The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 5

February 6, 2004

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

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 ninth 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 Animal Tracks. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about The Younger Dryas Event.

Research and Education

The Population Research Center at NORC & The University of Chicago [pdf]

With its world-renowned departments of sociology and economics, the University of Chicago has a number of research centers dedicated to looking at various issues of social organization and demography. Founded in 1983, the Population Research Center at NORC (National Opinion Research Center) and the University of Chicago bring together researchers from a variety of fields (including psychology, business, public policy, and economics, among others) to research a number of compelling questions in this broad ranging field. The website is easy to navigate and contains information on post- and pre-doctoral fellowships, staff biographies, and a listing of current research projects. There is a wealth of online data available on current research projects, including work on Chinese health and family life and data from the National Health and Social Life Survey. Equally valuable is the online collection of discussion papers, dating back to 1983, and containing titles such as Movin' on Up? Racial Inequality in Children's Neighborhood Socioecnomic Status, and Marriage Patterns among Israel Palestinians. [KMG]

The University of Michigan Library Digital Archive: Brown v. Board of Education

Anticipating the myriad of commemorative activities surrounding the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954, the University Library at the University of Michigan began creating this helpful digital archive of important materials related to the case. Here visitors can peruse a nice selection of transcripts (such as Plessy v. Ferguson, and school desegregation cases around Ann Arbor), and garner statistics on the school desegregation question in Michigan. Persons looking for further reading material will appreciate the extended bibliography, which also includes a list of related viewing materials, such as documentaries and oral history sessions. The section on Ann Arbor school segregation contains several important documents, such as the complete text of a book by Mary Jo Frank on the desegregation of Ann Arbor Public Schools from 1954 to 1976 and a report on the progress of this process from 1985. Overall, the site offers a good overview of a very emotional issue, along with providing some nice insights into the local processes that took place within the public schools of Ann Arbor. [KMG]

Arizona State University: Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer

The thermal emission spectrometer (TES) is a scientific instrument created at Arizona State University to provide detailed looks at the composition of Mars. The website features ASU's spectral library of Earth's minerals and rocks which can be used for comparison with those obtained from Mars and for interpretation of remote sensing data of Earth. Researchers can learn about the many projects involving TES such as the search for carbonates and other salts on Mars and the study of Martian meteorites. Students can find general educational information on emissivity and thermal infrared energy. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the February 6, 2004 NSDL Physical Sciences Report.

EUR-Lex: The Portal to European Union Law [pdf]

Given the enormous complexity of bringing together 12 of continental Europe's countries to form the European Union, it is not surprising that there is a vast body of legal material related to this process. As this is the case, the EUR-Lex website is in fact the "single entry point to the complete collections of EU legal texts in all the official languages." The homepage for the site contains several helpful thematic collections of documents (in a variety of file formats for convenience), such as case-law, parliamentary questions, treaties, and several other categories. Of course, the novice user will want to take a look through the About EU Law section which offers a broad outline of the legal process, a glossary, and an alphabetized section that will answer many questions. To say this site will be of interest to legal scholars and students of the EU legal process would be a vast understatement. [KMG]

Online Resources for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies

With funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (and from the Digital Library Initiatives project at the University of Miami), this site is an ongoing project designed to provide online access to research materials held by the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC). Begun in 1999, the project has currently preserved over 3500 items and created almost 14000 digital images. While not all of these materials are currently available, the project has posted a number of very helpful library bibliographies and finding guides to their own internal collection. Some of these bibliographies include those on moderate Cuban politics from 1952 to 1965 and Afro-Cuban diasporan religions. Of additional interest is the Cuban Memories section, which includes brief descriptions of certain subjects of interest, such as the American colonies in Cuba at the turn of the 19th century. [KMG]

Oregon State University Mycological Collections: Type and General Collections databases

This Mycological Collections database was developed by a team of Oregon State University Professors and researchers to increase accessibility to the OSU Mycological Collection of approximately 60,000 lichenized and nonlichenized fungi. This Collection "is recognized as a global central repository for vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae and contains the world's most complete collection of hypogeous fungi. The OSU Mycological Collection is an active research and public service collection that is used by mycologists, lichenologists, plant pathologists, and forest ecologists associated with universities and state and federal agencies." As of 1996, the database contained approximately 6,000 specimens which included over 1,000 type specimens. The eventual goal is to enter all 60,000 specimens into the database, which presently "can be searched by organismal name, location, habitat or collector and provides complete label information for all type specimens in the OSU Mycological Collection." [NL] This site is also reviewed in the February 6, 2004 NSDL Life Sciences Report.

Luminary Lectures@Your Library (Library of Congress) [RealOnePlayer]

Designed as part of a national public education initiative (sponsored by the American Library Association) the Library of Congress is the host for this fine series of lectures by a wide variety of persons working in the fields of information sciences, technology management, and librarianship. The lectures themselves take place in Washington, DC, but for those who can't make it in person to these events, all of the talks are available on this website. Most of the talks last approximately an hour, and recent talks have dealt with the nature and role of standards in the 21st century library, moral panics over copyright and free speech, and digital rights management. The site also lists upcoming talks, which feature such compelling titles as Stewardship in the Digital Age: Roles and Issues for Libraries for Preserving our Cultural Heritage (to take place on February 23, 2004) and a rather large panel discussion titled Serving the Needs of the Profession and the Academy, which will happen on March 16, 2004. [KMG]

National Campus Compact

Founded in 1985 by the presidents of Brown, Georgetown and Stanford universities, the Campus Compact organization was designed to combat the popular image of college students as being wholly self-absorbed and uninterested in the broad range of social concerns outside the walls of their respective colleges and universities. Today, the organization remains committed to helping a wide variety of institutions create supportive academic environments for community service and to forming partnerships with a host of institutions, including those in the worlds of business and social-service providers. As might be expected, there is a wide range of free publications available on the site, including materials on starting campus-community partnerships, information on relevant legislation and policy, and materials on incorporating service-learning projects into the college-level curriculum. Of course, visitors will want to take a look at the current edition (and the archived issues) of their two fine in-house publications, the Campus Compact Reader (which highlights the best writing on civic education and service-learning from around the US), and the Compact Current, which is the organization's quarterly newsletter for organizations and institutions involved in public and community service. [KMG]

General Interest

BBC: Antiques [RealOne Player]

Whether it be a well-worn teddy bear or a Restoration-era piece of furniture, antiques fascinate many Americans, and the same might be said of those across the pond in Britain. The BBC has created this delightful website to complement several of its popular television programs on antiques, but this site requires no knowledge of the programs to be a great boon to the neophyte antiquarian. Those persons seeking to incorporate some period pieces into the design of their home or apartment should start with the Vintage Chic section which features a brief overview of do's and don'ts, and also leads into the well-honed guide to period styles. Here users will be treated to thumbnail profiles of Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Shaker, and thirteen other styles. Of course, for those looking for the next big thing in the field of antiques, the section of collecting plastic items, which includes a brief overview of the field, and a few sample valuations of pieces worth keeping an eye out for. The site is rounded out by a fine selection of video clips from some of the BBC's programs (such as the legendary Antiques Roadshow), and a buying and selling guide that provides a roadmap highlighting the foibles of bidding at auctions and browsing advertisements for those willing to enter the chaotic world of collecting antiques. [KMG]

Visual Culture and Public Health Posters

The National Library of Medicine has the world's largest collection of poster art dealing with questions of health in the United States, so it would stand to reason that it would be able to sponsor a fine online collection of the various ways in which visual culture has been used to inform the general public about a number of health concerns ranging from lead poisoning to tuberculosis. Visitors to the site will want to begin by reading the introduction to the exhibit which offers a brief explication of what precisely constitutes visual culture, along with providing a few preliminary examples of early attempts to educate the public about different public health issues through broadsheets, leaflets, and posters before the 20th century. After that, visitors will want to peruse each section individually, as they all contain a selection of posters that have been thematically designed to convey important messages about each different public health issue in a way that commands the attention of the viewer and is provocative. [KMG]

Positive Lives [Macromedia Flash Reader]

The Positive Lives project is "a unique international project that photographs and documents the social and emotional impact of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, illuminating positive human responses to this world crisis." Sponsored by the Levi Strauss Foundation and the Terrence Higgins Trust, the project has sponsored photographers from across the world to photograph various persons living with HIV/AIDS in a host of very different settings. While the project has sponsored a number of various photographic exhibits, this online collection represents a small portion of the work thus far. Using an interactive map of the world, users can click on different geographic areas to view photographic exhibits documenting the lived experience of this condition. In South Africa, visitors can learn about the work and the residents of Nazareth House, which is a children's home in Cape Town taking care of abandoned children with HIV or AIDS. In Edinburgh, visitors are taken through the lives of young drug abusers at the Muirhouse Estate who are also living with either HIV or AIDS. In the words of photographer John Sturrock, "In Muirhouse I witnessed the emotional struggle of people enduring a tragedy..." However, hope is present in these photographic essays as well, as they represent a broad range of emotions. [KMG]

Expo 67 [Macromedia Flash Reader]

Two decades before Vancouver was the scene for the much-vaunted Expo '86, Montreal was the home for Expo '67 -- the World's Fair that featured a good deal of late-period Space Age architecture, hundreds of performers, and of course, celebrated 100 years of Canadian independence. To begin, the site is divided into seven primary sections, each taking on one particular theme, such as the pre-history of the fair, the various pavilions, special guests, and so on. The history section should not be missed, as it details the complex wrangling and power-brokering involved with selecting the site for such an elaborate undertaking, and is buoyed with a nice selection of primary documents, such as personal correspondence, complete with details about the provenance of each document. The pavilions section gives a brief overview of the 62 participating nations and their respective buildings, and allows visitors to learn more about a number of these festive structures, along with offering some insights into the thematic structures that held such grandiose exhibits as the Man The Producer display. A must-see on the site is the virtual visit, where users of the site can adopt a bird's eye perspective on the fair grounds, flying over a three-dimensional rendering of the fairgrounds, clicking on buildings of interest along the way. No World's Fair would be complete without a smattering of fun souvenirs, and visitors will want to drop a virtual postcard of the fair to friends and family, or download one of the three screen savers featuring the Expo 67 logo. [KMG]

Middle East Research and Information Project

Established 32 years ago, the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Washington, DC. The Project has been quite successful over the past few decades due to its commitment to providing a broad range of perspectives on the Middle East not generally found in some of the mainstream media and press coverage. While the organization's primary publication, the Middle East Report, is not available for free on the site (although some of its editorial pieces are), visitors will want to take a close look at the Middle East Report Online, which is available here. Recent features within the online report deal with the future of Middle East studies in American universities, ethnic unrest in Iraq, and the long-standing dispute over Western Sahara. For visitors interested in a particular subject, there is a subject index of articles, and a feature that allows interested parties to sign up to receive the online reports via email. [KMG]

Wisconsin Center for Education Research [pdf]

Established in 1964, the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) at the University of Wisconsin, is one of the oldest and largest university-based education research and development centers. With annual funding exceeding $25 million from a variety of sources (such as the National Science Foundation), WCER employs close to 350 faculty, staff, and graduate students working at one of the many long-term projects and centers. Along with taking a look at the Center's staff profiles and long-term research and evaluation projects, some of the Center's many websites are worth a look. Many of them contain helpful working papers and additional data, such as the Diversity in Mathematics Educations site or the equally helpful Research Institute on Secondary Education Reform. If this wealth of material weren't enough to pique the interest of the web-browsing public, visitors can also sign up to receive WCER Today, the electronic newsletter which provides information about new research reports, working papers, and feature stories featured on their site. [KMG]

Jean-Antoine Houdon: Sculptor of the Enlightenment

Organized in the US by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the National Gallery of Art, this exhibition brought together for the first time over 70 portrait sculptures by Jean-Antoine Houdon, probably the greatest portrait sculptor of the 18th century. The Web version of the exhibition presents two sculptures that can be rotated and viewed in the round (portrait of Marie-Sbastien-Charles-Franois Fontaine de Bir, treasurer general under Louis XVI and Le Baiser donn, or The Kiss Given -- privately owned and loaned for the exhibition). The link to Houdon's Sitters and Subjects reveals images of Houdon's portraits of prominent Americans such as Robert Fulton (inventor of the steamboat) and Benjamin Franklin, as well French Emperor Napolon Bonaparte and philosopher Jean-Jacque Rousseu. Also worth a look is the interactive version of Louis-Leopold Boilly's 1803-04 painting Houdon in His Studio where clicking images surrounding the painting locates each image in the artist's studio. This area of the site also reveals intersting information such as the fact that the 1789 portrait of Thomas Jefferson (now owned by the Museum of Fine Arts Boston) was selected in 1938 for the nickel and is still in circulation today.

Network Tools

CoursePro 0.7.0 [Windows Operating System]

No doubt there are students (and teachers) who will find Course Pro 0.7.0 quite a helpful application to have around. The application allows users to keep track of courses, course data, assignments and grades. Within each of these areas, users can define assignment types, assign weights to each assignment, create new assignments, and add indicators to keep abreast of when various assignments are due. The website for the program also features some nice screenshots, a help forum, and contact information. This version of Course Pro 0.7.0 is compatible with all systems running Windows 95 and above, and for the Palm OS as well. [KMG]

iCal 1.5.2

The latest version of this popular (and free) program has several new features that are worthy of consideration and mention. This new release includes To Do alarm sounds and notes, additional keyboard shortcuts, the ability to publish or subscribe to calendars on servers located behind a firewall, improved alarms, and support for events in multiple time zones. As with previous versions, iCal still includes simple search functions for locating events and tasks within the customized calendars and the ability to have notifications sent by email, telephone, or pager. iCal 1.5.2 is compatible with all operating systems running Mac OS X 10.2.3. [KMG]

In The News

Protest Over Release of Alcohol-Infused Biscuits in Australia

Herald Sun: Booze Biscuits Hit the Shelves,5478,8576344%255E662,00.html
The Courier-Mail: PM Wants Review on Booze Biscuit,5936,8588301%255E421,00.html
Kedgley Calls for Ban on Alcohol Biscuits,2106,2805914a11,00.html
Don't Ban Alcohol Biscuits, Sue. Just Don't Eat Them!$1179
Consumption of Alcohol -- Australia 1961-2000
Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free [pdf]

Australians have a great passion for their biscuits, and generally the release of a new type of biscuit is quite welcome. There are, of course, exceptions to this general proviso, particularly when the new biscuit contains a trace of alcohol -- albeit a very miniscule trace. The biscuits in question were released this week by a beloved Australian biscuit manufacturer, Arnott's (owned by the Campbell Soup company), and contain biscuits laced with a popular coffee liquor. The response to this new product was immediate, as a spokesman from the Australian Drug Foundation described the new flavours as "appalling," and commented "Can we now look forward to alcohol-flavoured corn flakes?" In response, Arnott's spokeswoman Toni Callaghan noted that individuals would have to eat their body weight in both varieties every hour to reach a blood-alcohol content of 0.05 per cent. As far as their consumption by children, she remarked that "In no way is any of our marketing geared towards children. The issue of whether children eat them lies ultimately with parents." In light of the public consternation over the issue, the Parliamentary health secretary Trish Worth asked the Department of Health to check national guidelines for the promotion and placement of alcoholic products. While the biscuit controversy will continue to develop over the coming weeks, the biscuits have not been released all across Australia as of yet, although reports from Melbourne indicate they have been moving off the supermarket shelves quite quickly. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a news story from the Herald Sun which talks about the release of these controversial biscuits. The second story is a piece from the Courier-Mail that talks about the call for a review of the promotion and placement of alcoholic products, largely as a result of the consternation about these biscuits. The third link is yet another news piece which documents the unfolding debates about the biscuits, as it announces that one MP in New Zealand, Sue Kedgley, argues that Arnott's should not be allowed to release these biscuits throughout New Zealand (It plans to do so beginning March 1). The fourth link, offered by a New Zealand food website, contains some reactions to Kedgley's proposal, including the observation that "Sue Kedgley should chill out and have a Kahlua bickie instead of trying to ban them." The fifth link leads to an interesting graph provided by the Australian Institute of Criminology that documents the changing rates of alcohol consumption within the country from 1961 to 2000. Interestingly enough, while the consumption of wine has grown significantly in this period, the consumption rate of beer has diminished since 1975. The final link will take visitors to the homepage of the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, which is a unique coalition working to prevent the use of alcohol, and which is sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. [KMG]

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