As an official archival portal maintained by the Canadian Council of Archives, this website comprises data from over 800 repositories across Canada in order to provide access to “Canada’s collective memory”. Launched in 2001, this partnership is an effort by several organizations to provide a gateway where the partner institutions can link their holdings (such as documentary records, maps, photographs, sound recordings, videos and more), produce catalogue descriptions of these holdings, and make those descriptions accessible online. Users can access these external repositories and also search the common database by entering simple keywords or by selecting several advanced options. There also some virtual exhibit around Canada’s history on display, enabling access to digitized photographs, maps, and related documents, also gathered under the “site of the day” option. The two most valuable features of this website are a specific link page pointing to a variety of external resources, and the search options, allowing a detailed search through the networked archives. Available both in English and French, Archives Canada is based on a simple design, with the same navigation bar at the left in each page, so that orientation is quite simple. A very comprehensive help section, with many examples and tips for unexperienced users, is also provided.
A networked gateway to archival resources about Canada's past
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
A research center exploring cyberlaws and e-politics
As a non-profit organization based at the Harvard Law School, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s mission is to explore and understand cyberspace with special regard for its norms, standards, and for the need or lack for laws and sanctions. As the main outlet for a top academic think tank launched in 1996, this site produces a vast and comprehensive coverage of internet law, politics and developments, with an interdisciplinary approach and contributions from world-renowned scholars. Organized under a professional and user-friendly structure, the website content is completely free and open to the public, with many downloadable pdf files, a keyword search facility and plenty of useful links pointing to external resources. Users can find the latest news and material about academic programs, research projects, and other activities, including a collective blog with related RSS feeds and podcasts. Moreover, this website shares an open software platform for free online lectures, discussions and newsmailing. The Berkman Center’s website is a valuable resource for anybody interested in keeping the pace with important issues related to internet governance, law and e-politics.
Columbia International Affairs Online
A collection of publications on policy and current affairs
Developed as a collaborative effort between the Columbia University libraries and Columbia University Press with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) is a comprehensive source for theory and research in international affairs. It publishes a wide range of scholarship from 1991 onward that includes working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, proceedings from conferences, books, journals and policy briefs. In addition to a search engine, CIAO also allows browsing by type of material and, within each material type, by publisher or journal title. CIAO is also a source for teaching materials including original case studies written by international affairs experts, course packs of background readings for history and political science classes. All sections of CIAO are updated monthly. Essentially this database is available only through an affiliation, mostly paid by the subscribing institution (also individual subscriptions are accepted), with some basic material available free of charge. A quite sophisticated design and the site’s information density may prove intimidating for the average user.
A catalogue of best practices in e-government
The website is an initiative of the European Commission – DG Information Society and Media – to support the creation of comprehensive e-government services across various EU institutional levels. It aims at collecting examples of well-defined e-government cases and in order to share information with experts and administrators involved in e-government. In this respect the website connects e-government’s professionals and scholars to create an expertise network of experts around the world. Each case profile is described by an abstract and a full description, and carries general information on referees to be contacted. All these information can be also downloaded. The typology of cases ranges from e-government strategies to concrete solutions and technical issues. There are also community-building tools to stimulate information sharing. Research reports and projects documentation are available full-text. The access is completely free and a clear interface – in style web 2.0 – makes navigation very easy and friendly.
An open access service to more than 10,000 scholarly papers
eScholarship’s mission is to facilitate and support scholar-led innovations in scholarly communication, providing access tools for alternative publishing mechanisms. Sponsored by the California Digital Library, this service provides free access to almost 40,000 fully accessible papers, directly published online by research units, centers and departments spread in the 13 University of California campuses involved. The repository provides persistent access and makes the content easily discoverable thanks to a suite of electronic publishing tools created and managed by the Berkeley Electronic Press. The site offers free access and search options to any user, with large amount of content material available to the public for downloading (in different formats), and an effective system of self-publishing restricted to University-related entites. The eScholarship infrastructure also enables the rapid and low-cost creation, management, and dissemination of journals, peer-reviewed series, working papers, discussion papers series, and other electronic forms of scholarship by UC researchers. An email or RSS Feeds subscription is freely available to alert users about newly uploaded papers.
ESRC Shaping Society
A project of the British Economic and Social Research Council
ESRC Society Today is a project combining information from the ESRC Awards and Outputs Database (the “old” Regard website), and a variety of other data sources/sites. The aim of this site is to provide a freely available picture of ESRC researches on particular social science key subjects as well as to act as a gateway to other online resources. ESRC includes links to other important gateways for social sciences like SOSIG, UK Data Archive, ESDS, CRDS, Copac, etc. As for the ESRC Society Today own database, users have access to research findings, full-text documents and data sets, can look for researchers in particular fields and participate to online discussions. In particular, this website provides research projects, called Award records (containing details of researchers, institutions, award period and research abstracts), and several research reports contained in the section “In plain English” and including summaries and full-text reports available for viewing and downloading, as well as links to a directory with info on individual researchers and their websites. The site also holds fact sheets giving brief overviews on some social science topics in html format along with sources, retrievable slides, etc. The new ERSC website is difficult to navigate and material and information retrieval is not easy.
An authoritative multimedia reference on the history of Europe
ENA is a multilingual, multisource and multimedia knowledge database containing more than 10,000 documents on the historical and institutional development of a united Europe from 1945 to the present day. Anyone interested in the European integration process can find original material such as photos, sound clips, film recordings, press articles and cartoons, together with explanatory synopses, tables and interactive maps and diagrams. ENA’s content is under constant development. New material is regularly added to the documentary resources to cover all the different aspects of the European integration process and to ensure that as many areas as possible – ideological, geographical and linguistic – are represented. The material included in ENA’s vast and varied documentary resources is selected, created, processed and validated by a multidisciplinary team of specialists in European integration while its website is designed and developed by the Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe. Users can easily and freely access all the multimedia material and textual content of each section, which is often available in five languages. Great design, including Flash animation, and help options, such as a glossary, a thesaurus and more.
European Research Papers Archive
Online papers and documents about EU integration process
The ERPA network was founded in 1997 to provide a common access point for online working papers produced by its participating institutions, in order to help researchers in the field of European Integration studies searching through the growing number of working papers now available in the internet. The participating series editors achieve this high level of scholarship by different means: while the Max Planck Institute, the Harvard Jean Monnet Chair and the LSE series practice high-level internal refereeing, the Robert Schuman Centre and the EIoP have a double-blind review process with two referees per paper. All further participating series subscribe to a similar high-quality policy. The ERPA database includes all abstracts and papers of the participating series which are available online. Other papers cannot be searched via ERPA but have to be accessed through the participating institutes’ homepages or ordered directly. Launched in late 1998, the site provides access to thousands of papers, along with metainfo, abstracts and links pointing to other Institutions and resources, under a very basic design (with a bit unusual and colorful home page) that could benefit from some refinements and help options.
Facts on International Relations and Security Trends
An integrated database for international relations worldwide
Aimed at politicians, journalists, researchers as well as at the general public, FIRST is a joint project of the International Relations and Security Network and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Covering international relations and security matters, this integrated database system contains reference data about such issues as armed conflicts and peace keeping, arms production and trade, military expenditure, armed forces and conventional weapons holding. Based on a simple but effective design, multiple searching options are available free of charge, covering material of the many project partners involved worldwide, such as The World Bank Group, Transparency International, Initiative on Conflict Resolution and Ethnicity and International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. FIRST offers free-of-charge access to the general public, aiming particularly at low-technology users, thus featuring an open policy about its structured fact databases – a valuable service concerning material about official and/or government organizations.
Foreign Relations of the United States
Open historical collection on US international relations
Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) is a project of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries in collaboration with other universities and libraries giving online access to the official documentary historical records of US foreign policy decisions. Produced by the State Department’s Office of the Historian, the website’s contents consist in the major American foreign policy decisions and represents a good point of reference for historical analysis of US foreign policy. Digital books covers the range from 1861 to 1960, beginning with the Abraham Lincoln administration. In a simple website structure presenting basic tips for quick navigation, more than three hundreds volumes are provided in image format with tables of contents and in-depth info on their subject, authors and dates of publications. Although items downloading is allowed only through webpage saving, this website gives access to text or print versions of selected documents. According with the project’s mission, aiming at reducing the digitization’s costs, the FRUS website’s contents are given completely free of charge. Images, texts, and other contents downloaded from the collection may be freely used for non-profit and research purposes. An added value is represented by search feature including explanatory help pages and print facilities.