According to its editor, the purpose of Science and the Environment - a learning tool is "to bring students relevant, real-world environmental news with a compelling mix of science, politics, geography, and commerce." This new (since the Fall of 1995) electronic news summary magazine is geared toward high school and university instructors and students, and is intended to bring summaries of current periodical articles into the classroom for discussion and debate.
Voyage Publishing staff, all of whom have experience writing about environmental issues, review more than 500 magazines, journals and newspapers for each bi-monthly issue's 80 summarized articles. These 80 summaries are arranged in the following eight chapters: Biodiversity & Wildlife; Health, Population, & Agriculture; Marine Ecology; Clean Water; Alternative Energy & Fuels; Climate Change & Atmospheric Studies; Waste Management & Recycling; and Clean Air. They appear to be well-written and unbiased, and most are 1-2 pages in length. Every article summary includes a small picture or two to enhance the text, which can be downloaded as a separate file. These pictures are the only real loss when viewing this resource with a text-based browser. Periodicals covered range from the Wall Street Journal to Discover to Scientific American.
Voyage encourages instructors to print or download the summaries and distribute them to students -- there are no copyright restrictions, and because of support from "sponsors and supporters," the entire service is free. Each of the eight chapters will have a sponsor, who will be listed, along with a link to their home page, at the top of the page. Voyage editors insist that article summaries will not be biased toward any sponsors, and none of the summaries examined for this review were.
It's also possible to subscribe to a mailing list which will notify subscribers when a new issue is posted to the page. Back issues will not be made available online, but Voyage Publishing plans to produce a CD ROM containing this information sometime in the near future.
Though these pages seem to be geared more toward classroom discussion, they may still prove valuable in the academic library as a colorful, if not limited, periodical index. A small drawback is the lack of complete bibliographic citations, but enough information is provided to find the referenced article. This would be an interesting place to steer the undergraduate who needs an idea for that environmental opinion paper.
Paul R. Pival
Electronic Reference Librarian
Nova Southeastern University
Ft. Lauderdale, FL