Founded in 1959 in a post-Sputnik plan to improve language instruction in the United States, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) performs research, analyzes language policy, and provides language program development and assessment services. CAL hosts two Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) clearinghouses: the ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics, and the National Center for ESL Literacy Education. Under "Topic Areas" users can find access to current CAL projects including K-12 and adult English as a Second Language (ESL) literacy; dialects and ebonics; refugee and immigrant concerns; bilingual education, two-way immersion, and foreign language teaching.
"Links," the last option in the homepage's left-hand column, offers abundant free resources in largely the same subjects as those listed under "Topic Areas." The "Links" pages vary in length but typically include connections to resource sites, professional organizations and e-mail lists, and electronic journals. Occasionally links to bibliographies, ERIC Digests, and conferences are also included.
Some notable site gems available at "Databases/Directories" include WorkWorld, a database of vocational ESL resources, and Nanduti, a resource supporting K-8 foreign language instruction. Another interesting source is the Cultural Orientation Resource (COR) Center, which publishes history and culture guidebooks on US immigrant groups such as Cubans, Haitians, Somalis, and Iraqis (Arabs and Kurds).
Site navigation is simple, whether through the site map (here called "Table of Contents") or the site's search engine. Searching is straightforward: the user selects "any," "all," or "phrase" searching and can limit the search to a specific part of a Web document. The user can also search the holdings of a particular CAL clearinghouse or research center; be aware that the drop-down list of choices presents acronyms and not full names.
Other than the homepage, most of the CAL pages do not have "last updated" dates, and the user will encounter a few dead links. On the "Foreign Language Education" page (linked from "Links" and not from "Table of Contents"), a test of thirteen URLs found two incorrect, and an attempt to subscribe to a foreign language mailing list returned a "no such list" error from the processor.
Given CAL's breadth and depth of content, librarians serving educators and education students in foreign languages, ESL, and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages programs should definitely include this site in their list of resources.
Heidi E. K.
Senior University of Portland