April 15, 2013 (Vol. 33, No. 8)
Strong Points: Easy to browse collection, many resources
Weak Points: Many “free” resources require journal subscriptions
Allow me to introduce you to BEN. As the National Science Digital Library Pathway for biological sciences education, BEN enjoys collecting and providing a large number of educational resources to students and teachers from preschool through university level. While educators can choose to register with the site, registration is not a prerequisite to pick BEN’s brain. Visitors to the site can browse by subject (everything from aquaculture, to exobiology, to theoretical biology), resource type (such as book chapter or meeting presentation), or academic level. While the site definitely lists a large number of resources, one downside to the website is that many of the resources that are labeled as being free—especially journal articles—require a subscription through the host organization’s site in order to access. Thus, the depth of freely available material on the site may be significantly less than it originally seems.