The Scout Report -- Volume 10, Number 25

June 25, 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 thirteenth 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 Cyperaceae (The Sedge Family). The Physical Sciences Report's Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Waterfalls.

Research and Education

Access in the Future Tense

The Council on Library and Information Resources produces a number of written works to inform the community of library specialists on a host of important and pressing topics, including preservation awareness, resources for scholarship, and digital libraries. This particular work came out of an invitational conference sponsored by the Council in May 2003 which was designed "to examine the key factors shaping the information environment in which libraries operate and how these factors will affect stewardship of the cultural and intellectual resources vital to education and research." Subsequently, the Council asked four experts in the field to address several key features of the changing landscape; after their responses were received the papers were joined together and published here on this site. The respondents included Daniel Greenstein of the California Digital Library, Anne Kenney of Cornell University Libraries, and Bill Ivey of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University. Overall, this timely work will be of great interest to practitioners in the field of information and library science and digital archive management, among others. [KMG]

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

While not a new concept at all, as some of its adherents would have people believe, distance learning continues to grow in a number of guises, from asynchronous online learning to various satellite and television linkups between disparate locales and in some cases, different hemispheres. Therefore it is not so surprising that an online journal would come into being that addresses the various aspects of administering different distance learning programs and such. Started in 1998, the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration is edited by Melanie Clay at the State University of West Georgia, along with a number of additional colleagues and an editorial board drawn from various colleges and universities around the United States. Here visitors can read the complete text of the journal all the way back to its inception in 1998, and submit feedback to the editorial team, or offer a piece for submission to the journal. [KMG]

National Park Service Photo Collection

Over the past century, a host of photographers have documented the grounds and buildings of the National Parks for the National Park Service, and in doing so have created a collection that contains over two million images. Some of these eminent photographers include such personages as Jack Boucher, Arno B. Cammerer, and Abbie Rowe. The National Park Service has recently placed 2000 of these images online, and added a fine search feature so that users can look for images by year, photographer, theme, parksite, or keyword. Some of these images included early photographs of the Virgin Islands National Park, rangers on location in Yosemite National Park, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The site is rounded out with links to other digital image archives, such as those housed on the American Memory website at the Library of Congress. [KMG]

Australian Centre for Astrobiology

The Australian Centre for Astrobiology performs research in physics, astronomy, and cosmology, as well as investigates the possibility of life beyond Earth. After learning about the Centre's latest news and events, users can find summaries of the many current research projects including studies of ancient hydrothermal systems, remote sensing of the atmosphere of Venus, and varying constants. The website features the research, papers, and achievements of Professor Paul Davies and the Centre's other members. Students and educators can discover research and scholarship opportunities. This site is also reviewed in the June 25, 2004 NSDL Physical Sciences Report. [RME]

Homicide in Chicago: 1870-1930 [RealOne Player]

As a study in contrasts, Chicago is an example of the great achievements and shortcomings of the United States, and to be sure the city has seen a great deal of violence over its one-hundred and fifty years of existence. The city has been poured over by scholars, drawing on some of its truly fascinating archives, including such sources as the Chicago Police Department Homicide Record. This multi-media account of the phenomenon of homicide in the city from the years 1870 to 1930 was developed by Leigh Bienen, Senior Lecturer in the School of Law at Northwestern University, who was working with the city's homicide record for this period, along with countless other source materials. On the site, visitors can download or browse the contents of this amazing database, read about the legendary crimes during this period in great detail, view interviews with scholars and historians, and read a host of publications that draw on this breadth of data. [KMG]

The Word on the Street: Broadside at the National Library of Scotland

How did the people of Scotland find out about the everyday occurrences of life three hundred years ago? Well, the most likely answer would be broadsides, of course. From the 17th century to their demise near the end of the 19th century, broadsides were pinned up all over various public and quasi-public places for the general public, and gave vivid descriptions of various criminal acts, updates on royalty, and other subjects. Fortunately for contemporary users of the internet, the National Library of Scotland has digitized close to 1,800 of these documents and placed them online here. First-time visitors to the site will want to read the short background pieces that address how the broadsides were created, illustrated, and distributed throughout places like Edinburgh and Falkirk. Visitors can search the entire broadside collection, browse by individual title, or by subject, which include such topical divisions as ballads, religion, riots, and freemasonry. Engaging and entertaining, this site is definitely worth several visits. [KMG]

University of Victoria: The Whale Research Lab

This website presents the Whale Research Lab at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. The Whale Lab -- consisting of a small group of faculty, graduate students, and associates -- focuses on conservation-related marine mammal research. The site features research project profiles for M.Sc. and PhD students, and includes a short list of theses and dissertations. Dr. Ellen Hines dissertation -- titled Conservation of the Dugong (Dugong dugon) along the Andaman Coast of Thailand: An example of the integration of the Conservation Biology in Endangered Species Research -- is available in multiple PDF files. The website includes a list of faculty publications as well. The Whale Lab site also links to information about the Marine Research Intern Program with the Society for Ecological & Coastal Research. [NL] This site is also reviewed in the June 25, 2004 NSDL Life Sciences Report.

General Interest

Sumo: East and West [RealOne Player]

Often misrepresented outside of its home country, the physically intense sport of sumo is revered by the Japanese and is also a part of the Shinto religion. The sport and its changing traditions come under the documentary lens of filmmakers Ferne Pearlstein and Robert Edwards as they spent four years examining the sport for the Independent Lens series on PBS. Visitors to the site can learn about the different wrestlers profiled in the film, the transformation of the sport as bigger, heavier American sumo wrestlers from Hawaii have entered the field, and the promotion of sumo wrestling in the United States. One particularly nice feature of the site is an area entitled Sumo Style which allows users to learn more about the sumo wrestler, his garb, and his movements. The site is rounded out by a trailer for the film and a good selection of related websites, such as the American Sumo Association. [KMG]

Harmony -- John James Audubon [Micromedia Flash Reader]

Born in Haiti, John James Audubon's name would become synonymous with the movement to protect birds and their various habitats, largely due to his own efforts during his lifetime to document the birds of the Americas. His seminal work, Birds of America, while not the first attempt to paint and describe all the birds of America, remains the gold standard against which all followers are largely measured. This lovely online exhibit from the Musee de la civilization affords online visitors access to the 435 plates of this amazing work. The site offers a brief overview of the work of Audubon in a expository sketch and quick access to his exquisite drawings, which may be browsed by page number or by their common or Latin names. One fabulous feature which should not be missed are the beautiful short Flash presentations which feature original music, and which may be accessed by clicking on different birds within the painting on the site's homepage. [KMG]

Wisdom as Orchestration of Mind and Virtue [pdf]

The Max Planck Institutes and associated research centers are one of the academic highlights of Germany's scholarly community and host scholars from all over the world in a number of disciplines. One such prominent organization within their number is the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. Recently, the organization published the full-text version of Professor Paul B. Baltes work, "Wisdom as orchestration of mind and virtue," online at this site. Professor Baltes is an expert in the development of the human lifespan and the aging of the mind. In this 275-page work, visitors can browse through chapters titled Why Study Wisdom?, Ancient Conceptions of Wisdom, and Toward a Development Psychology of Wisdom. This rather intriguing and introspective work ends with a concluding overview of nine points that summarize (and somewhat tentatively) the extent of current understanding about wisdom and wise persons.

Smithsonian: Spotlight on Science

Besides its world-renowned museums and public outreach programs, the Smithsonian Institution also has numerous scientists working on diverse research projects across both hemispheres and most of the continents as well. In order to communicate its latest research findings to a broad web-browsing audience, the Smithsonian has developed this weekly electronic newsletter which features its most recent endeavors and ongoing work. Recent issues include work on tracking invasive marine organisms, the poison dart frogs of Panama, the warming of tropical rainforests, and x-rays from Saturn. The contents of the newsletter may also be searched by keyword or date of publication. For those who find the publication worthy of future consideration, there is also an option on the site that allows interested parties to sign up for upcoming editions of the newsletter. [KMG]

Clinton Presidential Materials Project

When a United States President leaves office, there are literally hundreds of thousands of various public documents that must be removed from the White House and sent to the National Archives and Records Administration. This process is currently underway for the Presidential records created during the term of President Bill Clinton, who completed his term of office in January 2001. On this site, visitors can learn about the rather time-consuming process of processing the millions of public documents and view snapshots of the White House websites that were developed during President Clinton's time in office. The site also includes a link to the Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, published in a hard copy (and available online) from the Office of the Federal Register. Finally, visitors will want to take a look at the link that leads to the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library, which will open soon in Little Rock, Arkansas. [KMG]

Network Tools

Pluck [Windows Operating System]

It seems everybody these days wants a web-based application that does a number of things, from sharing a set of websites with friends and colleagues to keeping track of online information about any given topic. At its essence, Pluck is an Internet Explorer add-on, with a user interface similar to Outlook. The various features of Puck allow users to share webpages with individuals or groups, track RSS-enabled sites, and perform a search across numerous major search engines. Pluck is compatible with all systems running Windows 2000 and above. [KMG]

Advanced Web Ranking 2.6 [Macintosh Operating System, Windows Operating System]

Sometimes it may be difficult to get current information about the traffic on a website, and checking all of the major search engines may be time-consuming at times. This application can assist in that process as it checks website positions on all major search engines and also generates customizable tabular, graphical and printable reports. While this version contains all of the features of the standard product, it is in fact a trial version that is only usable for fifteen days. Advanced Web Ranking 2.6 is compatible with all systems running Max OS X 10.2 and Windows 2000 and above. [KMG]

In The News

Modernization of Food Stamp Program Almost Complete

Food Stamp Program Goes Electronic
Food-Bank Comment Causes Furor
NPR: Commentary: Food Stamps and Medicare [RealOnePlayer]
USDA: Food Stamp Program
The WIC Program: Background, Trends, and Issues [pdf]
A Guide to Food Stamp Program Outreach

Started in 1939, the food stamp program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture is one of the entitlement programs designated to provide a safety net for Americans. The program enjoys some of the greatest bipartisan support and continues to be immensely successful. Earlier this week, the Department of Agriculture announced that the paper stamps which have been issued under the program for over six decades will be completely phased out later this month and replaced by a plastic card that operates in the same fashion as a bank debit card. As part of this transformation of the program, the Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman has commented that the Agriculture Department will be asking for suggestions for a new name for the food stamp program, a move that may also reduce some of the stigma that has been associated with this extremely valuable initiative in the past. Currently only six counties in California and the U.S. territory of Guam still use the paper food stamps. The usually staid Department of Agriculture has also been in the news as of late due to a comment made by a senior official in that government office who noted in an interview that people who eat at food banks are "taking the easy way out." Several elected officials from the state of Ohio took great exception to his comment, remarking in a letter sent to his office that "You have displayed a disparaging attitude toward the victims of hunger and an astonishing lack of awareness of what is happening beyond the Beltway." [KMG]

The first link leads to a news piece from the Washington Post that discusses the modernization of the delivery system for food stamps in detail. The second link will take visitors to a news brief from MSNBC that provides a summary of the debate surrounding the recent comment made by a senior official at the Department of Agriculture regarding the use of food banks. The third link leads to a 3-minute audio feature from NPR on the continuing popularity of food stamp programs across the United States, reported by the venerable Daniel Schorr. The fourth link leads to the official United States Department of Agriculture website about the food stamp program, complete with eligibility details and research reports on the effectiveness of the program. The fifth link leads to an October 2002 report on the continued success of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (known colloquially as WIC), which "safeguards the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk." The last and final link leads to a site that provides some fine information on the various food stamp benefit program outreach activities that are intended to provide information on eligibility and benefits, with the primary goal of increasing the participation rate amongst those eligible parties.

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The Scout Report.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2003.

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2003. The Internet Scout Project (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

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

Internet Scout Project Team
Max GrinnellEditor
John MorganManaging Editor
Rachael BowerCo-Director
Edward AlmasyCo-Director
Nathan LarsonContributor
Valerie FarnsworthContributor
Debra ShapiroContributor
Rachel EnrightContributor
Todd BrunsInternet Cataloger
Barry WieganSoftware Engineer
Justin RushTechnical Specialist
Michael GrossheimTechnical Specialist
Andy Yaco-MinkWebsite Designer

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout Project staff page.