Best Historical Materials

Reference & User Services Quarterly, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview
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Best Historical Materials


Welcome to "Best Historical Materials," the annual review of outstanding English-language resources in the field of history, as selected by members of the Historical Materials Committee, RUSA History Section. The Committee's new name and charge reflect changes in both technology and publication trends. With the proliferation of websites devoted to historical research and the dwindling publication of print bibliographies, the scope of the late Bibliographies and Indexes Committee has been enlarged. Our new goal is to promote and recognize achievements in improving access to historical materials, regardless of format. This year, the group selected two print bibliographies and eight websites. The electronic resources chosen this year are freely available on the Web. Final reviews of these websites were made in April and May 2008.

Members of the library profession are invited to submit suggestions of print indexes and bibliographies as well as online resources to the committee for consideration. Nominations from any historical time period will be considered. Suggestions, with appropriate bibliographic information, should be sent to Brooke Becker (babecker@uab.edu). The next submission deadline is October 31, 2008.

The Bisbee Deportation of 1917, www.library.arizona.edu/ex hibits/bisbee. University of Arizona. Reviewed Apr. 21, 2008.

Dedicated to a pivotal moment in Arizona mining and labor history, Bisbee Deportation of 1917 contains publications from Industrial Workers of the World, personal recollections, newspaper articles, court records, government reports, correspondence, journal articles, and a video. The contents focus on the vigilante roundup and forced evacuation of one thousand miners by both mine owners and complicit politicians and law enforcement officers. Materials are arranged topically and by type into History, Primary Sources, Resources, Deportees, and A Teacher's Corner, which provides suggestions on using the materials to teach students how to gather and interpret historical evidence. This event had wide repercussions that affected unions and their nationwide formation, and the website serves as a basic resource for labor history. The site is most suitable for high school students and undergraduates.--Alica White, Pennsylvania State University, Mont Alto

Blackpast.org: An Online Reference Guide to African American History, www.blackpast.org. Quintard Taylor. Reviewed May 13, 2008.

Started as a course page for a 2004 University of Washington class, this site has been developed by Professor Taylor and a team of volunteers into a major online destination for information about African American history. Resources include an open-access encyclopedia of more than one thousand entries; primary sources, including speeches, court cases, audio recordings, and photographs; bibliographies; timelines; and lists of links to digital archive collections, museums, research centers, and other related resources. The site also includes a section on African American History in the West and a section (in development) on Global African History Blackpast.org should prove an especially valuable resource to undergraduates, as well as appealing to a general audience.--Michelle Baildon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries, Cambridge

Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, www.densho.org. Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project. Reviewed Apr. 25, 2008.

Densho is an outstanding effort to document the Japanese American experience. Begun in 1996, the resource focuses on the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II with segments on Causes of Incarceration, Learning Center (curriculum materials for teachers and online exhibits), Archive, and Other Resources (supplemental materials such as a glossary and a timeline). The Archive provides access to valuable primary-source materials including videos, oral histories, photographs, and documents; users can search or browse by format or topic, most notably by incarceration facility and camp newspaper.

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