The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 3

January 23, 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. (Open source software is generally free, and can be modified by those using it -- the underlying program code is available to the user, unlike proprietary software.) Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey. If you have questions or concerns please don't hesitate to email us at

(Subscribers to the HTML version of the report can simply click on the link above, while those subscribers to the text version should copy and paste the above URL into their web browser.)

NOTE: You may have seen this note in last week's Reports. Due to a formatting error on our part, those subscribers to the text version of the Reports could not see or access the survey URL. We apologize for any inconvenience; please feel free to take part this week.

NSDL Scout Reports

NSDL Scout Reports for the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences

The third issues of the third volumes of the Life Sciences Report and Physical Sciences Report are available. The Topic in Depth section of Life Sciences Report annotates sites on Winter World Explorations (You know, playing in the snow!). The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Antimatter.

Research and Education

United States Conference of Mayors [pdf, RealOnePlayer]

Founded during the throes of the Great Depression in 1932, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), was established to serve as the official nonpartisan organization of the nation's cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Each city is represented in the conference by its chief elected official, and the primary roles of the USCM are to "promote the development of effective national urban/suburban policy, strengthen federal-city relationships, and ensure that federal policy meets urban needs." New visitors to the site will want to begin by browsing through the key programs section of the site, which delineates their main areas of programmatic interests -- such as dealing effectively with brownfield sites, urban regeneration schemes, and community policing (among a list of several dozen). While the site contains a number of working documents and project proposals and updates for consideration, the highlight here really is the extensive archive of webcasts from the group's annual conferences dating back to the year 2000. [KMG]


Sponsored by Britain's Virtual Teacher Centre (and underwritten by the National Grid For Learning), HistoryWorld contains over 400 separate historical articles and approximately 4000 events within its unique database. Visitors may begin by looking through the World History section, where it is possible to take any number of "tours through time," which essentially display a complete succession of events around a given theme, such as religion, science, or architecture. Students looking for a brief overview regarding any number of subjects may want to take a look at the article section which contains articles on various historical themes organized by region, contributor (in this case, the contributing agency or museum), and category. Definitely the most engaging feature of the site is the Whizz Quizz, an online game where visitors can pit their historical knowledge against other competitors. The fastest contestant is subsequently featured on their homepage as Whizzard of the Hour, and no doubt, numerous accolades may also follow! [KMG]

Creative Chemistry [pdf, Java, Microsoft PowerPoint]

Nigel Saunders at Harrogate Granby High School in North Yorkshire provides a wide range of fun, educational activities for high school chemistry students and teachers at this website. Teachers can find PowerPoint presentations dealing with energy conversions in reactions, thermometric titration, and ionic and covalent bonding. The website features an abundance of crossword puzzles, word searches, jigsaw puzzles, and other games. Using Java, students can view many molecules including alkanes, tetrahedral molecules, and octahedral molecules. With so many fun-filled learning activities to choose from, anyone interested in chemistry will value this website. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the January 23, 2004 NSDL Physical Sciences Report.

Welcome to Reading Online [pdf]

Edited by a team of scholars and practitioners, Reading Online is a peer-reviewed journal established by the International Reading Association in May 1997. The journal primarily focuses on literary practice and research in classrooms serving students aged 5 to 18. The journal is also deeply concerned with actively supporting professionals as they integrate technology in the classroom. From the site's main page, visitors can peruse the latest articles from the most recent issue, which in past months have included titles such as Technology for Engaged Learning in a Literacy Methods Course and Literature Discussion in Cyberspace. All of the articles from the past seven years are archive here as well, with many of them also filed into different themes, such as New Literacies, International Perspectives, and The Electronic Classroom. Along with these materials, visitors may also elect to join the diverse online communities and discussion forums offered here as well. [KMG]

Nanodot: Nanotechnology News and Discussion of Emerging Technologies

Sponsored by the Foresight Institute (a non-profit educational organization), the Nanodot site is designed to disseminate news and ongoing developments in the field of molecular nanotechnology. (For those unfamiliar with the rapidly growing field of nanotechnology, it is now considered one of the most important scientific developments of the 21st century, and at its essence is a process which allows for the manipulation of atoms, thereby allowing for highly sophisticated processes to be carried out.) Needless to say, this is an immensely important development, and at this site, visitors can read about the latest from this fascinating field. Additionally, visitors may elect to post comments, take polls on aspects of nanotechnology, and learn about related events and conferences. Perhaps the most helpful part of this website is the vast amount of material dedicated to explaining in detail about the very field of nanotechnology. Here visitors can read works that introduce the core concepts of molecular technology and read the complete text of a book on the subject titled Unbounding the Future. [KMG]

Eurodino Database Project [Macromedia Flash Player]

Hosted by DinoData, The Eurodino Database Project was developed by paleontologist Octavio Mateus as a service for the European paleontological community. The database is designed to inform professional and amateur paleontologists of the locations of "originals or casts of each dinosaur in each museum in Europe." The database provides several mechanisms to search for dinosaur fossils and museums and allows users to search for fossils alphabetically and through categories such as Eggs, Footprints, Skin, and Coprolites. Additionally, users can search for museums by perusing the comprehensive European museum list or by selecting a specific country. [NL] This site is also reviewed in the January 23, 2004 NSDL Life Sciences Report.

Web Guide to U.S. Supreme Court Research

Trying to navigate the diverse world of websites dedicated to various aspects of legal research can be a bit daunting, even to more adroit users of different online search engines. Fortunately for those seeking to hone their ability to perform online research about the U.S. Supreme Court, this fine online guide to the subject was established in December 2003. Authored by Gail A. Partin (an associate law librarian at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law), this well organized web-guide "attempts to overcome the shortcomings of general web searching by providing a selection of annotated links to the most reliable, substantive sites for U.S Supreme Court research." The site begins with a brief introduction, then proceeds to offer a set of organized links and summary descriptions about a host of different sites dealing with topics such as Supreme Court practice, court administration, the history of the Supreme Court, and oral arguments. Beginning law students and those more experienced with the field, will appreciate this online guide to the panoply of compelling sites currently available. [KMG]

DIMTI: German Emblem Books

The University of Illinois has amassed the largest collection of emblem books in the United States, and beginning in 1998 it embarked on a rather ambitious project to digitize a number of fine titles for public access via the web. As the website notes, "Emblem books can possibly be looked upon as the multi-medial publications of the 17th and 18th centuries." These books link together three elements: a motto, a woodcut or engraving, and an explanatory poem. The rather intriguing interplay between these respective parts is complemented by the wide array of source material these works draw upon for their inspiration, such as fables, mythology, and the Bible. Currently, users can browse through fourteen different titles such as the Emblemata Politica (created by Peter Isselburg in 1617) and the Mundi lapis Lydius (created by Antoine Bourgogne in the 16th century). Each page of these respective works has been digitally scanned, and along with high resolution viewing, visitors can obtain detailed page descriptions as well. The site is rounded out with a nice section that provides visitors with information about emblems and offers some publications that have been produced during the development of the project. [KMG]

General Interest

PBS: NOW with Bill Moyers

Long known for his ground breaking work in public television and radio (including collaborative efforts with the late Joseph Campbell and others), Bill Moyers hosts the NOW program on PBS. Designed to complement the actual television program, the website contains copious information about each week's program, including a full transcript of the proceedings. The program itself is divided into four segments, crossing into the thematic areas of politics, science, society, and community. Recent segments have covered the Earth Conservation Corps, the future of Burma, and the thorny subject of race in America. Additional highlights of the site include teacher resources (such as lesson plans), online polls, and an online discussion board, where recent topics have included Martin Luther King, Jr. and poetry. Finally, visitors can browse through the online archive which extends back to January 2002. [KMG]

FEMA for Kids: Tornadoes [RealOnePlayer]

Tornadoes, like most natural disasters, can be harrowing events for all persons in any given region, and most certainly for young children. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has developed this website to inform children about the nature of tornadoes. From the site's homepage, visitors can read about the experiences of young people who have been present during major tornado-bearing storms. Along with these firsthand accounts, visitors can read about the Fujita tornado scale, watch media clips of tornadoes, and learn about those locations in the home that may provide the best shelter from the effects of a tornado. No doubt many young people will be concerned for the wellbeing of the family pets during such an event, so they will find the section that deals with pets quite valuable. Here interested parties can learn about how best to evacuate various pets safely and what items may help ensure their survival in case of a major disaster. [KMG]

Mr. Whistler's Galleries: Avant-Garde in Victorian London [Macromedia Flash Reader]

Master of many mediums, James McNeill Whistler is the focus of this fine interactive gallery and multimedia web presentation, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, and designed in conjunction with an ongoing exhibit at the Freer Gallery. This partnership seems quite natural, especially considering that Charles Lang Freer was a personal friend of Whistler, and at the time of his death had collected over 1200 of Whistler's works, including numerous oil paintings, pastels, and prints. The online exhibit begins with an introduction to Whistler's life, and points out his (at times) eccentric manner and his longstanding feud with the legendary 19th century art critic, John Ruskin. The artwork section of the site is thoroughly engaging, as 50 representational objects out of the more than 1200 held in the Freer collection are available for detailed consideration. They are divided by medium, subject, and place, and also feature the particulars associated with each object, such as its accession number, date of completion, and dimensions. Visitors will not want to miss out on the lovely interactive timeline, which covers Whistler's entire life, and includes a portrait of the artist at age 13 (executed in 1847) and concludes with his passing in 1903. [KMG]

Wisconsin Folks [RealOnePlayer]

While many persons may think of Wisconsin as a state dedicated solely to the pursuit of cheese and all things dairy, the cultural fabric throughout its borders is quite varied. Throughout this site (produced by the Wisconsin Arts Board), visitors can learn about the various folk traditions that live and breathe across the state and discover how their art is connected to cultural life in Wisconsin more broadly. Searching for different artists is quite easy, as the database of material may be searched by ethnicity, location, art form (such as Judaic needlework and Latvian weaving), and different themes. Along with photographs of the artists and their chosen medium, some profiles feature audio clips (where relevant) of the artists in performance. Some of the more lively clips include performances by the Queens of Harmony and Frank Montano's performances on his own wooden flutes. Needless to say, this is a good way to learn about the broad swath of cultural diversity and folklore traditions within the state of Wisconsin. [KMG]

Tate Audio & Video [RealOne Player]

While some people may be unable to visit the Tate Gallery in London on a regular basis, they will now be able to access many of their fine sponsored talks, events, and lectures via this nice website. Using the RealOne Player plug-in, visitors can listen to any number of artists talk about their work, or listen and view various proceedings on culture and technology. The broadcasts are archived under a number of themes, including painting, photography, music, cultural theory, film and video art, and music. Some of the more interesting proceedings archived here include conferences titled Thinking the City: Multidisciplinary Views on Urban Life and Culture, Tate Britishness: Cultural Identity and Visual Culture, and A Figure for Europe? Additionally, talks with over forty artists are also available for the consideration of the web-surfing public, including such icons as Peter Blake and Anish Kapoor. [KMG]

A Hudson River Portfolio [QuickTime]

The Hudson River was one of the most prominent waterways in the frontier mythology of 17th and 18th century America, and its bends and curves have been immortalized by dozens of artists, authors, and explorers. With funding from the New York State Education Department, the New York Public Library has created this delightful website that brings together a number of rare images and texts from the 19th century for the consideration of those interested in this waterway's storied past. The Collections section of the site should not be missed, as it contains a number of prints of the river's locales (created by an Irish watercolorist and a French traveler), travel narratives of the Hudson River region, and two period guidebooks from 1828 and 1859. One other feature of note is the highly engaging panorama created by William Wade in 1845 that depicts both sides of the Hudson River between Albany and New York City. Here visitors can move up and down the river with the help of the panorama, looking for prominent natural landmarks and aspects of the environment present at this particular moment in history. [KMG]

United Negro College Fund [pdf]

Established in 1944 (from an idea presented by Dr. Frederick D. Pattison), the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) was designed to enhance the quality of education (and the availability of access) for minority students across the United States. Currently the organization supports nearly 65,000 students who attend UNCF's 39 member institutions and 950 other colleges and universities throughout the country. At the website, visitors can learn about UNCF's member institutions (which include schools such as Morehouse and Clark Atlanta University), learn about internships programs, corporate partnerships, and elect to donate money to the UNCF. Currently enrolled students will want to make sure to look at the scholarship section, as it contains the particulars about applying for a diverse array scholarship programs, such as the Gates Millennium Scholars initiative. [KMG]

Network Tools

Palette 1.1 [Quick Time, Windows Operating System, Macintosh Operating System]

Palette 1.1 is an easy-to-use painting program that allows users to save their creations, along with the option of exporting and importing pictures saved in a number of popular formats for modification. The website for the program itself contains a helpful cheat sheet allowing novice users to learn how the application works. The site also contains some sample galleries, so visitors have some sense of the capabilities offered by Palette. The application is compatible with all platforms running Windows 95 and above or Mac OS. [KMG]

Books2burn [Macintosh Operating System]

Developed by Professor Matthew Weinstein of Kent State University, Books2burn translates text files into a series of audio files, which may then subsequently be converted to mp3's or other formats. This program will be a great boon to scholars and the general public alike, as the application allows for the easy transfer and replication of potentially large and problematic files into a number of audio formats. Books2burn is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X. [KMG]

In The News

Mixed-Breed Dogs Increasing in Popularity Designer Mutts Cost Big Bucks
What's a Labradoodle -- Designer Dog or Just Another Mutt?
American Kennel Club
Sounds of the World's Animasls: Dog [QuickTime]

To the average person words such as cockapoo, yorkipoo, and dorgi may seem inappropriate for polite conversation, but in actuality they are the names of mixed-breed dogs. Previously, many of these mixed-breed dogs (formerly referred to as mutts), would have been of little interest. But in recent years more and more people have become entranced with having these animals as household pets. The labradoodle, for example, was originally bred in Australia in the 1970s, and was used as a guide dog for allergy sufferers. These dogs are not at all cheap however, as some of these labradoodles can cost up to $4000. Another interesting development is that the labradoodle may become eligible for American Kennel Club recognition if there are at least 300 of them in at least 20 states with three substantiated generations of labradoodle to labradoodle mixing. Some dog experts are also touting the merits of these new mixes, claiming that the are in fact healthier than purebreds. Other experts in the field remain skeptical, such as Allan Reznik, editor-in-chief of Dog Fancy and Dog World magazines, who opined thusly: "It's indicative of a society that loves labels. Having a dog that is part spaniel and part poodle isn't enough -- it has to be a cockapoo." [KMG]

The first link leads to a news story from that documents this latest trend in designer dogs, along with a nice table that deciphers what the names of these mixed-breeds mean exactly. The second link leads to another story about these new hybrid dogs from the National Geographic website, authored by Bijal P. Trivedi. The third link will take visitors to the homepage of the American Kennel Club, where they may read about various purebred dogs, browse a calendar of related events, and learn about the upcoming national dog championship event sponsored by the Club that will take place in Long Beach, California. The fourth link leads to a page devoted to the Schnoodle (a cross between a poodle and a schnauzer) provided by the Dog Breeder Info Center website. The fifth link leads to a site created by Catherine N. Ball (an adjunct professor of linguistics at Georgetown University) that offers a list of the words for the sounds that dogs make in several dozen languages, including Croatian, Esperanto, and Bengali. The final link leads to a fun site that allows visitors to engage in a virtual dog simulation game where they can prepare their animals to compete in the show ring.

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The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout

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