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Ellen Bosman

 
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Various Religions | Christian | Jewish | Science Fiction/Fantasy

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Reviews of Electronic Resources

Introduction

Included in this category are listservs, Usenet newsgroups, and World Wide Web sites based in the United States. Both listservs and Usenet consist of subscribers sharing a single interest who converse via electronic mail. Listservs deliver mail directly to an individual's mail box, whereas Usenet requires the user to enter the "newsgroup" and read the collective postings. Since the nature of Listservs and Usenet groups provides a limited subject scope, only those groups focusing on religious materials are examined here.

World Wide Web sites were located utilizing keyword searching on terms such as, "religious book reviews," "Christian book reviews," "Christian fiction," etc. Due to limited results, sites need not be solely devoted to religious materials reviewing, however must contain a minimum of four religious reviews. Sites complemented by a previously reviewed print format (ie. Booklist) are not reviewed to reduce redundancy.

Publishers and religious web sites which offer materials for direct purchase are excluded due to commercial bias. Originally, web sites offering purchase of materials through a second party were excluded for similar reasons. However, the proliferation of web sites linked with a purchasing partner, such as Amazon.com, has increased dramatically. As a result, these sites will be reviewed for two reasons. First, the proceeds from purchasing partnership arrangements are generally very small and, relatedly, it must be assumed that the site owner considers the reviews a service, rather than a money making vehicle. Finally, personal home pages may be included if the site provides regularly updated reviews.

Naturally, using the Internet to located reviews poses many difficulties. The appropriate hardware, software, and access must be available. Internet searching skills are necessary, as there is little logical subject arrangement on the Net. Other problems germane to this category include limited scope, bias, currency, and lack of selection criteria statements. Types of materials reviewed may be inconsistent, or lack religious viewpoint, web sites may not be updated, or links may no longer be accessible.

 

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