Saturday, January 24, 2009

Notable E-book: Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences

Sawyer Library is happy to add another valuable electronic encyclopedia to our online reference options. It is the newly available internet version of Academic Press/Elsevier's Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences. The equivalent of a six volume set, this encyclopedia provides a solid, academic overview of many topics related to ocean studies.

The content includes, according to the publisher, 402 original articles covering all the physical, chemical and biological aspects of ocean science. Those articles present "classic scientific theories" as well as the "the newest discoveries, technologies, and applications." Entry authors are "the world's leading researchers" working under "a prestigious editorial board." And the six volumes also feature more than 1900 figures and full color illustrations.

The review that greeted the original paper publication in Choice : Publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries offered a more impartial but equally enthusiastic response. It said, in part: "Destined to become a classic in oceanographic studies, this work achieves its intention to be the most comprehensive, current work in its field. The signed articles, by leading experts in the field, are extensive, well written, and highly informative. Topics covered range from the study of atmospheric input of pollution to the effects of waves on beaches. Many of the articles will not be found in briefer general encyclopedias on this topic. Entries are well indexed and cross-referenced; many list additional citations for further reading. The volumes are well illustrated with graphs, charts, formulas, drawings, and pictures. This will be an extremely useful reference tool for students, educators, or researchers looking for information in oceanographic studies."

When you open the ScienceDirect electronic version, you will see that the entries are delivered in both HTML and PDF form. You may browse through entries alphabetically or by author name. You may also consult the Subject Index--see the link to the left. An even easier approach is to use the quick search in the upper frame to search the content of this particular title.

If I search for Cephalopods, I get a wide variety of entries ranging from a solid overview specifically of the Cephalopoda class to entries on everything from Bioluminescence to Deep-sea Fishes to Ocean Gyre Ecosystems.

Although this encyclopedia is no substitute for the kind of primary research articles you would find in databases like BioOne and Wiley Interscience, it provides useful scholarly introductions to a great many ocean science topics. And unlike our paper reference books, this content would be available to Suffolk students and faculty 24/7, even "Downeast" at the Friedman Field Station!

[FIND the Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences by searching the title in our Online Catalog or through the link in Databases by Subject, E-Books category.]

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