TITLE: Africana.Com

ACCESS: http://www.africana.com

Africana.Com provides a gateway to contemporary events and news, culture, and history relating to Africa and people of African descent throughout the world. This resource, produced by the co-editors of Encarta Africana, Professors Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kwame Anthony Appiah, has great potential for undergraduate students in the area of African American studies and possibly sociology.

Africana.Com's articles are divided into six areas, or Afri Channels: Worldview (selected news articles, updated daily), Lifestyle (fashions and trends), Fast Track (career, business, and education), Heritage (legacy and community), Art Scene (arts and entertainment), and Homefront (home and parenting). The articles consist of original as well as third party content, from sources such as the BBC. The links to related articles and background entries are particularly useful.

Annotated links lead to related Web sites. The "Africana Links" section is divided into twenty-five categories including science-fiction, activism, and education, and is available from a sidebar on the homepage. Two other useful areas are the News section, offering a daily news roundup, and Book Reviews by Harvard professor Kwame Anthony Appiah and Africana.Com contributors.

Africana Blackboard is a selection of lesson plans for grades K-12, incorporating the Encarta Africana CD and selected Web sites, organized into various subject areas. This section is under development, with many lesson plan titles without links.

The site offers immediate access to a great variety and breadth of resources from its homepage without appearing cluttered or sacrificing clarity. The "Afri Channels" navigation bar appears consistently along the bottom of each page. A dropdown menu on the navigation bar allows the user to jump directly to other sections of the site, including the Home page. Users can search the site by keywords or by entering an exact phrase in quotation marks, and then sort the results by date. One of the goals of the site is to promote Encarta Africana, and the CD-ROM is featured prominently.

Some options, such as free email services and radio broadcasts (requiring RealPlayer) are not exceedingly relevant in an academic reference environment. The vast selection of options, however, makes Africana.Com an effective source of information on people, ideas, and issues from around the world.

Britt Fagerheim
Gates Library Foundation
b_fagerheim@hotmail.com


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