Reviewed by Takamitsu Kato, Associate Professor, Colorado State University, on 12/6/2016.
This open book is very comprehensive, however, I believe that the context of the book may be too comprehensive. Moreover, the text covers very broad
Comprehensiveness rating: 4 read less
This open book is very comprehensive, however, I believe that the context of the book may be too comprehensive. Moreover, the text covers very broad fields of biology that students may not be able to grasp. However, the text is not in a traditional style, meaning that it contains less than 200 pages. Therefore, students will not get in depth knowledge. Some chapters appear to be incomplete.
Accuracy rating: 4
The book appeared to be accurate. More specifically, the paragraphs, sentences, and phrases are very short resulting in great accuracy. Moreover, students can learn many topics very quickly and efficiently. Lastly, I noticed some mistakes but they were minor problems.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 4
Importantly, this book is very up-to-date and can be updated quickly if authors want. On-the-other-hand various chapters seem to be incomplete or too short (i.e. section 8.3.2). But the unique style of this book enables authors to update information easily.
Clarity rating: 5
The text was written very clearly, while the book is very short. It is very easy to read but scholars need prerequisite information before reading the material in this book.
Consistency rating: 3
The text is usually consistent but there are some exceptions. Many chapters were written with bullet points and short sentences. However, a few chapters were written with more information; leaving inconsistencies . The inconsistencies can be improved by further updates.
Modularity rating: 3
The text is very easily divisible. The text can be used for just quick review but not for extensive information. If the authors decide to keep the bullet point style this could be useful for students early in the biology world.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4
The book is divided into many chapters and subchapters. The topics in the text are presented in a very clear fashion. Individual chapters are appropriately organized.
Interface rating: 3
The text sometimes contains graphical figures but additional figures would greatly improve the context. However, if the purpose of this book is quick review, the figures and charts are not necessary.
Grammatical Errors rating: 5
I did not notice any grammatical errors.
Cultural Relevance rating: 5
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive.
This book is very unique. It is not like regular books. It is more like a summary of wikipedia's knowledge on biology. This book is very useful to review what students learned in class or try to understand the concept quickly before class starts. Reading this text does not take too much time. Personally, I like this book. I can use this as a quick reference. For class this book can be used as an alternative book with combination of traditional general biology book. This book would be a great alternative for students who are trying to be fiscally smart.
Reviewed by Allyse Ferrara, Professor, Nicholls State University, on 2/16/2017.
This is not a comprehensive text. If all of the topics that are missing from this text were included in this review, the review would be as long as
Comprehensiveness rating: 1 read less
This is not a comprehensive text. If all of the topics that are missing from this text were included in this review, the review would be as long as the text. The PDF is less than 200 pages long for what is typically taught in two one-semester classes. Sufficient detail and background information is not provided. The entire PDF only includes six figures. In particular, information on diversity is incomplete with the majority of taxonomic levels and categories missing. For example, in Chapter 24 Chordates, information on Class Osteichthyes consists of a couple of sentences on Subclass Sarcopterygii. Ray-finned fishes are not included. Class Reptilia lists Subclass Diapsida under which there are four words – “dinosaurs, snakes, most stuff”. Only one half page of information is provided on Class Aves. Class Mammalia is covered in less than one page. Section 23.4 on Plant Phylogeny contains no text. Developmental biology, comparative physiology, ecology (at any level), behavior, endosymbiosis, plant anatomy and plant physiology are a few of the topics absent from the PDF. The glossary is half of a page with many definitions missing. No index is included.
Accuracy rating: 1
Text content is not accurate, error-free and unbiased. Very little organismal and diversity of life information is provided. Unfortunately, adequate and appropriate quantity of information is not provided for any topic. For example, in Chapter 7 Cell Structure, swelling is defined as “pressure of the water inside the vacuole” and isotonic is defined as “the cytoplasm fluid of the interior of the cells is the same that the outer”. Proof reading did not occur. Under the section 23.21 Angiosperm flower, the following text is included "Insert non-formatted text hereInsert non-formatted text here".
Relevance/Longevity rating: 1
The PDF is outdated and no longer relevant. Old and outdated classification system(s) is/are used and the PDF uses outdated terms vascular and non-vascular to describe different groups of plants. An incomplete and outdated classification of Kingdom Animalia is used. Important plant, fungi and protist phyla are missing as are milestones in animal evolution and characteristics that allowed plants to colonize land. The minimal amount of biotechnology information included in the PDF is also outdated.
Clarity rating: 1
The PDF is loaded with jargon and is not well written.
Consistency rating: 1
The PDF is highly inconsistent. Scientific and genus names frequently appear in regular font (neither italicized nor underlined) and capitalization is not consistent. A few sections include complete sentences and paragraphs and the remaining sections contain no text or only bulleted lists. The majority of chapters do not practice questions. If practice questions are included, answers to questions are not consistently included, if at all. In some sections, references made to pages and figures in an unnamed textbook.
Modularity rating: 1
Modularity is not present. Sections and chapters are not presented in similar formats.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 1
Text organization is not logical. The text is not divided into units but would benefit by organization into units rather than using placeholder chapters as is used for Chapter 1 Getting Started, Chapter 6 Cells, Chapter 15 Genetics and Chapter 25 Tissues and Systems. No text included in these placeholder chapters. Information is not logically organized. For example, Chapter 13 on Photosynthesis includes unrelated sections on prokaryote cell division, eukaryote chromosomes, chromosome organization (no text included), human karyotype stained by chromosome paints (no text included), human chromosomes (a quarter page with a bulleted list), mitotic cell cycle (three bullets and one text box consisting of one sentence), replicated human chromosomes (no text included), mitosis (half page of information), plant mitosis (one quarter page), controlling the cell cycle, cancer and mutations and cancer (no text included). The glossary (Chapter 34) is half of a page with some terms undefined. The list of figures does not correspond to the six figures included in the text.
Interface rating: 1
Some of the links in the footnotes connect to Wikibooks pages that do not contain any information. After connecting to a Wikibooks link, clicking the back arrow brings you to the beginning of the PDF, not to the section you were reading. Navigation between footnotes and text is cumbersome.
Grammatical Errors rating: 1
The text is filled with misspellings, incorrect word use, jargon, incorrect use of plurals, grammatical errors, incomplete sentences and statements without explanation or support.
Cultural Relevance rating: 1
Considering the brevity of information provided the text is not culturally sensitive. The term “man” is used rather than the more appropriate term “human”.
This is not a textbook. The information provided is incomplete and outdated and is little more than an incomplete and unedited draft of course notes.