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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Stalinka

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

3.75 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 3.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Jun 24, 2008 by History Editorial Board
Overview: Stalinka is a library of digital images associated with the life of Joseph Stalin. The collection includes photographs, paintings posters, and images of various three dimensional artifacts and artworks. Conceived as part of a much larger web site devoted to Staliniana, the digital library is presented in a very pared down, no nonsense fashion. The user has the option to search or browse the collection or to view just the metadata. Each file is titled and coupled with descriptors and LC subject headed. Information about ownership and rights is also recorded. The general historical background is provided is the "description" field is usually adequate to identify and evaluate the image
Learning Goals: No specific learning objects. Intended primarily as a resource repository. However an attentive examination of the images would complement very well a study of the Stalin era drawing on traditional sources.
Target Student Population: The site could be used for upper level high school history students but is recommended for college level courses particularly upper level history courses on the Soviet Union.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Until a written text is provided, some knowledge of the Soviet Union would be extremely helpful.
Type of Material: Collection of visual images that include photographs, posters, postcards, and artifacts.
Recommended Uses: Scholars, instructors, college and high school student. Anyone interested in learning more about the Stalin era would benefit from this site. The site could be used in a Western Civilization course and courses on World War II, the Soviet Union, and 20th Century World History.
Technical Requirements: Browser needs to be able to run java scripts. The user might experience some problems in Internet Explorer opening some of the photographs, but in Foxfire these problems did not arise.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: A impressive visual record of the life and times of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Currently 441 images are provided. Each image has zoom capability and permits each browsing back and forth. The images include artifacts, photographs, posters, paintings, banners, sculptures, chinaware, pins, and other items from the era. A very comprehensive collection.
Concerns: It will be very good when there is a text component to go along with the visual data. Some of the metadata seems a little excessive.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.75 stars
Strengths: Most applicable for use by instructors in putting together visual materials for classes. Could also be used in creating student assignments. The site offers many possibilities for a faculty member who wishes to be creative and create their own educational materials.
Concerns: Size of database could be increased. It would be nice to have more images not just about Stalin himself but his times more broadly.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The site is easy to use. Users can easily go back and forth between images. Zoom capabilty for each image is available.
Concerns: A link back to the homepage from the record page might be helpful. I had problems opening some of the files using Internet Explorer.

Other Issues and Comments: If and when the site is connected to a broader project containing biographical and bibliographical information, as the authors promise, it will be much stronger. Still this is a very useful and well executed site.