The Scout Report
April 12, 2013 -- Volume 19, Number 15
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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The very well-maintained BioEd Online website from the Baylor College of Medicine was recently overhauled and now it's better than ever. This particular resource collection brings together videos, teacher guides, digital slides, video presentations, and related content. The topics covered include brain structure, neurons and the nervous system, human senses and movement, learning and memory, diseases of the nervous system, and the effects of drugs on the brain and body. The entire collection is part of the National Institute of Health's Blueprint for Neuroscience Education program and is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and other partners. Visitors should not miss the Individual Lessons area, which has excellent segments on What is a Neuron?, Hormones and Stress, and seven other topics. [KMG]
Over the past few years, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has conducted a plethora of interviews with America's distinguished roster of talented authors, musicians, painters, and other creative types. A new podcast is released each Thursday, and visitors can browse the offerings here by date or alphabetically. Some of the more recent interviewees include George Wein (noted jazz concert promoter), actress Rachael Holmes, and author Lillian Faderman. The site also contains Short Cuts, which are brief clips of notable audio and video the editors "couldn't leave on the cutting room floor." Additionally, visitors can subscribe to the podcasts on iTunes U, which is a fine way to stay up-to-date on the latest releases. [KMG]
Released in March 2013, this report from the Brookings Institution's African Growth Initiative provides compelling information on why the African continent should be a public policy priority for the United States. The report is divided into five short sections, including "China in Africa: Implications for U.S. Competition and Diplomacy," "Transforming the U.S.-African Commercial Relationship," and "Advancing Peace and Security in Africa." It's a timely work that sets out a cogent argument and will be of particular interest to public policy scholars, journalists, and others interested in global politics. [KMG]
As the health care professions continue to attract talented individuals, online resources have become an attractive way to learn new skills and supplement classroom learning. This website offers interested parties a step-by-step, interactive course on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It's worth noting that the site has received several awards from organizations such as the Radiological Society of North America. The course is divided into 16 sections, including Cardiac MRI, Image Formation, and Functional MRI. Each section contains a table of contents and a detailed list of learning objectives. As a whole, the site is a great way to get acquainted with this important medical tool and it is a resource that educators will want to share with friends and colleagues. [KMG]
Teachers and members of the general public will find this resource from Nature magazine quite wonderful. Crafted by Henry Gee, Rory Howlett, and Philip Campbell, this collection of 15 evolutionary gems brings together items "for those wishing to spread awareness of evidence for evolution by natural selection." The 16-page document explains key scientific discoveries under headings like "A case of co-evolution," "The origin of feathers," and "Darwin's Galapagos finches." Each of these sections features a narrative essay, along with references and links to additional resources for further exploration. [KMG]
The American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 166,000 members in fields like audiology and speech-language pathology. New users might want to slide on over to the Information For area. Here they will find thematic sections for audiologists, students, academic programs, and the general public. Also on the homepage are six areas of note, including Publications, Events, Advocacy, and Continuing Education. In the Publications area, visitors can look over best-practice documents, listen to a podcast series, and also learn more about ASHA's academic journals, which include the American Journal of Audiology and the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. [KMG]
Billed as "A Service of Digital Antiquity," the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR) is an international digital repository for the digital records of archaeological investigations. This remarkable archive is overseen by a board of directors with expertise in a range of professional fields, along with experts from the University of Arkansas, Arizona State University, and the University of York. A good place to start might be the sections that orient visitors to the work here. They include Access & Use, Contribute, Preservation, and Who Uses tDAR? The Featured Content area offers users a glimpse of the most useful archaeological records contained within the archive. Near the bottom of the homepage, visitors can peruse the What's New at tDAR" area to get a feel for digital images recently added to the collection, along with field reports. [KMG]
The Vision of Britain Through Time site presents a range of documents and primary source materials that tell the story of the nation from 1801 to 2001. This particular corner of the site brings together a multitude of maps, organized into three sections. In the Topographic Maps area, visitors can look over items such as R. Wilkinson's 1812 survey of Great Britain and the Ordnance Survey of Scotland, compiled from 1925 to 1948. The Boundary Maps area is quite a gem, as it contains over a dozen artifacts, including boundary surveys of England and Wales from 1885, 1868, and 1832. Finally, the site also includes a How to use the map library area that provides a nice introduction to the most effective use of these materials. [KMG]
Based at Pennsylvania State University, the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence was created "to advance and inspire excellence in Penn State's teaching and learning community." Many of the fine resources on this site are broadly applicable to anyone teaching college students. The materials here are divided into eight primary areas, including Events, Consultations, Grants, Tools/Tips, and TAs/Grad Instructors. The Tools/Tips area is marvelous, as it contains sections, such as Course Design and Planning and Teaching and Assessment Strategies, that feature fact sheets, lesson plans, and the like. Moving on, the TAs/Grad Instructors area contains helpful advice for graduate student teachers, such as "Guide to interacting with students," and "Guide to effective grading." [KMG]
The UCLA Library has a range of digital collections that document every aspect of Golden State history. Of course, any good Angeleno or anyone else with an interest in the state will appreciate this collection of 84 maps of Los Angeles, the United States, and of course, other locales. Visitors can browse the entire collection by language, name, subject, or area of geographic coverage. A great place to start here is the "Bird's Eye View of Coronado Beach, San Diego Bay and city of San Diego, California in distance." It's a fantastic view of the area and a nice way to start a more detailed tour of the entire collection. Truly, this is a delight for historical geographers and those with a love of the area's rich past. [KMG]
The mission of the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys is "to determine the potential of Alaskan land for production of metals, minerals, fuels, and geothermal resources." The homepage features a "Headlines" area that includes mining reports, links to press releases, and a fascinating interactive map of quaternary faults and folds that will be of great interest to geologists. Moving on, the Sections area contains links to specific department projects, including work on engineering geology, energy resources, and volcanology. Visitors won't want to miss the Geologic Materials Center area. Here they can learn about the Division's work cataloging, storing, and studying key metrics that tell the story of Alaska's geological resources. Finally, the Publications area contains links to all of the organization's written works, including those from the Mineral Industry Research Laboratory at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and a number of crucial reports from the U.S. Bureau of Mines. [KMG]
The Global Performing Arts Database (GloPAD) is a trove of "detailed, multilingual descriptions of digital images, texts, video clips, sound recordings, and complex media objects related to the performing arts around the world." Currently, the site contains over 4,500 records and was made possible by funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. New visitors may wish to peruse the About GloPAD area, though detailed search information can be found via the Using GloPAD section. The homepage contains some fine Suggested Searches, including Show Boat, The Government Inspector, and Bernard Shaw. The Production Records area is quite a find, as it contains detailed information for shows as diverse as the 1944 Broadway production of the "On the Town" and the 1996 water puppetry show from the Kim Dong Theatre in Hanoi. [KMG]
This glorious collection is a collaborative effort between the University Libraries, University of Memphis and Ampro Industries, Inc. of Memphis. The project's goal is "to collect, scan, and make available to the public photographs and informative metadata illustrating the daily and work lives and social activities of African Americans." Currently the project has over 450 items that are searchable by name or available for browsing. First-time visitors may want to start by looking at the Robert R. Church Family of Memphis slideshow. This visual vignette features studio portraits of the Church family and images taken in a variety of settings. [KMG]
Most states produce detailed road maps for use by their residents, commercial firms, and the curious tourist. This nice collection of Illinois state highway maps is part of the Illinois Digital Archives and it contains dozens of maps dating back to the 1920s. Visitors can start by reading about the history of the covers of these unique items on the homepage. After that, visitors can scan through the high-resolution images here for each map. Users can zoom in and out around each map as they see fit, and there are some nice tools here for rotating the maps as well. It's a great way to learn about the expansion of the road system in Illinois over the decades, and students of the Land of Lincoln will find it most enjoyable. [KMG]
Like many museums around the country, the National Gallery of Art has an impressive collection of recorded public programs. The Notable Lecture series stretches back to 2007, and features several varieties of audio content, from art talks, to conversations with artists, to the notable lectures themselves. For example, in 2008, there's a 2-part podcast that coincided with Martin Puryear's retrospective at the Gallery. (This show was originally mounted at MoMA, and was mentioned in the Nov. 16, 2007 Scout Report: https://scout.wisc.edu/Reports/ScoutReport/2007/scout-071116#16.) In 2012, a series of lectures honored what would have been sculptor Tony Smith's 100th birthday. Speakers included scholar Eileen Costello, sculptor Charles Ray, and curator Harry Cooper, with a Q&A lead by artist Kiki Smith, Tony Smith's daughter. [DS]
This well-developed collection tells the story of Chinese immigration to California in the late 19th and early 20th century through approximately 8,000 images and pages of primary source materials. This fine brocade of ephemera includes letters, business records, legal documents, cartoons, photographs, and original art. These materials cover everything from family life to inter-ethnic tensions. San Francisco's Chinatown is the subject of special attention as well. First-time visitors should consider the Topical Overview area, which features galleries and essays such as "Anti-Chinese Movements and Chinese Exclusion" and "San Francisco's Chinatown-Business and Politics." Additionally, visitors can browse the materials by subject, name, title, group, or theme. [KMG]
Writing on a computer with access to the Internet (and other matters) can be distracting. WriteApp helps offering a less distracting, browser-based environment to get your writing done. Visitors can use the application to compose short notes or long-form pieces with excellent formatting options. They can write out thoughts in an email and have them set in a variety of formats and settings. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
Threadlife is a great way to record videos quickly on your mobile device in three second segments. The device allows visitors to record these segments and link them together in "stitches." One particularly cool feature allows users to collaborate and to share their videos. Visitors should look at the "What is Threadlife?" area before they get started for a nice guide to the application. This version is compatible with all devices running iOS 6.0 and later. [KMG]
NPR: U.S. Gets Low Marks on Infrastructure From Engineers' Group
It's no quick economic fix, but America will pay the price if it neglects its infrastructure
Using Pension Funds to Build Infrastructure and Put Americans to Work
Federal Highway Administration: Bridge Technology
The History of Large Federal Dams: Planning, Design, and Construction
2013 ReportCard on America's Infrastructure
Several weeks ago, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released their annual report card on the nation's infrastructure. The report looked at 16 categories of infrastructure (including aviation and wastewater systems) and as a whole, the entire system received a D+. (This is a significant improvement over last year, when the system received a D.) The president of the society, Gregory DiLoreto, noted that "We waste hours sitting in traffic; power outages become more frequent; we lose billions of gallons of water through leaky pipes. These things are costing us money and we are getting nothing for it." The report noted that the cost of fixing the nation's crumbling levees alone could cost more than $100 million. While there is dissent in some quarters about the extent of the problems, most policy officials and pundits agree that public-private partnerships will be an integral part of the solution over the coming years and decades. [KMG]
The first link will take visitors to a great NPR clip about this recent report card, complete with commentary from several different policy experts. The second link will whisk interested parties to an article from last week's Telegraph about this infrastructure conundrum. Moving along, the third link will take users to a thoughtful piece from the Center for American Progress about how pension funds might be deployed to build infrastructure and make necessary improvements across the country. The fourth link leads to a fascinating site created by the Federal Highway Administration which talks about the various bridge technologies and thematic programs that might improve the nation's infrastructure in the long term. The fifth link will take visitors to a fascinating history of the nation's dams, provided courtesy of the National Park Service. The final link will take visitors to the 2013 National Report Card on America's Infrastructure from the ASCE.
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The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published every Friday of the year except the last Friday of December by Internet Scout, located in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Computer Sciences. Funding sources have included the National Science Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Libraries.
Internet Scout Team Max Grinnell Editor Carmen Montopoli Managing Editor Edward Almasy Director Rachael Bower Director Andrea Coffin Information Services Manager Autumn Hall-Tun Internet Cataloger Sara Sacks Internet Cataloger Tim Baumgard Web Developer Corey Halpin Web Developer Zev Weiss Technical Specialist Evan Radkoff Technical Specialist Debra Shapiro Contributor Holly Wallace Administrative Assistant Michael Penn II Administrative Assistant
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