The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 9

March 7, 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 Reports for the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences
The fifth issues of the second volumes of the Life Sciences Report and Physical Sciences Report are available. The Topic in Depth section of Life Sciences Report annotates sites on sleeping disorders. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about space debris.

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Research and Education

Preserving our Digital Heritage : Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program [.pdf]
The preservation of digital content has been the subject of great concern for all types of institutions, most notably governmental agencies, libraries, and institutions of higher education. In 1998, the Library of Congress began to develop a digital strategy with a group of senior managers, and in 2000, Congress appropriated $200 million for national-strategy effort. Along with all of their efforts, the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program released this important plan in October 2000 that outlines their efforts so far, along with profiles of current digital preservation activities, challenges to future digital project efforts, and the development of the digital preservation infrastructure. The document is 74 pages, though persons wanting a quick overview can peruse the nine-page executive summary. While not included in this 74-page report, persons seeking additional information will want to download the appendices, which offer overviews of digital preservation initiatives in Australia, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Overall, this report will be extremely valuable to those persons working in library and information science, particularly those who have oversight over digital project initiatives. [KMG]
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The Oregon History Project
The Oregon History Project is an online educational resource designed both for the general public and for students and educators to explore the history of Oregon through primary and secondary documents, photographs, and other ephemera. The site is divided into three main sections. The first, This Land: Oregon, is a narrative overview of Oregon's history, written and compiled by Professor William G. Robbins of Oregon State University. This narrative history is divided into seven broad thematic areas, each containing a number of brief essays on themes ranging from Native American contact with settlers to the nature of the rural-urban interaction in the state. The second section, the Learning Center, contains site guides for teachers and students, a teacher's guide, several interpretive essays, and lesson plans for elementary and middle school classrooms. The site concludes with a section devoted to historical documents, where visitors can browse through 102 items, ranging from a photograph of workers along the Bonneville Dam and a drawing of Fort Vancouver from 1845. [KMG]
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Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The US Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984 [.pdf]
The National Security Archive (the world's largest non-governmental library of declassified documents) has recently released their latest electronic briefing book, dealing with the United States's relations with Iraq in the early 1980s. Edited by Joyce Battle, the collection of documents begins with an extended historical essay that introduces visitors to the complex history of relations between the two nations during this period, including the conflict between Iran and Iraq that continued through the 1980s. Additionally, the essay features embedded hyperlinks to the declassified documents, so that visitors have access to them as they read the diplomatic history. Some of the more compelling documents include memos from Alexander Haig to various Iraqi officials (and their replies), and additional documents sent by Secretary of State George P. Schultz regarding United States interests in the region. [KMG]
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Boomers and Seniors in the Suburbs: Aging Patterns in Census 2000 [.pdf]
Released in January 2003, this paper from the Living Cities Census Series at the Brookings Institution documents the "greying of the American suburban population" and will be of great interest to urban and suburban policymakers, and anyone with an inkling of an interest in demography. Written by William H. Frey of the University of Michigan, the 20-page paper uses the Census 2000 data to examine the changing age composition of the 102 most populous metropolitan areas between 1990 and 2000. The data reveals that the number of people that are at least 35 years old increased by 28 percent in suburbs in the 1990s, compared to 15 percent in cities. Not as surprising was the revelation that the suburban areas with the fastest growth in persons aged 55 and over are located predominantly in "New Sunbelt" metros, such as the areas around Phoenix and Las Vegas. As Frey suggests, "The maturing of the suburban population ushers in a new era for suburban, and presents both opportunities and challenges for local communities tasked with accommodating a variety of residential services and needs." [KMG]
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Scholastic News
While adults have literally thousands of Web sites devoted to providing information about the latest news, younger students have fewer options in this area. The Scholastic News Web site does a good job of offering students (and educators) timely news in a manner that is age-appropriate but not condescending in tone. The site is divided into several main sections, including News, Vote Now!, Sports, and Games and Quizzes. The News section provides brief summaries of current news events and topics, along with brief quizzes on the topics and lesson plans that will be helpful for teachers. The Vote Now! section allows students the opportunity to offer their opinions on topics relevant to their age group, such as "Should square dancing be required in gym class?" The Sports section lets visitors ask Bob Herzog, the resident sports expert, questions about various sports, which he then answers online. Along with the printed material and text available here, many of the features include photographs and audio clips from newsmakers. Scholastic News is designed for students in grades 1 through 8. [KMG]
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League of Nations: Statistical and Disarmament Documents
Established by the Allied Powers at the conclusion of World War I, the mission of the League of Nations was "to promote international cooperation and to achieve international peace and security." Despite the fact that President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919 for his efforts towards creating the League, the United States Congress refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and, as a result, never joined the League. After its inability to prevent military aggression in Manchuria, Ethiopia, and Austria, the League ceased its activities, and was replaced by the United Nations in 1946. Several departments within the Northwestern University Library system worked together to create this fine digitized collection of 260 League of Nations documents, which are organized around three areas: the founding of the League, international statistics published by the League (also available in French), and the League's work toward international disarmament. Users of the archive can search by date, title, or keyword. The site is rounded out with a good selection of related links, including other online collections of related documents at other institutions, such as the Library of the United Nations Office and the Avalon Project at Yale. [KMG]
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Greater Toronto Area Digital Mapping Project
For those with an interest in examining both historic and contemporary maps of Toronto online, this Web site will prove to be a valuable and intriguing resource. Visitors may want to jump into the maps by looking through the index of 73 maps currently available for perusal. The historic maps featured here include a "Plan for Torento Harbour" from 1788 and a property development map of Toronto from 1915, along with 34 others. The 37 aerial photographs of Toronto range from those taken in 1965 to those taken as recently as 1997. One helpful feature of these digitally scanned images is that a magnifying feature allows users to focus with great detail on any area of interest. Finally, the site also offers a search engine, and the text from an exhibit titled, "Mapping Toronto's First Century: 1787-1884," for those with a keen interest in the history of cartography. [KMG]
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The Los Alamos National Laboratories Research Quarterly
The Research Quarterly is published "to communicate the Laboratory's achievements and how they benefit our neighbors, our nation, and the world." Highlights of the Winter 2003 issue include reports on Improving Meteor Impact Predictions, Extending the Life of Nuclear Weapons, Modeling Bone Remodeling, Proton Radiography, Simulation Science, as well as a spotlight on two Los Alamos researchers. Those interested will find an interesting collection of timely research and information from one of the countries top science facilities that's certainly worth reviewing. This site is also reviewed in the March 7, 2003 NSDL Physical Science Report. [JAB]
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General Interest

Unified Vision: The Architecture and Design of the Prairie School
Based on the book, Progressive Design in the Midwest by Jennifer Komar Olivarez, and its Prairie School Collection of objects, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts presents this Web site, featuring architectural objects, a virtual tour of the Purcell-Cutts house in Minneapolis (donated to the Institute in 1985 and restored by 1990), and an architectural tour of Prairie style buildings in Minnesota that can be taken online or in person. Architects whose work can be seen at the site include William Gray Purcell, George Grant Elmslie, Frank Lloyd Wright, and George Washington Maher. Extensive information about each object is available. For example, a dining table and chairs by Frank Lloyd Wright were designed for the house of Mr. and Mrs. George Barton in Buffalo (NY) in 1904, and viewers can zoom in to magnify the grain of the wood. The online tour of the Purcell-Cutts house brings together items from the museum's collection, such as historic photographs and models, with contemporary views showing the house's restored state, as well as providing details such as the architects' notes and a calculation that the $14,355 the house cost in 1913 would be $252,946.29 by 2001. [DS]
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SurLaLune Fairy Tale Pages
Throughout recorded human history, fairy tales have served as ways of inculcating moral value, teaching the young about their culture, and entertaining in the oral and written fashions. Heidi Anne Heiner, a children's librarian at the Burbank Public Library, has created this fine site devoted to providing 30 annotated fairy tales, a number of essays on the art, and the history of fairy tales. The tales provided here include Cinderella,Hansel and Gretel,Bluebeard,Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel. The annotations for each tale are particularly useful, as they contain hypertext links that explain the importance of various symbols and references (such as the color blue or other auspicious omens). Additionally, for each tale, Heiner provides illustrations from various versions of the tale and a listing of similar tales from other cultures. One of the highlights of the site is the inclusion of Il Pentamerone, which was first published between 1634 and 1636, and is essentially the first full collection of European literary fairy tales. The site is rounded out by an fairy tale discussion board where visitors can read comments and post questions about various fairy tales, their origins, and their symbolism. [KMG]
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Austria from A to Z;internal&action=_setlanguage.action?LANGUAGE=en
Part of a broader online encyclopedia project that deals with various aspects of Austrian culture, history, and music, the Austria from A to Z Web site covers topics ranging from A (the international abbreviation for Austria) to Otto Zykan, the noted modernist composer and pianist. The Osterreich Lexicon Encyclopedia forms the basis for this online encyclopedia, which was created by Richard and Maria Bamberger in collaboration with Franz Maier-Bruck. The project was translated into English by the staff of the School of Translating and Interpreting of the University of Vienna. The site also features a lengthy user guide and an extended bibliography divided into thematic areas, such as ecclesiastical history, art, and natural history. Users of the online encyclopedia can search by keyword, or just browse through entries by letter. Many of the entries contain illustrations and links to related material contained within other archives online here, like the Austrian music album and the video album. [KMG]
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Two from the Natural History Museum
Dino Directory
The Dino Directory, from Britain's Natural History Museum, allows students to explore the age of dinosaurs by either clicking on different eras (such as the Upper Jurassic), a list of countries, dinosaur body shapes, or countries. Clicking on an given era will bring up a list of dinosaurs that thrived in that period, organized by the continent they inhabited. Clicking on each dinosaur in the list will bring up a drawing of the selected creature, along with summary statistics (length, diet, and so on) and the geographical areas where they might have been found. Clicking on the list of countries will bring up a list of dinosaurs that lived in the country (based on modern political boundaries), along with their respective taxonomies and periods.
The Quest online feature from the Museum allows visitors to explore any one of 12 objects (including a butterfly, brain coral, and several minerals) from a number of angles. By using a toolbar on the righthand side of the screen, visitors can find out how much each object weighs, measure how big it is, find out how old it is, and ask a scientist about the object. Taken in tandem, these two online educational tools offer a nice interactive resource for teaching students about science. [KMG]
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Bioterror: The Invisible Enemy
This Web site from complements the first episode in the Discovery Channel's monthly series, Spotlight (aired February 26, 2003), which "examines the forces shaping our world." Features of this site include a historical look at biological weapons (used in some shape or form for millennia); an interview with the Institute for Homeland Security director Randy Larsen; Web links for additional information; and Facts and Fallacies -- an online quiz for those who would like to test their understanding of the scientific and historical roots of bioterrorism. Altogether, this Web site offers a brief but thorough (and not overly alarmist) exploration of a pressing issue. This site is also reviewed in the March 7, 2003 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [RS]
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Mount Vernon
Owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association since 1858, the home and grounds at Mount Vernon were home to George Washington for over 45 years. While the site contains ample information for those planning to visit the home in person, there are several nice online features here for persons who cannot make the trip. The Mansion Tour is one such feature, as it allows visitors to the site to take a virtual tour of the home's three floors. Navigating through the floors, visitors can click on such rooms as the Master Bedroom (where Washington himself died in 1799) and read a brief discussion of the room's use and importance, along with viewing additional objects that were part of the room's decor, such as portraits and a mantel clock. The Educational Resources section of the site contains a biographical portrait of Washington, along with an online quiz. Information on the various archaeological digs on the site is available, as is a frequently asked questions section, which dispels various popular myths about the late president, such as the belief that he wore wooden teeth or that he chopped down a cherry tree. [KMG]
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PATH: A Public-Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology
It is no secret that residential housing construction is one of the most important sectors of the US economy. With this in mind, the federal government, in cooperation with the private housing sector and related industries, established PATH in 1998 in order to "accelerate the development and use of technologies that radically improve the quality, durability, energy efficiency, environmental performance, and affordability of America's housing." To achieve this mission, PATH makes a concerted effort to disseminate information about new and existing housing technologies, and to studying mechanisms for sustained housing technology development. The PATH Web site contains information about demonstration housing projects and developments in different states, along with an online library organized around different themes, such as fire protection, quality, affordability, disaster risk, and energy efficiency and environmental impact. Along with the papers and informational booklets available for perusal and download, the site also contains information organized for different users, such as builders, researchers, homeowners, and building officials. [KMG]
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Network Tools

Awasu 1.0
Awasu 1.0 is a free Windows-based news-reader that runs in the background of your computer and monitors sites of interest. While many users may want to monitor news-services, any site can be monitored with Awasu. Persons using Awasu can be notified of site changes by a notification balloon, a number of sounds, or an animation of the application icon. Additionally, there is an online help feature and extensive program documentation. Finally, users can ask any number of questions through online support forums and discussion groups. Awasu 1.0 is compatible with all systems running Windows 98 and higher. [KMG]
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iCal 1.0.2
This handy application from Apple allows users to create a plethora of desktop calendars for the Mac. The ability to create multiple calendars to look at upcoming events and meetings by the day, week, or month. The ability to color-code different calendars for household activities or work tasks can be complemented by adding an alarm reminder, which can be sent to mobile phone or pagers. Users can also share their calendars online with colleagues and family members by signing up for a free 60-day trial (note: the basic application remains entirely free). Finally, users can use a built-in search tool to locate any event or name entered into their calendars. [KMG]
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In The News

Student Protests and Virtual Marches Students Gather by Hundreds for War Protest
Washington Post: 'Virtual March' Floods Senate With Calls Against an Iraq War
BBC News: US 'Virtual March' over Iraq
NY Times: Europe Hacker Laws Could Make Protest a Crime (free registration required)
International Herald Tribune: EU Pact Would 'Criminalize' Net Protesters
National Youth and Student Peace Coalition Win Without War
The Guardian: I'll Meet You There,3605,903318,00.html
On March 5, the Books Not Bombs rallies motivated students from over 360 high schools and colleges across the United States to walk out of class in protest of a potential war in Iraq. These protests came soon after a "virtual march" organized by the Win Without War Coalition, which attempted to unify willing protesters from across the US using the Internet. An estimate of 400,000 telephone calls, as well as 100,000 faxes and numerous emails, flooded Senate, White House, and other government offices, where inundated staff members had difficulty conducting normal communication. Also, earlier this week, on a related note, the European Union passed laws "intended to deter computer hacking and the spreading of computer viruses." Yet, according to legal experts, the law could "criminalize" anyone in the European Union that were to conduct a "virtual march" like the one organized in the US. The laws attempt to limit "illegal access to, and illegal interference with an information system" and call for prison terms of at least two years in some cases.

Offered by, the first site is an account of the student walk-outs that occurred throughout the entire US. The second and third sites are articles on the "virtual march" on Washington. The next two articles concern the new European Union laws passed earlier this week, as well as their relevance to potential virtual protests in European Union countries. The National Youth and Student Peace Coalition Web site offers information about the student walk-outs, while the Win Without War Web site might give insight into how the virtual protests were organized. Finally, an article from The Guardian discusses other arenas of protest on the Web. [TS]
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