April 15, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 8)
Strong Points: Great idea
Weak Points: Too much still under construction
This ambitious and interesting site begins with an apology – “This page is under construction and we apologize for things not yet working perfectly.” While there is still a considerable amount of the site still under construction, there is also a lot currently available. Hosted at the University of Göttingen, Germany, Animalbase is a site that will be embraced by anyone interested in the history of biology. What it provides (or will provide) is free access to digitized images of classic zoological literature dating from the beginning of publishing to 1800 (in the current effort). During the first round, all major works up to 1770 were scanned and provided online. Access to the images is available through either a search engine or by clicking on alphabetical listings of species names. I was disappointed at not being able to find digitizations for the dozen or so publications I searched for, but I did find much peripheral information associated with each book. This one is going to grow over time and it will be interesting to watch it develop.