The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 4

January 31, 2003

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 second issue of the second volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Super Bowl technology.

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Research and Education

The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing
Despite the relatively high levels of literacy among the general populace of college students in the United States, many of them have difficulty with writing clearly and effectively. A new writing primer has been developed by Michael Harvey (a professor at Washington College in Maryland), and will be of great help to many students who find themselves grappling with writing college-level assignments and papers. The homepage for the guide contains hypertext links to various sections, including those dealing with style, structure, evidence, and paper mechanics. From the main page, students and educators can access any of the primer's many sections quickly, such as those dealing with the use of the historical present, finding a voice, and nominalizations. All of these sections are complemented by a profuse number of examples that illustrate the different writing tools and potential pitfalls that students may encounter. This online guide is a welcome addition to the Web resources available to students seeking to become more effective and compelling writers. [KMG]
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Children of a Lesser State: Sustaining Global Inequality through Citizenship Laws [.pdf]
The Jean Monnet Project at New York University's Law School was established in 1990 to promote teaching in European integration, particularly in the fields of law, economics, political science, and history. As part of the Project's mission, they have an extensive archive of working papers dealing with these various topics. Written by Ayelet Schachar, a professor of law at the University of Toronto, this recent 52-page working paper from this series was released in January 2003. Much of this paper is concerned with a critical examination of how differing conceptions of citizenship may perpetuate global inequality across nations. As Professor Schachar notes in her introduction, "Perhaps the most dramatic consequences for children's lifelong prospects follow from the basic determination that any political community must make: defining which children that polity views and protects as its 'own.'" Throughout the remainder of the paper, Professor Schachar offers a broad range of material covering conceptions of citizenship, along with exploring ways in which children become members of their respective political communities. [KMG]
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Flags of the World
Maintained by a staff of editors from around the world, the Flags of the World Web site contains over 18,000 pages of information about flags and over 32,000 images of flags. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the site is the multitude of ways in which users can look for different flags: by country; page title; date of last page update; and most interestingly, topic. Some of these topics include oil companies, pirates, signal flags, weather flags, and flags in movies. Each flag page includes information about the flag's history, the flag's symbology, and in some cases, different incarnations of the nation's flag. For users hoping to learn more about the study of flags (i.e., vexillology), there is a thorough glossary of words commonly used in the field. The site is rounded out by a section that answers frequently asked questions, such as "How do you hang a flag at half mast?" and "Why are these flags similar?" [KMG]
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Two Towns of Jasper
The subject of race and race-relations in the United States is one that is at times avoided by many persons, but the documentary Two Towns of Jasper and its well-conceived Web site developed by PBS foster meaningful dialogue about these issues. The documentary deals with the murder of James Byrd (a black man), who was dragged to his death behind a truck driven by three white men in Jasper, Texas. On the Web site, visitors can read about what has happened in Jasper since the events of 1998, including hearing from the family of Mr. Byrd, the ongoing town-hall meetings, and about the convicted murderers. The Web site also allows visitors to listen to a series on "Race in America," hosted by Amy Goodman. Visitors can also ask questions of the documentary filmmakers, Marco Williams and Whitney Dow, along with browsing a fine selection of related Web sites and related classroom resources that will help educators facilitate discussion on race. [KMG]
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Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy at the University of Washington
The Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy at the University of Washington draws on the scholarly work of four different universities, including Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania. The purpose of their research is "to identify ways that leaders, policymakers, teacher developers, and the reform community can support teachers' work and careers." Researchers will want to look at the ongoing research projects in progress at the Center, which include examinations of the role of unions in the teaching environment and a comparative study on school district investment in the improvement of teaching. Probably the most valuable aspects of the site are the online policy briefs, occasional papers published by the center, and working papers from the past several years. Lastly, visitors have an opportunity to sign up to receive updates on the Center's work via email. [KMG]
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Florida Center For Environmental Studies
Based at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, the Florida Center for Environmental Studies collects and disseminates research and educational materials related to water-dominated ecosystems, especially the Everglades. Scholars working in the field of ecology will want to read about their current multi-year research projects, which include working to coordinate ecological restoration efforts in South Florida and to alleviate the effects of agriculture on the complex ecosystems in the region. One of the more valuable features on the Web site is a searchable database of over 600 Web sites related to water ecosystems. The database is searchable by organization type, geographic scope, language, and location. The site also contains a list of upcoming academic conferences around the world and those sponsored in conjunction with the work of the Center. Educators and students alike will want to peruse the educational opportunities available for both groups under the Education and Outreach area of the site, many of which offer professional development or academic credit. [KMG]
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Digital Library Technology Trends [.pdf]
Published in August 2002, the white paper from Sun Microsystems examines technology trends in digital libraries. It starts with a discussion of the fundamentals of building a digital collection and how practices have evolved in the past few years. The paper notes a few pioneering efforts that were originally intended for the preservation of historical works, and in doing so, underscores the importance of digital library design. By using several different sites as examples, the paper describes how digital libraries are implemented. The document concludes with a look at how future technologies will impact the creation and organization of digital libraries. This site is also reviewed in the January 31, 2003 NSDL MET Report. [CL]
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National Railway Museum [Quick Time]
The British railway system was one of the first national systems in the world; so, it is not surprising that they also have the largest railroad museum in the world. Offering a number of online exhibits, their site is an excellent resource for anyone, young and old, hoping to learn more about the history of railroads in Britain. For starters, users may want to look at the Frequently Asked Questions section, where the Museum's experts answer a number of queries, such as "How does a steam locomotive work?" and "What is the world's heaviest train?" From there, users will want to take a virtual tour of the Museum by navigating to the Panoramas section, where they will have the ability to look around the Museum's Great Hall, where legendary British locomotives are kept, as well as viewing the interior of the Mallard, the world's fastest steam locomotive. The digital exhibits are located in the Exhibits section, which includes presentations combining short essays and visual materials on nine different themes, including "The History of Railway Photography;" "Railway Posters;" and "North by Northwest," which highlights recent photographic work taken along rail routes in Scotland. [KMG]
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General Interest

History Channel: This Day in History
For those looking to find out about a variety of important historical events on a particular day, this site provided by the History Channel will be both entertaining and informative. This Day in History collects information about historical events organized around a number of topical sections, such as Cold War History, Literary History, Old West History, Technology History, Wall Street History, and Civil War History. Along with brief essays describing the events of a particular day, some of the more recent events also have short video clips that users can watch. On one recent day (January 28th), events covered included the tragic explosion of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986 and the United States' failure to capture Pancho Villa, the Mexican revolutionary. Visitors can also type in their birthdays to find out about events that occurred on that day, as well as for a list of well-known persons who share their birthday. [KMG]
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The Chronicles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle might not have invented the detective story, certainly his numerous works devoted to the sophisticated observations and deductions of Sherlock Holmes and his companion John Watson are some of the most beloved contributions to the genre. Launched several years ago, the Web site is frequently updated, and offers a nice selection of materials that relate the story of Doyle's own life and the many adventures of Holmes and Watson. From the main page, visitors can read about Who's Who in the elaborate world of Sherlock Holmes, browse a list of the stories featuring Holmes and Watson, and read about the death of Sherlock Holmes. Interestingly enough, Doyle's decision to end the storied life of Holmes led 20,000 people to the magazine in which his final story appeared to cancel their subscriptions. The site is rounded out by an essay that describes Doyle's intense belief in spiritualism and some brief discussion of his other works of fiction, most notably The Lost World.[KMG]
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Science Museum: Antenna Science News [Windows Media Player]
The Web site of the London's Science Museum (last mentioned in the April 21, 2000 Scout Report) now offers Antenna, a section of frequently updated popular science news delivered with a decidedly British sense of humor. Antenna offers both short (about 3 screens of information) and longer features (6 or more pages), some with video. Recent short features are "First human clone - or is it?"; "Bond robot," examining real world uses of James Bond technology; and "Cod and chips at risk," a look at the causes of reduced availability of fish and chips as cod is overfished. An example of a longer feature is "Tiny tickers fixed before birth," an offering about heart surgery performed while Baby is still safe inside Mum. Be sure to check the archives for past articles, both long and short. [DS]
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Renaissance Secrets
Developed as part of a partnership between the Open University and the BBC, the Renaissance Secrets (based in part on a television series) addresses four different historical questions dealing with various aspects of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, along with providing helpful material on the practice and art of writing about and understanding history. The four topics include a discussion of the many faces of Venice during the Renaissance, medical care and hospitals during the Renaissance, the conspiracy to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I, and Johannes Gutenberg. Within each of these four topic areas, visitors can read short thematic essays about related topics and find out more about the evidence and historical knowledge that informs each related topic. By doing so, visitors (particularly students) will be able to better understand how historians "do" history. Finally, from the site's home page, visitors can also read essays from practicing historians about their own work and how they begin to collect evidence and interpret the past. [KMG]
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Music Library Association
Founded in 1931, the Music Library Association is a professional organization devoted to music librarianship and to various aspects of music materials from a wide range of institutional, educational, and public libraries. Persons interested in a career in music librarianship will want to read the section titled Music Librarianship-Is It For You?, as well as continuing on to read about joining the organization. For persons seeking to learn more about the Association's activities, they will not be disappointed. Visitors to the site can read the group's bimonthly newsletter, along with viewing a complete list of their publications and monographs. Along with these materials, the site features a complete list of the Association's standing committees, interest groups, email discussion groups, and grants for which members can apply. [KMG]
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Alzheimer's Association
Located in Chicago, the Alzheimer's Association is a national voluntary health organization that is dedicated to advancing research for the causes, treatments, and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. The introduction section of the site contains materials that discuss the history of the organization, their accomplishments, and local chapters of the Association. Persons hoping to learn more about the disease will want to examine the About Alzheimer's section, which contains helpful materials about the medical nature of the disease, ten warning signs for detecting Alzheimer's, treatment options, and myths commonly associated with the disease. For those with Alzheimer's, a section that addresses ways in which they may cope with the condition will be very helpful. Finally, researchers will want to take a look at the area devoted to current research on the disease, along with a media section that highlights news about fighting the disease from around the world. [KMG]
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Congress for the New Urbanism
The New Urbanist movement in architecture and town planning began in the United States as an effort to alleviate the pattern of urban and suburban sprawl that was a common element of post-World War II development around the country. The first place new visitors will want to start is by reading the charter statement of the group, along with a brief history of the organization, which was begun in 1993. The bulk of the substantive materials on the site are located in the Resources section of the site, which contains reports on different planning projects undertaken by New Urbanists, a bibliography of suggested readings organized around different topics (such as housing, policy, and retail), and an image bank containing visual materials from a host of different design sites. Additionally, users seeking the latest news and information about New Urbanist projects can access a frequently updated In The News area. [KMG]
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Network Tools

SlimBrowser 3.45
SlimBrowser 3.45 is the latest version of a rather novel and helpful multiple-site browser based on a tab-page interface. Some of its many features include built-in Web page translation, a pop-up ad removal interface (with the option to recall windows blocked accidentally), and a automated form for filling out Web forms. Additionally, SlimBrowser has the capability to open a number of sites at the same time and the ability to hide sites. SlimBrowser is compatible with all systems running Windows 95 and above. [KMG]
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Speed Download 1.94
Fully customizable for different user needs, Speed Download is an Internet utility that allows for rapidly increased downloading of large files from the Internet. Also, the application allows users to drag and drop any file to any location on their hard drive. Users have access to a helpful online manual and a frequently asked question section that will answer many queries about the application. This version of Speed Download can be used for 14 days for no charge, at which point users will have to pay a fee for the application. Speed Download is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X 10.1.5 or higher. [KMG]
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In The News

Sundance Film Festival Announces Winners
2003 Sundance Film Festival [Flash]
"Splendor," "Friedmans" Win Sundance Awards
Sundance Update: Friedmans Captured in Park City Interview with Harvey Pekar
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Film festivals have become immensely popular during the last few decades, and it seems like almost every city or state now has some type of festival to showcase the work of local, national, and in some cases, international filmmakers, both young and old. Started by Robert Redford in 1981, the Sundance Film Festival (held annually in Park City, Utah) has quickly grown into one of the most prestigious celebrations of filmmaking in the world. Earlier this week, the Sundance Film Festival announced its awards in the Independent Feature Film Competition. Among the winners were "Capturing the Friedmans" (which won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize), "American Splendor" (which received the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize), and "My Flesh and Blood" (which received the Documentary Audience Award).

The first site leads to the official 2003 Sundance Film Festival site that contains a wealth of material, including lists of all films shown at the festival and detailed information about the juries for the different competitions. The second link is to a news article from the Washington Post that reports on various award recipients of this year's Sundance Film Festival competition. The third link is to an online article that discusses the making of the film "Capturing the Friedmans" with the director, Andrew Jarecki. The fourth site leads to an interview with the noted comic book author Harvey Pekar, whose life was chronicled by director Shari Springer for her 2003 Sundance Festival award-winning film, "American Splendor." The fifth site leads to the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival home page, which was founded in 1998 to showcase the work of documentary filmmakers solely. The final site,, is the clearinghouse for information about almost every single film festival in the world, and contains a search engine, detailed calendars of upcoming events, and frequently updated information about upcoming releases. [KMG]
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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2002. The Internet Scout Project (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

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