ADAM, the Art, Design, Architecture and Media information gateway is a catalog of Internet resources that is being created by a team of professional librarians for the higher education community in the United Kingdom. ADAM focuses on Internet sites that match a specific set of criteria developed by the team and published on the web site. The team catalogs quality sites that are kept up-to-date, considered authoritative, accurate, and are within the scope of the subjects covered within the catalog. The subject areas included are: applied arts, architecture, design, fine art, media, museum studies and conservation, theory and professional practices related to the subject areas. As this is a selective catalog, at the time of the review the catalog only contained slightly more than 1700 items. However, the gateway is being added to continuously and in the period of one week more than 80 additional items had been added.
The ADAM website and the search engine for the site use Dublin Core metadata to enhance searching. Searching the catalog can be done in a simple mode, or through the "Power Search" which supports advanced searching including truncation, boolean, phrase searching, and the ability to limit to individual fields. In doing some sample searches on individual artists and architects, the results were fairly limited, but in comparison with doing a search on the Internet are much more focused and the results are well suited for research purposes. My first attempt to search "Gainsborough" resulted in no hits, which was a surprise based on the source of the indexing, but the results vary by artist. A keyword search for "Mary Cassatt" and "Renoir" each resulted in only one record, however, a search for "Frank Lloyd Wright" retrieved a much more varied list of fifteen resources. As each record does include a list of subject headings, when results are few, one can expand a search. Thus choosing to search by "impressionist" allows one to retrieve related artists as well as sites that have a broader focus than any single individual artist. When a search does result in no items being found, ADAM provides a link to an additional search engine, "Mamma" which searches some of the major search engines (Alta Vista, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, Webcrawler and Yahoo!) simultaneously on the Internet. Thus while only one site was found in ADAM on "Mary Cassatt", "Mamma" retrieved 64 web sites.
Entries are fully searchable within the catalog on ADAM and provide a complete description for each web site, a list subject terms including Dewey Decimal call numbers, the URI, and a unique identifier called "ROAD" which is based on the software used to develop the gateway. Time periods are included within the subject field and this is one of the special features that enhances searching. The "Option Search" feature provides the ability to search within the title, subject fields, or descriptors, and allows one to do a more precise search. One annoying feature is the "view full ADAM record" link as part of the record which if selected reveals a blank page.
Nevertheless, the project itself, one of several that is currently underway to provide gateways to selected quality resources on the web by topical areas, is a good starting point for research in the arts fields. This is a respectable site to locate examples of art works with high quality graphic images as well as authoritative information on individual subjects and can only improve as the project expands and the team continues to add to the database.