The Scout Report - August 16, 1996

August 16, 1996

A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Science Department, University of Wisconsin

A Project of the InterNIC

The Scout Report is a weekly publication offering a selection of new and newly discovered Internet resources of interest to researchers and educators, the InterNIC's primary audience. However, everyone is welcome to subscribe to one of the mailing lists (plain text or HTML). Subscription instructions are included at the end of each report.
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In This Issue:

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

Research & EducationThe Condition of Education 1997
[Note: Site title has changed since the original Scout Report review. Site formerly referred to in the Scout Report as "The Condition of Education 1996."]
The Condition of Education 1995 (selections)
At the heart of _The Condition of Education 1997_, recently released on the web by the US Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, are " 60 indicators are presented in each years report. The indicators represent a consensus of professional judgment on the most significant national measures of the condition and progress of education". Indicators are arranged in six categories: Access, Participation, and Progress; Achievement, Attainment, and Curriculum; Economic and Other Outcomes of Education; Organization and Management of Educational Institutions; Climate and Diversity of Educational Institutions; and Financial and Human Resources of Educational Institutions. Each indicator is presented in tabular form (although your browser does not need to be able to render tables to view them), with highlights and selected charts when available. This site is searchable and provides a wealth of information about all aspects of US education.
[Note: This annotation has been updated to reflect the current status of the site.]
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Selected Tables from UN Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
The Statistics Division of the United Nations Division for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis has made selections from its Monthly Bulletin of Statistics freely available (after registration) for a trial period on the web. Each issue contains a selection of tables from the print version. The countries for which data is available vary widely by table, and chronological coverage also varies, but this is a source of much useful international information. At this time it is unknown if an archive will be maintained.
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GPO Pathway Services
Pathway Services, a product of the US Government Printing Office, is an attempt by that agency to make finding US government information easier for both librarians and interested end users. It does this by connecting the user to many sources of government information from one site. Users can browse the information by topic (though the topic listing is a work in progress at this time) or by title, arranged alphabetically by agency. This title page contains a "New Additions" hypertext link to help interested users keep up with new releases across agencies. Government Information Locator Service (GILS) records can also be browsed. These records contain information about government agencies, along with relevant hypertext links. Pathway Services also provides keyword searching of government information sites, as well as MoCat (the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications). This site shows great promise in helping information seekers use one location as a gateway to all their government information needs.
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Digital Education Network--Free web-based courses for secondary students
The Digital Education Network offers 7th through 12th grade students a chance to expand their knowledge in four areas: NewsDEN, which covers current events for kids and provides tips for teachers on how to integrate the information into their curricula; MathDEN, an interactive math challenge that offers four "stages" for students at different levels and tracks their progress (new question sets are added every Thursday); InternetDEN, a tutorial on using Internet tools for education, aimed at the novice net-surfer; and GraphicsDEN, a tutorial on and gallery of computer graphics. Planned for release next month are WritingDEN and SkyDEN, two new instructional areas. Free registration is requested before using the site, but a "guest" login is also available.
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NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Chemistry Web Book
NIST Physical Reference data
For information on thermodynamic data for over 5,000 chemical compounds and on ion-energetics data for over 10,000 chemical compounds, NIST's Chemistry WebBook is available for searching. Compounds can be searched by name, chemical formula, or CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service) registry number. Information on enthalpy of formation, heat capacity, entropy, ionization potential, and appearance potential is available. Note that this site works best on browsers that support tables. NIST also supplies reference databases in the area of physics.
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Meta-Index for US Legal Research
This page, provided by the Georgia State University College of Law, presents search forms for many US Federal Government law sources; each form contains sample search criteria. The judicial opinions section provides search forms for the Supreme Court as well as all Federal Circuit courts. The legislation section allows searching of the US Code, as well as searching of bills (104th Congress, both full-text and by bill number) and the full text of the Congressional Record. There are also search forms for federal regulation, people in law, and other legal sources. Users may enter search criteria directly into the forms on this meta-index page, or can follow the link to the source page for direct searching. The searches of standard sources (opinions and legislation) are presented without instructions, while the "Other Sources" section provides descriptions of the source and tips for searching. Users may register to be notified by email when the page is modified.
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Chopin-L Discussion List
Chopin-L is a public, unmoderated mailing list devoted to discussion of issues related to late classical and romantic piano literature and its composers. While discussion of literature intended for other performance mediums is certainly not excluded, especially as this illuminates a composer's entire output, a focus on piano is intended for CHOPIN-L. Topics related to individual composers, leading performers or influential pedagogues are encouraged. Issues in any way related to piano performance, including, but not limited to, editions, performance problems and practice(s), performance tradition(s) or historical pianos would be most appropriate. Dialogue on any aspect of the wealth and variety of nineteenth century piano repertoire are welcomed. Discourse on biographical and historical issues of this period is invited. Discussion regarding an individual composers compositional style, or the "Romantic Style" in general, and its influence on later generations is welcomed. Ideas for promotion of piano playing (competitions and festivals, descriptions of non-profit foundations, etc.) with emphasis on the nineteenth century piano repertoire is encouraged.
To subscribe send email to:
In the body of the message type:
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General Interest

Full Text of the GOP Platform
Republican National Committee
[Note: Resource(s)/URL(s) mentioned above is no longer available.]
PoliticsNow Home Page
[Note: The Internet Scout team has been informed that the PoliticsNow site is no longer available.]
Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole claims he hasn't read the party platform, but now you can, and judge for yourself the prospective policies of that party. The Republican National Committee has made the full text of the platform available at its web site. In addition, PoliticsNow, a collaborative effort of ABC News, the Washington Post, and the National Journal, has made the platform available. Also available at this site are a listing of the Platform Committee, platform news from various sources (provided by Lexis/Nexis), and full text of the 1992 party platform.
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Israel Archaeology from the Air
Jerusalem in Old Maps and Views
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made two richly graphical exhibits available on the web. "Archaeology From the Air" presents birdseye views of over 20 sites, each with an explanatory caption. Included are the Northern Palace of Masada, the Qumran Caves, Megiddo, the Amphitheatre and Aqueduct in Caesarea, Belvoir Fortress, and Rugum Hiri (the "Wheel of Giants") among others. These aerial views not only show each site, but the surroundings as well, giving geographical perspective. "Jerusalem in Old Maps and Views" contains images of 14 maps of the city, arranged chronologically from 565 A.D. (the oldest detailed map in the world, according to the site) to 1905. Each map is accompanied by an explanatory caption. Note that both these exhibits are extremely large, as the images are not thumbnails that connect to larger images. However, if your connection is fast enough, these exhibits are well worth viewing.
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Complete Guide to Palestine's Websites
This site, provided by Birzeit University, organizes 29 Palestinian web sites into categories: academic and research, educational institutions, government and services, human rights, internet service providers, media, personal homepages, and travel. Each entry is annotated, providing the user with a clear idea of the kind and quality of information found on each site. The site also presents a "Golden Olive Award" to Palestinian sites that provides "a well-thought-out, well-implemented, information-rich contribution to the wider community of the World Wide Web." There are also links to the "Palestine Archive" and to Birzeit University's homepage, which, though little more than a month old, are amassing significant amounts of information useful to the study of Palestine.
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Mapquest--Worldwide Coverage
To its detailed coverage of the United States, Mapquest has added maps for cities and regions around the world. The interactive atlas can now display international locations on six continents; maps are detailed to the highway and boulevard level. For US addresses, users may search for locations by street address and view a map of the neighborhood. Registration, free of charge, allows the user to return to the Mapquest site with settings intact; settings include which points of interest will be highlighted, how the maps should be displayed, and even which maps will be labeled and stored for future reference. The US-only services on the site include Tripquest, a route planner that covers the US, Canada, and Mexico.
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Housenet, provided by Gene and Katie Hamilton, is a comprehensive site aimed at home improvement information. It contains a wealth of how-to information on such topics as interior and exterior repairs, painting, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and gardening, among others. The "Do it Yourself or Not" section estimates professional vs. do-it-yourself costs for over 25 jobs from demolishing plaster walls to laying oak flooring. Housenet also offers a wealth of tips on saving on your utility bill. As befits a site that was originally a BBS, there is a "neighbor-to-neighbor ideas exchange" (registration required).
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Sunrise Theater--Sci-fi films from the 1950s
Were you terrified seeing such movies as "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms," "Forbidden Planet," or "The Thing" in the theater in the 1950s? Did you laugh at "The Queen From Outer Space" on late night TV? Then Sunrise Theater is for you. This frames-based multimedia site (free registration required) is highlighted by a fairly exhaustive interactive story for each of the six films presently available ("The Day the Earth Stood Still," and "IT! The Terror from Beyond Space," are the others), with still images and sound clips. There are also limited video clips, cast lists, games (Java support required), posters, chatrooms, and connections to other sci-fi sites. As the site grows, more 1950s sci-fi films are scheduled to be added. If your browser has the capabilities and your connection the speed, Sunrise Theater is a wonderful, nostalgic experience.
[Note: When last checked by the Internet Scout team, this site URL was no longer available.]
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SICKKIDS on Discussion List
SICKKIDS is an open, unmoderated discussion list for kids who are ill. These kids all have chronic or potentially fatal illness, and benefit by having this support group to talk to each other. The list is for kids only, ages 18 and under. They can talk about their illness, their feelings and frustrations, their families and friends, or just kid stuff like what they do in their spare time, poems, tell jokes, and so on--anything to make them feel better. Since no adults are allowed, the adults that manage the list do not participate in the discussions; the direct management of the list is handled by several teenage "Discussion Managers" who are themselves also subscribers. There is also a team of adult, professionally trained counselors that provide guidance in difficult situations.
To subscribe send email to:
In the body of the message type:
SUB SICKKIDS YourFirstName YourLastName
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Net Tools

Navigator and Internet Explorer 3.0 Final Versions
Netscape Navigator
Netscape's Navigator vs. Internet Explorer comparison
Navigator 3.0 Features
Internet Explorer
Microsoft's Internet Explorer vs. Navigator comparison
Internet Explorer 3.0 Features
Microsoft released Internet Explorer final 3.0 version this week, and Netscape is scheduled to release Navigator final 3.0 version Monday, Aug. 19. Both browsers' 3.0 Beta versions have been discussed in previous Scout Reports (Internet Explorer in the May 31, 1996 edition and Netscape in the April 5, 1996 and May 3, 1996 editions). Both support numerous new features, which can be compared and studied at their sites. At press time, Scout Report investigators had downloaded the new IE browser (over 7,500 Kbytes) and found that on a powerful Windows 95 Pentium machine it installed quickly and easily, its Java support was very good and its integrated news and mail features also were functioning. Of course this has also been true of earlier Navigator editions. IE 3.0 is available only for Windows 95 machines at present, while Navigator 3.0 is a multiplatform browser, supporting Windows, Macintosh, and Unix. Microsoft has upped the ante in the browser war by offering free trial subscriptions to such sites as Wall St. Journal Interactive and ESPNET Sportzone, among other goodies, with its browser.
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Infoseek Ultra
Infoseek Corp. has released a Beta version of its new Ultra search engine. It supports Boolean AND/OR/NOT, phrase, case sensitive, and field searching, and supplies relevance feedback with results. It has indexed over 50 million web pages, and claims to make your web page available in its database immediately on submission. It also claims to be the first real-time index of the Internet (through real-time indexing by its spider technology).
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The Search Engine Tutorial for Web Designers
The strange and wondrous ways in which search engines gather their indexes is made a little clearer in this tutorial. Written by a web designer disappointed with how difficult his pages were to find with the standard search engines, this page gives insight into how Infoseek, Lycos, Alta Vista, Excite, Web Crawler, and Open Text catalog web pages. The search strategy of each engine is described, along with tips for how web designers can increase their site's chances of being among the hits returned when users enter relevant search criteria. Although indexing algorithms are constantly being updated, this site presents common-sense guidelines that web designers interested in reaching a wider audience will find useful.
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Copyright Susan Calcari, 1996. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the Scout Report provided the copyright notice and this paragraph is preserved on all copies. The InterNIC provides information about the Internet to the US research and education community under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation: NCR-9218742. The Government has certain rights in this material.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, the National Science Foundation, AT&T, or Network Solutions, Inc.

Internet Scout Project