The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 19

May 16, 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 tenth 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 the fifty years of DNA. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about karst.
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Research and Education

Africana Digitization Project
Produced by the Digital Content Group at the University of Wisconsin Library, the Africana Digitization Project provides a excellent template for further projects to make works dealing with Africa more accessible to researchers and other interested parties. Currently, there are eight works available for browsing on the site. These important resources include Andre Alvares Almada's Brief Treatise on the rivers of Guinea from 1594, P.E.H. Hair's Barbot's West African vocabularies of 1680 from 1992, and Manuel Alvares's account of travels through modern-day Ethiopia from 1615. All of the works here are in English, and can be searched individually using the online search engine provided. For persons doing work in the field of African history, or those interested in reading travel narratives from Europeans, this repository will prove to be a helpful find. [KMG]
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Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus On Line
Developed as a public online resource by the Getty Institute, the Art and Architecture Thesaurus is a structured vocabulary containing 125,000 terms and other information that may be used to describe art, architecture, decorative arts, material culture, and archival materials. Each record within the Thesaurus is returned as a concept, which in turn, is linked to various terms, related concepts, sources for the data, and notes. For example, if a user types in the term "gargoyle," all of this valuable information is returned, including a chart that notes the terms hierarchical position within the Thesaurus. An online help feature will assist first-time visitors get better acquainted with the system, and a FAQ section provides answers to a number of common queries. Finally, users can provide feedback to the editors via an online form. [KMG]
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Biodefense: A Need for Public Understanding and the Critical Role of Science Teachers [pdf]$File/Biodefense+Section.pdf
In the light of the recent concerns over the threat and possibility of bioterrorism, the Office of Science Education at the National Institutes of Health has recently released this informative pamphlet (originally published in fall 2002) for teachers hoping to broaden the topic in the classroom. The publication itself gives teacher an opportunity to discuss how public health decisions are made, explain the role of vaccination in public health, and how to effectively address student concerns about bioterrorist attacks. Many of the pieces in the pamphlet were written by Robert Taylor, a science journalist and editor who taught high school chemistry before returning to take his PhD in chemistry from Georgetown University. Other pieces in the publication include an interview with Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases and an extended piece about smallpox. Educators and the general public will find this 12-page publication informative, both in terms of providing substantive scientific information and in dispelling popular misconceptions about bioterrorism. [KMG]
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National Humanities Center: Online Professional Development Seminar Toolboxes
While there are many online pedagogical tools for high school teachers to use in the classroom, there are relatively few that allow these educators the ability to create cost-effective professional development seminars for themselves and their colleagues. The National Humanities Center has developed these helpful toolboxes, which can effectively "fit into tight school calendars and equally tight budgets." The toolboxes currently available online deal with the experience of the American Revolution and sectionalism in the United States from 1815 to 1850. Each toolbox contains a structural outline of the materials, a general timeline of events, topic framing questions, and important suggestions for how best to run each development seminar. Most importantly, the toolboxes have been created and tested by professors, teachers, and the educational program staff of the National Humanities Center. Additionally, the site notes that seminar toolboxes on The Making of African-American Identity: 1865-1915 and The Gilded and the Gritty: America, 1877-1920 will be made available in coming years. [KMG]
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The Swinburne Project
Best known for his fine use of meter and eccentric personality, Algernon Charles Swinburne was one of the best-known poets of Victorian-era England. Edited by John Walsh of Indiana University, the Swinburne Project currently contains four volumes of Swinburne's poems, two volumes of his prose from the Bonchurch Edition of The Complete Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne, and his second classical drama, Erechtheus. The online works can be searched by word, phrase, stanza, or paragraph. The site also features a chronology of Swinburne's life, including information about when his key works were composed. Readers unfamiliar with his work may do well to browse through some of his poetry, or perhaps take a look at some of his well-received criticism, which includes studies of Ben Jonson and Shakespeare and his contemporaries. [KMG]
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Developed by the American Federation for Aging Research (with an educational grant from Pifzer), "delivers the latest research-based information on a wide range of age-related diseases, conditions, issues, features, and news." A good place to start for first-time visitors, the news center featured on the site is a frequently updated collection of links to news articles from a number of reputable sources dealing with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other germane topics. The Ask the Expert section contains long-form answers to a host of questions dealing with caloric intake, memory loss, prostate cancer, and alcohol usage from medical experts and researchers. Along with these areas, two sections (Biology of Aging and Healthy Aging) offer suggestions on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the life cycle. Finally, users can utilize a search engine to hone in on specific areas, along with a online Web form that allows individuals the ability to subscribe (at no cost) to receive print versions of upcoming health newsletters. [KMG]
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Explore Cornell: Beetle Science [Macromedia Flash Player, QuickTime]
You don't have to be a coleopterist to enjoy this eye-catching Web site from Cornell University's Department of Entomology. "Beetle Science" is an excellent showcase for this amazingly diverse and abundant order of insects and related Cornell projects. The Web site offers a number of fun multimedia features, such as a collection of beautiful carbon dust illustrations and rotatable images of beetle specimens from the university's Insect Collection. Visitors may also view an interactive timeline of efforts to control the invasive Asian Longhorned Beetle, or take a virtual tour of two beetle research labs. These and other well-designed features make this a great site for the beetle novice as well as the seasoned expert. This site is also reviewed in the May 16, 2003 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [RS]
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Big Dig Archeology [QuickTime]
From the Boston Museum of Science comes the Big Dig Archeology educational Web site. Visitors get a chance to explore Spectacle Island, an archaeological site just offshore from the City of Boston. They begin by learning about the site itself, what it looked like, what tools the Native Americans used, what food they ate, and other physical and natural histories of the island. A wide range of descriptions and photographs are available, as well as several interesting QuickTime movies of the island's early history, its recent history, and a description of the excavation from an actual archaeologist. The well-designed site does a good job of providing nontechnical descriptions and enough multimedia content to make it enjoyable for kids of all ages. This site is also reviewed in the May 16, 2003 NSDL Physical Science Report. [JAB]
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General Interest

The Sargent Murals at the Boston Public Library [Quicktime]
Best known as a portrait painter for the rich and fashionable, John Singer Sargent worked for nearly 30 years (1890-1919) on a monumental mural cycle, Triumph of Religion, installed in the Boston Public Library's main building, designed by McKim, Mead, and White and opened in Copley Square in 1895. Since 1919, the murals have deteriorated considerably, and this Web site presents their current restoration, as well as their creation story, with many images and biography of their creator, John Singer Sargent. For example, navigate through Description and Interpretation in the Murals section for an explanation of why Sargent's selection of a religious topic for a public building, odd-seeming to our 21th century sensibilities, was in fact a 19th century expression of a progressive, Enlightenment idea. See the Restoration section for discussion of Sargent's use of non-traditional materials in the murals, such as adding relief or raised elements, which unfortunately complicate the restoration process. The site also includes an Images section for those who just want to see the pictures and Quicktime movies. Soon, a live camera will be added. [DS]
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Gardens have fascinated mankind since the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, if not before. They have been the source of inspiration and reflection for persons ranging from Monet to Michael Pollan, author of Second Nature. Drawing on his own small patch of land, Jay Dykes has created this delightful tribute to his own small garden, with an emphasis on its insect life. At the site, visitors can elect to start at one of three sections: Fly, Walk, or Crawl. Within each section, visitors will find an array of arresting photos of snails, honeybees, wasps, and butterflies, to name but a few. A nice touch is added to the Web site by the presence of a tiny ladybug that makes its way across the screen throughout the site. Most of the photographs also feature a magnifying glass, which allows visitors to examine the intricate features of these small creatures. The accompanying descriptions of the photographs and their subjects are creatively fashioned, and include several anecdotes about Mr. Dyke's experiences with these backyard denizens. Anyone with the most remote interest in garden-dwelling insects should find this site interesting. [KMG]
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League of Nations Photo Archive
Created by the League of Nations Archives, the Center for the Study of Global Chance, and the Indiana University Libraries, this online archive of League of Nations photographs is a fine resource for persons looking for visual documents related to the development and history of this former international organization dedicated to the promotion of international peace and security. The photo collections themselves are divided topically into groups that include personalities, assemblies, councils, delegations, and a "various" category that contains photographs of the League's headquarters in London. The site also features digital versions of two important promotional documents: The Illustrated Album of the League of Nations and The League of Nations: A Pictorial Survey. Both of these intriguing documents were designed to promote the mission and work of the League to the broader public, and as such, are fascinating repositories of visual material. Finally, the complete 224-page book titled "The Aims, Methods, and Activity of the League of Nations," published by the League Secretariat in 1935, is also available here for perusal. [KMG]
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British Broadcasting Company: Audio Interviews with Writers [RealOne Player]
The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) has a prodigious archive of audio interviews from their many decades of radio broadcasting, with this particular site paying homage to the many fine writers who they have spoken to over the years. Visitors can listen to the likes of Kingsley Amis talking about why he started writing, Robert Graves discussing his masterpiece "I, Claudius," and Virginia Woolf's remarks titled "a eulogy to words." There are audio clips from over thirty writers in total, including Elie Wiesel, Alice Walker, William Styron, Susan Sontag, Salman Rushdie, and the late George Bernard Shaw addressing a group of young people where at one point he remarks on his own education, "I could not read schoolbooks, because they are written by people who don't know how to write." For further information, each selection of audio clips contains a link to a brief profile of each author and additional Web resources, where available. [KMG]
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Center for Arts and Culture
Founded in 1994, the Center for Arts and Culture is an independent think thank that "aims to broaden and deepen the national conversation on culture and cultural policies." One of the Center's core missions is to function as a place for public discussions of cultural issues and policies throughout the United States. To this end, the Center commissions research, facilitates public roundtables, and publishes a number of research reports and guidebooks for practitioners and policymakers. On their site, visitors can read about their public programs (most of which take place in Washington, DC) and the Center's history. The publications section of the site is particularly impressive, as visitors can download works dealing with a number of germane topics, such as globalization and cultural diplomacy, copyright issues in cultural policy, and national investment in the arts. [KMG]
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The Intellectual Property and Technology Forum
Designed and edited by students at the Boston College Law School, the Intellectual Property and Technology Forum is a legal publication "dedicated to providing readers with rigorous, innovative scholarship, timely reporting, and ongoing discussion from the legal community concerning technology law and intellectual property." The site is divided into several key sections, including news headlines, articles, commentary, and resources. The commentary section includes transcripts of recent speeches on intellectual property and telecommunications law, along with pieces on biotechnology and the Internet. Also, the section includes helpful information on relevant upcoming conferences. The articles section highlights recent work from law students, professors, practicing attorneys, and other professionals in the field. Finally, contact information for the staff of the Forum is provided so that interested parties can offer suggestions or submit work for their consideration. [KMG]
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Genetics: The Symphony of Life [QuickTime]
Developed by the University of Michigan Health System and intended primarily for the general public, this Web site provides basic information about genetics and medicine in jargon-free English. The site begins by drawing on the metaphor of a symphony orchestra to demonstrate some of the basic concepts of genetics, including how genes, proteins, and cells work in tandem. Visitors can browse through sections devoted to various genetic diseases to obtain a brief overview of each condition, and about ongoing research projects at the University on each particular disease. A glossary and terms section is also available for persons visiting the site, and can be used to explain any unfamiliar terms. The site is rounded out by an essay that relates the historical development of genetic research at the University of Michigan. [KMG]
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Network Tools

MrDiary 1.02
MrDiary is a handy little organizer and planner that users can download and use on their computer desktop. Divided into three panels, one panel allows users to enter detailed notes about tasks that need to be completed on each day, another panel offers a interactive monthly calendar, and the final panel is where information about important contacts can be stored. Available in English and Italian, the application is compatible with all systems running Mac OS 9.0 and higher. [KMG]
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Group Mail Free 3.4.145
For persons looking for a way to send email to groups of friends or colleagues, Group Mail will prove to be a valuable find. This free version of the Group Mail application lets users send email to groups of up to 100 recipients at a time. While many of the extra features are only available to those who purchase the professional edition, persons using the free version still have the ability to download Spanish and Dutch dictionaries to use in conjunction with the application. Group Mail Free 3.4.145 is compatible with all systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]
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In The News

New Study Documents the Dramatic Effect of Industrial Fishing across the World's Oceans
Study: Only 10 Percent of Big Ocean Fish Remain
Rapid Worldwide Depletion of Predatory Fish Communities
United Nations Division for Sustainable Development: Protecting and Managing the Natural Resource Base of Economic and Social Development -- Oceans/Coastal Areas/ Fisheries
Internet Guide to International Fisheries Law: Compendium of Legal Texts
Global Aquaculture Alliance
In a study published in the journal Nature, co-authors Ramsom Myers and Boris Worm concluded that 90 percent of the world's large fishes have disappeared from the world's oceans over the past fifty years, attributing this phenomenon to industrial fishing. Utilizing data from the past 47 years, Myers and Worm looked at the precipitous decline in the populations of species such as tuna, marlin, and swordfish. The report noted that the largest population decline began when industrial fishing became increasingly ubiquitous in the early 1950s around the world. As Myers noted in a recent interview, "Humans have always been very good at killing big animals. Ten thousand years ago, with just some pointed sticks, humans managed to wipe out the wooly mammoth, saber tooth tigers, mastodons and giant vampire bats." While several individuals in the fishing industry took exception to the tone of the report, co-author Worm noted that there were potential solutions to the problem, including declaring certain fishing areas as "off-limits." Other experts have commented that it also makes sense for the fishing industry to investigate the expansion of aquaculture, along with a more strict adherence to conservation policies.

The first link will take visitors to an online news article from about this recent study that contains comments from the co-authors and representatives of the fishing industry. The second link leads to the report by Myers and Worm in the most recent issue of the journal Nature. The third link will take visitors to a site maintained by the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development that highlights partnerships and programs developed by various countries to effectively maintain the productivity and viability of their coastlines and surrounding oceans. The fourth link leads to a nice compendium of international fishing treaties and agreements that stretches back to the 1923 Convention for the Preservation of the Halibut Treaty. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, and contains information about ongoing projects in aquaculture around the world. The final link leads to a site devoted to providing "complete background information on every species of whale, dolphin, and porpoise," along with offering details about whale watching and the evolution of cetaceans. [KMG]
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