The classification of items in this database of internet-based resources in the history of science includes both subject indexing as well as indexing of characteristics of the resource. These latter characteristics include: Size, Nature of resource, Functionality, Support, Website navigation, Format, and Access. The lists below indicate the various elements within each of these characteristics. We have supplied definitions for many of the terms that are not clear.

Definition of terms for WHSO website classification project


  • Small—site contains very few pages and has limited information about the topic (examples: blogs or websites that describe the contents of archives or holding that cannot be accessed online).
  • Medium—site provides a richer supply of resources than small sites and perhaps contains multiple types data (examples: professional society websites that have links and resources dealing with a particular topic).
  • Large—site provides extensive resources, often of many different kinds and spanning multiple topics and many different eras; could also be a site that is devoted to very rich documentation of a particular individual or subject area (examples: digitized collections of works of major scientific figures, library and archive websites that have created large complex research environments).

Nature of resource

  • Archival finding aid—site provides findings aids for archives.
  • Archive website—site that provide some information about archival material; some provide access to actual digitized documents, some provide finding aids, some simply provide information about an archive.
  • Bibliographic website—sites containing bibliographic references.
  • Data set—provides historical scientific data in the form of graphs, tables, lists, etc.
  • Exhibit website—museum-like exhibits, whether linked to museums or not.
  • Full-text access to primary sources—sites that make full-text material available in digital format online in html, text, or digitized images of manuscripts or printed works.
  • Full-text access to secondary sources—sites that contain articles or other scholarly materials available on the site.
  • Gateway site—contains lists of relevant links, sometimes annotated, including professional society pages that contain pages with lists of links.
  • Image gallery—sites that provide galleries of digital images.
  • Independent online scholarship—usually blogs or online publications that are not peer-reviewed, and journals that aren’t peer-reviewed.
  • Interviews—recorded in video, audio, or transcript form.
  • Journal website— sites that provide access to print or online journals, though some will only provide tables of contents.
  • Lectures—recorded in video, audio, or transcript form.
  • Library website—sites hosted by a library and that document the contents of a library.
  • Multiple subject collection of resources—sites managed primarily by libraries or professional societies that offer resources on multiple subjects and time periods.
  • Museum website—sites that document the contents of a museum.
  • News of the discipline—sites that provide periodically updated information or notes on progress about the site or project, or news about the field or profession.
  • Peer-reviewed scholarship—provides access to peer-reviewed secondary research.
  • Reference work—online encyclopedias, source books, and subject guides.
  • Research guide to collection—usually on library websites; provide instructions for using collections or for accessing archives.
  • Single title access—sites that makes available a monograph or a single journal article.
  • Thematic or subject-based collection—sites focused on a particular field, period of time, and/or region.


  • Static pages
  • Wiki site
  • Blog posts
  • Forum or message board
  • E-mail listserv
  • RSS feed
  • Social media
  • Podcast


  • University
  • Library
  • Professional society
  • Government
  • Museum
  • Non-profit organization
  • Corporation
  • Individual
  • Publishing house
  • University press
  • Research institute

Website navigation

  • Scroll through
  • Click through
  • Search box
  • Tabs


  • Text
  • Images
  • Sound files
  • Video files
  • Data tables


  • Free
  • Partially free
  • Paid