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Very Short Introductions

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Very Short Introductions is a collection of brief examinations of a wide array of subjects, ranging from the arts and humanities, to law, to medicine, to science and the social sciences. Topics covered can be quite variable, including Byzantine Studies, Anaesthetics, and Warfare and Defense. Each Very Short Introduction (VSI) is referred to in the database as a “book,” and these are divided into several chapters. This database provides several searching and browsing options and these can be used to locate both books and chapters. Both options are understandable and can be used effectively.

The books themselves are well organized and easy to scan, with an abstract for each (as well as an abstract for each chapter), an introduction, illustrations, an index, and references. Information on the authors of each work and their credentials are also available.

Institutions can subscribe to the entire database, or only selected portions of it. Pricing for this database varies substantially, depending on the number of concurrent users selected, the database content subscribed to, and the type of institution subscribing. For many libraries, certain combinations of these three factors may prove to be economical, while others may not. The most expensive of these, and those the most difficult for many libraries to afford, will be the unlimited concurrent user options.

Regardless of the quality of this database’s content, it is nevertheless a resource with a somewhat limited scope. It provides introductions only, and anyone using it for a research project will no doubt have to do additional research on that subject using multiple other resources. Also the licensing agreement for this database, while it has a few standard features, is unusually long and complex.

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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