These sites we commonly refer to as anchor points in our design process. This enables us to easily keep up with web technology developments and measure our design and analysis processes alonngside general web trends. We continually add and refine this list so that our designs stays fresh and competive.
AltaVistas Babel Fish
Inspired by the Douglas Adams' book, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, this site from AltaVista will translate individual words, short paragraphs (up to 150 words), or whole web pages between various languages. In addition to the Western European languages, the site also translates Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. A special virtual keyboard allows users to type accented or Russian characters. The program translates each word individually, which may create unusual looking syntax and grammar. The Help page warns about translation errors, particularly if the original material contains slang or poor grammar. While the results are by no means perfect, the site may be useful in providing a general idea of the subject matter of short passages or a web page.
Answers.com is a search engine that searches and cross-indexes online research tools. Its 100 plus resources include The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Merriam Webster's Dictionary, Who2, and Wikipedia. Answers.com displays the full result of your search on one page, unlike general search engines such as Google or Yahoo, which may produce many pages of results. The creators' goal is to "provide a topic based snapshot answer rather than thousands of pages that contain your word." Answers.com can be a very useful resource for those looking for a fast succinct answer about a topic.
ConsumerSearch aims to be the starting place for consumers researching top-rated products in 13 categories including Photo & Video, Health & Fitness, Computers, Automotive, and Sports & Leisure. The site employs over 50 researchers who identify and rank product reviews based on their currency, credibility, testing methodology, and the reviewer's qualifications. Results are presented in an easy-to-use format highlighting links to the best-rated reviews and products. The "Fast Answers" page summarizes the research about each of the top rated products and provides links to "The Full Story" for additional background and price information. Links are also provided to ConsumerSearch's ranking of all reviews of the product and to sites offering the product for sale. This is an excellent resource for those trying to locate and evaluate product review information on the Internet.
This is an extensive and well-organized site featuring "high-quality historical resources for teachers and students for free and without advertising," a feat accomplished through partnerships with a variety of museums and archives. In addition to primary-source material, including multimedia, the site, which is presented in the form of a digital textbook, features resources such as an interactive timeline of History from 1590-present, subject guides, handouts, and lesson plans. Users are also invited to direct questions to the "Hyperhistorian," Steven Mintz, John and Rebecca Moores Professor of History at the University of Houston. The archives of these queries and answers are accessible as well. This site will be especially useful for high school and post-secondary level history instructors and students.
DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals
The DOAJ is a pan-disciplinary and lingual resource that allows users to identify and search free, full text, quality controlled open-access scientific and scholarly journals. At the time of this review, DOAJ included 1611 journals, 405 of which are searchable at the article level. In addition to offering search and browse capabilities by article or journal title, the DOAJ indexes journals by seventeen broad subject headings which can then be expanded into more specific subject listings. Each journal-level record includes the ISSN, publisher, start year, and language. As Open Access publishing becomes increasingly viable for scholarly communication, the DOAJ offers librarians and researchers a much needed high-quality tool to help them locate and access this material.
Download.com provides free downloads of a collection of more than 30,000 free and trial-version programs, including utilities, music, and games. Download.com is published by CNET, an interactive content company. Users of Windows and MacIntosh computers, as well as handheld devices, can read reviews and rankings by CNET and by other users. CNET rates the software on the quality of its user interface, features, and download as well as the program's functionality and stability. Software with adware is allowed but identified. Although there are a number of advertisements on the site, Download.com provides a single, easy-to-use source of utility and other software for the home and business user.
GrayLit Network: A Science Portal of Technical Reports
As described on the "About this Site" page, the GrayLIT Network "is a portal for technical report information generated through federally funded research and development projects." Such "grey" literature, although prolific and of great scientific value, is generally not distributed through conventional publication channels. The GrayLit Network allows patrons to search multiple government databases to retrieve this elusive scientific information. Among the indexed agencies are Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Search results are based on searches of bibliographic records for some databases and full text searching ofothers depending on the search capabilities of the individual sites. However, the full text of all reports is available, making this an excellent resource for researchers needing this specialized information.
Modern Language Association Language Map
The Modern Language Association used responses to the 2000 Census question "Does this person speak a language other than English at home?" to create maps and tables for the number of people speaking one of thirty languages plus seven less commonly spoken groups of languages in the United States. Results can be viewed as color-coded maps by Mainland United States, state, county, or zip code; or in table form by entire United States, state, county, zip code, metropolitan area, or town. Directions for creating maps or tables are clear. For students, teachers and others looking for the number of native speakers of languages (including English) in the United States as well as for areas where the greatest number of people speaking each language l ive, this easily used site is an excellent resource.
As described on the site, "NationMaster is a vast compilation of data from such sources as the CIA World Factbook, United Nations, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Resources Institute, UNESCO, UNICEF and OECD" and a "handy way to graphically compare nations." By using the available forms, the user "can generate maps and graphs on all kinds of statistics." This site aims "to be the web's one-stop resource for country statistics on anything and everything, whether it be soldiers, Olympic medals, tourists, English speakers or wall plug voltages. "Integrated into these is a full encyclopedia with over 200,000 articles." Aside from the Google ads at the top of each page, the data and graphs are informative and compelling.
New York Times Article Archives 1851-1995
Made available by the New York Times in cooperation with ProQuest Archiver, this site indexes over 15 million articles published in the New York Times from September 1851 to December 1995. Users can search for specific articles by keyword or phrase, author, headline, date, or date range. Searches may be limited to articles only or broadened to include advertisements and other listings. The full-text of articles, including accompanying photographs, graphs, and/or tables, may be purchased from ProQuest Archiver in PDF format for $2.95 per article or in 4 ,10, and 25 article packs. The site is well designed and easy to use. The New York Times Article Archives site is a wonderful resource for students, researchers, and the general public.
The Official Academy Awards® Database
The Academy Awards® Database is a one-stop source of information about the Academy Awards. Intended for all users, the database contains a plethora of information from the first Academy Awards® in 1927/28 to the present. Users can search one of three search screens: Basic, Advanced and Statistical. The Basic screen allows searching by film title, nominee, over 40 award categories, song title, winners only, and award year. The results can be displayed in either chronological or alphabetical order. The Advanced screen allows Boolean searching and contains additional searchable fields. The currently updated award statistics page is organized by subject category. Before the current year's Oscar® winners are announced, the web site provides a link to Oscar®.com where current year nominees in all categories are listed.
OFFSTATS: Official Statistics on the Web
OFFSTATS is a meta site that pulls together links to official statistics from countries, government agencies and intergovernmental organizations. This web resource is easy to navigate through pull down menus on its clean and sparse main page. Statistics can be found by country, region or topic. Links to sources are clearly displayed. Topic links also note the source of the statistics. The topic categories are especially useful for quickly finding statistics that compare countries and regions in areas such as environment, health, social indicators and dozens of other categories.
SCORE: Counselors to Small Business
As described on the home page, SCORE is a "nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneurial education and the formation, growth and success of small businesses nationwide." This website provides expertise from retired business people nationwide who provide counseling and advice to people just getting started in opening their first business, or who are having trouble with a particular problem. The website has indexed relevant websites in various areas related to small business, and provides on-site assistance for questions. For questions, a person can search by keyword, pick out a counselor based on expertise or location and get an answer within 48 hours. Another excellent feature is the business toolbox that contains business financing guides, sample business plans and templates. SCORE is an excellent resource for people starting a business who wish to network with other small business owners.
Offered by the TechWeb Network, a technology news firm providing original and aggregated news content on the IT industry, TechEncyclopedia provides definitions for over 20,000 information technology terms. Entries range from a brief definition to substantive background articles, many of which are credited to the Computer Desktop Encyclopedia. For anyone looking for a definition and/or background on an IT term ranging from the history of the Internet to the exact meaning of terms such as peripherals, mainframe, gigabyte, ultracard, or scsi, TechEncyclopedia is a highly useful resource.
Wikipedia is a free, web-based encyclopedia edited by its readers. Each of its over one million articles may be edited, corrected, or updated by anyone in the world. Readers are encouraged to correct spelling, fix grammatical errors, check the accuracy of information, translate articles into one of over 150 languages available on the site, and update biographical information. The site's aim is to "create a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge." The obvious drawback to this site is the potential for erroneous information. The site's creators rely on the popularity of the Internet to help maintain the information's integrity. Wikipedia also provides current information available with news feeds from various news sources.