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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


AntWeb

by Brian Fisher
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.25 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Oct 30, 2013 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: AntWeb is a large collection of images and data of all species of ants listed in the Bolton catalog along with additional unclassified ants. This collection can be downloaded by users and images can be used, with proper attribution. The images show the head, a profile view and a dorsal view of each ant. As of February of 2013, AntWeb has 97,814 ant images, of 23,272 specimens representing over 10,549 species. AntWeb provides tools for submitting images, specimen records, annotating species pages, and managing regional species lists.
Learning Goals: No specific learning goals are part of the site. It could certainly be used to support learning outcomes devised by users.
Target Student Population: Graduate entomolgy students, pest control professionals and anyone interested in ants
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Background in systematic entomology would be helpful.
Type of Material: Collection of images, taxonomic and range information on ants.
Recommended Uses: This site serves ant systematists, but also allows citizen participation. It is a comprehensive treatment of ants by region. Many of the regions have links to keys or other systematic information, making this site useful for anyone with an interest in ants.
Technical Requirements: Web browser.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths:
  • World-class collection of images of ants of the world
  • Publicly accessible range and systematic information
  • Includes a catalog of ants of the world, a comprehensive bibliography of ant systematics literature, treatments and species lists from all regions of the world, and a collection of images
  • Gives detailed instructions on various ways citizens can participate in ant systematic projects
  • Has an ant blog with answers to questions from the public
  • several curators and staff members review the information and maintain currency
Concerns:
  • Can be an overwhelming amount of material to those not familiar with myrmecology

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths:
  • Can be used for assignments or in class presentations
  • Can be used for research by specialists
  • For people interested in ants, either in general or with respect to a particular taxon or region, this collection is highly effective
Concerns:
  • The technical nature of the contents may be daunting for some, but could be an effective tool for upper division students

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths:
  • The site is well organized
  • Navigation is intuitive, and interconnectivity of the various parts of the site is extensive
  • A user guide is available along with a quick look at new items when the site is modified
Concerns:
  • it is not intuitive to the non-professional
  • it took a lot of experimentation to find information about various species /ul>

Other Issues and Comments: This is s world-class collection and clearly the most comprehensive treatments of ants available for free to the public. Anyone interested in formicids should use it. It is a field guide for all major ant species.The site requires considerable interaction to become familiar with the information available and how to find it.