Developed in collaboration with the On-line Books Page, a Celebration of Women Writers is both a database and a portal of materials by and about women authors. The purpose of the site is to promote awareness of the variety of women writers and the depth of their writings. This is done by developing and providing free "on-line editions of older, often rare, out-of-copyright works" and links to specialty collections. Also available are links to biographical and bibliographical information.
In 2001, Celebration contained 10,347 women writers, links to 5,320 pages about women authors, and 2,983 online books. Of those online books (all of which are in the public domain, or for which permission has been given by the copyright holders), 170 were transcribed and proofread by Celebration volunteers. The remaining 2,813 available works come from sources such as Project Gutenberg, Making of America, Victorian Women Writers Project, American Memory, and Digital Schomburg.
Celebration's usability is relatively straightforward. Browsing by author, country, century, and ethnicity is available. In "What's Local," one can also browse the online books that have been transcribed by Celebration volunteers listed by author or category. Using the site's search engine is another option. Not only can one search by name, birth and death dates, and country, but also by a time period in which the writer lived. This is especially useful for that patron who needs to "find an author from the sixties."
About half of the entries are that, only entries. There is no information or links to online resources, just a name and dates. More complete, biographical information could be found in reference sources such as The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature. The site is most useful for its full-text editions of older, out-of-copyright materials. Celebration is continually putting these books online, so the site is still growing.
The look of the site is plain but easy to use although several hyperlinks to outside sources did not work. It is a good, secondary resource of online information. While the site does not replace conventional print resources, it does contain valuable information, an ever-expanding collection, and some very useful search functions.
Cassandra E. Osterloh
University of New Mexico