The Scout Report -- Volume 8, Number 46

November 22, 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 Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology
The twenty-first issue of the first volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about the Turing Test.

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Research and Education

The Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies
The Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies (ORB) site was begun in 1995 to establish an online resource for medievalists and others hoping to disseminate current research in the field and to serve as a repository of previous scholarship for the general public and scholars alike. Edited by Carolyn Schriber of Rhodes College, the site contains an online encyclopedia, updated regularly by various contributors, and a textbook library. The encyclopedia is divided into time periods (e.g., early medieval, high medieval) and thematic areas, such as religion and culture. Highlights of the encyclopedia include a book-length work on medieval English towns and information on the religious orders of the time. The online textbook section contains full-length works, written by experts in their respective medieval fields, for use in the classroom. The site concludes with a helpful section for beginning scholars titled "What Every Medievalist Should Know," and a general interest area for persons seeking to learn more about medieval history. [KMG]
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Historic Cities
Jointly sponsored by the Historic Cities Center within the Department of Geography at Hebrew University and the Jewish National and University Library, the Historic Cities Web site is intended to contain maps, literature, documents, books, and other relevant material concerning the past, present, and future of historic cities While some of these documents and ephemera are still forthcoming to the site, visitors will find a wide array of historic city maps and views dating from 1486 to 1720. The scanned maps are searchable alphabetically, by date, and by individual cartographer. Additionally, a bit of information is provided about each cartographer. Overall, the site contains close to two hundred individual city maps and renderings, ranging from medieval Heidelberg to Casablanca. For persons with an interest in urban morphology and the history of cartography, the Historic Cities site will be a good place to start. [KMG]
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Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution
A collaborative project by George Mason University and the City University of New York, this site presents over 600 digitized documents, roughly 350 of which are texts, and the remainder images, primarily political cartoons. Textual documents include memoirs and eyewitness accounts, letters, newspaper articles, and manifestos, most of them translated from French to English, such as the Constitution of 1793, sometimes called the "Montagnard Constitution." A search page is provided, where users can search by keyword or select from a range of broad topics -- Middle Classes - Bourgeoisie, Monarchy, Napoleon Bonaparte, Nobility, Peasants, Sans-culottes, and so on. Even though those seeking known items will want to search, probably the easiest way to navigate the site is to select the Explore or Browse options. Explore leads to a set of 12 essays, from "Social Causes of the Revolution" and "The Enlightenment and Human Rights" to "Songs of the Revolution." To help in understanding the iconography of the French revolution, there is also an essay entitled "How to Read Images." A user choosing Browse can see lists of all the images, texts, maps, and songs at the site, or view a timeline of events, as well as a 65-term glossary. The Web site materials are available as a CD-ROM with companion book; ordering instructions are given at the site. [DS]
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La Follette School of Public Affairs
Embodying what is often referred to as "The Wisconsin Idea," the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin is named after one of the most prominent members of the Progressive movement, which grew out of the ferment of the Gilded Age and a growing belief that government should exist to serve and assist the public before the interests of the corporate business community. Continuing in this tradition, the La Follette School Web site is a repository both for the academic activities of the School, and its ongoing sponsorship of public conferences, lectures, and seminars. Prominently featured on the site is information about the School's academic programs, faculty and staff details, and their engaging work in public service to the state and people of Wisconsin. Persons looking for current public policy research will want to look at the biennial publication of the center, the La Follette Policy report, along with other publications dealing with a variety of regional issues, such as educational reform in Milwaukee and Wisconsin's structural deficit. [KMG]
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The Media Center for Art History, Archaeology, and Historic Preservation [Flash, Quicktime]
The slide projector and the overhead may soon become obsolete teaching aids if the exemplary work of the Media Center for Art History, Archaeology, and Historic Preservation at Columbia University continues their efforts to assemble, organize, and create virtual archives related to the history of architecture, urbanism, and preservation. In their own words, the Center "explores material culture, vision, media, and pedagogy in the broadest sense to connect faculty research and student learning through the creative application of technology." Featured projects include an interactive 360-degree tour of the Church of La Madeleine in Vezelay, France, and an entire site devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright's famed Fallingwater house. Also, previous projects are archived on the site and are searchable by subject area and geography. [KMG]
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Center for the Ethnography of Everyday Life [.pdf]
The Center for the Ethnography of Everyday Life is the fourth in the Sloan Foundation's network of centers devoted to the study of working families in the United States. Hosted at the University of Michigan, the Center's Web site presents useful information about the Center's ongoing research projects, their personnel, and opportunities for post-doctoral fellowships. Much of the scholarship at the Center is informed by the approach of cultural anthropology, but a host of perspectives are included in their projects, including those of social work and sociology. Perhaps the centerpiece of the site is the Working Papers section, which features different works in progress. Recent titles include "Taking Culture Seriously: Making the Social Survey Ethnographic," "Media in the Middle: Work, Family, and Media Use in a Middle Class Midwestern Town," and "The Farming Family: Work, Character, and Change in Rural America." [KMG]
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Exploring the Future of Learning
ThinkQuest is a worldwide collaboration of students and educators that explores "youth-centered learning on the Net." A conference held by ThinkQuest in July 2002, called Exploring the Future of Learning, focused on emerging technologies and ideas to improve global education methods. This Web site presents several articles about the conference that were written by student journalists who attended the event. The articles highlight technology trends and new innovations, as well as the experiences and impressions of the students themselves. Some specific items that are discussed include tele-immersion, augmented reality, and video conferencing. This site is also reviewed in the November 22, 2002 NSDL MET Report.
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John Snow
Professor Ralph Frerichs of UCLA has created this masterful site dedicated to exploring the life and work of John Snow, an individual who is perhaps best known for determining how cholera is transmitted. Along with offering a biography of Dr. Snow, the full-text version of his seminal work, "On the Mode of Communication of Cholera" is included. Best of all, Professor Frerichs has scanned the all-important maps that Dr. Snow created to document the spread of cholera within London, and they are featured here as well. Professor Frerichs has also added other information related to the historic debates about its spread and nature, along with competing theories of cholera and an extended discussion of the removal of the Broad Street pump, which effectively ended the threat of cholera in that part of London. Along with providing a great deal of material about the nature and history of public health investigations, this site is a good example of how to present a broad range of historical material on the Internet effectively. [KMG]
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General Interest

Archaeological Collage
Greg Haun, a programmer and expert in the art of photo collage, has created this innovative approach to looking at historical change and transformation in the urban environment. Taking historic photographs and contemporary photographs of the same location, Mr. Haun offers 21 different views of Portland, Oregon. The innovative element is that users can scan through three different settings of the same location: Past, Collage (which blends both the Past and Present, and Present. Through this creative format, users can see the vast transformations of Portland's built environment, including the disappearance of opulent theaters for parking lots and the re-adaptive use of certain buildings. The site is rounded out by a short essay by Mr. Haun on his collage technique, as well as information about his most recent project, a mural that draws on historical photographs. Generally speaking, this is a great introduction to a technique that may be of great assistance to local historical societies and persons interested in displaying changes in the urban environment over time. [KMG]
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Shaker Historic Travel
Designed by the National Park Service, along with the cooperation of the Shaker communities and museums along the East Coast, the Shaker Historic Travel Site offers information about sites of historic and cultural importance within the Shaker community, and broadly, within the history of American religion. The site is framed by three short essays titled "The Shakers," "Utopias in America," and "Shaker Style," which orient the visitor an introduction to crucial facets of the Shaker way of life. The first essay offers a history of the Shaker religious movement, the second presents the origins of utopian communities, and the final one deals with the simplicity and sparse utility of Shaker handcrafts and architecture. Also, there is a complete list of the sites along the Shaker Historic Trail, which range in location from Maine to Kentucky. For students or persons looking for additional material on the Shakers, a full bibliography is available on the site, as is a listing of external Web sites dealing with Shaker and other utopian communities. [KMG]
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Jamaica National Heritage Trust
Many visitors to Jamaica come only to visit the country's world famous beaches along the Ocho Rios and the diverse resorts scattered along the north coast of this Caribbean nation. For those persons planning a visit to Jamaica, or those who are looking for information about sites of historic and archaeological importance, the Jamaica National Heritage Trust will be useful. Visitors to the site will find information about historic sites in the country organized by geographical location (in this case, by parish) and by building type or function, such as forts and churches. Each entry contains information about the structure, along with the reasons for its inclusion on the National Heritage list. The site also has material on the Trust's outreach programs, such as the archaeological excavations throughout the country, many of them dealing with the culture of the indigenous groups and former slave communities. [KMG]
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Duke Ellington
This site pays homage to one of America's most prestigious and creative composers, Duke Ellington. Offering an introduction to the many accomplishments of Mr. Ellington's career, which lasted over fifty years, is quite challenging, but the site serves as a nice introduction, particularly for younger students. Divided into five sections, users may want to start with the short biographical essay that gives information about Mr. Ellington's early life in Washington DC, the formation of his first band, and his compositions. Next, a section on his music lists his compositions, including his songs, concert works, and other extended pieces. A quotation section lists famous quotes attributed to Mr. Ellington, and other quotes about him by his contemporaries. Mr. Ellington's diverse achievements and accolades are also listed on the site, and finally, a photo album provides glimpses of this American master at work, both composing and with his numerous ensembles. [KMG]
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US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women
Established in 1995 by the federal government, the Office on Violence Against Women is responsible for handing the Department of Justice's legal and policy issues regarding violence against women in the United States, along with working closely with other divisions within the Department and administering a variety of grant programs. One of the main components of the site is devoted to providing information about the Office's grant programs, for which state and local agencies are eligible to apply. There is also plenty of material for the general public and community groups, including different publications documenting the very real problem of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. For grant applicants to get a better sense of what other communities are doing around the country, a state-by-state interactive map allows users to find out about programs designed to combat violence against women, such as outreach programs on college and university campuses. The section of the site that is perhaps most useful overall is dedicated to the national domestic violence hotline and sexual assault hotlines for various states. [KMG]
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Life in the White House [Quick Time]
This new virtual exhibit takes visitors on a tour of the many different rooms and areas of the White House, along with the Vice President's residence. Each video tour is led by a different member of the Bush administration, including George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer, and Andy Card. Other video tours on the site include a tour led by the White House curator, William Allman, who discusses the different aspects of the State Floor in detail. Complementing this material are a series of short essays on the art contained within the White House, photo essays, and the histories of White House traditions, like the Easter Egg Roll and the lighting of the Christmas tree. Finally, information about touring the White House in person is also provided. [KMG]
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The Lost Museum [Flash]
Produced by the American Social History Project's Center for Media and Learning at the City University of New York (in collaboration with George Mason University), the Lost Museum brings a recreation of P.T. Barnum's famed American Museum to the Web. Opened by Barnum in 1841, the former American Museum remained a prime tourist attraction until its spectacular conflagration in 1865. As the site notes, "the Museum was the first institution to combine sensational entertainment and gaudy display with instruction and moral uplift." Visitors to the site can navigate the entire virtual museum in the Explore the Museum feature, and can further search a fine online archive of essays, images, and text documents. Within the archive page, visitors can also browse the exhibits of different "attractions," such as the Chang and Eng conjoined twins, Jenny Lind (the "Swedish Nightingale"), and a dozen others. Overall, the Lost Museum offers a wealth of material about the American Museum, and this particular moment in American cultural and social history. [KMG]
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Network Tools

Hot Lingo 2.0
This handy little application offers form and applet spell checking for Internet Explorer 5.0 and higher, something that will be useful for persons looking to perform spell-checking in a number of settings and applications. Hot Lingo utilizes a 75,000 word English dictionary, and with this version, users can create a customizable dictionary that contains up to 32,000 additional words. Their Web site also contains a FAQ section, and a place where users can offer feedback on the functionality of the application. Hot Lingo is compatible with all of the Windows operating systems. [KMG]
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Google Language Tools
This page full of language tools, developed by Google, will be most helpful to persons looking to translate short passages of text or entire Web pages. First, the page provides an engine that allows users to search for pages composed in over thirty languages. The most helpful feature, though, is a translator that lets users translate text passages and Web pages from English into five different languages, and several different European languages back into English. As of November 2002, the Web-based tool is a beta release. [KMG]
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In The News

Young Americans Still Having Difficulty with Global Geographic Knowledge
Where in the World are We? Young People Have No Clue
National Geographic 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey
National Geographic Map Machine
Royal Geographic Society: Geography: An Education for Life [.pdf]
History of the US Cultural Environment
Foreword to Historical Geography
You'd Think It Only Courtesy to Know Exactly Where Eye-rack Was
In a report released earlier this week, the National Geographic Society announced the results of a recent survey of geographic knowledge among young persons (ages 18 to 24), from nine different countries. Conducted with the assistance of the RoperASW group, the survey revealed some rather disturbing gaps in the geographic knowledge base of young Americans and other young people around the world. Among the young people surveyed in the United States, nearly 30 percent could not locate the Pacific Ocean and more than half could not locate India, home of almost 20 percent of the world's population. John Fahey, the president of the National Geographic Society, also commented that, while nine out of 1young Americans could identify the United States on a world map, "it does make you wonder about the other 10 percent."

The first link leads to a recent news article on this geographic survey that appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times. The second link will take visitors to the results of the National Geographic Survey, which also provides a sample quiz for persons to test their own geographic knowledge. Also sponsored by National Geographic, the third link features dozens of helpful thematic maps, dealing with historical and contemporary themes, such as political and cultural maps of the world. The fourth link leads to a 2001 report on improving secondary geographic education from the Royal Geographic Society. Provided by the Environmental Design Library at the University of California at Berkeley, the fifth site is an excellent annotated bibliography of source material for persons interested in learning and researching the cultural landscape of the United States. The sixth link leads to some famous remarks given by Carl Sauer (one of the 20th century's most respected geographers) on the subject of historical geography and its importance to understanding human communities. The final link leads to a sardonic editorial by Gillian Ferguson of the Scotsman newspaper in Scotland on these recent survey results. [KMG]
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