TITLE: HistoryCentral.com

ACCESS: http://www.multied.com/

HistoryCentral.com is a free resource produced by MultiEducator, a New Rochelle, New York based publisher of CD-ROM educational software. Billed as "History's home on the Internet," the site is targeted toward high school students.

The site contains an extensive range of primary and secondary source material. Main categories include "World History Chronology," "America's Wars," "Election Central," "20th Century Almanac," "Primary Documents," "History Maker Biographies," and aviation, naval, and railroad history. Within these broad categories are well-organized sub-divisions with links to full-text material. A collection of over 400 primary source documents on American history includes such basics as the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution along with selected presidential addresses, court decisions and legislation. Biographical information includes all U.S. presidents and a list of 500 people selected by reader nomination as the most important of the 20th century. There are also links to other history sites maintained by the company.

One of the site's most glaring shortcomings is a significant number of typographical errors and misspellings, including names of prominent people, battles, and cities. A main purpose of the site is to push sales of the company's products; most pages contain advertising and links to the company's ordering information. The interface is a bit disorganized and confusing, and the layout of the main pages is amateurish. Improvements could be made with an eye toward readability.

The site is being updated. The primary source documents in "Today (1974-2002)" include George W. Bush's speech on the Columbia disaster, his 2003 State of the Union speech, and Colin Powell's response to Hans Blix's report to the United Nations on Iraq. However, at the time of this review, under Iraq in the "Nation-by-Nation" section, the only two "News" links are to CNN stories from 2000, one of which describes the opening of an Internet cafe in Baghdad.

Overall, the site is a useful research tool for younger students and teachers. Its main attraction for librarians will likely be the collection of source documents, but this is not comprehensive and should be treated with some caution.

Mark A. Stoffan
University of North Carolina at Asheville

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