The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 2

January 16, 2004

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

We Need Your Feedback -- Please Take a Brief Online Survey


The Internet Scout Project is gathering feedback from librarians, educators, and others about their experiences using open source digital library software to build and manage online collections. Data from this survey will be used to help develop strategies to better facilitate collaboration between open source software developers and the library and education communities. Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey. If you have questions or concerns please don't hesitate to email us at

NSDL Scout Reports

NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology

The first issue of the third volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Technology in Education.

Research and Education

Conducting Research Surveys via Email and the Web [pdf]

While many visitors to commercial websites may find themselves asked to take part in any number of marketing-type surveys, more and more scholars are attempting to use the web to create well-defined surveys to examine academic questions. This intriguing publication from the RAND Organization (conducted by Matthias Schonlau, Ronald D. Fricker, Jr., and Marc N. Elliott) examines the validity of a number of claims, including the popularity of such online surveys due to their low cost and rapid return time. Within the document's 118-pages, the authors discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using email and the web to conduct research surveys, along with offering several practical suggestions for designing and implementing Internet surveys. The report consists of seven chapters (all of which may be downloaded separately), and three appendices, including an extended literature review. [KMG]

University and Community Research Partnerships: A New Approach [pdf]

Recently, more and more organizations have become interested in partnerships forged between institutions of higher education and local community-based organizations. Released in late 2003, this 48-page report from the Pew Partnership for Civic Change (spearheaded by Jacqueline Dugery) investigated university-community research partnerships at 19 sites around the United States. Some of these community organizations included groups working in the areas of job training, commercial revitalization, youth mentoring, and job transportation. In order to place these findings in a broader context, the Pew Partnership (in collaboration with the University of Virginia) convened a number of individuals in October 2002 to discuss "the potential for these university-community research partnerships." These remarks are summarized within the body of this paper, along with an explication of a new research model for assessment and evaluation for use by community organizations and local institutions of higher learning developed by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change.

International Food Information Council Foundation [pdf]

Operating as the communications arm of the International Food Information Council, the aim of the Council's Foundation is "to bridge the gap between science and communications by collecting and disseminating scientific information on food safety, nutrition and health by working with an extensive roster of scientific experts and through partnerships to help translate research into understandable and useful information for opinion leaders and ultimately, consumers." This is quite a tall order for any one group, but its website presence would indicate that the IFIC is doing a good job thus far. From the Newsroom section, visitors can read frequently updated news releases (culled from dozens of sources) about food and health issues, read the in-house newsletter (Food Insight), which is published six times a year, and peruse a list of helpful tips designed to help journalists who are reporting on food safety, nutrition, or health matters. Additionally, a great deal of material here is available in Spanish and there is a full-site search engine. [KMG]

Ethics Videos on the Web [RealOne Player]

Given the constant barrage of rather trite material available from most major media outlets, the recent discovery of this fine site is a welcome breath of fresh air. Developed by Professor Lawrence M. Hinman as part of his Ethics Updates site (which has been online since 1994), this part of his main site is dedicated to providing high-quality lectures and discussions from prominent philosophers and others working in the field of ethics. The videos here date back to 1997 and begin with Professor Hinman's own lectures on ethical theory, and continue to the year 2002. The most recent additions include commentaries by Thomas H. Murray on "The Ethics of Genetic Enhancement" and several sessions from the 2002 meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association. Other highlights available for consideration here include proceedings from the October 2001 conference on "Morality in the 21st Century" held by the American Philosophical Association and a talk by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen on "Human Rights and Consequences" given at the Kenan Ethics Program at Duke University. [KMG]

The Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities at the University of Berkeley [pdf]

Located at the University of Berkeley and established in 1987, the Doreen B. Townsend Center "is distinguished by its broad definition of the humanities and its energetic reaching out to different sectors within the campus and the larger public." Visitors interested in the important mission of this Center will find information on the site about the various fellowships, public programs, and publications that support these endeavors. The site includes a strong section of online humanities resources for persons looking for funding opportunities, either for dissertation work or those foundations and organizations that actively support the humanities. The publication section is particularly strong, as visitors can view the Townsend Center's newsletter, peruse its online magazine (titled Framing the Questions), or browse the published proceedings of various events sponsored by the Center. These proceedings contain some real gems, such as The Novel in Africa by J.M. Coetzee, Sounding Lines: The Art of Translating Poetry (a conversation between Seamus Heaney and Robert Haas), and Michael Pollan's musings on The Botany of Desire. [KMG]

Aerospace Engineers Propose System for Automatically Detecting Vertical Flight Limits

Engineers at the School of Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a system, which detects envelope limits for autonomous Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAV). The envelope limits ensure safety by restricting the aircraft's maneuverability. Automatic detection of those limits is crucial when performing aggressive maneuvers in varying flight conditions. This article reviews several models used in limit avoidance systems, critiquing them in terms of the system requirements and performance in simulation programs. The authors propose an alternative two-level system that calculates and communicates envelope limits online. Methodology, algorithms, derivations and integration software are described. Results from Software-in-the-loop Simulation and flight tests show the system was successful in keeping the vehicle within prescribed limits when performing a variety of maneuvers. This site is also reviewed in the January 16, 2004 NSDL MET Report. [VF]

The Sloan Consortium [pdf. ppt]

Distance education (sometimes referred to as correspondence learning) has been around for over a century in the United States, but recent developments in the nature of online learning over the internet have increased exponentially. While only a few institutions (such as the University of Phoenix) conduct all of their educational programs over the internet, more and more mainstream institutions have integrated these educational approaches into their curriculums over the past few years. As part of its core mission, the Sloan Consortium is designed "to help learning organizations continually improve quality, scale, and breadth according to their own distinctive missions." The activities of the Consortium are quite broad, and include publishing the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN), conducting surveys and leading forums on online education, and hosting conferences and workshops. The site contains a great deal of this type of material on its site, including the full-text of the JALN, and a rather compelling survey titled "The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States, 2002 and 2003."

The Rockefeller Foundation [pdf]

Founded in 1913, the Rockefeller Foundation is one of the largest private philanthropic entities in the United States. In the past year, it awarded over $140 million in grants to numerous organizations working and researching topics of interest to the Foundation. The Rockefeller Foundation currently has five primary program themes: creativity and culture, food security, health equity, working communities, and global inclusion. While the Foundation typically operates as "a proactive grantmaker," persons working for organizations that perform work or research in these five thematic areas will find perusing this website to be quite helpful. Here visitors can find out about current grant recipients, search the contents of the entire site, and learn more about the Foundation's overall mission and vision. Additionally, quite a few of the foundation's publications and papers are available for download here, including important works on HIV prevention in the developing world, inequities in health care, nonprofit capital, and inner city renewal in the United States. [KMG]

General Interest

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill [pdf]

Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) sponsors a broad range of public outreach projects and research studies dedicated to providing a more nuanced and multi-faceted understanding of the immense complexity of the many mental health issues that affect millions of persons each day. Within the Find Support section of the site, individuals can learn about local branches of NAMI, learn about support networks for young people dealing with mental health issues, and the presence of NAMI on college campuses. The public policy section of the site is quite strong, as visitors to this area can learn about policy news and alerts about mental health issues, download resource materials about assisting those grappling with mental health afflictions, and read Issue Spotlights that deal with a host of subjects such as managed care, Medicaid, parity, and confidentiality. [KMG]

Kiki Smith: Prints, Books & Things at MoMA

Using a similar interface to that of Artists of Brcke (German Expressionist prints, reviewed in the December 5, 2003 and Nov.2, 2001 Scout Reports), the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) presents this major retrospective of the work of Kiki Smith, born in 1954 in Nuremberg, Germany. Smith is the daughter of American sculptor Tony Smith, and her first experience with art was helping her father make cardboard models for his geometric sculptures. She is thought of as a sculptor and builder of installations, but since the 1980s, has created an extensive body of printed works, 135 of which are gathered in this web exhibition. Like the Expressionist show, the Smith show features a virtual light table of images that can be arranged dynamically by Themes -- early screen prints, anatomy, self-portraits, nature, feminine contexts -- or Mediums. In recent years, Smith has worked on etchings pulled from plates of monumental size, roughly 4 feet by 6 feet, such as a series based on Lewis Carroll, including Pool of Tears 2 (2000) and Come Away from Her (2003). The site also includes a chronology of Smith's life and a 35-page essay by Wendy Weitman, MoMA's Curator of Prints and illustrated Books. [DS] [pdf]

Supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, is a website for the Journal of College and Character and the Character Clearninghouse, both of which are published by the Center for the Study of College Student Values. The Center itself is headed by Jon C. Dalton of Florida State University, and the primary intent of the site is "to examine how colleges and universities influence, both intentionally and unintentionally, the moral and civic learning and behaviors of college students." To that end, the site has a great deal of information about this rather intriguing (and controversial) subject, such as lists of college student creeds or covenants, listings of best college character programs, and a listing of international perspectives on the topic. One of the most fascinating aspects of the site are the Presidents' Public Diaries, which feature reflections from a number of college presidents on the ethical aspects of their leadership roles. The site is rounded out by the full-text editions of the Journal of College and Character (which features two volumes as of late), and includes pieces titled Spirituality and the Vitality of Academic Life, and Educating for Dissent as a Civic Responsibility. [KMG]


Designed and created by Linda Joseph, a library media specialist who works with the Columbus, Ohio public school district, CyberBee is a site dedicated to helping young people learn about using the web for research and assisting teachers with the process of using web-based materials in classroom instruction. One nice feature of the site is the Primary Source of the Month, where users can view a primary source (such as a historic postcard), and then answer a number of questions about the source, its origins, and its importance. The research tools section of the site offers helpful information for teachers and students about how to cite electronic sources, how to evaluate the merits of different websites, and about copyright rules on the web. The site is rounded out by a selection of suggestions on how the web can be used in curriculum development, with dedicated sections to different disciplinary approaches, such as those in the fields of language arts, social studies, and mathematics. [KMG]

PBS American Experience -- Reconstruction: The Second Civil War [Macromedia Flash Reader, RealOnePlayer]

The painful process of Reconstruction throughout the American South after the U.S. Civil War is one of the most poorly understood events of 19th century American history, and this fine website produced by WGBH (to complement the documentary released as part of the American Experience series) for PBS explores many of the complex themes of this period. The materials on the site are divided into ten thematic areas, each concerned with compelling topics that include explorations of the lives of Southern women, the transformation of former slaves into sharecroppers, and the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan. Each one of these self-contained sections features a mini-documentary for viewer consideration, a selection of primary sources (such as eye-witness testimonies and legislative documents), and question and answer sessions with prominent historians about each respective topic. Along with a number of resources for teachers, the site also contains an interactive map of the United States in 1870, from which visitors can learn how each state was affected by both the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction. [KMG]

Two on Dave Brubeck

Rediscovering Dave Brubeck with Hedrick Smith [RealOne Player]
Dave Brubeck

Born in California in 1920, Dave Brubeck has been an icon of jazz music for over five decades, and shows few signs of slowing down as he continues to perform and compose. The first site for consideration here was designed to complement a television program produced for PBS that explored Brubeck's life and contributions to jazz throughout the second half of the twentieth century. The production team for the documentary was headed up Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Hendrick Smith, with the project receiving major funding from the NEA. From the site's main page, visitors can read an extended biographical sketch of Brubeck, and read essays on his various musical expressions, including the reflections of different music critics on his work. Perhaps the most insightful part of this site is a transcription of an interview with Brubeck where he talks about the creative process, playing music with his sons, and his critics. The second site contains a rather impressive Brubeck discography, a mailing list for Brubeck fans to join, and photographs of Brubeck from his many concerts and live performances. The site also features a photo gallery containing some of the fine album cover art featured on Brubeck recordings throughout the years.

Given that thousands of books are published each and ever year, it may be overwhelming for the discerning reader to separate the wheat from the chaff. Stepping into the fray (since 1997) is, started in 1997 by Davina Morgan-Witts and her husband Paul. As the site notes, "Bookbrowse carefully selects from the most interesting current books and provides you with multiple reviews and a substantial excerpt of each." Visitors to the site can browse titles by genre, read a list of the 2003 Favorite Books, examine reading guides for a host of titles, and view a list of recent books featured on the site. Another fun feature is the interview section, where users can peruse interview sessions with Isabel Allende, Harold Bloom, Geraldine Brooks, J.A. Jance, and 226 others. Finally, visitors can also sign up to receive the free e-newsletter, which is sent out weekly throughout most of the year. [KMG]

Network Tools

ZoneAlarm 4.5.538 [Windows Operating System]

This handy little application is designed to protect users' DSL or cable-connected PC from hackers. This edition of Zone Alarm includes four security services: a firewall, an application control, an Internet lock, and zones. All told, these four services allow users to control which traffic enters their computer and afford individuals the ability to monitor all activity on their computer as well. Finally, this edition also adds a host-file lock feature, effectively preventing host-file tampering. Zone Alarm 4.5.538 is compatible with all systems running Windows 98 and higher. [KMG]

Nicecast 1.0 [Macintosh Operating System]

While some computer users may be content with listening to streaming music feeds online, others may be compelled to broadcast their own musical selections. This is made quite easy by the Nicecast application, which helps users create their own internet radio station, along with affording users access to their iTunes music library from anywhere across the globe. The application includes a built-in streaming server, broadcast archiving, and digital voice-over. With this demonstration version, broadcasts are limited to 20 minutes at a time, although satisfied persons may elect to purchase the fully-functional version which allows for continuous broadcast. Nicecast 1.0 is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X 10.2 and higher. [KMG]

In The News

Women in Science and Engineering: Lagging Behind or Forging Ahead?

New York Times: Despite Gain in Degrees, Women Lag in Tenure in 2 Main Fields
Oklahoma University: The Nelson Diversity Surveys
Women in Technology International
Women of NASA
Retaining Undergraduate Women in Science, Math, and Engineering: A Model Program
Beloit College: Girls and Women in Science
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock, a pioneer and giant in the world of genetics, not to mention science in general, was born over a hundred years ago into an era of gender roles that essentially dictated where a girl would go in life. Today, while there may not be an overwhelming embracing of traditional gender roles, many hard-to-shake undercurrents of sexism remain. In fact, with regard to the sciences and engineering, a female student may currently pursue and earn a doctoral degree -- representing nearly ten years of post-secondary study -- without ever having had a female instructor or mentor. The issues of gender in teaching and learning science extend much further back into a girl's life, however. A trove of studies point to the fact that girls simply have not been supported or encourage by their parents or teachers to pursue math, science, and engineering careers. To counter this and to instill a tone of support for girls, innumerable new scholarships, programs, resources, and organizations have been formed in hopes of having the Barbara McClintocks of the 21st century be the norm rather than the exception. [JPM]

The first site, from the January 15, 2003 New York Times, is an article by Tamar Lewin highlighting a study that shows a lack of women in tenure-track appointments at major universities -- despite the fact that women are earning more and more doctorates in the related fields of study. The second link takes visitors to the website of the researcher, Donna J. Nelson, at the University of Oklahoma who was the principal investigator of the NSF-funded examination of women and minorities in science and engineering. This second site, The Nelson Diversity Surveys is exceptionally comprehensive, offering all of the data from the surveys from the past several years as well as the reports themselves. The third site, Women in Technology International is the main site for this international organization celebrating its fifteenth anniversary. The next site, Women of NASA, is a great collection of information highlighting those individuals that have contributed to the world of space science. The Teacher Tips section offers some great teaching resources -- even entire websites with lesson plans. An interesting paper concerning the study of retaining undergraduate women in science, math, and engineering is found at the next site. Carol Muller and Mary Pavone of Dartmouth College offer this white paper -- hosted at the Frontiers of Education site at University of Pittsburgh -- which explains the Dartmouth Women in Science Project and other similar projects in order to offer suggestions for other universities. The next site, the home of the Beloit College Girls and Women in Science project, offers a look into this intrepid program to excite and support middle school girls about the wonders of science. Certainly one of the first programs of its type, the Girls and Women in Science website also offers valuable historical information about girls and science learning as well as a great resource section. Finally, the last site is hosted by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory -- the home of Barbara McClintock for most of her professional life. The biography offers a great look at this truly invaluable 20th century scientist and a remarkable person. [JPM]

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