April 9, 2004
A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
NSDL Scout Reports
Research and Education
- Archaeological Institute of America
- National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
- Corpus of Electronic Texts (CELT)
- Social Science Research Council
- American Philosophical Society
- NTIS on Homeland Security
- Butterflies of North America
- The New Americans
- Farber Gravestone Collection
- Roth Time: A Dieter Roth Retrospective
- Living in Europe
- Pastimes and Paradigms: Games We Play
- Black Ships & Samurai
- Great Mirror
In The News
NSDL Scout Reports
The eighth issue of the third volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Research and Education
Dedicated to promoting archaeological inquiry and public understanding of the material record of the human past around the world, the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is North America's oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology. The AIA is a nonprofit group originally founded in 1879 and chartered by the United States Congress in 1906, with over 9000 members at last count. On their site, visitors can learn about membership in the AIA, read about local societies of the AIA, and read about their annual professional and academic meeting. Along with details about the day-to-day operations of the AIA, visitors can peruse materials about fellowships and other grant programs for fieldwork and professional development. The site also contains a link to the latest archaeological news, provided by the courtesy of Archaeological Magazine. While the publication section does not offer free access to most of their monographs, visitors can follow a link to the full-text online edition of the American Journal of Archaeology. [KMG]
Created by congressional legislation and President George W. Bush near the end of 2002, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States is an independent bipartisan commission that was chartered to prepare a "full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks." This authoritative site provides biographical information about the members of the Commission, a frequently asked question section, and information about the dates and times of the various public hearings. Not surprisingly there is an extensive section of press releases and detailed statements from various staff members of the Commission regarding its ongoing work. The hearings section provides detailed information on upcoming and previously held hearings, along with archived broadcasts of each hearing and complete hearing transcripts. So far, the Commission has held nine public hearings, dealing with topics such as emergency preparedness, security and liberty, and counterterrorism policy. [KMG]
Developed at University College Cork, the Corpus of Electronic Texts project is intended "to bring the wealth of Irish literary and historical culture (in Irish, Latin, Anglo-Norman French, and English) to the Internet in a rigorously scholarly project." Additionally, the project is designed to be utilized by a wide group of interested parties, including students, academics, and the general public. Visitors may peruse the documents by language of original publication, or by viewing a complete list of all the works currently available (many in HTML or pdf format) from the project's website. Some of the rather compelling works available here include the complete works of Oscar Wilde, the political writings of Michael Collins, and various historical documents regarding the struggle for Irish independence. [KMG]
Founded in 1923 (and last reviewed by the Scout Report on November 3, 1998), the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is an independent non-profit organization with ongoing research projects on every continent, most of which are designed to encourage innovation and to help social scientists engage broader constituencies. Some of the council's key interests include children and armed conflict, economic growth, international migration, and global security and cooperation. From the website, visitors can learn about the most recent project initiatives, which include the initiative on HIV / AIDS, social transformation and emergencies, and humanitarian action. Along with these recent initiatives, visitors may also read about the 30 thematic programs, which are organized into five broad program areas. Graduate students coming to the site will want to definitely take a look at the many fellowship and dissertation funding opportunities offered by the SSRC. Visitors may also browse through the SSRC quarterly publication, Items & Issues, which features essays, roundtables, and other writings by participants in SSRC-sponsored programs. [KMG]
Started in 1743 by no less of an Enlightenment personage than Benjamin Franklin, the American Philosophical Society (APS) has played an important role in American cultural and intellectual life for over 250 years. The APS "promotes useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and community outreach." From the APS mainpage, visitors can learn about doing research at the APS's very fine library, read about fellowship and grant opportunities, and search a database of its current members. In the section dedicated to providing information on the annual meeting, visitors can view programs from past gatherings, and view the 2003 proceedings online. If individuals can't make it to Philadelphia to visit the APS exhibits, they may look at archived online exhibits here, which include an overview of the many fine holdings -- including first editions of Isaac Newton's Principia and Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. The site is rounded out by information on visiting the APS and its various publication series. [KMG]
The National Technical Information Service offers this website with technical and research reports received during the last month related to homeland security. Grouped into two categories, On the Homefront and Beyond Our Borders. Topics addressed include Air Cargo Security, Biosecurity, Border Security and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and Diplomacy of Counterterrorism. Visitors must pay to download the reports, but abstracts are available for browsing free of charge. [VF] This site is also reviewed in the April 9, 2004 NSDL MET Report.
For those with a budding interest in lepidoptery (the study of butterflies), this fine online resource presented by the USGS's Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center will be worth checking out. Currently, the site covers the butterfly species and populations throughout the United States and northern Mexico, with a section on Canada planned for the future. By utilizing the interactive map, visitors can click on any state to find out which butterflies inhabit any given area. After doing so, visitors can view photographs of the adult and larva of each species, and learn more about their distribution across each state and the entire United States as well. Visitors can even get more detailed information by looking at individualized checklists that detail which species have been reported at the county level throughout the country. The site also includes answers to commonly asked questions about butterflies and moths, such as What's the difference between a moth and a butterfly? and material on how to rear butterflies and moths. [KMG]
In recent years PBS has teamed up the production company Independent Lens to produce a number of documentary programs, many of which have received great acclaim and praise from viewers and television critics alike. One of their latest creations, The New Americans, is just such a program, and this website is designed to complement the ongoing series which was recently shown on PBS for the first time. The main site is divided into three primary areas where visitors can meet the immigrant and refugee families profiled in the program, learn about their diverse cultural traditions, and take a quiz on the myths and realities of immigration and its effects on American society. The section where visitors can learn about the diverse families profiled (such as the Ogoni family from Nigeria) is quite nice, and visitors can also find out how they are doing currently. The additional features on the site include resources for educators, a place for visitors to offer their own comments on the program, and a topically organized section of additional online resources on the experiences of immigrants and refugees in the United States. [KMG]
David Rumsey and his cartographically-minded colleagues have developed a number of excellent online collections of maps and other visual ephemera over the past few years, and this latest resource will be one that visitors will want to peruse at length. This particular collection contains over 13,500 images documenting the various sculptural elements on more than 9000 gravestones. Most of the gravestones available in this fine database were made prior to 1800, and most of them were created in the Northeastern United States. The original photographic archive was the brainchild of the late Daniel Farber, who worked with his wife, Jessie Lie Farber, to create the largest portion of this collection. Using the Insight Browser plugin, visitors can look at thousands of gravestones and examine them in great detail. The site also includes a detailed 42-page essay by Jessie Lie Farber that offers an introduction to early American gravestones, along with providing answers to a number of frequent queries about the stones such as What materials were used? and What is the current condition of the early stones?. [KMG]
Using the web and two venues in New York City, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) presents the first large scale retrospective show in the US of works by Dieter Roth (1930-1998), including approximately 375 artworks. At the website, visitors can view Roth's art work arranged on a timeline, or choose from 10 themes such as: Experiments in Books and Graphics, Works With Organic Materials, or Assemblages, Sound Works and Collaborations. An example of texts includes, Schneewittchen (Snow White) 1965, made of newspapers cut into squares and bound, then reassembled under glass. Some works with organic materials are Roth's 1970 self portrait, P.O.TH.A.A.VFB (Portrait of the artist as Vogelfutterbuste) made from birdseed and chocolate (perhaps Roth's favorite organic material) and 1966 Banana Print, a banana run though a printing press. The 10th theme is Time Passing: 5 Large Works at P.S.1, five installations, exploring the subjects of time, decay, and recorded information, such as Flacher Abfall (Flat waste), a collection of items less than half an inch thick -- labels, envelopes, bits of food -- placed in plastic sleeves and stored in over 600 folders on 5 wooden ranges of shelves. [DS]
Weblogs on just about every topic imaginable (including a few which no one would have imagined) are now available. And, after some time spent living in the shadows of traditional formats such as television and mainstream periodicals, they have garnered the attention of major media programs. One of the more interesting weblog sites out there is Living in Europe, which consists of a cooperative of bloggers and writers who contribute essays, photographs, personal diaries, and news items from Europe. The perspectives section of the site offers some commentaries on the expansion of the European Union and a diary of a foreigner living in Turkey. The photos section features contributions from various parts of Europe, including some musings and photos from Catalonia and Bristol. Visitors who develop a penchant for the site may sign up to help with the administration of the site, or just offer their own commentaries on life in Europe. [KMG]
The good people of the Carl A. Kroch Library at Cornell University have been playing games lately, and they have seen fit to make a nice website about the games people play in conjunction with an in situ exhibit that runs through the spring of 2004. The site explores the evolution of games since 1800, and includes a number of sections that examines the various functions of these different pastimes through the past two centuries. In sections such as Pernicious Pastimes, visitors will learn various games of chance, such as the Gay Wolves punchboard and take a look at some interesting circular playing cards. All told, there are thirteen like-minded sections, exploring the various incarnations of games from different cultures around the world, and visitors may test their mettle at the end by trying to complete a crossword puzzle. Visitors will also appreciate the playful nature of the site's homepage, as it features a board that looks suspiciously like a well-known real estate board game based around Atlantic City properties where moving the mouse over various locales reveals historic game pieces. [KMG]
In the early days of July 1853, the residents of Uraga on the outskirts of the feudal capital of Japan at Edo were privy to a rather unusual sight: Four hulking foreign warships had entered their harbor under the power of coal, and under the command of Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States. So began one of the pivotal cultural interactions between East and West. Commodore Perry came as an emissary of the United States in order to create a formal relationship with the empire of Japan. Developed by Professors John W. Dower and Shigeru Miyagawa from MIT, this site brings together a wealth of rarely seen graphics from both sides of this historic encounter, and original textual commentaries by Professor Dower. The Core Exhibit area contains the bulk of these amazing visual materials, including those renderings of the initial encounters of the two cultures in the years 1853 and 1854 and some revealing portraits of both Japanese officials and Commodore Perry himself. Visitors should not leave the site without viewing at least part of the interactive recreation of the 30-foot-long Japanese Black Ship Scroll, which was painted in 1854. The scroll features a number of scenes documenting these encounters, and also includes explanatory text as well. [KMG]
Interpreting and documenting landscapes has been the province of photojournalists, art historians, writers, filmmakers, and other interested parties since time immemorial. Geographers have contributed much to this endeavor as well, though not nearly as many of them have a presence on the internet. That lacuna is partially filled by the Great Mirror website, created by geographer Bret Wallach, who is also a professor at the University of Oklahoma. On this site, visitors may peruse over 5000 photos taken by Wallach over the past thirty years that show "cultural rather than physical landscapes and are intended to illuminate the people who have shaped these landscapes and are reflected in it." The user interface on the site allows visitors to browse through photographs for various countries, which are often subdivided into smaller divisions (called chapters here), that hone in on a particular locale, such as London within Britain or Kushtia within Bangladesh. Each photograph also features information about its particular subject as well. [KMG]
This latest edition of the MereSurfer application adds a pop-up ad stopper, a tracks-eraser and an ad-remover to webbrowsers, which will definitely assist those users who feel more than a bit beleaguered as they are moving about the web. Fortunately, there is also a feature that prevents trusted domains from being affected by the application, and users may also import domain names as well. MereSurfer 2003 Free 8.009 is compatible with all systems running Windows 95 and above. [KMG]
Some users may be looking for a way to check for broken or nonfunctioning links within their own website or within websites they come across while browsing the web. One efficient way of performing this task may be by using LinkStatus 0.1.1., which is a tool for checking links in a webpage. Developed as an Open Source tool, LinkStatus 0.1.1 can search by depth or domain, and supports both Portuguese and English. The application is currently only configured to be compatible with systems running Windows 95 and above, though a version for the Mac may become available in the future. [KMG]
In The News
Happy 100th, Times Square!
100 Years Ago, an Intersection's New Name: Times Square [Free Registration Required]
Times Square: Critics Myth Again
The New Yorker: Times Regained
Times Square Cam
Times Square Information Website
Like all great urban public spaces, Times Square in midtown Manhattan is many different things to many different people. Some dyed-in-the wool New Yorkers will talk disparagingly about its Disneyification over the past decade, while out-of-towners seem to feel that it embodies what is best (and worst) about American urbanism. Regardless of these perceptions, this hallowed place celebrated its 100th anniversary on April 8th, complete with a massive cake, confetti, and a dedication by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who noted that "Times Square is New York, and it has been for a long time." Before 1904, the site was known as Long Acre Square, which had been the site of an exclusive neighborhood created by the Astors, one of American's most celebrated merchant families, in the mid-1800s. The renaming of the area was in honor of the decision made by the New York Times to build on the square during the period. The celebration of the area's centenary will continue for the next nine months, and will include exhibitions at the New York Historical Society, a public art program, and a design awards competition. [KMG]
The first link leads to a news piece from the New York Daily News which talks about both the history of Times Square and the ongoing celebrations that are planned for the next few months. The second link leads to a fine article from the New York Times about the history of Times Square, and includes a nice interactive feature that traces the development of the area, complete with audio narration. The third link leads to a piece by Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post, who talks about the changes in the area over the past decade or so with more than a bit of humor and wit. The fourth link will take visitors to another interesting piece on the transformation of Times Square by critic Adam Gopnik, writing in The New Yorker on March 22. The fifth link leads to a fun site where visitors can view real-time images of various parts of Times Square from four different cameras. Visitors will definitely want to check out Camera 4 here, as they can watch tourists buy postcards, make phone calls, and experience New York somewhat vicariously. The final link leads to the official Times Square website, where visitors can read about the history of the Square, find out what's happening around the area, and watch some rather intriguing short films in the multimedia section, including one titled The Gods of Times Square. [KMG]
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