The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 7

February 28, 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 fourth issue of the second volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about sensors.

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Research and Education

The Cervantes Project [.pdf]
Sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation, the Cervantes Project is headed by Professor Eduardo Urbina at Texas A&M University. Not surprisingly, the Project is devoted to presenting the work of Cervantes in a number of online editions, with the inclusion of several pictorial galleries featuring paintings of Cervantes (and images from his books and plays), as well as the Cervantes International Bibliography. Within the Cervantes Digital Library located on the site, visitors can read full-text searchable versions of his complete works, along with numerous Spanish and English language versions of Don Quixote. One nice feature located here is the Don Quixote dictionary, which is meant to assist persons reading the work in English with the classical Spanish terms contained within the text. Along with a biography of Cervantes (available in Spanish, French, and English), the Cervantes Project Web site also features a number of publications produced as a result of their research and scholarship. As most of these documents deal with issues surrounding the creation of digital online projects, they will be of great interest to librarians and information technology specialists. [KMG]
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Black Facts Online
Black Facts Online is a free service provided by Inner-City Software, founded by MIT graduate Kenneth Granderson. At Black Facts Online, visitors can find out numerous facts dealing with African American history, along with searching for facts by date and keywords. One sample search on the words "Angela Davis" revealed numerous facts about the well-known activist, scholar, and author. Each fact also contains a graphic that informs readers whether additional material is also available, such as a link to a Web site, an audio clip, or a picture. Visitors to the site are also offered the opportunity to become a research associate for the site and make contributions to the existing database of facts. Visitors to the site have the opportunity to make a goodwill donation to keep the database up to date and current. [KMG]
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Federal Statistical Office of Germany
With over 2,800 employees, the Federal Statistical Office of Germany collects and processes statistical information for the country out of their three main offices in Weisbaden, Bonn, and Berlin. From their home page, individuals can access dozens of summary statistical tables dealing with almost every aspect of the country, including employment rates, education, environment, transport, foreign trade, wages, tourism, and population. Within each section, individuals can read a brief introduction to the Office's most recent findings in each thematic area and, in many instances, access detailed tables of data, where statistics are broken down by month. The Federal Statistical Office also conducts a microcensus every year, which involves one percent of all households in Germany. Information about this microcensus is available on the site. Most of the site is available in English, but the publications of the Office are only available in German. This site will be quite helpful to those persons working in demography, or for those looking for general data about Germany.
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Part of the World News network, Egypt provides a wealth of links to frequently updated news stories dealing primarily with Egypt. From the homepage, users can click on any number of recent items gathered from a variety of different sources, including the BBC, ABC News, Arabic News, and CNN. The archive of news items stretches back several weeks, and news items are also arranged thematically into sections dealing with the economy, tourism, and technology on the site's main page. The site also features a number of helpful links, such as those leading to English-language news resources for the Arabic-speaking world and to online newspapers in Arabic. The site is rounded out by a list of online travel guides for those seeking to plan a trip to Egypt or other parts of North Africa. [KMG]
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Toxics Release Inventory Program
Established by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986, the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program was expanded by the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990. Operating under the aegis of the Environmental Protection Agency, the TRI Program allows United States residents access to information on the types of chemicals held within their communities, and equally importantly, what types of chemical are released in close proximity to their communities annually. Using the TRI Explorer search engine available online at the site, individuals can search by entering a zipcode, or by state or county as well. Additionally, individuals can search by chemical type; industry type; and year of data, which currently extends back to 1988. Also, individuals can access waste transfer and waste quantity reports, which are also searchable by region and waste type. Visitors to the site can also examine an entire list of chemicals covered by the TRI program, as well as find out about state TRI programs. [KMG]
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Online Etymology Dictionary
In the tradition of that great lover of words, Samuel Johnson, Douglas Harper (an amateur etymologist) has compiled one of the first free online etymology dictionaries. The etymologies are compiled in alphabetical order and parsed into smaller sections for easy viewing. As Mr. Harper notes in the introduction to the dictionary, "Think of it like looking at pictures of your friends' parents when they were your age. People will continue to use words as they will, finding new or wider meaning for old words and coining new ones to fit new situations." The homepage of the dictionary also contains a list of abbreviations that will come in handy when looking over the etymologies, which include such interesting terms as "Ps and Qs" and "pandemonium." The dictionary also features a search engine and should be greatly appreciated by students and teachers alike. [KMG]
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The International Archive of Women in Architecture
Housed at Virginia Tech, the International Archive of Women in Architecture (established in 1985) is an impressive attempt to archive and document the "history of women's involvement in architecture by collecting, preserving, storing, and making available to researchers the professional papers of women architects, landscape architects, designers, architectural historians, critics, and planners." To this end, the Web site contains three major sections that will be of prime interest to persons visiting their site. The first is the Guide to the Collections, which offers detailed information on holdings (such as personal papers, architectural drawings, and so on) related to different women, including a brief biographical sketch, awards, major commissions, and educational background. Next, visitors will want to browse the Biographical Database, which is searchable by last name and geographical region. The last major section is the IAWA image database, which contains photographs of prominent women architects, along with numerous examples of their work. Finally, the Web site concludes with topical material on the day-to-day activities of the IAWA, such as the prizes they administer, their by-laws, and in-house newsletters. [KMG]
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Two on Cable Reinforcement
UC Berkeley News
A. Astaneh's Homepage [.pdf]
A civil engineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley is working on a novel way of maintaining a building's structural stability after an earthquake or terrorist bomb. The team of researchers working with the professor have designed and tested a system that uses cables for backup support in case main support beams failed. An overview of the system is provided in a February 20, 2003 news article. The second site is the homepage of the professor leading this research. A number of projects on which he is currently working are described, as well as an ongoing investigation into the World Trade Center collapse. A couple conference papers are also provided online. This site is also reviewed in the February 28, 2003 NSDL MET Report. [CL]
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General Interest

Baseball Library
Baseball fans will be delighted to find out about the existence of Baseball, a massive database devoted to one of America's favorite summer pastimes. The core of the site is based on two printed works, "The Ballplayers" by Mike Shatzkin and "The Baseball Chronology," edited by James Charlton. Currently, the Baseball Library contains profiles of over 8,800 professional baseball players, 75 book excerpts totaling 840 pages, and a number of other special features, such as the "greatest team" profiles. Looking up individual players brings up substantial amounts of detailed information, including their total statistical profile over their career, memorable highlights, and photographs. Equally exciting is the "Teams" section of the site, where visitors can look at rosters, statistics, and day-by-day season chronologies of every National, American, and Federal League team. The site has numerous featured sections, such as "Hall of Famers;" hypothetical "Historical Matchups;" and one that is certain to generate much conversation (and perhaps many arguments), the 12 selected as "Baseball's Greatest Teams." This site is great fun and will be quite enjoyable for those with a passion for baseball. [KMG]
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Coffin Nails: The Tobacco Controversy in the 19th Century
Culled from the archives of Harper's Weekly, this online trove of visual material and articles deals with the controversy over the alleged health benefits and potential hazards of smoking. The site begins with an orienting essay by John Adler, the publisher of HarpWeek. The compilation itself is quite revealing, pointing out that, as early as 1862, tobacco addiction was a recognized problem, and that the tobacco industry responded to public health concerns by marketing tobacco products that supposedly contained "no nicotine." The site is divided into five major sections, including ones dealing with smoking habits of the young, the "bad behavior" personified by those who smoked excessively, and "healthful" smoking products. All of these sections contain ample selections of news articles from Harper's (usually available as a scanned image and with transcripted text) and the wonderful cartoons of Thomas Nast. Overall, this site will be of great interest to those looking to see how Americans felt about this "noxious weed" in the last-half of the nineteenth century. [KMG]
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The Pantheon
The Greek world of gods and goddesses is extremely intricate, and The Pantheon Web site provides an effective way to begin learning about this world, both for beginners and for those looking to brush up on their knowledge of their exploits and times. Beginners will want to start by reading the essay on the creation of the world out of chaos, which then leads into the piece on the creation of mankind. One helpful feature of these essays is the many interactive hyperlinks that visitors can use to access a brief synopsis about each god or goddess. A section on the principal Greek gods contains an interactive family tree, beginning with the union of Uranus and Gaea, and concluding with their great-grand children -- Apollo, Artemis, and several others. The site is rounded out with a selection of relevant links to other sites dealing with mythology and a list of suggested readings. [KMG]
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Samuel Beckett: Apmonia
One of Dublin's most acclaimed sons, Samuel Beckett was born in 1906 and would go on to embark on a writing career that would include numerous short stories and plays, including "Endgame" and "Waiting for Godot." Established and maintained by Tim Conley and Allen Ruch, Apmonia contains numerous sections devoted to different aspects of Beckett's life and work, including his plays, featured interviews, a biography, and an image gallery. Persons looking for information about his work will want to examine the Works section, which features a complete listing of his written material, along with links to interviews with and about Beckett. Another nice feature of the site are the links to online Beckett communities, where people can come together to discuss various aspects of his works. [KMG]
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Locks, Docks and Beyond [Flash]
The history of waterways is a subject of great interest in both the United States and Britain, and this novel online exhibit on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in West Yorkshire does a good job of exploring the importance of the canal in community life and history. Originally built in the middle of the 19th century during the Industrial Revolution, the canal was closed in 1950 and reopened in 2001. Through personal reminiscences, photographs, and illustrations by local schoolchildren, the exhibit reflects on various facets of the canal and its value to residents living nearby. Within the exhibit, visitors can look at a number of "now and then" photographic essays of towns along the canal (such as the village of Marsden), as well as hear older residents speak about their own experiences working and playing along the canal. The site will be of interest in educators and also to those who are hoping to perhaps create their own local history Web site. [KMG]
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The Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval [.pdf]
The Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval, located within the computer science department at the University of Massachusetts, is dedicated to "developing tools that provide effective and efficient access to large, heterogeneous, distributed, text and multimedia databases." To this end, the Center conducts a number of research activities, along with some rather compelling demonstration projects that visitors may want to examine. One of their demonstration projects located online is Acrophile, which allows users to search a database containing over 51,000 acronyms. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, the Center has also been able to make a number of their working papers available online. The papers are divided into thematic areas, including information retrieval, with the series extending back to 1987. The site concludes with information about the Center's continuing research projects, personnel, and membership materials. [KMG]
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Belgian-American Research Collection [RealPlayer]
The University of Wisconsin System has created this digital collection of resources documenting Belgian settlers in Northeastern Wisconsin. Most of the original materials were gathered in the 1970s by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay during a project "to record the undocumented historical, social, and cultural legacy of this unique ethnic group." At the search page, the collection is divided into three main areas: Architecture Survey, over 400 pictures of buildings; Oral History Recordings, approximately 50 interviews recorded between 1975 and 1976; and Immigration Histories, 3 book length documents of 100 - 200 pages, each viewable on the Web in an e-book format that allows text searching and leafing through images of the original pages. Keyword searches can also be performed across across all the materials. [DS]
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Network Tools

Scout Portal Tookit 1.1.1
Version 1.1.1 of this turnkey open source portal software has just been released by the Internet Scout Project. 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. In order to make it more useful to all users, including those with disabilities, SPT was built with special attention paid to accessibility issues. 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. New to Version 1.1.1 are features that include support for image metadata field(s), simplified data import and export, color and logo customization, improved operation under PHP safe mode, and bug fixes. [TS]
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NetNewsWire Lite 1.0.2
For those persons looking to keep track of any number of news stories from around the world, NetNewsWire Lite will be a helpful application to have. This newest version contains several helpful features, including frequent news updates, numerous news sites, and a simplified interface. Along with these features, visitors will have access to a FAQ section, screenshots of the application, and an email address for support questions. NetNewsWire Lite 1.0.2 is compatible with all systems running Mac OS 10.1 and higher. [KMG]
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In The News

Children's Television Hero and Legend, Mister Rogers, Passes Away
Fred Rogers, Celebrated Host of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," Dies at 74
NPR: Interview with Mister Rogers [RealOne Player]
PBSKids: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers Gets Presidential Medal of Freedom
"Mister Rogers" Reflects on Respect, Diversity, and the Classroom Neighborhood
I Was Mister Rogers' Neighbor,8599,88632,00.html
Amidst all of the current children's television programming, it is hard to believe that such a man as Fred Rogers, with his calm and peaceful demeanor, was able to captivate millions of children (and their parents) with his easygoing and assuring on-screen presence. Yesterday, Mister Rogers, who had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, passed away in his Pittsburgh home at the age of 74. Rogers began his career in 1954 at WQED in Pittsburgh, where he was a puppeteer for a local show. After his ordination as a Presbyterian minister in 1963, he accepted an offer to develop his own show for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In 1966, the show moved back to Pittsburgh and, in 1968, was distributed through National Educational Television, which eventually became PBS. Throughout the years, the show became a hallmark of PBS's programming schedule and was much beloved for its unique facets, such as Mister Rogers' trips to different shops and stores and of course the trolley rides into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

The first link leads to a news article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that relates the story of Fred Rogers' life and passing. The second link leads to a NPR radio interview conducted with Mister Rogers on November 8, 2002, where he speaks about children and growing up during the Great Depression. The third link will take visitors to the site maintained by PBS that offers a host of material about his show, along with information for parents that will help talk with their children about his death. The fourth link is to a news story from July 9, 2002, where Rogers received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bush. The fifth link leads to an interview with Rogers conducted by Education World in which he reflects on classroom composure, diversity, and mutual respect. The final link will take visitors to an article written by Jessica Reaves of, who was Mister Rogers' real-life neighborhood when she was growing up in Pittsburgh. [KMG]
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