History Reference Online
First published November 1, 2006 (Booklist).
ABC-CLIO’s History Reference Online (HRO) collection contains more than 340 encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, and guides focusing on U.S. and world history, current issues, politics, and geography. A large number of the titles are multivolume encyclopedias, and 85 percent were published from 2000 to the present. What makes HRO attractive is its simplicity. The home page offers one simple search box with options to search the full text, author, or title fields and a list of subjects in which to browse the collection. The default search is AND, allowing for other Boolean logic searches. Another attractive feature in HRO is the way in which results are ranked and displayed. Results are grouped by book title and sorted within the title for relevancy. For example, a search on civil war results in 80 book titles, each with multiple entries. Many of these titles are about the American Civil War; however, several for Korea and the Persian Gulf appear. A researcher with a focus on the American Civil War can easily weed out the titles and multiple entries that do not pertain to his or her research.
Once an entry is selected, users can view full text and have easy navigation through the rest of the book via the table of contentsand forward-back page options. A searchable dictionary is also available. Citations, at the entry level, are available in American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago Manual of Style, Harvard, and Modern Language Association (MLA) styles. A new window is opened for each book title that one uses. These windows remain open during a session for easy navigation between titles. Depending on the type of research someone is doing, this feature can be advantageous or not, as multiple open windows can be confusing. HRO does not offer options for library customization, nor are there store, mark, export, or e-mail options. The four-year-college annual subscription price is $9,000 for more than 5,000 FTE and $8,000 for less. Community-college pricing is $7,000 and $6,000, respectively.
Written by: Sue Polanka