The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 8

February 27, 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 Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology

The fifth issue of the third volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Open Source Software (and the related debates).

Research and Education

U.S. Census Bureau: American Community Survey [pdf]

Designed in 1996 to provide more timely demographic information to policymakers, businesses, and the general public, the American Community Service is a program initiated by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Survey was designed to complement the national census taken every ten years, as mandated by federal law. The site is very helpful as users are given access to date profiles on over 800 geographical areas (utilizing data from 2002), ranking tables (which offer a quick view of states, places, and counties ranked on issues such as persons speaking Spanish at home and so on), and a overview of the Survey itself. Researchers using the site will want to pay keen attention to the Using the Data area, which features material on response rates, understanding the change profiles within the data, and a separate piece for basic data users with a basic understanding of the sample design, estimation methodology, and accuracy of the data. Overall, this is a very interesting site, especially for those looking for relatively up-to-date information on the changing demographics around the United States. [KMG]

International Institute of Social History [pdf]

Located in the Netherlands, the International Institute of Social History (IISH), was founded in 1935, and is one of the world's largest documentary and research institutions in the field of social history. The institute's website has grown by leaps and bounds since it was first reviewed in the Scout Report on September 26, 1997, and now contains a host of new materials. Visitors with a strong penchant for social history will want to check out a list of upcoming events and conferences of importance, and take a look at some of the virtual exhibitions as well. Some of the more compelling virtual exhibitions include one on Red-Haired Barbarians, which features 40 rare Japanese prints depicting the Dutch and other foreigners in Nagasaki and Yokohama from 1800 to 1865 and an exhibit that chronicles the history of the labour movement from around the world. It is also worth taking a look at some of the excellent online finding aids and the extensive list of publications written by various scholars and researchers, many of whom have an affiliation with the IISH. [KMG]

Conservation Online [Last reviewed on October 21, 1994]

Started as a germ of an idea back in 1987 (on a real, live bulletin board, as opposed to an electronic one), Conservation Online (CoOL) has been providing online resources for conservation professionals since 1993. As its website announces, it is a "full text library of conservation information," covering a wide array of topics ranging from digital imaging to reprographics, and quite a bit of material in between. By clicking on any given topic, visitors will receive a brief overview of the subject, its terminology, and then a list of general online resources for consideration. Another nice feature of the site is the mailing list archive, which contain the archives of various queries submitted to different professional conservation groups, such as the Association of Moving Image Archivists, the Textiles Conservation Discussion List, and the Conservation Framer's Mailing List. The site is rounded out by a timeline that traces the CoOL's history from the summer of 1987 to July 2003. [KMG]

Churchill and the Great Republic

The late Winston Spencer Churchill was many things, including a fine diplomat, an excellent statesmen, and quite a prodigious author. Of course, he was also a good friend to the United States, and this online exhibit from the Library of Congress explores Churchill's long relationship with the U.S., which he referred to as "the great Republic". With generous funding from John W. Kluge (and the support of the Annenberg Foundation), this exhibit is divided into a number of areas, such as those dealing with the Cold War and World War II, and features digitized images of Churchill with his grandson and as a dapper little boy, along with other visual materials. The text that accompanies each section discusses such events as Churchill's first visit to the US in 1895 and his second premiership in Britain, which began in 1951. The site concludes with a listing of public programs being held in conjunction with the in situ exhibit in Washington DC, and a list of further reading material. [KMG] First Aid Guide

It seems that a number of misconceptions about basic first-aid continue to be quite prevalent and, in some cases, their application can be quite harmful -- resulting in the exacerbatation of a simple injury. With the intent of providing free and medically sound advice, the Mayo Clinic has developed this basic guide to first aid. Over thirty subjects are covered within the guide, including how to address dislocations, burns, bruises, frostbite, snakebites, sunburn, and toothache. If this first-aid guide doesn't keep users busy enough, there are a number of other popular topics addressed in a sidebar alongside the main guide. Some of the popular health issues that the Mayo Clinic staff members respond to here include prostate cancer prevention, low-carbohydrate diets, and seasonal affective disorder. [KMG]

National Academies: The Hydrogen Economy

This news release from the National Academies reviews findings on the challenges and opportunities for a Hydrogen Economy. According to the report, "A transition to hydrogen as a major fuel in the next 50 years could significantly change the U.S. energy economy, reducing air emissions and expanding domestic energy resources, but technical, economic, and infrastructure barriers need to be overcome." A link to the full report online includes chapters on: A Framework for Thinking About the Hydrogen Economy, The Demand Side: Hydrogen End-Use Technologies, Transportation, Distribution, and Storage of Hydrogen, Supply Chains for Hydrogen and Estimated Costs of Hydrogen Supply, Implications of a Transition to Hydrogen in Vehicles for the U.S. Energy System, Carbon Capture and Storage, Hydrogen Production Technologies, and Crosscutting Issues. The Executive Summary includes some implications for policy. This site is also reviewed in the February 27, 2004 NSDL MET Report. [VF]

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching [pdf]

As a result of the kind donations of Andrew Carnegie in 1905, and chartered in 1906 by an Act of Congress, the aim of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is "to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold, and dignify the profession of the teacher and the cause of higher education." While it would seem that this is a rather indomitable set of tasks, the Carnegie Foundation has proven over the past nine decades to be more than able to live up to these goals, producing a number of important scholarly and pragmatic reflections on the dilemmas and opportunities of teaching in the world of higher education. From this webpage, visitors may learn about various competitions sponsored by the Foundation (such as Professor of the Year), and the host of new publications (some of which include sample chapters for perusal). Not surprisingly, visitors may also want to read the Foundation's annual reports, or take a look at the results of survey such as Community College Faculty: Attitudes and Trends. Additionally, the eLibrary area contains a number of important documents dealing with professional and higher education, such as Taking Learning Seriously and an interesting historical document titled Medical Education in the United States and Canada, produced for the Foundation in 1910. [KMG]

WHO Guidelines on Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) for Medicinal Plants [pdf]

As part of its Essential Drugs and Medicine Policy website, the World Health Organization (WHO) has created a series of important guidelines related to good agricultural and collection practices (GACP) for medicinal plants. Given that the information about the overall importance of the healing powers of various plants, this seems like a rather sound idea. This mission is also related to a broader policy agenda within the WHO that is squarely committed to protecting such plants, along with promoting their sustainable use and cultivation. Here visitors will find such important documents as the basic guidelines on GACP for medicinal plants, guidelines for the appropriate use of herbal medicines, and monographs containing detailed descriptions of various key medicinal plants. Equally important are the three main documents on traditional health practitioners, guidelines for training traditional health practitioners, and a consultation report on the prospects for utilizing traditional health practitioners in the treatment of HIV. [KMG]

General Interest


The Internet has afforded hundreds of millions of people the opportunity to access thousands of sites on almost every topic imaginable, and has created a myriad of new employment opportunities, interest groups, and cybercommunities. Regrettably, not every person merging onto the information superhighway is there for such laudable reasons. Stepping into the fray of n'er-do wells is the WiredSafety website, headed by Perry Aftab, an international cyberspace privacy and security lawyer and children's advocate. Registered as a non-profit organization, WiredSafety offers help for online victims of cybercrime and harassment, educational materials about cybercrime, and assistance for law enforcement worldwide on preventing and investigating cybercrimes. A good place to start on the site is Parry's Internet Safety Guide for Parents, which offers a number of helpful tips for parents about monitoring their children's interactions with others over the Internet. WiredSafety also offers Wired-Ed, which is offered free of charge and allows users to learn more about surfing the net safely. Also featured is a wide range of other online courses. [KMG]

Children's Drawings of the Spanish Civil War: A Virtual Exhibition Catalog

Curated by Angela Giral, Emeritus Director of the Avery Architectural Library at Columbia University, this web exhibition includes 153 drawings made by children aged 7 to 14 during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Children were evacuated from the war zones to war-free areas of Spain and the south of France, and many of the drawings show children travelling to these safer areas, as well as more shocking scenes of planes dropping bombs. The largest group of these drawings (just over 600) is at the University of California, San Diego's (UCSD) Mandeville Special Collections Library where they have been made available online ( -- a collection annotated in the June 12, 1998 Scout Report ( In 1938, the American Friends Service Committee published some of the drawings in a book, They Still Draw Pictures, with a forward by Aldous Huxley, to raise money for children's war relief. The UCSD site is arranged along the lines of a book, while the Columbia site uses a geographical arrangement. Curator Giral was herself an evacuated child, and the Columbia website invites others with similar heritage to identify themselves. [DS]

NOVA: Secrets of the Crocodile Caves [pdf, QuickTime]

Madagascar is home to a number of unusual animal species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. It's no surprise that a certain species of crocodile living on this amazing island would choose to enjoy the darkness of cool, dank caves, rather than the sunny banks of a river. These crocs are the subject of a recent special produced by NOVA, and accompanied by this delightful website for those interested in the subject of these mega-reptilians. Visitors will want to start straight-away by delving into the Explore Ankarana feature, which contains a slide show that takes visitors through this particularly eerie and beautiful part of the northern tip of Madagascar. As a bonus, this section contains three QuickTime-enabled virtual panoramas of such distinct features as the Crystal Cave and the sunken forest that has grown up in the Ankarana's Second Canyon. This section also contains a fine online essay about the beliefs of the people of Madagascar, the Malagsy. Several other nice features of the site include an interactive world map highlighting the 23 species of crocodilians and a feature where visitors can learn about the anatomy of a croc. Finally, the site concludes with a selection of additional readings and materials for educators to use in conjunction with the site and the television program. [KMG]

The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record

Funded by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (with technical assistance from the Digital Media Lab at the University of Virginia Library) this rather engaging collection of several hundred photographs offers ample visual documentation of the Atlantic Slave Trade and the daily lives of slaves in the Americas over a period of several centuries. The materials presented here were selected by Jerome S. Handler, a senior fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and ably assisted by Michael L. Tuite, Jr., the head of the Digital Media Lab. The collection itself "is envisioned as a tool and a resource that can be used by teachers, researchers, students, and the general public." Visitors to the site may search the entire archive by keyword, or by category. Some of the categories include Marketing & Urban Scenes, Religion & Mortuary Practices, and Family Life, Child Care, Schools. Each image is accompanied by a brief description and, when available, information about each item's provenance. [KMG]

Visible Knowledge Project

Located at Georgetown University, the Visible Knowledge Project (VKP) "aims to improve the quality of college and university teaching by focusing on both student learning and faculty developments in technology-enhanced environments." By drawing on the strengths of their 12 partner schools (which include large research universities and community colleges), the various faculty from each institution involved with VKP document the impact of their various pedagogical and technological innovations on student learning and present them in a variety of formats. Many of these engaging projects and tools are available on the website, and may be searched by institution or discipline title. Quite a few will be of interest to instructors, as they feature such topics as Dante and the Journey to Freedom and Multiple Media for Cultural Analysis. Along with these helpful resources, visitors can learn more about the project, read the quarterly newsletter, and learn about individual participants who have taken these ideas to heart throughout the duration of the VKP. [KMG]


Beloved by millions of people around the world (and with a certain special fondness in Poland), Frederic Chopin was arguably the most famous concert pianist of the 19th century, and certainly one of classical music's finest composers. Created by a team of four, the InfoChopin website is a clearinghouse of material about the composer and artist, including copious information about upcoming performances, places of importance in Chopin's life, organizations, and persons dedicated to his work. Visitors will want to start by reading the fine electronic newsletter, which can also be delivered on a regular basis by signing up (free of charge) on the site. The articles section provides some brief biographical essays on Chopin, his works, and recent events, such as the unveiling of a new Chopin monument in Tirana, Albania. The events database is quite impressive as well, allowing visitors to look for upcoming performances of Chopin's work by organization name, type of performance, and by the names of individual artists. [KMG]

NPR: Voodoo and West Africa's Spiritual Life [RealOnePlayer]

As part of the fine NPR radio program series, Radio Expeditions, reporter John Burnett recently travelled to West Africa to learn about the ancient religion of Vodun, or as it is called in the West, voodoo. Unfortunately, what most people in the United States think about this religion is based on sensational (and generally totally inaccurate) accounts that one finds in various Hollywood movies or in a tourist-designed version that is hawked in many New Orleans shops. Before listening to the three-part series online, visitors will want to peruse the selection of photographs taken by the radio documentary producers during their travel through Togo and Benin, then proceed to read the background essay as well. The site also includes several video clips of the Epe Ekpe stone festival in Glidji, Togo and Equnqun spirit dancers in Cove, Benin. [KMG]

Network Tools

RIP Popup Blocker 3.1 [Windows Operating System]

This latest edition of RIP Popup Blocker will be a welcome addition for anyone who may be becoming frustrated with the plethora of advertisements that materialize when browsing around the web. RIP Popup Blocker allows users to customize various notification sounds that play when a site is blocked, and also lets users add or remove sites to an override list. Finally visitors can also elect to clear where they have been during their time navigating the web. RIP Popup Blocker 3.1 is compatible with all systems running Windows Me, NT, 2000, XP, and 2003. [KMG]

Spaghettilearning 1.1 [Windows Operating System]

For anyone interested in the field of online education and its management, this internet e-learning platform will be of great interest. Developed in Italy (and available in both English and Italian), this platform allows teachers the ability to upload lessons, track students, offer tests, provide online forums, and post notes. The platform also comes with an auto-install feature and an auto-upgrader as well. This particular version is compatible with all systems running Windows 98 and above. [KMG]

In The News

Colon Cancer: Virtual Detection

PBS Newshour: Virtual Colonoscopy
University of Wisconsin: 3-D Virtual Colonoscopy More Sensitive than Conventional Procedure
New England Journal of Medicine: Computed Tomographic Virtual Colonoscopy to Screen for Colorectal Neoplasia in Asymptomatic Adults
National Cancer Institute/ Colon and Rectal Cancer Homepage -- Health Watch: Colorectal Cancer, Part II Virtual Colonoscopy: Easier, Faster
PBS Teacher Source: Concepts Across the Curriculum (No. 4: Gulp!)

Colon cancer is both the second most pervasive cancer to attack humans and one of the most preventable. One of the sad reasons for its prevalence has little to do with genes, diet, or overall health. Instead, it is the social stigma of the colon and rectum and the associated test --the colonoscopy -- which drives this cancer to the top of the list of killers. As with many cancer types, colon and rectal cancer is best treated in the early stages. And, when done so, the success of treatment is exponentially greater than dealing with it later on. While the typical test, the colonoscopy, is reliable, safe, and relatively easy, it still requires temporary sedation of the patient and the insertion of a camera through the large intestines. While the patient is sleepy and relaxed due to the sedation, and the procedure is reliably painless, the very thought of the proceture has kept many away. Now, with the advent of amazing virtual imaging technology, a virtual colonoscopy can be performed in seconds without sedation, and without the insertion of a camera. While there are pros and cons to each -- namely that by using the old method, any growths can be removed by the colonoscope immediately -- this may be the answer for crossing the formally highest hurdle: simply getting people in the door for testing. The several sites below offer a look at this new technology. Teachers will hopefully value not only the descriptive sites, but also the link to a related lesson plan.

The first link leads to a segment from PBS' Newshour and offers a very good introduction to the topic. The link leads to your choice of the transcript, audio, or video of the interview conducted by Margaret Warner with Dr. Perry Pickhardt, radiologist at the University of Wisconsin -- Madison and co-director of a recent virtual colonoscopy study found in the New England Journal of Medicine and the object of a lot of buzz in the medical world. The second site leads to the University of Wisconsin's press release on the study's findings and the technology itself. The third site, while a bit technical for many readers, takes you to the New England Journal of Medicine website and the actual report produced by Dr. Pickhardt and his colleagues on their findings related to virtual colonoscopy. The fourth link leads the foremost cancer information center sponsored by the U.S. government, the National Cancer Institute and its web home for Colon and Rectal cancer. This is a great site to obtain both general and specific information related to the disease and the various treatments. The next link leads an exceptionally well produced series of reports by a Madison (Wisconsin) area television station, WISC. Its web home,, offers this site which gives a good report of virtual colonoscopy as well as many links to additional information. Finally, teachers, the last link leads back to and a great lesson that asks students (grades 6-8) to think about this topic from its scientific point of view. [JPM]

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