Reference eReviews | February 1, 2013

By Cheryl LaGuardia

CONTENT

Queen Victoria Reference eReviews | February 1, 2013This collaboration “makes available online digital images of every page in the entire sequence of Queen Victoria’s diaries.” Gathered are the 141 volumes of the queen’s journals that survive, totaling 43,765 pages of entries kept during the period 1832 to 1901. There are four versions of the journals: the originals, many volumes of which were destroyed by her daughter Princess Beatrice upon their transcription; the abridged manuscript transcription written by Princess Beatrice, a project that took her 39 years; a typed transcript completed for Lord Esher (who helped edit the Queen’s papers and published The Letters of Queen Victoria); and some draft volumes written by the Queen—but none of these covers the entire period from 1832 to 1901. When the project is completed it will include transcriptions of all the versions.

The entire run of surviving journals has never been published before; the material was previously only accessible to researchers through the Royal Archives. Given that Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901, these primary documents offer a unique perspective on a large swath of 19th-century British sociopolitical culture. The database includes full transcriptions and keyword searching of many journal entries (later to include all), high-resolution color images of each page, and separate photographic reproductions of illustrations and inserts within the journal pages. [See ow.ly/grUtr for the ITV report on Queen Elizabeth’s launching of the project from Buckingham Palace].

USABILITY 

This file opens with a resplendent full-color reproduction of Queen Victoria’s coronation portrait, painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1838 and supplied by the Royal Collection Trust. The reproduction occupies the central portion of the screen; above it is a toolbar with buttons to Home, About, Timeline, Browse Journals, Illustrations, Search, and Resources, along with a simple search box.

Just below the portrait a carousel showcases a series of essays, such as “Queen Victoria’s Sketchbook” by Marina Warner, “Queen Victoria and her Prime Ministers”by Lawrence Goldman, and “Tennyson and Queen Victoria” by Stephen Hebron. These essays are beautifully illustrated and masterfully written by scholarly experts, and it’s important that users not overlook them amidst the gorgeousness of the rest of the site. Below these are buttons in two sections: “From the journals” and “Key events from the timeline.”

The sumptuous time line uses a series of icons (culture, empire and exploration, military, politics and society, royal family, science and technology, and sport) to highlight major events from 1800 to 1901. The colors of accompanying illustrations and the time line’s design are superb; the events providing context for the monarch’s life and reign are masterfully pulled together and accented.

In the well-devised “Browse Journals” section, users choose from the four versions (the queen’s handwriting, Esher’s typescripts, etc.), and to the right of that are calendars showing which years, months, and days from 1832 to 1901 are available in that mode. If the date chosen is available in other versions, tabs at the top of the entry allow immediate access. The resource also includes quality photos of the book spines.

The illustrations button leads to top-quality, high-resolution reproductions of a selection of the queen’s drawings from her journals and sketchbooks. These detail the most delicate colors and flourishes, and display in thumbnail and full-sized images. Under “Resources” are links to an amazing array of supplementary resources, including: “Pet Names and Nicknames Commonly Used in the Journal”; “Description of Queen Victoria’s Journals”; “Queen Victoria’s family tree”; volume one (of five) of Theodore Martin’s “The life of his Royal Highness The Prince Consort”; “In Memoriam” by Alfred Tennyson; the queen’s entry in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; and further-reading suggestions and website links that provide enlightening connections and context.

The search function is quite sophisticated; it allows users to look up one or multiple words while specifying a date range, a place of writing (hundreds of which are provided in the system), one of the four versions of the journals, and the sorting of results by date or relevance. An “on this date” search displays entries on a specific date across the years. Searches for such words as dog (Victoria loved them), Bertie, and Disraeli retrieved pertinent results very quickly, and they were easy to read with the one-click zoom.

PRICING 

Queen Victoria’s Journals is available as a purchase. Pricing varies according to a number of factors, including the type of library, FTE or population served, and other ProQuest database holdings. For a four-year academic institution with an FTE of around 5,000 the fee is approximately $3,430. Consortia PRICING is available.

VERDICT

 The content here is marvelous (despite the editing the Queen ordered after her death), and the design is dazzling, yet effective. Heartily recommended for all researchers into Victorian history, culture, and society.


Cheryl LaGuardia is a Research Librarian for the Widener Library at Harvard University and author of Becoming a Library Teacher (Neal-Schuman, 2000). Readers can contact her at claguard@fas.harvard.edu

 

 

CONTENT

 CareerTransitions is a job search database that focuses on tools needed to help users find a new career, not just a new job. It includes a high-quality job listings search, tools to help users identify a new career, and resources and advice for getting the new job.

The job listings here come from Indeed.com, a popular job search site that is free. Indeed.com also provides listings to other subscription job search tools, including AtoZDatabases (LJ 11/15/12). CareerTransitions had more results for various searches (librarian, project manager) than its free competitors Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com.

CareerTransitions provides several potentially useful tools. First, users can search a database that matches previous experience with new careers. For those with previous experience as librarians, CareerTransitions suggests insurance underwriting, computer and information systems management, health education, elementary teaching, and office support supervision; the resource suggests that police officrs consider work as corrections officers, private detectives, fish and game wardens, or security guards. The database also includes listings relating to military work experience, but the only suggested new career for an infantry soldier was infantry officer.

The second tool assesses career interests by asking a series of basic questions about what the user would like to do: build a house? Compose a song? Provide therapy for others? Users are thereby classified into one of six categories (investigative, conventional, social, realistic, artistic, and enterprising) and shown related options. I scored highest in “investigative” and was offered fields (with average salaries and expected growth) such as medical technologist, police detective, and chemical technician. The list can be filtered based on educational level. “Librarian” fell under the category “conventional” and CareerTransitions indicated that extensive training or education was needed. Other tools include an extensive list of “day in the life” videos featuring brief interviews with workers in various occupations, and a search tool to find schools or programs related to a specific career.

CareerTransitions provides high-quality tutorials and advice articles on résumés, cover letters, and interviews, supplemented by a free blog, “The Daily Leap” (thedaily-leap.blogspot.com). Patrons can view examples of résumés and cover letters and use the résumé builder to create, download, and print a cleanly formatted product. The résumé builder is customizable, and help screens at each step explain the importance of each section of the document.

An interesting “Interactive Interview” simulator helps job seekers prepare for behavioral interviews using the “STAR” method. During the simulation, users mimic the interview process at a company after being given organization information, the job description, and a fake resume. The interface is a bit artificial, but careful reading of the sample answers might help with real-life interviews.

Finally, useful administrator tools detail how patrons are taking advantage of the database, and provide an optional survey mechanism to get even more information.

USABILITY 

Accessing the tools and advice portion of CareerTransitions is straightforward. The resource is well laid out and materials are available directly from the homepage or in a navigation bar.

Directly on the homepage, users can enter job title, location, and type (permanent, temporary, internship, etc.). After the search is complete, it’s possible to refine the location parameters or modify the search in other ways. Job titles, the first part of the job description, the location, and the posting date are all easily available in the results. Clicking on the job title leads to the complete listing on the Indeed.com website, and to the hiring company’s original listing.

A useful “My Jobs” feature allows job seekers to save positions and add notes. There are fields for the date of application and last follow up and a text box for additional details. This is an extremely useful job search management tool, helping the job seeker keep track of positions, contacts, and other information.

PRICING 

Pricing is dependent on the type and size of institution (full-time enrollment or population served). Annual subscriptions begin at $1,570.

VERDICT 

Subscription jobs databases face an uphill battle competing with free online resources. While CareerTransitions offers very useful features for those switching careers, its cost might be hard to justify. The database will be most useful for public libraries or universities that focus on nontraditional students making a career change.


Bonnie J.M. Swoger is the Science and Technology Librarian at SUNY Geneseo’s Milne Library and the author of the Undergraduate Science Librarian blog, undergraduatesciencelibrarian.org. Readers can contact her at swoger@geneseo.edu

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