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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Leslie A. Lewis, BS, BA, MLIS (Duquesne University)
Description: This book provides comprehensive reference guides for a wide array of subject areas. Like its 1999 predecessor, Academic Research on the Internet: Options for Scholars and Libraries, this book may be a helpful print resource for the time being, but its usefulness will be ephemeral.
Purpose: This ready reference handbook addresses current online reference resources, be they free websites or proprietary databases, for subject areas in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. While this is a worthwhile goal, any printed book on Internet resources starts to become outdated as soon as it is published. A random check of the URLs in this book revealed most sites to be intact as of July 2006, but a number are already dead links. In addition, while Google Scholar is a current hot topic amongst academic reference librarians, it is mentioned only once here, and in passing.
Audience: This is a compilation of articles from late 2005/early 2006 issues of the Journal of Library Administration. When these articles first appeared, they were undoubtedly timely, relevant, and helpful to librarian readers. The articles are well researched and, for the most part, well written. However, some were researched as long ago as late 2004, which is the distant past in the rapidly evolving online world.
Features: New reference librarians or librarians with limited subject area expertise might find this handbook very helpful today. The chapters that provide resources and URLs in an easy-to-read format with pertinent descriptions are the most helpful. Unfortunately, there is no consistency in presentation or format. Almost a third of the chapters incorporate websites/URLs in narrative text, which makes it extremely difficult for readers to identify useful resources.
Assessment: The 2006 edition clearly eclipses the 1999 edition. However, as helpful as the newer book might be today, it, too, will be perceived as woefully outdated within a year or so. In the end, librarians seeking information about Internet reference resources are better served by the Internet itself than by books.