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World Geography and Culture Online

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World Geography and Culture Online is a Facts on File database. It’s a source for information on geography (including countries and states), international news, and cultures and peoples from around the world. The sources in this database are primarily various Facts on File publications. There are over 40 of them (available either in part or in whole), and they include “Encyclopedia of the World’s Nations and Cultures,” “World Encyclopedia of Political Systems and Parties,” “Encyclopedia of World Geography,” “Encyclopedia of World Constitutions,” and many others. The news items in this database are all drawn from United Press International (UPI).

The database’s various search and browse options are easy to use and understand, and allow the user to find news and encyclopedia articles and images dealing with geography and culture. Articles can be anywhere from one to several pages in length, depending on the topic, and often contain maps and other images. Although these contain valuable information, they’re generally not designed for detail or in-depth analysis. Images can be found separately, through searching or browsing. Boolean operators can be used when doing keyword searching, and the database’s search mechanisms are generally effective in producing usable results. However, its browsing functions are the easiest to find and use, and are equally effective in this regard. Lists of results, generated either by browsing or searching, are easy to navigate and understand and individual articles are simple to view, print, e-mail, etc. However, in some instances results produced can be either confusing or contradictory. Pricing for this database is determined by FTE for academic institutions, and by number of cardholders for public libraries. The difference in subscription costs between the former and the latter can be substantial, but in neither case are those costs excessive, given the database’s content and usability. Potential subscribers should contact Facts on File for specific pricing. The contract provisions for this database are standard in most respects, and generally give little cause for concern. As with all contracts, however, interested parties should review it carefully before making a commitment to make sure it meets their needs. This database is a good source for articles of various kinds on geography and culture. It’s suitable for a broad audience, including college students, secondary students, and the general public, but it will only be of use to those institutions that can afford its cost and have a significant need for this kind of information. Two possible competitors for World Geography and Culture Online are CultureGrams and Global Road Warrior, both which offer similar kinds of content.

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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