The Scout Report -- Volume 8, Number 45

November 15, 2002

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In This Issue:

NSDL Scout Reports

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

In The News

NSDL Scout Reports

NSDL Scout Reports for the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences
The twenty-second issues of the first volumes of the Life Sciences Report and Physical Sciences Report are available. The Topic in Depth section of Life Sciences Report annotates sites on life found at hydrothermal vents. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about the color of water.

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Research and Education

Demography and the Social Contract [.pdf]
In this 55-page working paper from the Office of Population Research at Princeton, Marta Tienda examines the relationship between demography and the social contract in the United States, with a particular emphasis placed on historical and contemporary debates about the nature of immigration. As Professor Tienda states in her work, "immigration strains commitment to the democratic principles of inclusion and equity by redrawing the boundaries of membership based on ascription and an ever more narrow definition of citizenship." Throughout the work, Professor Tienda draws on diverse disciplinary traditions and demographic data in examining this complex subject. Given the recent debates and policy changes over the past few years, including numerous local initiatives to restrict voting to American citizens in certain states, Professor Tienda's scholarship offers an important sociological perspective on the subject at hand. [KMG]
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The New Wealth Package: Generating Value in Distressed Urban Communities [.pdf]
From the Community Development Research Center within the New School University, this new working paper is authored by Edward Blakely, one of the foremost urban policy academics and practitioners in the United States. In the 35-page paper, Professor Blakely examines the use of arbitrage theory as "a means of valuing community assets in urban low-income communities." As Professor Blakely points out in his abstract, "This tool [arbitrage] is applied, in this paper, to valuing the wide range of assets that exist in low-income areas so that the potential of these assets can be realized as a new wealth package to sustain inner-city community institutions and increase the wealth of local residents." The paper includes a historical sketch of capital markets and continues with an extended discussion of how arbitrage theory might best be deployed in creating a meaningful valuation of the assets contained within low-income and distressed urban communities. Thought-provoking in its scope and perspective, this paper will be a valuable addition to writings on urban policy and social planning. [KMG]
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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was only on this earth for an all-too brief forty years, but he crafted some fine poetry. Some have argued that with the "Murders in the Rue Morgue," he created the first detective story. On this site, visitors will see complete text versions of almost all of Mr. Poe's poems and short stories. Each piece begins by indicating the year of its first publication and the publication in which it appeared. Also, an extended biographical essay about Poe's life is available, as well as a helpful resource page that contains links to the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore and the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. One highlight of the site is the complete text of Poe's only novel, The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym, a truly horrifying account of one man's voyage on board an ocean-going vessel that concludes with the line, "I have graven it within the hills, and my vengeance upon the dust within the rock." [KMG]
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The Hoover Institute
Perhaps one of the most well-known research centers in the world, the Hoover Institution was founded by Herbert Hoover to collect and archive documents related to the causes and consequences of World War I, and soon grew into one of the largest libraries devoted solely to political, economic, and social change in the 20th century. Appropriately, the library and its holdings are prominently featured on the site, with detailed information on using its collections and its prodigious holdings, including over 850 finding aids. For scholars and researchers, the most helpful aspect of the site may be the diverse set of freely-available research papers, newsletters, and complete books available on the site. Written by the Institution's fellows and scholars, the topics covered here include American public education, property rights, government accountability, and global cooperation. The site is rounded by a complete list of persons currently working at the Hoover Institution, either as a Hoover Fellow, Media Fellow, or as a full-time staff member. [KMG]
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Exploring Charging Models for Digital Cultural Heritage
Sponsored in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this report examines the move from storing analog photographic databases to digital databases over the past decade, along with considering how marketable, cost efficient, and income-stable these new services and resources are, particularly when compared to previous methods. Authored by Simon Tanner and Marilyn Deegan, the study draws on a host of perspectives, including survey results from 51 institutions such as universities and public libraries, long form structured interviews with service providers, and close investigation of these institutions' pricing structures. The extended discussion of pricing structures also has material on the thresholds that determine when organizations may charge for the sale of content and other rights to their digital holdings, and any implicit or explicit reasons behind such a shift in policy. This document will prove to be quite useful for those in the field of library science, particularly archivists and catalog specialists. [KMG]
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Wisconsin Vascular Plants
The staff of the Wisconsin State Herbarium have created this excellent online resource for exploring the world of vascular plants in Wisconsin, complete with several helpful finding aids to navigate the collection. Based on decades of research (including the ground breaking work of John Curtis), visitors can search for plants by name, habitat, status, and county. Also, visitors to the site can browse the thousands of selections by genera, common name, and family. A wealth of information is included about each plant, including (in most cases) a photograph of the plant in its habitat, a map indicating where the plant may be found in Wisconsin, and its common names. Other features of the site include a guide to "What's Blooming" around Wisconsin, a key to the conifers of Wisconsin, and information about other current projects of the Wisconsin State Herbarium. [KMG]
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National Environmental Data Index
The National Environmental Data Index is maintained by the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration Environmental Information Service. The service provides a full text search of information from twelve governmental agencies including the US Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and NASA. Users can choose to search from all or individual agencies, type of information, and by several specific subjects. Results display the agency and initial hits found within each, you can then display all results including links to the specific information. The breadth of data is helpful for one-stop shoppers, but it does create long waiting times for results, so specific search criteria is recommended. This site is also reviewed in the November 15, 2002 NSDL Physical Science Report.
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The Mammal Species of the World
The Department of Systematic Biology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History offers this Web site for The Mammal Species of the World (MSW) -- a database of mammalian taxonomy containing the names over 4,000 currently recognized mammal species. This database is intended for use as a "convenient on-line reference for identifying or verifying recognized scientific names and for taxonomic research." The database may be searched using a number of different fields, including scientific and common names, original publication citation, type species or locality, distribution, etc. In addition to serving as an online reference, MSW can be "adapted as an authority file for collections management activities of mammal collections." This site is also reviewed in the November 15, 2002 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [RS]
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General Interest

Sigmund Freud Museum
The father of psychoanalysis receives an excellent and authoritative treatment about his life and activities at this Web site, sponsored by the Sigmund Freud Museum that is located in Vienna. The site is thematically divided into a number of sections -- a timeline of Mr. Freud's life, prevalent themes throughout his work, information about the museum, and a collection of video and audio clips. The timeline is a good place to start, as it offers an overview of Freud's achievements from his birth in 1856 to his death in London in 1939. The Themes section of the site contains details about the dominant themes in his work, such as his work with his daughter, Anna Freud, and a selected bibliography. The most fascinating part of the site is the video and audio clips of Freud, particularly when one considers that he was notoriously camera-shy and generally avoided the media. Overall, the site will prove to be helpful to students and other persons hoping to learn more about the world's most recognizable psychoanalyst. [KMG]
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Guide to Gay and Lesbian Resources: A Classified Bibliography Based upon the Collections of the University of Chicago
Compiled by Frank Conaway, Sebastian Hierl, and Sem C. Sutter at the University of Chicago Library, this thorough bibliography offers an excellent guide to the voluminous amount of scholarly work on gay and lesbian themes. The guide contains a brief introduction about the methodology and reasoning behind the nature of this guide, and also lists some significant resources that researchers may be able to draw upon. The guide itself is divided into 22 major sections, such as religion, humor, and domestic relations. The guide concludes with an index that will help users perform a quick search of any topics that are of interest. In total, the guide lists over 4500 monographs and serials dealing with this broad topic, and will be of great assistance when looking for scholarly materials in this area. [KMG]
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Over the past few decades, the role and function of "the street" in urban life has been reinvigorated as numerous scholars, policy makers, and urbanites have chimed in with their impassioned feelings and ideas on the subject. Marc Voelckel has provided his own site, Ruavista, to explore the diversity of street life and public culture, and, as he states, "Ruavista seeks to organize this richness and to share it with the greatest number of people worldwide and strives to promote a new form of urban tourism based upon visiting ordinary streets and paying attention to details rather than famous spots and beautiful architecture." The site itself features photographic essays from photographers (professional and amateur) around the world, including Paris, San Francisco, and Rio during the World Cup. Additionally, the Street Sounds section has a host of audio clips featuring the local sounds of such locales as a bird market in Jakarta, the call to daily prayer in Mali, and a panpiper in Bucharest. For those who love urban places and visual culture, this site will be one to visit over and over again. [KMG]
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History of the University of Georgia
While the Digital Library of Georgia has many fine projects and online documents, this is one of their latest additions. This massive history (over 3000 pages!) was written by Thomas Walter Reed, the longtime registrar of the University. After presenting the work to the University, Mr. Reed remarked, "It is not such as I would call anything like a finished piece of work, but it may do some good to file it away." The work has long been a favorite of researchers within the Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and is now available in its original form online. Divided into 19 chapters, the work deals with the presidents of the Universities, the physical development of the campus, and its student life, along with containing a general profile of all the graduating classes. The document offers a first-hand perspective into one of the South's major universities, and one that researchers will be glad to have available with such ease. [KMG]
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Pick A Trail
Developed by the Wilderness Society, the Pick a Trail Web site offers general information about backpacking and hiking in the United States and different trails in other countries, such as the United Kingdom. The trails featured on the site are organized alphabetically, with a special emphasis placed on those trails leading through the US National Park System. Information on each trail includes a brief sketch of the host country, including basic climatic information, local topography, and the type of terrain that each trail traverses. Along with this material, there are short essays on subjects related to hiking, such as identifying local plant species, associated health risks, and what items to bring along. Rounding out the site is an interactive map of the United States that allows visitors to click on each individual state to obtain an overall profile of the trails located there. [KMG]
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The Buckminster Fuller Institute
Presaging the movements of political ecology, "smart growth", sustainable development and other trends of the past three decades, R. Buckminster Fuller remains one of the most misunderstood Renaissance individuals of the 20the century. Today, Mr. Fuller is most well known for inventing the geodesic dome, which he hoped would become a model for low-cost housing across the world. Over his life, Mr. Fuller was awarded 47 honorary doctorates, wrote 28 books, and was the recipient of numerous architectural and design awards. As such, it is fitting that this Web site features a great deal of his work, including many of his statements on his conception of "design science," and not surprisingly a great deal of information on the geodesic dome and its uses. Other helpful material on the site includes numerous publications from the Institute, such as their newsletter and environmental news. Overall, a fascinating site that documents the life of Mr. Fuller and the Institute dedicated to keeping his philosophy and principles alive and meaningful. [KMG]
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Roger L. Stevens Presents
This exhibition preview from the Library of Congress highlights the work of Roger L. Stevens, one of America's foremost theatrical producers and impresarios of the 20th century. During his a career that lasted over fifty years, Mr. Stevens backed his first Broadway show in 1949 and soon became a moving force in American and British theater, eventually presenting over 100 plays and musicals in total. If these achievements were not enough, Mr. Stevens also served as the first chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The exhibit includes promotional material for a number of his productions (including West Side Story and The Visit) and production photos from plays like The Great White Hope, which starred James Earl Jones. [KMG]
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Network Tools

The Scout Portal Toolkit
Version 1.0.0 of this turnkey open source portal software has just been released by the Internet Scout Project -- the result of a two-year effort funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Scout Portal Toolkit (SPT) allows groups or organizations to catalog and disseminate their collections or resources via the World Wide Web without a significant outlay of technical resources or expertise. SPT's metadata tool comes packaged with Dublin Core fields which can be modified easily to fit a collection's specific needs. Other features include a flexible interface (through separation of PHP and HTML), privilege settings and workflow management features. Also of interest are a recommender system, reader ratings and comments, and a Google-like search engine. SPT was built with special attention paid to accessibility issues, in order to make it more useful to all users, including those with disabilities. Persons hoping to take advantage of this excellent (and free) Toolkit will need to have access to a web server that supports PHP and MySQL, preferably running Linux and Apache. [KMG]

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Opera 6.02b
The Opera Web browser application features several novel features, such as keyboard shortcuts, zooming ability, integrated searches, and mouse gestures. This latest beta version has undergone speed enhancement, as well as rectifying several aspects of the application's performance, like the cookie manager and the link bar. Also, there is a significant section on the site dedicated to answering questions about Opera, and online forums to ask questions of other users. Opera is offered free of charge, but this particular version does have a banner ad feature that can be removed by paying to register the program. The application is supported by all Macintosh operating systems. [KMG]
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In The News

Video Game Serves as Inspiration for Criminal Activity
Teen Car Thief Blames Video Game
Video Game Violence and Public Policy
Video Game Research
Entertainment Software Rating Board
Seattle Post-Intelligencer Special Report: Violence and Video games
Statement of the Federal Trade Commission: "Marketing Violent
Entertainment to Children: Self-Regulation and Industry Practices in the
Motion Picture, Music Recording, and Electronic Game Industries"
Last week in southeastern Wisconsin police officers spotted a young man breaking into vehicles in a local apartment complex, and it was subsequently discovered that he and several other youths had stolen approximately 100 vehicles before they were caught. The apparent inspiration for this string of car thefts was a popular video game, in which characters steal cars from parking garages, along with other less-than legal pursuits. The question of whether or not video games inspire young people to replicate criminal and violent acts has been the subject of great policy discussion and investigation. While it has been suggested that the killings at Columbine High School were in part motivated by certain musical artists and violent video games, the debate over the short term or long term effects of these games continues unabated, with numerous advocacy groups and the Federal Trade Commission entering into the fray.

The first link leads to the news story that reports the full details of this recent wave of auto thefts in southeastern Wisconsin. The second site is a report on video games, First Amendment rights, and public policy by Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family. The third link is to the Video Game Research Site, maintained by Professor John Sherry at Purdue University, which contains several helpful papers on the nature of video game research and the potential effects of long-term exposure to these games. The fourth site is that of the Entertainment Software Rating Board, a self-regulatory body that deals with all facets of the entertainment software industry, and is also responsible for determining which rating any particular game will receive. The fifth link is to a series of special reports written by journalists at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on violence and video games. The final link is to a prepared statement given by Lee Peeler, the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, on the marketing of violent entertainment products to children by the video-game, motion picture, and music industries. [KMG]
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