Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Notable E-Book: Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology: From Genome to Environment

In honor of our R.S. Friedman Field Station, which studies marine life in the Pine Tree State, we do try to collect materials that might be useful to our researchers. And it seems especially important to purchase online resources that might be accessed as easily in Downeast Maine as Downtown Boston.

We just added one such reference set. It is a high-quality and quite scholarly Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology. Although the three volume set was published by Academic Press (Elsevier), we are hosting it on our familiar Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) platform.

The publisher indicates that it is "the first ever Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology. It contains over 250 entries written by the world's foremost authorities on fish physiology with topic coverage from fish genomics through to behavior. Extensive entries in systems physiology are integrated with anatomy, the environment, and phylogentics to provide a comprehensive coverage of the field."

It is designed to provide "entry level information for students and summary overviews for researchers alike. Broadly organised into four themes, articles cover Functional, Thematic, and Phylogenetic Physiology, and Fish Genomics. Functional articles address the traditional aspects of fish physiology that are common to all areas of vertebrate physiology including: Reproduction, Respiration, Neural (Sensory, Central, Effector), Endocrinology, Renal, Cardiovascular, Acid-base Balance, Osmoregulation, Ionoregulation, Digestion, Metabolism, Locomotion, and so on." Then the set continues with overview articles on many related topics, even including subjects like the effects of climate change on fish.

Just click our link reach the encyclopedia. On the landing page, you can explore the Table of Contents or Index from gray tabs in the middle of the screen, or simply search key words in the search box to the left.

When I do a search for hearing, I get a wide variety of articles, from "Sound Source Localization and Directional Hearing in Fishes" to "The Ear and Hearing in Sharks, Skates and Rays" to "Fish Bioacoustics" to "Psychoacoustics: What Fish Hear."

The text is first presented in HTML, which you can translate, listen to, and work with in other ways. You can also download or print an entry in PDF form. (If you click a PDF option and don't like the way it displays, look for the Download button in the gray frame and open it in Adobe.)

Like all good encyclopedias, "Further Reading" is suggested at the end of each authored entry. And every article is richly illustrated with photos, diagrams, charts and tables, as in this example:

The review journal Choice was impressed. They called it "a major editorial accomplishment. Publication of this set involved the cooperation of more than 200 experts from 20 countries--a truly international collaboration."

Choice went on to say that "the individual articles in each volume are concise, authoritative, and beautifully illustrated with color photographs and drawings. A practical advantage of this encyclopedia is that it brings everything together into three volumes, providing a comprehensive reference work."

Those interested in Marine Biology and Animal Physiology will hopefully find this a reliable starting point for many research topics.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Notable E-book: Cambridge History of the English Novel

Many of the ebooks that we get are part of ever-growing databases that correspond to print series. A key example of this is our Cambridge Histories Online which includes over 300 volumes published since 1960.

The online collection's title is a bit misleading, as this database covers many topics beyond the straight-forward "History" of Britain and the United States. Topics also include language and linguistics, philosophy, music, political and social theory and--as title we are featuring here would indicate--literature.

A new 2012 online volume is The Cambridge History of the English Novel. Cambridge University Press describes the volume thusly: "The Cambridge History of the English Novel chronicles an ever-changing and developing body of fiction across three centuries. An interwoven narrative of the novel's progress unfolds in more than fifty chapters, charting continuities and innovations of structure, tracing lines of influence in terms of themes and techniques, and showing how greater and lesser authors shape the genre. Pushing beyond the usual period-centered boundaries, the History's emphasis on form reveals the range and depth the novel has achieved in English. This book will be indispensable for research libraries and scholars, but is accessibly written for students." For more from the publisher, including the table of contents and an excerpt, see this page.

When you click the link from our online catalog (OPAC), you can either step through chapters by clicking the "next chapter" button, or you can search for keywords in the content using the search box in the upper right. Just make sure that you change the radio button to This Volume, or you'll search the entire database! There's also a link for Advanced Search that will possibly give you a more precise search. And if you are searching a proper name or other phrase, you are advised to put them in quotation marks (as in "George Eliot").

The actual chapter is delivered in PDF form, so look for the Adobe symbol on the pages for each entry--as illustrated below.

Although this particular volume sounds interesting, there is valuable analysis in ALL of the books in this scholarly online collection. So remember this database when you want 24/7 book content from an academic publisher with an impeccable pedigree.