On its home page, Academic Info is described as "a subject directory of Internet resources tailored to a college and university audience." That is essentially what it is. The intended audience is undergraduate or advanced high school level students.
The site is divided into the following sections: The Subject Index, The Search Page, The Reference Desk, The Student Center, and Comments & Suggestions. The Subject Index is alphabetical by broad topic. Under each broad topic, types of resources are listed. When a type of resource is chosen, the viewer can then make selections by subjects or titles, which are arranged alphabetically. The viewer begins with a broad topic and narrows the search until the information needed is found. On The Search Page, the viewer can type in keywords to perform a Boolean search (which is explained on that page). A list of documents or sites is the result of the search. An explicit search will not take the viewer to particular sites, only to general sites that are likely to pertain to the topic of the search. The viewer should not expect this to work as an article search.
The Reference Desk is divided into 2 parts: Gateways, which includes links to guides, gateways, search engines, directories, encyclopedias, and almanacs, and Pathfinders, which includes links to language, world, U.S., health, medicine, space, publishing, news, people, weather, and money sites. The Student Center lists sites pertaining to information about colleges and universities. The viewer can link to sites on admissions, financial aid, college life, graduate school, travel, etc.
Mike Madin, who is a library specialist at Gallagher Law Library at the University of Washington, maintains the site. He previously maintained Comparative Religion: A Directory of Internet Resources for the Academic Study of Religion. Earlier this year, Comparative Religion was incorporated into Academic Info, which is a new site. Viewers can suggest sites to be incorporated into Academic Info, but Madin only accepts about 20% of suggested sites. By using a strict collection development policy, he can maintain the high quality of the site. A few of the sites viewed required subscription and passwords, but nearly all of the sites were readily accessible. Such information as the weather in Chicago, videos of the 19 06 San Francisco Earthquake, history of the Hollywood sign, and who won Pulitzer prizes in 1953, was unearthed during an examination of this site.
Academic Info is a very good, general index to academic related websites. High school and university students should be made aware of its existence and take full advantage of its resources.
Cataloging & Staff Librarian
Central Washington University Library