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An examination of five open access online state encyclopedias

Jennifer Koenig Johnson (Intern‐Assistant Librarian in Reference Services at Fayetteville Public Library, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA)

Reference Reviews

ISSN: 0950-4125

Article publication date: 3 August 2012



Purpose – ‐‐ The purpose of this paper is to examine and evaluate five open access state encyclopedias.Design/methodology/approach ‐‐ Each encyclopedia is discussed and evaluated separately in regard to the following categories: web design, search functionality, features, scope, and currency.Findings ‐‐ The paper finds that, while many of the evaluated state encyclopedias provide different types of information with varying web design and structure, the end product is the same: offering free, authoritative articles and other media for anyone to access on a given topic related to the selected state. While some encyclopedias are continuously updated with new material and have better interfaces, features, and search functions, each site is valuable for the authoritative information it provides.Originality/value ‐‐ The state encyclopedias discussed are all open access resources that provide scholarly, authoritative information in an easily accessible format. Through evaluation of the web design, search features, currency, and scope and content, librarians can assist their users with searching and locating information in these encyclopedias.



Koenig Johnson, J. (2012), "An examination of five open access online state encyclopedias", Reference Reviews, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 4-8.



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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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