Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The Best of History Websites is a large‐format paperback packed with carefully selected, annotated web sites covering a range of historical eras from prehistoric to colonial America and post‐war Europe, extending over a range of topics from imperialism to terrorism. The Best of History Websites was created in 2000 as a result of a three‐week project to collect information web sites relevant to American high school history classes. The result was the creation of the award‐winning history portal (www.besthistorysites.net), and this book provides a hardcopy reference volume to accompany the popular website.
The author, Tom Daccord, is President of the Center for Teaching History with Technology, and an experienced webmaster. He has a long career teaching history in schools, with a strong emphasis on utilising new technologies in the classroom. The book has an American bias, although some topics have included international viewpoints. A simple three‐page preface gives an excellent explanation of the purpose, background and layout of the book to enable the user to benefit from the web sites. The volume concludes with a very detailed index, which is an essential requirement in such a volume.
Chapter 1 has a number of helpful tips for active and proactive searching using the often‐overlooked functions of Google such as alerts, news, newsletters, RSS feeds and listservs. Chapter 2, by Tom Daccord and Justin Reich, describes useful ways to integrate history sites into the classroom and includes projects that have been tried and tested and are available from the Center for Teaching History with Technology at http://thwt.org/tomslessons.html
The 12 chapters are divided into eras and subtopics; for example, the prehistory category is further subdivided into topics such as Greece, China, Africa and Egypt to allow readers to locate the relevant information rapidly. For each website there is a brief description of the site, and an indication of the type of resources, including quizzes, games, lessons, maps, atlases, statistics or general reference resources. There is an accompanying grade level (using American terms of Lower School, Middle School and High school, which are explained in the preface). Each site is rated with stars from 5 (excellent) to 3 (good), and the volume include over 800 current history and history‐related web sites from a variety of sources including universities, schools and government sites. The addition of topics such as art history and oral history, along with maps and geography web sites, completes the volume.
This book is a “working title” to be dog‐eared and referred to frequently. This book is recommended to history teachers, academics and librarians in the social sciences as a useful addition to their reference resources.