This plain yet sturdy web site covers a wide and wild range of subjects related to North American natural history. Nearctica serves equally well as an encyclopedia, textbook, almanac, and subject directory. The web site covers such a broad range of subject matter that any number of user groups might find it valuable, from education and policy majors to natural sciences majors to faculty and other teachers. The eclectic subject matter covers everything from vascular and non-vascular plants to contact information for raptor rehabilitation centers, from environmental law and legislation to native plant societies. Other interesting data contained within this site include the full text of those Chapters of the U.S. Code Title 16 that apply to conservation, links to international conservation agreements, and further links to topics as diverse as island biogeography and the work and writings of E.O. Wilson. Also notable are numerous links to web pages maintained by university faculty that include lecture notes and synopses of college courses ranging from conservation biology to evolution and other topics. The site is clearly and simply organized and easy to navigate. As the site authors note, "Nearctica has a very strict hierarchical structure starting with the most general and ranging downward to the specific." The Table of Contents page consists two parts -- A-Z topical links and a link to the site's search page. While the Nearctica is easily searchable via the Excite Search Engine, users may want to note that there are no other links to this internal search engine on any of the site's other pages, either from the home page or from any of the subject pages. While many of the pages contain valuable links to further information, a large number of web documents are available directly from the Nearctica web server, and response time was highly satisfactory throughout the review.
Electronic Resources & Systems Librarian
Central Washington University