TITLE: Opinion Pages

ACCESS: http://www.opinion-pages.org/

Opinion Pages provides access to the most current editorials, opinions, commentaries and columnists from English newspapers and magazines on the Web. Mounted in 1996, it is dedicated to providing access to the most current opinion/editorial pages on the Web, something other search engines cannot accomplish due to indexing schedules that are frequently behind daily Web changes. The site's producer, Montgomery Kersell, a Canadian reporter/photographer, newswriter and editor, details how the site is managed and indexed twice daily. While it remains the work of one sole proprietor, it has been online for four years and its' creator reports a commitment to keeping it maintained.

The site is divided into two primary sections: Opinions, Ideas and Commentary allow users to search for editorials, opinions and commentary published in online English newspapers around the World; Columns, Columnists and Commentary provide access to categorized columnists' pages from online English newspapers and magazines worldwide. This section is further divided into 6 broad subject areas with the option to search the op/ed pages of the newspapers listed by geographic region.

Users can also link to resources by major geographic sectors-USA, Canada, and International- with a fourth set under the heading "Alternative." This is the most attractive feature and offering of this site-direct access to major newspapers in the world (that have web sites) arranged alphabetically by country, and in the United States and Canada arranged by state and Province.

Whether entering a keyword search or going to peruse a specific paper, users are linked to the home page of the original resource. Pages indexed by the site change monthly, weekly, and daily and, depending on the newspaper's policies, users can access the archives. Some papers provide only the editorials, letters, and columnists of the current day, while others keep a rolling file of a week, month, or even longer.

The content is good, and the navigational tool is powerful, yet somewhat clumsy. The design is cumbersome, with bothersome changing advertisements as headers. There are very few help features and those offered are specific to the search engine and are buried deep in the interface, found after entering a search, under an "options" button.

This site should be quite useful to students writing their first papers or preparing speeches on current events, typical assignments for freshman college students everywhere. One can easily locate the pro/con arguments of any given issue, and find endless examples of opinion pieces in the form of editorials, letters and columns. It also makes for a good reference source to the homepages of newspapers online worldwide.

Lucinda R. Zoe
Electronic Information/Instructional ServicesLibrarian
Baruch College, CUNY
Lrzbb@cunyvm.vuny.edu
11/01/99


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