Jeremy Black, Rosemary Sweet and Edward Chaney, comprise an introduction to the Grand Tour as a subject, a ‘tour’ through the changing perceptions of Italian cities during the 18th century, and a historiographical account of Grand Tour scholarship since 1900 respectively. Jeremy Black’s introductory essay is a little disappointing, if only for its brevity. At just over a thousand words in length it can merely hint at the diverse themes and subject matter he explores in his more substantial publications. Over the past two decades, Black has become synonymous with the Grand Tour, with two of his most well-known publications being Italy and the Grand Tour and The British Abroad.(1) Ironically, it may well be due to his extensive research and publications on the subject that his essay is disappointingly slight. The essay is too broad and at the same time too brief to satisfy a potentially wide readership. With such a huge base of material and knowledge, Black’s essay reads too much like a ruthlessly edited digestion of a lengthy and varied article, skipping between subjects with few extended examples or quotations to illustrate his brief account. It provides little of the detail and primary material that a knowledgeable scholar might appreciate, and yet presumes too much prior knowledge among new initiates to the subject. Black moves so quickly through the themes of tourism, sex, travel literature and Italy, that the non-specialist may well feel they are missing something. And indeed they are. There is very little historical context in either Black’s essay or the website as a whole, almost no mention of the education system that prepared the tourists for the locations, art and culture they would encounter, and very little about the legacy of their journeys on the architecture, politics, art and society of Britain.

Edward Chaney’s account of one hundred years of scholarship on the Grand Tour takes readers from Herbert Thurston’s Holy Year of Jubilee to Carole Paul’s The Borghese Collections and the Display of Art in the Age of the Grand Tour.(2) In this sense his contribution is comprehensive and certainly provides scholars with a fine reading list. However, it is perhaps the checklist quality of his essay that makes it appear rather out of place within the wider project. Chaney’s account is likely to be of most interest to serious scholars of both the Tour and the study thereof, and is therefore arguably mismatched to a website in which the majority of contextualising material is apparently targeted at the general reader.

Rosemary Sweet’s essay represents the most traditionally academic material on the site and yet, by virtue of its organisation by city, also the most accessible secondary account. Her account takes us from Florence to Rome and on to Naples and Venice. Although the focus is Italy, rather than a more geographically inclusive interpretation of the Tour, Sweet makes important connections between the political context of the Continent at large and the specific experiences of the individuals upon whose accounts historians rely. Furthermore, by focusing upon the cities as they were encountered by the tourists themselves, rather than the antique remains they examined so self-consciously, Sweet provides a fascinating analysis of 18th-century attitudes to urbanisation. Street plans, lighting, crime and hygiene are revealed as common preoccupations among travellers. By providing such a distinctive and original perspective, Sweet makes a valuable contribution to Grand Tour scholarship.

Sweet and Chaney’s essays are certainly both specific in their intention and scholarly in their execution. However, as there are only two such essays, there presence possibly unbalances the project and throws into question the motivation behind their inclusion. They would sit more comfortably within a larger collection that reflects the true breadth of contemporary scholarship on the subject, and which might also include: women and the Grand Tour, a survey of cartographic sources, an art historian’s perspective, an essay on the development of the Continental hospitality industry during the 18th century, and any number of other, equally specific and well-researched subjects.

Inconsistencies in the length, depth, and format of these three essays also serve to compromise the potential impact of this element of the website upon the wider research community. The absence of something as immediately noticeable as a consistent referencing system across the three essays, robs the collection of any sense of being a single, coherent publication. Perhaps this is quite proper and resources such as The Grand Tour should be perceived much more as ‘libraries’, ‘scrapbooks’ or, to use the jargon of the moment, ‘hubs’ of information rather than formal publications. However, if this is to be so then the editorial boards of such projects may need to rethink their target audience and cease to present such resources as comparable to more rigorously copy-edited and peer-reviewed printed publications. Furthermore, if such a concession was to be made, and online resources awarded a special status in the field of scholarly publishing, then such projects may find it increasingly difficult to attract high-calibre scholars, when the perceived status of the final product, whether rightly or wrongly, is commensurate to that of an erudite internet blog.

None of these points are intended to impugn the quality of the scholarship that is clearly evident here in the essays and the website as a whole. But The Grand Tour does highlight the persistent and, as yet, unresolved challenges that pervade academic publishing online. Perhaps applying a consistent ‘house style’ to these essays would have meant that they sat a little more comfortably with the academic audience who, by virtue of the cost of subscription and the consequent reliance upon institutional subscriptions, will surely comprise the largest proportion of the site’s readership. Notwithstanding these issues, by collating and indexing such a varied and fascinating array of verbal and visual sources, The Grand Tour represents a valuable and, what will surely prove to be a much-utilized, digital resource on this popular subject.

Dr Katy Layton-Jones, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Review in History

Library Journal , June 2009

The Grand Tour is a collection of manuscripts, visuals, and printed works, including account books, architectural drawings, diaries, guidebooks, journals, letters, maps, paintings, and sketches detailing English men and women journeying abroad, circa 1550 to 1850 (that is, "doing the Grand Tour"). Materials come from Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, as well as from the Chaney Library, the British Library, London, and other private archives. Material contents address 18th century communication, diplomacy, food and drink, health, money, politics, religion, sex, social customs, street life, transportation, and urban planning. Manuscripts, travel accounts, and visuals featured include primary materials from Pompeo Batoni, Charles Burney, J. Fenimore Cooper, Elizabeth Craven, Sir William Hamilton, Sir Philip Sidney, Tobias Smollett, Joseph Spence, Lady Hester Stanhope, Mariana Starke, Henry Swinburne, J.M.W. Turner, and Richard Wilson, among others.

Secondary materials in the collection include John Ingamells's searchable, full-text Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy, 1701–1800, which provides biographies and tour details for over 6000 "Grand Tourists"; selected digitized materials from the Brinsley Ford Archive at the Paul Mellon Centre, London (with the notes, clippings, and research gathered by Sir Brinsley Ford); and an indexed collection of hundreds of modern photographs of Italy, providing a visual source of all the historical sites visited by tourists.

HOW DOES IT WORK? The work opens with an eponymous banner in an appropriately florid style, which ends with a Search box, under which are links to Advanced Search and Popular Searches (more on these later). Beneath the Grand Tour banner is a toolbar of links to the Introduction, Documents, Visual Sources, Dictionary and Archive of Travellers, Essays, and Help. Beneath that toolbar is a continuously shifting slideshow of stunning visuals from the collection, with 12 "step" links that lead you through the resource.

Beneath that slideshow is another set of features that change each time you refresh the file—these include Browning in Florence (with a link to his letters), Vesuvius Erupts (linking to Sir William Hamilton's sketches of the volcano's explosion in 1767), J. Fenimore Cooper in Italy (with links to his letters)...you get the idea. There are enough different ways of accessing the information here to satisfy every possible type of researcher.

CAN YOU USE IT? I explored the Popular Searches first, since I thought they could quickly give me an idea of what was in this file—which they did—but there are over 1000 of them! They're organized into Countries, Regions, Cities/Towns, Featured Places, People, and Topics, and range from Albania to Women Writers, so the scope is pretty broad.

My first Search was for "hester stanhope" (just because I'm always interested in seeing anything connected to her), and it found a letter from Lady Hester to Sir Joseph Banks. So then I searched "sir joseph banks" and got 40 results—but looking at them I realized the Search feature did my search as "sir and joseph and banks." When I tried again, searching for "sir joseph banks" (in quotation marks), I got two results, one of which was the Stanhope entry.

Next I started working my way through the links in the main toolbar. The Introduction includes, among other features, an Editor's Choice section in which Martha Fogg, Project Editor, "picks highlights from the collection." It also includes a Chronology running from 1700 to 1901, as well as a bibliography of books and web sites for further research. In Documents I found an A-to-Z listing of all the documents in the collection, arranged by title, with their authors, dates, and document type (correspondence, rare book, travel diary, manuscript journal, sketchbook, etc.).

I could select documents and then export them automatically into EndNote or RefWorks, or I could go into an entry and download the document or a PDF range, or I could simply view it, page by page. The images I pulled up were crisp and clear and quite readable—even Lady Hester's handwritten letter.

Clicking on Visual Sources let me look at all 26 pages of visual sources, or I could use the extremely cool interactive maps to follow individuals' journeys, or I could view the 50 or so research paintings and sketches inspired by the Grand Tour (I could download these if I wanted to). Completely captivating! The Dictionary and Archive of Travellers is a searchable, alphabetical list of British and Irish travelers who toured Italy in the 18th century—it will be a boon to researchers of the period—while the Essay section includes three scholarly essays: "The Grand Tour: An Introduction," by Professor Jeremy Black, University of Exeter; "Cities of the Grand Tour: Changing Perceptions of Italian Cities in the long Eighteenth Century," by Professor Rosemary Sweet, University of Leicester; and "Grand Tour Scholarship Since 1900: A Personal Account," by Professor Edward Chaney, Southampton Solent University.

I read through the Help section last (a habit of mine; I want to be able to carry out basic tasks without consulting Help, but I want it there for when I need it), and it provided detailed assistance with searching, viewing, exporting, downloading, and printing materials in the collection. Very nice.

WHAT'S THE COST? The one-time purchase price for the collection is $29,000 (there is no annual maintenance or cost-per-user fee). Discounts can be negotiated on an individual basis; Adam Matthew Digital uses an internal banding structure to determine levels of discounts, and this is influenced by the Carnegie Classification of 2005 and JISC.

HOW GOOD IS IT? My call on this has to be contextual. As a historical e-product, this rates a strong ten, perhaps even higher. Given the narrow focus of the collection, I have to give it an overall nine, based on scope and price.

BOTTOM LINE A beguiling and effective tool for research into Grand Tour travel, this title is recommended for comprehensive electronic collections, as well as for college and university libraries serving European historians.

Cheryl LaGuardia
Library Journal

CHOICE , November 2009

The Grand Tour is an electronic gateway to a wide selection of literature, art, and in particular archival material useful in gaining a greater understanding of the grand tour--a traditional rite of passage in which privileged British (mainly) men of the 18th century traveled to the Continent. This resource includes the accounts of British travelers (both men and women) from ca. 1550 to 1850 to such locations as Rome, Florence, Paris, and Geneva. The collection includes primary resources such as letters, diaries, journals, account books, printed guidebooks, and published travel writing; visual resources include paintings and sketches, architectural drawings, and maps. These materials create a broad social picture of daily life in this period, including attitudes about politics, religion, customs, and the city. The database features the full text of important secondary sources such as A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy, 1701-1800 (1997), compiled by John Ingamells, and digitized notes, clippings, and research from the Brinsley Ford Archive at the Paul Mellon Centre in London. Browsing the content is easy, using links at the top of each page. In addition to an Introduction describing the project (which also includes a chronology and bibliography of suggested books/Web sites), the site features a Documents section, comprising the correspondence, manuscripts, and diary entries that make up the majority of the sources. A Visual Sources section presents digital maps, photographs, and paintings and sketches. Finally, users will find a direct link to Ingamells's Dictionary and a small section of Essays by noted scholars. The site has ample help documentation, including a guide to understanding the documents, with a listing of abbreviations. There is information on accessing the visual resources as both thumbnails and full-size images (downloadable as PDFs). Also available is advice on searching and guidance on how to export citations from the database to RefWorks or EndNote (CH, Feb'08, 45-2929). Searching is accessible from a basic search box available in the upper right corner of every page. Advanced search offers Boolean operators; limiters including date, source, and document type; and phrase searching. This is a valuable resource for academic and special libraries, particularly those serving students and scholars focused on British history, literature, and art/architectural history.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

K. M. Keogh, Virginia Commonwealth University
CHOICE

CHOICE , May 2009

Publisher Adam Matthew Digital, working with the UK's National Archives, has digitized the complete British Foreign and Commonwealth Office 7 and 82 files from the years of the Nixon administration, allowing users to search and access nearly 400 full-text files. The strength and bulk of this collection are the briefing papers, records of discussions, and policy analyses, providing researchers with international (particularly British) perspectives on this turbulent time in US history. Topics include all of the major international and domestic issues of the period, such as the war in Vietnam, the Cold War, Latin America, the Middle East, Nixon's historic efforts to reestablish diplomatic relations with China, the American Civil Rights Movement, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the 1972 presidential election, and many, many others.Users must view the pages of each file individually while online, but may download a complete document as a PDF (an option that is unavailable in trial subscriptions). Printing is similar; one may either print individual pages of a file while online (which can be cumbersome when the file includes more than a hundred pages), or download the PDF to print the complete file. The database currently does not offer a lot of bells and whistles, although it features Names and Key Topics (a nicely detailed subject index), and a chronology of events that has the potential to be quite useful with the addition of links to related files. A tutorial and an advanced search option also would improve usability, as would the addition of navigation tools at the top of the subject index and the chronology to cut down on scrolling. Regardless, The Nixon Years offers unique information for researchers. It would be a good addition to larger academic collections, particularly those supporting graduate programs in history, political science, and international studies.

Summing Up: Recommended. Academic libraries supporting upper-level undergraduates and above.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

C. A. Collins, Bucks County Community College
CHOICE

Library Journal , March 2010

CONTENT Travel Writing, Spectacle and World History (TWSWH) is a digitized, full-color collection of correspondence, diaries, journals, manuscripts, photographs, postcards, and ephemera created by 19th- and 20th-century American women, along with contextualizing essays by noted historians and collection curators. These original materials come from the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, and they cover 1818 to 1976. Subjects addressed include American frontier life, the Boxer War in China, cultural events and customs, daily life, education, empires, finishing schools, emigration, holidays, leisure experiences, missionary work, sighting, tourism, and World Wars I and II.

The main screen opens with a revolving slide show of images within the collection, topped by a simple Search Box and tool bar with links to an Introduction, Documents, Maps, Further Resources, and Help. There are also links to Popular Searches and Advanced Search (which lets you search by Keywords, Traveller, Title, or Summary and allows for Word Stemming, Proximity, and Limiting by date). At screen bottom are rotating thumbnail illustrations highlighting other features of the system, such as Interactive Case Studies and Finding Aids.

USABILITY As with other Adam Matthew Digital products, this file invites both leisurely exploration and in-depth searching. I started out by reading the Introduction, which had a link to the intriguing essay "A Ford, a Tent, a Camp Stove, and the World Is Ours for the Taking: Women's Travel Writing from the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library, 1819–1970s" by Marilyn Dunn and Ellen Shea, colleagues at the Schlesinger. That essay included a note about "Young Rowena Morse," who "set out from Ithaca, NY, after graduating from Cornell. In a tour of Europe with her father, she decided to stay on to study at the Sorbonne during 1922 and 1923."

While preparing for a degree in physics, Morse writes frequent letters home sharing her impressions of French customs, culture, and language. Her topics include dealing with her concierge, her wardrobe, dances, and other social engagements, as well as simply getting to know Paris and Chamonix. And from there you link into Rowena's letters to her parents, the text of which was "lovingly transcribed" by her daughter in 1991, and which we can now read very much as though we had an archival, acid-free box full of the letters right in front of us.

It is incredibly easy to page through the correspondence, not missing a thing with easy navigation, along with the ability to search within a document at any time. That foray took longer than expected because there were so many interesting links to pursue.

Next I clicked the Document link, and that took me into an alphabetical list of the documents in the collection, from Mary Adams Abbott's travel journals and correspondence to Evelyn Wendt's "Call of the Wilderness," the typed retrospective account of her 1947 trip to Alaska. Each entry contains the name of the traveler, the Title of the material, the Reference to the original, the date of the material, and the Regions mentioned.

The entries can be sorted and resorted immediately according to each of these reference points, so it's easy to find, for example, all the materials addressing Africa or East Asia. In addition, to the left of each item in the list is a box you can check to Export the citation directly into EndNote or RefWorks. Very nice.

A click on Maps took me to a screen with two methods of entry: one to Explore the major destinations of the travelers and the other to Follow and learn more about their travel routes via in-depth case studies of six selected travelers. The Further Resources link takes you to a Slideshow Gallery, Essays and Finding Aids, a Chronology of the World from 1770 to 1976, and Editor's Choice.

It seemed anticlimactic to search the file at this point, but I did some searches to see what I'd find. My simple search for "boxer rebellion" found "Typescript Transcriptions of Correspondence from China, April–December, 1921" by Julia Coolidge Deane, Mary Adams Abbott's Travel Journal 1, the Ida Pruitt Finding Aid, and Patricia Lorcin's essay "Travel Writing as a Source for Teaching World History." I explored the Advanced Search screen and found detailed explanations of various searches (phrase searching, etc.) at screen right. Good help and good placement.

One glitch only came up in the system, but it was perplexing. At various, unpredictable, times I would lose the Popular Searches and Advanced Search links from the main screen. There was just a shadow where they had been. I tried reloading the file, and sometimes they appeared, and sometimes they didn't. Hmmmm.

PRICING TWSWH lists for $19,500 in the United States, with discounts and payment plans available. Adam Matthews Digital uses an internal banding structure to determine discount levels (influenced by the Carnegie Classification of 2005 and JISC). The title is available to community colleges and smaller institutions via an annual access fee.

BOTTOM LINE The content is certainly a ten. The remarkably accessible and agile design gets a ten, too. For overall value to historians, TWSWH earns a resounding ten. Essential for academic libraries supporting strong gender studies and history programs, and for large public libraries with extensive history collections.

Cheryl LaGuardia
Library Journal

CHOICE , March 2009

Adam Matthew Digital conjures up a dynamic digital collection of unique primary sources describing popular entertainment in the US, the UK, and Europe in the period from 1779 to 1930. This graphically rich portal currently offers access to only one collection, Spiritualism, Sensation and Magic, but two others--Circuses, Sideshows and Freaks; and Music Hall, Theatre and Popular Entertainment--are scheduled for 2009 and 2010, respectively. The 300-plus artifacts in the current collection, selected from manuscripts at the Senate House Library at the University of London and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, are curiosities culled for their rarity and interest for scholars in the areas of magic, spiritualism, animal magnetism, mesmerism, and parapsychology. Included are high-quality color scans of performance posters, pamphlets, journals and magazines of the period, such as The Zoist: A Journal of Cerebral Physiology and Mesmerism and Their Applications to Human Welfare and The Sphinx: A Monthly Magazine for Magicians and Illusionists, as well as eight volumes of Houdini's scrapbooks.<p>Visitors may conduct a general search of the collection or search specifically in fields such as title, author, source library, and document type/subtype. Also available is a full list of the contents, an alphabetical list, and lists by library and document type, along with a list of popular searches. The sleight of hand that enables one to view documents is impressive. One may zoom into and move around them, view the scan or a transcription of a document, and download a PDF or print it. Further resources include an introductory essay by Peter Otto (Univ. of Melbourne), a slide-show generator, a clever drag-and-drop chronology, a glossary (ever wonder who coined the term "ectoplasm"?), biographies, and a bibliography. An extensive help section offers search tips and advice for teachers. The database itself is by no means inexpensive, but the collections provided are truly unparalleled and available nowhere else. While only those who wish to delve deeper into the world of magic and spiritualist séances may be spurred to subscribe, those who do will be treated to one of the finest digital collections available on the subject.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

C. Cox, Western Washington University
CHOICE

CHOICE , April 2010

This database is an excellent resource for scholars and students of world history, tourism and travel history, and ethnic and cultural studies. Moreover, it would be a useful source for interdisciplinary studies and women's studies. Drawing on materials from the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the database comprises mainly travel accounts, diaries, and letters of women travelers from the 1830s to 1970s. Types of materials include correspondence, photographs, letters, diaries, postcards, guidebooks, and drawings. The database explores a wide variety of topics, including family life, culture and customs, race, politics, religion, exploration, art, and architecture. The interface is very user-friendly and easily navigable. Users are provided with an Introduction that explains the nature and scope of the collection, Documents, Maps, contextual essays, a chronology, and more. Those browsing the collection via the Documents tab will ind all the travelers' names in alphabetical order along with their writings. The details on archival references, dates, and regions traveled all are helpful in the selection of materials. Interactive maps give users an opportunity to explore major travel routes and destinations. Both simple and advanced search options are provided for ease of use. Users may search for documents via keywords, a title, a summary, or a traveler's name. They may also export documents to RefWorks or EndNote. The Popular Searches feature permits a look at various travelers' names, regions, countries, places, and topics. For teaching or presentation purposes, users can easily create slide shows using the database's visual materials. Help is available, and a Web 2.0 toolbar facilitates sharing of information via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Delicious, and other avenues. The wealth of primary source material--both documents and visual sources--should make this a fascinating resource for undergraduate classroom use.

Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

C. Vaidyanathan, University ofMiami
CHOICE

Choice , March 2009

Adam Matthew Digital conjures up a dynamic digital collection of unique primary sources describing popular entertainment in the US, the UK, and Europe in the period from 1779 to 1930. This graphically rich portal currently offers access to only one collection, Spiritualism, Sensation and Magic, but two others--Circuses, Sideshows and Freaks; and Music Hall, Theatre and Popular Entertainment--are scheduled for 2009 and 2010, respectively. The 300-plus artifacts in the current collection, selected from manuscripts at the Senate House Library at the University of London and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, are curiosities culled for their rarity and interest for scholars in the areas of magic, spiritualism, animal magnetism, mesmerism, and parapsychology. Included are high-quality color scans of performance posters, pamphlets, journals and magazines of the period, such as The Zoist: A Journal of Cerebral Physiology and Mesmerism and Their Applications to Human Welfare and The Sphinx: A Monthly Magazine for Magicians and Illusionists, as well as eight volumes of Houdini's scrapbooks.

Visitors may conduct a general search of the collection or search specifically in fields such as title, author, source library, and document type/subtype. Also available is a full list of the contents, an alphabetical list, and lists by library and document type, along with a list of popular searches. The sleight of hand that enables one to view documents is impressive. One may zoom into and move around them, view the scan or a transcription of a document, and download a PDF or print it. Further resources include an introductory essay by Peter Otto (Univ. of Melbourne), a slide-show generator, a clever drag-and-drop chronology, a glossary (ever wonder who coined the term "ectoplasm"?), biographies, and a bibliography. An extensive help section offers search tips and advice for teachers. The database itself is by no means inexpensive, but the collections provided are truly unparalleled and available nowhere else. While only those who wish to delve deeper into the world of magic and spiritualist séances maay be spurred to subscribe, those who do will be treated to one of the finest digital collections available on the subject.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

C. Cox
Choice

Choice , October 2010

Spanning 200 years of English colonial history, the Virginia Company Archives documents the Ferrar family's interest in the settling of North America (1590-1790) and the Virginia colony's economic development and settlement from the perspective of the V irginia Company of London (1606-24). Produced by Adam Matthew Digital , the database includes the Ferrar family's papers and their prints, a reproduction of Susan Myra Kingsbury's The Records of the Virginia Company of London, new tran scriptions of archival mater ial by David Ransome, and digitized copies of the earliest maps of Virginia, along with original color images and watercolors. Users can conduct basic searches by keyword or undeltake advanced searches, using options such as the Ferrar Papers (FP) references and the original document reference numbers; or browse the contents by Manuscripts, Printed Material, or Gallery (of images). Users may view, download, e-mail, save, and print material. A Searching Aid lists places and names that appear frequently. The straightforward help section provides useful screen shots and advice on how to incorporate the archives into the classroom. A bibliography, chronology, and additional resources are also included. A university system can share the digital platform across its network with no annual maintenance or cost-per-user fees.

Although portions of these archives exist in previous microfilm and print formats, the digital images of the Ferrar papers and prints are unique. Google has digitized Kingsbury's Records, but an extensive preview of this work is not available at present. Reading most of the manuscripts will require some training in early modern paieography, though inclusion of cross-references to previous publications and Kingsbury's embedded work are helpful. Undergraduates may find the collections difficult to use without guidance, but the value of this resource to graduate students, researchers, and faculty cannot be overstated. The Virginia Company Archives is an important addition to all colonial history collections. The producers of this digital resource, along with library- and museum-based collaborators, have greatly facilitated primary source research.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and above; interested upper-level undergraduates.

Reprinted with permission from CHOICE http://www.cro2.org, copyright by the American Library Association.

J. A. Reuscher, Pennsylvania State University
Choice

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