The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 15

April 18, 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 eighth 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 pharmacogenomics. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about filtering water.

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Research and Education

National Archives and Record Administration: Access to Archival Databases
The National Archives has recently created this valuable online database that contains close to 50 million historical records, culled from 350 archival sources from 20 different federal agencies. Some sources include the Japanese-American Internee File, the Community Action Program Grant Master Files, and the Civil War Sites Database. From the homepage, visitors can learn about the architecture of the database, read about the terminology used on the site (and in the archives more generally), and how to get help using the archives. To begin, users will want to select a file unit, which are divided by subject, geography, organization, time span, and creator (such as civilian or military agency). After making this selection, a list of relevant file units will be returned, and users can select the one that is most germane to their area of interest. At this point, users can perform a more detailed search within the particular database they have selected. When users have found the information they are looking for, they have the option to view the records, print them out, or copy them to their own computer. Overall, this is an important addition to the extensive number of federal data sets available online. [KMG]
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Bishop Museum Ethnology Database
The Bishop Museum in Hawaii was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop to honor his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha family. Over the past century, the museum has expanded several times to adequately house and display their extensive collection of Hawaiian artifacts, primary documents, and photographs. Most recently, the curators at the museum have created an online exhibit containing 400 objects from their ethnology collection that includes more than 70,000 objects. The objects are divided into nine different classifications, such as hula drums, surfboards, pounders, and barkcloth. Clicking on each object brings up a number of photographs of different items within each group, along with a brief section that explains the importance and daily use of each item. For scholars hoping to locate specific objects, the entire 70,000 piece collection can be searched by object type, material, region of origin, island, or collection theme. [KMG]
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This American Life [Real Player]
On their Web site, the staff of the radio show "This American Life" describes their innovative and popular show in these words: "Its mission is to document everyday life in this country. We sometimes think of it as a documentary show for people who normally hate documentaries. A public radio show for people who don't necessarily care for public radio." Hosted by Ira Glass since its inception in 1995, the show has run the gamut of compelling and fascinating topics, ranging from summer camp to gun control in the United States. On their Web site, listeners can listen to over 150 previous episodes, learn about contributors to the program, and read about how to submit story ideas and internship opportunities. Educators may also want to take a look at the For Educators section, which offers some perspectives on how This American Life may be used in the classroom. Finally, visitors can also view a list of the staff's favorite shows, including a rather memorable tribute to Frank Sinatra that features Gay Talese reading some of his own reporting on Sinatra from the 1960s. [KMG]
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American Association of University Professors
Founded in 1915 by Arthur O. Lovejoy and John Dewey, the noted pragmatist and educator, the purpose of the American Association of University Professors is "to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education's contribution to the common good." For easy access, the site is divided into five sections, encompassing most of the organization's primary activities. The section of academic freedom and tenure includes numerous statements issued by the organization and a list of academic institutions that been censured by the Association during its history. The other section that will be particularly useful is the research section of the site, as it features annual reports on the economic status of professors and links to other sites dealing with higher education statistics. For those interested in joining the Association, membership information is available online, along with a regularly updated calendar of events and press releases. [KMG]
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Television Watching and Other Sedentary Behaviors in Relation to Risk of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Women
The last few years have seen a number of studies linking a sedentary lifestyle to obesity and an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes. This problem has been rather pronounced in the United States, as more Americans tend towards watching or being "passive" participants in activities. In a study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Professor Frank B. Hu and his colleagues at Harvard examined the relationship between various sedentary behaviors (particularly prolonged television watching) and the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes in women. Looking at approximately 50,000 women from 11 states, Dr. Hu and his colleagues determined that sedentary behaviors were associated with a significantly elevated risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. For persons interested in public health and women's health in particular, this report will be of great importance. [KMG]
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Beyond Edge City: Office Sprawl in South Florida [.pdf]
Released in March 2003, this paper from the Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy at the Brookings Institute deals with the persistent phenomenon of office sprawl throughout much of South Florida. Authored by Robert E. Lang, the 12-page report demonstrates that the majority of office employment in the area is located in "Edgeless Cities," a form of small-scale and scattered development that never reaches any type of critical mass. Lang suggests that this type of development, which has increased significantly since the 1970s, "can exacerbate a region's jobs/ housing mismatch, or widen the distance between economic opportunity and concentrations of minority households." After a brief introduction to the existing situation, Lang continues to discuss this emerging pattern, along with offering a section explaining his methodology, general findings, and most importantly, some broad policy recommendations. [KMG]
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BioChipNet: The Informational Web site on BioChip Technologies [.pdf]
The BioChipNet database, maintained by researchers at the University of Tbingen in Germany, offers a "comprehensive information platform on microarrays and related fields." The BioChipNet Web pages offer a mountain of microarray-related resources, including profiles of companies and institutions engaged in biochip technology, links to PubMed articles, announcements of upcoming meetings and conferences, a detailed glossary, and more. Researchers and commercial interests alike should find BioChipNet and its conveniently centralized catalog of microarray resources of use. This site is also reviewed in the April 18, 2002 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [RS]
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Smithsonian Physical Tables
From the Online Interactive Books and Database Web site Knovel comes the Smithsonian Physical Tables 9th Edition. "Originally published by the Smithsonian Institution Press, this classic reference source comprises 901 tables of general interest to scientists and engineers, and of particular interest to those involved with physics in its larger sense." The downloadable tables include general physics constants, constants for temperature measurement, the blackbody and its radiant energy, temperature characteristics by material, latent heat, thermal properties of gases, acoustics, geomagnetism, and many more. This free service provides a wealth of important and helpful information that scientists and researchers everywhere should fully utilize. This site is also reviewed in the April 18, 2002 NSDL Physical Science Report. [JAB]
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General Interest

The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music
An alumnus of Johns Hopkins University, Lester S. Levy had a profound love of music and, in 1976, presented his collection of over 29,000 pieces of sheet music to the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at his alma mater. Spanning from 1780 to 1980, the collection is especially strong in music related to military conflicts, the circus, and minstrels. The staff at the Eisenhower Library have devoted a great deal of time to digitizing the entire collection, placing it online for the general public to view and enjoy. Visitors may browse through the collection by subject headings, such as patriotic songs, transportation, juvenile, or artists. Additionally, visitors may perform a detailed search of the entire online database by title, subject, place of publication, composer, or the first line of composition. On the site, visitors may also choose to read a brief biographical essay about the late Mr. Levy and take a look at a detailed explanation of how to best use the collection. [KMG]
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Free Speech Movement Digital Archive [Real Player]
The Free Speech Movement that began on the Berkeley campus of the University of California in 1964 began a groundswell of student protests and campus-based social activism that would later spread across the United States for the remainder of the decade. With a substantial gift from Stephen M. Silberstein in the late 1990s, the University of California Berkeley Library began an ambitious program to document the role of those students and other participants who gave a coherent and organized voice to the Free Speech Movement. The primary documents provided here are quite extensive and include transcriptions of legal defense documents, leaflets passed out by members of the movement, letters from administrators and faculty members regarding the movement and student unrest, and oral histories. The site also provided a detailed bibliography to material dealing with the movement and a chronology of key events within its early history. Perhaps the most engaging part of the site is the Social Activism Sound Recording Project, which features numerous audio clips of faculty and academic senate debates, student protests, and discussions that were recorded during this period. [KMG]
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A Tapestry of Time and Terrain [Quick Time]
This helpful teaching tool from the United States Geological Survey brings together the comprehensive geological and topographical maps of the United States. As the site suggests, "... this digital tapestry outlines the geologic story of continental collision and break-up, mountain-building, river erosion and deposition, ice-cap glaciation, volcanism, and other events and processes that have shaped the region over the last 2.6 billion years." First-time users will want to watch the Quick-Time film that shows the merging of the two maps, along with a brief description of how each individual map portrays the United States. Within the features description section of the site, visitors can interact with a clickable map surface that details the prominent features of the United States, such as the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin and the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington. Equally helpful for learning about geologic time is the interactive map legend that allows users to learn about the different eras, like the Paleozoic or the Precambrian. For people who are looking to learn more about geology, this Web site will be one they will want to peruse several times. [KMG]
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Indian Peoples of the Northern Great Plains
Created with grant support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant Program, this online database highlights the photographic and visual record of current and former Indian groups from the Northern Great Plains. Housed at Montana State University, this particular online collection was designed to provide students, researchers, and the general public with direct access to valuable primary source material on Plains Indian cultures. The general organization of the site's archival materials is by tribe, but there are several themed collections, including one of Blackfeet tipis. The search options are quite impressive, as users can search by subject, date, location, tribe, and artist or photographer, along with further refining each search by looking by the geographical location of where the item is currently held. [KMG]
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Documentography [Flash, Quick Time]
Over the past one-hundred and fifty years, groups of photographers have formed collectives to promote their work and, at times, to advocate on behalf of certain social causes. The photographers that comprise the Documentography group work to achieve both goals and have developed this site to showcase some of their own work, along with the works of other independent photo-journalists. From the main page, visitors can look at intriguing work of some of these up and coming international photographers, including Anna Kari, Eduardo Martino, and Guilhem Alandry. Visitors can also browse the entire contents of the group's Web-based photo magazine, Issue. In the most recent edition, visitors can view photo essays dealing with the relocation of indigenous people of Canada and the mission of an evangelical church in the heart of Amsterdam's red-light district. [KMG]
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The Library of Congress National Book Festival Cybercasts [Real Player]
Sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by Laura Bush, the 2nd National Book Festival took place on October 12th, 2002. While the event is now several months in the past, visitors to this site can watch almost all of the proceedings over the Internet. By browsing through the site, visitors can watch over 40 authors read from and about their respective writings. Interested parties can watch and listen as Edmund Morris talks about his biography of Teddy Roosevelt, or to David McCullough as he talks about his life-long love of reading and books. Other special features on the site include the ability to listen to the Georgia Sea Island Singers's rousing performance on that day and a celebration of Cambodian-American heritage that was another part of the day's proceedings. [KMG]
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International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
The International Federation of Library Association and Institutions is "the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users." Started in 1927 in Edinburgh, the Federation currently has over 1700 members located in 150 countries. From the sites main page, visitors can read the Federations governing documents, search a directory of current members and affiliates, and learn about their annual conference. The section detailing the fellowships and grants administered by the Federation will be especially helpful to aspiring library and information professionals who are seeking to enhance their training, or those looking for funding for new projects in the arena of librarianship. Library and information professionals will definitely want to check out the past conference proceedings (which include many papers presented in each session), which date back to the 1993 conference held in Barcelona. Finally, the Electronic Collections portion of the page holds a number of useful links, including many dealing with metadata resources, upcoming digital collections from around the world, and information on copyright and intellectual property issues. [KMG]
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Network Tools

Jet Audio Basic 5.12
Jet Audio is an integrated multimedia software program that allows for simple playback, but includes dozens of other helpful features, such as the ability to record music, the ability to convert to other file formats, and the option to broadcast music over the Internet. Other features include speed control (without pitch change), an alarm and timer, a number of equalizer modes, and crossfading between songs. This latest version of Jet Audio is compatible with all systems running Windows 98 and higher. [KMG]
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OmniGraffle 2.1.1
For Mac users looking for an application to help them create graphs, this latest version of OmniGraffle may come in handy. Featuring several new palettes for creating network diagrams, this version can be quite useful when creating new graphs for presentations, papers, or other communications where graphical representations are crucial. Users also have the ability to select from more than 30 kinds of shapes to use in their graphs, and can also turn individual shapes or graphics into clickable links that open files or launch URLs. Compatible with all systems running Mac OS 10.1 and higher, this free version of OmniGraffle will allow users to create documents with up to twenty items. [KMG]
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In The News

Famed Weight-Loss Doctor Passes Away
Weight-Loss Doctor Dies at 72 from Head Injuries
Robert Atkins, Who Revolutionized Dieting, Dies
The Atkins Center
No Proof that Low-Carb Diets Work
Efficacy and Safety of Low-Carbohydrate Diets: A Systematic Review
Dietary Guidelines for Americans [.pdf]
As a result of injuries sustained in a fall on April 8th, the well-known nutrition guru Dr. Robert Atkins passed away this past Friday. Dr. Atkins was best known for his controversial, yet often lauded, approach to dieting and staying healthy. After he moved to New York to start his medical practice, he noticed that he rapidly gained weight, soon tipping the scales at 225 pounds. After reading an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1963 that focused on the fat-causing effects of carbohydrates, he replaced his own intake of carbs and sugar with foods that were high in protein. Several years later in 1972, he published his book, Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, which quickly became a best-seller. Despite the popular support and testimonials that praised the diet, many in the medical establishment remained unconvinced. Currently, the National Institutes of Health are conducting a long-term study of the effects of the Atkins Diet.

The first link will take users to a news piece from USA Today about the life of Dr. Atkins. The second link will take users to an obituary for Dr. Atkins from todays Chicago Sun-Times. The third link leads to the Atkins Center Web page, which features photographs of the late Doctor, along with information about his philosophy on dieting and nutrition. The fourth link leads to an online article from Medline Plus discussing a recent review of medical studies dating back to the 1960s that appears to indicate that cutting carbohydrates from the diet is not an effective way to lose weight. The fifth link leads to a complete text-version of this review from the Journal of the American Medical Association. The final link leads to the dietary guidelines for Americans, developed at the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion within the United States Department of Agriculture. [KMG]
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