Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Unique Online Reference Source: Encyclopedia of Surfing

Surf historian Matt Warshaw's Encyclopedia of Surfing, an online companion to the print edition of the same name, helps you understand and discover surfing's who's who, the history of surving and the science and events that mark the sport of riding waves. Along with profiles of surfers like Bill and Laird Hamilton, entries cover such topics as the aloha shirt and the movie Endless Summer.

The online encyclopedia has some usability issues. For example, to access the search, you have to move your cursor/tap over on the left side of the site.

Also, as an authoritative source, you should note that the majority of contributors are made up of various photographers and filmmakers, but there is nothing on the site itself about Matt Warshaw. There are references to him online via his publisher, etc. (Interview with Matt Warshaw/Harcourt Books), etc., but for a user like myself, who is not that familiar with surfing (and thus may not be aware of Matt Warshaw), this raises a red flag, at least if I planned to cite this source in an assignment for school.

The library has a few titles to supplement your research into surfing, including Surfing USA! An Illustrated History of the Collest Sport of All Time by Ben Marcus, Surfing: A History of the Ancient Hawaiian Sport by Ben Finney and James Houston and Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton (there's also the movie version). While you're reading, you can listen to the Beach Boys' Greatest Surfing Songs.

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

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