The Scout Report -- Volume 9, Number 38

September 26, 2003

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

A Note to our Readers

NSDL Scout Reports

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

In The News

A Note to our Readers

Thanks for Your Feedback!

We would like to thank all of those readers who have sent us questions and concerns regarding the new site and report formats. All of your feedback is definitely taken to heart as we work to fine tune things during this transition and your patience is appreciated. We really value the comments we receive from readers, so please stay in touch. [JPM]

NSDL Scout Reports

NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology

The nineteenth issue of the second volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Mathematical Optimization.

Research and Education

Rural Policy Research Institute

In the past several decades, a number of policy institutes and think-tanks have been formed to open a substantial dialogue about issues affecting rural communities. The Rural Policy Research Institute is one of these organizations, and involves scientists and policy analysts from Iowa State University, the University of Missouri, the University of Nebraska and other affiliated institutions. The Web site is divided into a number of sections, including a publications area, a section that contains editorials written by Institute fellows and staff members, and an area dedicated to providing information about helpful resources such as basic statistics about rural America. On the left side of the home page, visitors can also browse the Web pages of the Institute's affiliated centers such as the Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis and the Rural Poverty Research Center. Finally, users can elect to sign up for an electronic newsletter that will update them about upcoming events, conferences, and publications related to rural policy issues. [KMG]

The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Treaties Between the United States and Native Americans

Since 1996, the Avalon Project at the Yale Law School has provided a number of thematic collections of various important legal documents such as those dealing with German-American diplomatic relations, the Federalist Papers, and Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England. This particular new collection is dedicated to providing the full text (in the HTML format) of approximately 30 treaties signed between various Native American groups and the United States government between 1778 and 1868. Here visitors can peruse the text of such treaties as the 1784 treaty with the Six Nations, the 1791 treaty with the Cherokee, and the 1852 treaty signed with the Apache. Along with browsing a list of the treaties, users also have the option of using the site's search engine to search all of the Native American treaties available here. [KMG]

Federal Labor Relations Authority

Established by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) is an independent agency that is responsible for administering the labor-management relations program for close to 2 million federal employees across the world. As noted on the Web site, their mission is "to promote stable and constructive labor-management relations that contribute to an efficient and effective government." To achieve that end, the FLRA's site provides a host of information about recent cases decided by the Authority, along with information about its activities and current staff roster. Visitors to the site will want to take a look at the FLRA strategic plan for the period from 2002-2005, and review previous annual reports filed by the Authority, which are located in the News and Publications area of the site. [KMG]

Center for International and Development Education

Located at UCLA, the mission of the Center for International and Development Education (CIDE) is "to provide quality information on a variety of issues related to international and development education." To help achieve this goal, the CIDE has developed this Web site which contains a number of publications, information about ongoing research projects, material on practical initiatives and a detailed list of links to other relevant institutions and organizations. The news section of the site is useful, as it contains brief news pieces about recent events dealing with study abroad programs, new networks between universities across the world, and the role of universities in developing nations. The reports section is divided into sections dedicated to study abroad, humanitarian relief, and teacher training reform (among others) and contains recent works on these various subjects. The site is rounded out by a good selection of outside links to like-minded institutions and centers, such as the Comparative Educational Society of Europe and the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies. [KMG]

International Council on Archives

Headquartered in Paris, the International Council on Archives is a decentralized organization that serves as the professional organization for the world archival community. The Council has branches in all parts of the world (with the exception of North America), and has over 1500 members in over 170 countries and territories. From the Council's homepage visitors can read about its mission, read its constitution, and find out detailed information about the officers who work on behalf of the Council. Persons working in the field of archival management will want to take a thorough look at the publications section located here. This section includes the ICA's Code of Ethics, works on international archival standards, several recent studies, and resource lists for professional literature in various subject areas. Visitors can also peruse the Web sites provided by the different branch offices, such as those of the Arab Regional Branch and the Southeast Asia Regional Branch. [KMG]

The OYEZ Project [RealOnePlayer, QuickTime]

The curious (yet appropriate) name of the OYEZ Project is derived from the Middle English word oyez, which is the phrase by which the Marshal of the Supreme Court calls the courtroom to order. This particular phrase also serves to remind us that up until the 18th century that speaking English in a British court of law was not required and that one could use Law French when conducting business before a court. That being said, the OYEZ Project was started in 1996 by Jerry Goldman (a professor at Northwestern University) and his colleagues, and contains over 2000 hours of audio recordings of various cases and arguments held before the Supreme Court. On the site, visitors may peruse the On This Day section, which contains a listing of all Supreme Court events that happened on a particular date in history; or look through a listing of cases sorted by subject, with such categories as due process, criminal procedure, and so on. Within each case visitors may read a brief summary of the case, and in many instances, may listen to the oral argument from each hearing. The site is rounded out by a virtual tour of the Supreme Court building that includes the building's Great Hall and the chambers of Justice John Paul Stevens. [KMG]

Remembering the Flint Sit-Down Strike, 1936-1937 [RealOnePlayer, Macromedia Flash Reader]

Developed with the assistance of the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for Humanities, this online multi-media digital exhibit examines one of the most celebrated strikes in American history, the Flint Sit-Down Strike of 1936-1937. The idea for the project had its origins in 1978, when Neil Leighton (a political science professor at the University of Michigan-Flint) was at a professional conference and another scholar recommended that he begin to create an oral history of that historic event in American labor history. The fine interactive facets included here include an engaging audio timeline, a detailed map of the strike-related activities (such as the various locations of the General Motors plants accompanied with brief descriptions of when workers began to strike at each location), and a slideshow. Each section on the strike itself contains a brief essay about such topics as the preexisting conditions in the plants, the organization of the various strikes, and the aftermath of the events that took place during those two years. The audio reminisces are quite dramatic, and address such topics as the union demands, the nature of the piecework system in the plants, and the unequal wage system. Overall, this online exhibit is a thorough introduction to one of the most important events in the history of the American labor movement. [KMG]

NASA Future Computing and Communications Technologies [Windows Media Player, RealOne Player, Microsoft PowerPoint]

A series of NASA Webcasts on Future Computing and Communications Technologies, broadcast live in April and May 2003, are now archived and viewable at this site. Each Webcast was approximately an hour in length and featured notable scientists and technology experts from NASA projects and laboratories. Originally intended for high school juniors and seniors, the presentations addressed issues such as spaceborne communications, nanotechnology, artificially evolving systems, and more. These Webcasts are an excellent resource to learn about NASA research from a high level perspective. This site is also reviewed in the September 26, 2003 NSDL MET Report. [CL]

General Interest

NOVA: Infinite Secrets [pdf]

During the 3rd century BCE, the scientist Archimedes began to explore the emerging field of mathematics (including the concept of infinity), along with developing elaborate war machines for use by his native Syracuse against the Romans. This new Web site (along with its accompanying NOVA television program) explores his life and the recent discovery in a Parisian apartment of his manuscript, called The Method -- the document in which scholars believe he came quite close to discovering calculus. The site includes a number of interviews, short articles, interactive features, and a teacher's guide. One of the most compelling interviews on the site is the one with Stanford University classics historian Reviel Netz who talks about the concept that underlies the idea of infinity. A particularly nice interactive feature is the Approximating Pi demonstration that illustrates how Archimedes calculated pi around the year 250 BCE. [KMG]

The National Book Foundation

The charge of the National Book Foundation has been to highlight great American writers and writings. As the preeminent organization devoted to literature "the Foundation has sought to fulfill this mission in two ways. Through The National Book Awards -- the nation's preeminent literary prize -- the Foundation recognizes books of exceptional merit written by Americans. Through its unique outreach programs featuring National Book Award authors, communities participate in the writing life of the nation by reading and writing together." Over the years, the awards have featured the names of such exemplary and inimitable authors as Saul Bellow, Rachel Carson, Thornton Wilder, William Faulkner, and Lauren Bacall, and include such genres as autobiography, poetry, religion, history, fiction, and more. With September 2003 came the addition of Stephen King -- the author of numerous short stories and books that take the reader through twisted, snaring plots in stories such as Carrie, Christine, and Misery -- to this illustrious list of honorees by receiving the foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. At this Web site, visitors can peruse a listing of all of the award winners, learn about the annual National Book Month (celebrated in October), and explore the many other offerings of the foundation including workshops, writing camps, and available resources. [JPM]

The Hedda Morrison Photographs of China, 1933-1946

Founded in 1928, the Harvard-Yenching Library is the largest university library devoted to East Asian research in the Western world. All told, the library's collections currently stand at over a million volumes. This particular online archive holds over 5,000 photographs and 10,000 negatives taken by Hedda Morrision while she resided in Beijing from 1933 to 1946. Mrs. Morrison later mounted the photographs into thematic albums and donated them to the Harvard-Yenching Library, which her husband described as "the best permanent home for her vision of a city and people that she loved." The photographs themselves document various trades, professions, landscapes, and architectural structures of China that in many instances no longer exist. Visitors seeking to search this particular archive will need to use the Harvard University Library's Visual Information Access system. A user-friendly guide to using the database is provided here, along with a chronology of Mrs. Morrison's life, and a listing of the contents of each photo album, as originally conceived by Mrs. Morrison. [KMG] Author Interviews

A number of publishing houses and well-regarded independent booksellers have placed author interviews on their respective Web sites, but this particular one from the massive Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon may be one of the most intriguing online collections available. Containing over 50 interviews, the authors profiled here include Ann Patchett, David Halberstam, Paul Theroux, Susan Orlean, and Deepak Chopra. Several of the interviews are particularly interesting, including the one conducted with Erik Larson (author of The White City, a tale that intertwines different stories about late 19th century Chicago together) and one with Michael Chabon, the author who won the Pulitzer Prize for the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Finally, visitors have the opportunity to take a look at related publications from Powell's, such as a compilation of lengthy interviews with 22 different authors. [KMG]

Ancient Manuscripts from the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu

Founded 900 years ago, the city of Timbuktu (located in what is now the country of Mali) was a center of major commercial importance and a place where many Islamic scholars received their education. This exhibit, developed by the Library of Congress (with the use of manuscripts from the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library and the Library of Cheick Zayni Baye of Boujbeha) explores some of the many important literary traditions and scholarship developed during this period of scholarly effervescence. Here visitors can browse over 30 primary documents, including texts designed to train scholars in the field of astronomy and the nature of Islamic mysticism. The exhibit is rounded out by several maps, such as a map from 1743 that shows the region in and around Timbuktu. [KMG]

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Developed by Ingrid Schwaegermann, this Web site is offered as a homage to one of the most beloved classical composers, Ludwig Van Beethoven. Far from just offering a smattering of platitudes on Beethoven, the site is divided into a biographical section, a picture gallery, an area dedicated to offering musician's comments on Beethoven's legacy, and a most splendid section that details the stories behind many of his works. The Creation Histories section is particularly enjoyable as visitors can learn about how Beethoven crafted each of his symphonies, where they were first performed, and how they were initially received. The biography pages are also detailed, beginning with a discussion of Beethoven's family life, continuing into his time as court apprentice, and moving on to his time in Bonn and Vienna. Additionally, the section dedicated to musicians' musings on Beethoven is quite lovely, with a piece by E.T.A. Hoffmann on Beethoven's instrumental music, and the late Yeduhi Menuhin's reflections on performing Beethoven's music. Not surprisingly, the contents of the site are also available in German. [KMG]


Over the past several decades, the practice of visual anthropology has come into its own, and has spawned a number of academic programs around the world, and more than a few scholarly journals. Designed as a clearinghouse and focal point for the field, this Web site (developed by Dr. Francesco Marano) is a well-organized place that contains a host of material for people intimately familiar with the field, and for those who seek to become better acquainted with it. The homepage begins with a listing of the latest news from the field, material about upcoming conferences, announcements about new books and journal articles, and finally an online newsletter (which visitors can subscribe to as well). The material contained on the site is divided into several sections, including Tools (which contains links to current papers submitted to the site), Learning (which contains material about various academic programs in visual anthropology), and Books (which contains links to information about new books and relevant journals). Additionally, there is quite a bit of information here that is also available in Italian. [KMG]

Network Tools

Virtual U. 2.1

Everyone is interested in the world of higher education these days, but how does one actually get to make important decisions regarding one of these august institutions? With this latest release of Virtual U. 2.1. it is now possible for Windows users around the world to step into the shoes of a university president and learn about the world of higher education management. Designed to "foster better understanding of management practices in American colleges and universities," Virtual U. allows users to establish and monitor many major components (such as faculty salaries) of one of these institutions. This fun and engaging simulator program is compatible with all systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

Slide Show Maker 3.53 [Windows 95 and up]

Slide Show Maker 3.53 is a small application that allows users to create an .avi file from a number of .bmp or .jpg images. After creating these files, users have the ability to add professional looking effects, such as text overlays and fade-in or fade-out effects. The interface used to implement these effects is well laid out, and users can begin to use the program after a few minutes of trying out the various commands and tools. Additionally, the homepage contains a FAQ section and several screen shots of the program in use. Slide Show Maker 3.53 is compatible with all systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]

In The News

List of 100 Most Endangered World Cultural Sites Released

2004 List of 100 Most Endangered Sites Announced
Endangered Monuments, A Worldwide Problem [RealOnePlayer]
World Monuments Fund
America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places 2003
World Heritage Committee Inscribes 24 New Sites on the World Heritage List
Edinburgh World Heritage City

A concern for preserving features of the built and natural environment stretches back for several millennia, but only over the past century or so has there been a concerted and systematic effort to work towards saving these types of places. Many such Top 10 endangered places or buildings lists are released every year, but one of the more intriguing is the biennial list of the top 100 most endangered sites issued by the World Monuments Fund, headquartered in New York. This year the list includes sites on all seven continents -- as one of the sites is the expedition hut of the noted explorer Ernest Shackleton, located in Antarctica. The list of sites is compiled from hundreds of local nominations, and selected by a panel of 10 international experts. The list also includes such sites as Lower Manhattan, the entire steam-powered former railway system of Paraguay, and the Nineveh and Nimrud Palaces in Iraq. All of the sites on the list are threatened in some form or fashion, ranging from such conditions as war, general neglect, and encroachment from an influx of tourists.

The first site will take visitors to a news piece from the online edition of Archeology Magazine about the recent list. The second link leads to another news piece from the Voice Of American news service that includes an audio version of the report by journalist Barbara Schoetzau. The third link leads to the homepage of the World Monuments Fund where visitors can learn about outreach programs and peruse the complete list of the 100 most endangered sites. The fourth link leads to the 2003 list of America's Most Endangered Historic Places, as selected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. That list includes the Modernist TWA Terminal at JFK International Airport, the historic bathhouses in Hot Springs National Park, and the Ocmulgee Old Fields in Macon, Georgia. The fifth link takes visitors to a list of the 24 new sites added this past July to the World Heritage list roster, which includes Franciscan missions in Mexico and the wooden churches of southern Little Poland. The final site takes users to the homepage of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site, which is one of the few major urban areas to be so designated (along with parts of Prague) in the Western world. [KMG]

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