The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 15

April 16, 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 third issues of the eigth volumes of the Life Sciences Report and Physical Sciences Report are available. The Topic in Depth section of the Life Sciences Report annotates sites on Eggs. The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Quantum Dots.

Research and Education

Study Stack

Developed by John Weidner, the Study Stack concept basically assists individuals to memorize information about various subjects, including geography, history, math, languages, and science. Users of the site can select one of the existing stacks, which consists of virtual study cards allowing individuals to learn at their own pace until they are satisfied with their progress. What is also particularly novel about this learning tool is that data entered for customized study stacks can be automatically displayed as a matching game, a word search puzzle, or a hangman game. So far, the site contains dozens of study stacks for each subject, with the areas dedicated to math and science containing quite a number of rather helpful stacks. With its wide range of applications, this site will be very helpful to students at different age levels and teachers who may be seeking to develop a new study tool for any number of topics or themes within a subject area. [KMG]

Women's Rights and Democracy in the Arab World [pdf

The Carnegie Foundation for International Peace recently sponsored a series of papers that frame key issues relating to democracy promotion policies and programs in the Middle East. The fourth one in this thought-provoking series was authored by Marina Ottaway and offers a critical appraisal of the relationship between women's rights and democracy in the Arab world, and about what an outside intervenor (such as the United States) can rightly hope to accomplish in this arena. Within the report's 12 pages, Ottaway offers a brief overview of the various rights of women in the Arab world, discusses the policy impacts of including women within the democratic process, and concludes with a brief section on the prospects offered by the intervention of the United States government in this process. As Ottaway notes in her conclusion, "There is great need for the United States government not only to rethink the nexus of democracy and the promotion of women, but also to become more sensitive to the great gap that separates what U.S. officials say and what different Arab constituencies hear." [KMG]

U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics

For anyone looking for very detailed up-to-date statistics on just about any facet of the U.S. labor market and economy, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics webpage should be the first place to look. The site contains information on inflation and consumer spending, productivity, occupations, industries, business costs, and demographics. Of course, within each broad topical division, there are numerous other more specific subtopics, such as those offering data on employment costs, the consumer price index, and foreign labor. Some of the highlights of this site include the 2004-05 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook and a number of the Bureau's in-house publications, such as the Occupational Outlook Quarterly. For quick information, visitors will want to take a look at the At a Glance Tables area, which allows visitors easy access to economic and labor data (such as unemployment) at the state and metropolitan area levels. Finally, visitors may also send in their own queries, or take a look at answers to queries that have recently been asked by other users of the site. [KMG]

Dartmouth Flood Observatory [Macromedia Flash Player, jpeg, Microsoft Excel]

The Dartmouth Flood Observatory website "is a research tool for detection, mapping, measurement, and analysis of extreme flood events world-wide using satellite remote sensing." Users can find data on flood damages, magnitudes, recurrence intervals, and more. The website discusses the Observatory's Wide Area Hydrologic Monitoring and Quickscat Wetlands Monitoring. In the World Atlas of Large Flood Events, students and educators can learn the causes, locations, and durations of floods. While the Observatory has attempted to collect data from 1985 to the present, the website does indicate that in recent years the reliability of the data has increased. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the April 16, 2004 NSDL Physical Sciences Report.

Library Journal

Librarians, archivists, and other information specialists may already know about the electronic version of Library Journal (the oldest independent national library publication), but those not in the know will want to take a look at this site. With each issue containing dozens of articles on numerous facets on the operation of libraries (and future trends), the site is really an indispensable resource for those in the field. Various sections of the online edition deal with extensive product reviews for books and other items, prepublication alerts, and timely pieces on collection development. The site also contains archives of the Library Journal dating back to February 1997, and a search engine for looking for articles and items on specific topics. One particular section of the site that is worth taking a look at is the section of the Journal devoted to discussing current trends and issues regarding the world of digital libraries and related initiatives. [KMG]

Council for Aid to Education [pdf]

Based in New York City, the Council for Aid to Education (CAE) is a national nonprofit organization that was initially created in 1952. Operating as a part of the RAND corporation since 1996, CAE's primary goals are to advance corporate support of education and on improving higher education and quality. Additionally, CAE recognizes the best corporate gifts to education through its annual Leaders for Change awards program. As might be expected, the publications and resources area of the site contains a number of helpful documents that will be of interest to persons researching the field of higher education administration and policy. Some of the full-length works available here include Intelligent Giving: Insights and Strategies for Higher Education Donors, Breaking the Social Contract: The Fiscal Crisis in Higher Education, and Measuring the Difference College Makes. [KMG]

United States and Brazil : Expanding Frontiers, Comparing Cultures [pdf]

This extremely compelling website, dedicated to examining the interactions between Brazil and the United States from the 18th century to the present, grew out of discussions between Dr. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, and the former President of Brazil, Fernando Hernrique Cardoso. Developed under the auspices of the Global Gateway program at the Library of Congress, the site contains an impressive amount of primary source materials, including maps, rare books, prints, photographs, and manuscripts. When completed, the project will contain materials organized around four primary themes, but currently only the theme of Historical Foundations is complete. As might be expected, the site is presented in both Portuguese and English, and a powerful multifaceted search engine will help guide users to particular documents of interest. Browsing through the Historical Foundations section of the site, visitors will find a timeline (complete with accompanying visual materials), and five separate sections dedicated to exploration, the colonial period, and so on. [KMG]

National Council for Science and the Environment: PopPlanet

Representing a partnership between the National Council for Science and the Environment and the Population Reference Bureau, "PopPlanet is a resource of up-to-date country specific information on key population, environment, and health issues." Designed as an information tool for researchers, policy makers, and others, this site includes information on biological resources, health services, and more. The site links to the PopLine Bibliography database from John Hopkins School of Hygiene as well as Public Health and Country profiles for many nations. This site also links to the Population and Environment Linkages Service, (last reported on in the Scout Report for Science and Engineering April 26, 2000) which includes over 14,000 links to reports, articles, and many other resources. Additionally, site visitors can link to PopEnvironment News which provides population news analysis from the Communications Consortium Media Center. This site is available in Spanish, French, and English. [NL] This site is also reviewed in the April 16, 2004 NSDL Life Sciences Report.

General Interest

Witness to the Holocaust [pdf, RealOne Player]

Developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology Library and Information Center, this site grew out of the Witness to the Holocaust Memorial Project, which began in 1978 to refute claims that the Holocaust never happened. The Project was founded by the late Fred Roberts Crawford, who was the directory of Emory University's Center for Research in Social Change (he also was a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III) The site is divided into three primary areas: history, liberators, and camps. The history section provides a brief overview of the Holocaust and the experiences of those held captive in the concentration camps, and their eventual release at the conclusion of the war. The liberators section contains 10 transcriptions of interview with persons involved in the liberation of the concentration camps, including Fred Crawford himself. The camps section contains profiles of four of the most notorious concentration camps, and includes schematic diagrams of the camps, archival footage from within the camps, and brief descriptions of each one, complemented with photographs. [KMG]

Rembrandt's Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher

The current blockbuster exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago features paintings and prints by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), "one of the most celebrated artists in history." This related website presents just enough of the exhibition to satisfy some, while whetting the appetite of others -- who will need to travel to the museum to see more than 200 works on display. To see works in context, start at the Exhibition Themes page, where short paragraphs describe major themes in Rembrandt's work, such as Scenes from Everyday Life, 1635-51, and also link to examples from each category. Visit the Selected works page for thumbnail views of all the Rembrandts available at the website. The site also includes all the necessary information for those who wish to purchase tickets and visit the Art Institute. [DS]

TeachPottery [PowerPoint]

This fine site, developed by high-school art teacher Kerry Marquis, is designed to help teachers and students learn about the many facets of making pottery. Developed as a result of Ms. Marquis' own classroom experiences, the site contains a number of good multimedia features, such as PowerPoint presentations (available for download as well) on topics such as the history of pottery. The homepage is also a good place to begin, as it contains a helpful sidebar with links to galleries of student work, an outline of potential assignments, and online quizzes and activities. The featured quizzes and activities section contains a pop quiz on ceramic terms, a crossword puzzle, and an amulet and fetish scavenger hunt. The site is rounded out by a helpful resource section that contains links to other sites dealing with pottery making and its history. [KMG]

Vaslav Nijinsky: Creating a New Artistic Era

Born in Kiev 115 years ago, Vaslav Nijinsky would become one of the premier ballet dancers of the 20th century, despite the fact that after age 28 his professional career ended, and he spend most of the remaining 30 years of his life in treatment for schizophrenia. On this site, developed by the New York Public Library, visitors can learn about Njinsky's prolific career in ballet through the early 20th century, largely through sections dedicated to his work with the Ballets Russes and another area that recalls his work as a choreographer of pieces such as Le Sacre du Printemps. The site also includes a section devoted to his well-received tour through America in 1916 and 1917, which includes images of souvenir programs from various performances. Finally, the site also contains the full version of Edwin Denby's celebrated 1943 essay Notes of Nijinsky Photographs, which explores the very nature of his innovations in modern art through a detailed consideration of photographs of this master at work. [KMG]

American Experience: The Pill [pdf, RealOnePlayer]

The development and history of the creation of the contraceptive pill was one of the most important developments in women's reproductive health (and freedom) of the 20th century. The pill was argued and debated with great fervor for many decades before its final approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in May 1960. Produced by the American Experience series (a part of PBS's regular program), this website explores some of the issues surrounding the creation of the pill, and the many different ways in which it transformed the lives of women, and American culture more broadly. On the site, visitors can read a complete transcript of the original program, peruse primary sources (such as the notice for Margaret Sanger's first birth control clinic),and take a look at a list of further reading materials. The special features section is equally well-developed, as it contains an online poll, a virtual demonstration of how the pill works, and a question and answer area, with responses posted by Daniela Carusi, M.D., the director of generally gynecology at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston. As an added feature, visitors may also look through a selection of fifteen different historical versions of the pill (and their packaging materials) from the U.S. and other parts of the world. [KMG]

Rural Areas and the Internet [pdf]

With the rise of the so-called information age, a number of research institutes have felt compelled to research the digital divide that seems to exist between the mainstream and certain marginalized groups, such as those with lower incomes or those in rural areas. Released in February 2004, this intriguing 38-page report authored by Peter Bell of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, examines the use of the internet by rural residents across the United States. Based primarily on survey data collected between March and August 2003, the report contains some interesting findings, most notably the fact that while almost 52% of rural adults go online on a regular basis, they still have internet participation rates lower than their urban and suburban counterparts. Other interesting findings include information in the report that suggests rural users' online connections to various groups and virtual communities are more likely to stretch beyond immediate physically proximate communities. The report is rounded out by the inclusion of a methodology section and several demographic tables. [KMG]

DiversityWeb [pdf]

Begun in 1995, DiversityWeb is a project of the Association of American Colleges and Universities' Office of Diversity, Equity, and Global Initiatives. One of the tenets central to their mission is "the belief that diversity and global knowledge are essential elements of any effort to foster civic engagement among today's college students." From the main page, visitors can read about current projects and initiatives (such as the National Initiative for Women in Higher Education), and learn about various conferences and calls for papers related to the subject of diversity in higher education. The research and trends section brings together a number of helpful tools for evaluating campus climate, curriculum development, and student outcomes as developed by member institutions and other partners. Another important resource for administrators and other persons interested in diversity within higher education is the publication Diversity Digest, which is published four times a year, and contains articles on curricular transformation and faculty involvement. [KMG]

Network Tools

602PC Suite 4.0 [Windows Operating System]

Developed as a suite of office products, 602PC Suite is compatible with MS Office document types, and contains four full-featured applications, including a word processor, spreadsheet, and photo editor. The word processor is compatible with MS Word, and supports multiple languages. The newest additions included in this version of 602PC Suite include advanced document format compatibility, an MS Office 2003-style toolbar, and complete support for digital photography and imaging. This edition is compatible with systems running Windows 98 and above. [KMG]

ScheduleWorld 1.3.8 [Macintosh Operating System]

With hectic schedules serving as the order of the day, many persons may find this application more than a bit handy. Schedule World is a free calendaring and scheduling client that utilizes open standards. The application allows users to schedule and receive meetings to and from Microsoft Exchange or Outlook, among other programs. Additionally, the application provides TV-listings for 13 countries and global weather schedules as well. Schedule World 1.3.8 is compatible with all systems running Mac OS X. [KMG]

In The News

Inspiring Professor Retires at Age 104

Retiring Prof, 104, Tried to Inspire Youths
Centenarian Research Scientist Named America's Oldest Worker
Living Century Video Clips: Ray Crist [RealOnePlayer]
The Okinawa Centenarian Study
Older Americans 2000: Key Indicators of Well-Being [pdf]
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum [Macromedia Flash Reader]

This week, tiny Messiah College in central Pennsylvania honored one of their own, Dr. Ray Crist. What is perhaps most interesting about Dr. Crist's situation is that he is 104 years old, and was graduated from Messiah College in 1916, and began his teaching career at Messiah 34 years ago at the age of 70. Crist came to teach at Messiah after a long career in science including stints at both the Manhattan Project and for Union Carbide. Crist's research has included work on the effects of automobile exhaust on deer and of toxic metals on trout, and even in his retirement, he has said he does not plan to stop his research. Two years ago, Crist received the accolade of America's Oldest Worker from Experience Works, which is a nonprofit training and employment service. Of course, Crist is part of a broader trend within the United States over the past few decades that has seen older Americans maintain high levels of intellectual productivity (particularly with increased longevity nationwide), a fact that is often overlooked by more banal representations of older persons on various media programs and a general adoration of youth culture.

The first link (anonymous registration required) will take visitors to a recent news article about a celebration held for Dr. Crist at Messiah College. The second link will lead visitors to a news release issued by the Experience Works group from 2002 that talks about Dr. Crist's achievements. The third link leads to the Living Century video clip page (developed in conjunction with the popular PBS series) where visitors can watch and listen to a clip of Dr. Crist. The fourth link will take visitors to the homepage of the well-known Okinawa Centenarian Study, which involves research on the residents of Okinawa, who collectively have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world. The fifth page leads to an important document on key indicators of well-being for older persons developed by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics. The final link leads to the homepage of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, one of Wisconsin's most celebrated daughters, and a woman who kept on creating visually stimulating art that is recognized around the world, and did so well into her 90s. [KMG]

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