October 22, 2004
A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
NSDL Scout Reports
Research and Education
- The Mongols in World History
- Herbal Safety
- Brooklyn in the Civil War
- High School Journalism
- Forced Migration Online
- Internet Public Library
- Your Disease Risk
- The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide
- NOVA: The Most Dangerous Woman in America
- Tate Online: In Focus
- Library of Congress 2004 National Book Festival
- OneLook Reverse Dictionary
- Vietnam War Era Ephemera Collection
- Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies
In The News
NSDL Scout Reports
The seventh issue of the second volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers Web sites and comments about Bioinformatics.
Research and Education
The Asia for Educators Project at Columbia University has produced a number of important resources for educators and the general public, and this latest resource serves as a great addition to the project's archive. This particular resource deals with the role of Mongols in World History, and covers the period from 1000 to 1500 A.D. With the assistance of faculty consultant Professor Morris Rossabi, the site is divided into four primary sections which contain detailed perspectives on major figures in Mongol history, the pastoral nomadic life of the Mongols, and their substantial influence on China's Yuan dynasty. Complemented by a selection of historical images, the short essays offer some important new insights into the world of the Mongols, including an exploration of the popular misconception that the Mongols were merely barbaric plunderers. Finally, there are some nice online readings that may be viewed on the site or downloaded for reading at a later date. [KMG]
In the past decade, there has been an increased interest in herbal medicines and treatments, both from the mainstream medical community and the general public. One need look no further than the cold drink section of the local supermarket to see the various herbal supplements that are prominently displayed on many drink labels. In an effort to provide critical evaluations of these various herbs and related products, the University of Texas at El Paso has created this important website in order to disseminate information about research findings related to herbal use and to provide these findings in both English and Spanish. There are a number of very helpful fact sheets presented here, including those that the deal with such commonly used medicinal herbs and plants, such as ginseng, chamomile, pumpkin seeds, and St. John's Wort. The Herbal Safety site also contains information on recent medical studies that examine the effectiveness of such medicinal treatments. [KMG]
Produced by the Brooklyn Public Library's Brooklyn Collection, this engaging and interactive website lets students learn about that most famous city of "homes and churches" during the Civil War through the use of primary documents and other secondary materials. The overall goal of the site was to provide both students and teachers with online access to primary and secondary historical materials, and this admirable goal has been achieved quite effectively. Visitors will want to take a look at the interactive map which details the experiences of one James W. Vanderhoef, a Union Army soldier and officer who wrote letters during the war back to his sister in Brooklyn. Peppered with primary documents (such as digitized pages from his letters), the interactive map takes visitors through his travels. Besides this one fine feature, visitors may also explore the contents of the site through its four primary themes, which include soldiers, women, and slavery. The site is rounded out by a detailed timeline and a glossary of terms. [KMG]
As part of its efforts to help high school journalism flourish, the American Society of Newspaper Editors has created this site to assist the efforts of both teen journalists and their teachers. Visitors unfamiliar with some of the terms that are used in the argot of the journalism world will want to take a look at the "What is That?" area, which contains definitions of such terms as "desk assistant" and "photo editor". Aspiring journalists will want to take a look at the "Ask a Pro" area, where a host of working journalists provide answers to how they got involved in the business, and what they do and don't enjoy about the everyday work of being a journalist. For those seeking to keep tabs on the world of high school journalism, the news section of the site digests recent news and opinion pieces that have appeared in various periodicals. Rounding out the site is a database of high school newspapers that have an online presence so that fellow journalists and educators can take a look at what others are doing. [KMG]
Designed to function as a comprehensive website that provides access to various resources on forced human migration, this site is provided through the courtesy of the staff at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. While the users of this site will encounter a seamlessly integrated resource, the site contains four separate components. These elements include a searchable digital library, a searchable catalogue with descriptions of and links to Internet-based resources, and a series of geographic and thematic research guides. The homepage offers users access to all of these resources, along with a sidebar that features relevant upcoming events as the International Day of Older Persons. The site also affords visitors access to the full-text of three important publications in the field: Disasters, Forced Migration Review, and International Migration Review (some archived journals are several years behind the current issue). It is worth noting that the homepage also contains a link to a nice introductory essay by Sean Loughna titled "What is Forced Migration?" [KMG]
The Internet Public Library (IPL) is the product of a graduate seminar at the School of Information and Library Studies at the University of Michigan to explore "the interconnections of libraries, librarians, and librarianship with a distributed networked environment." The website offers library services via the Internet, including digital reference service and collection management. The project is also "an experiment, trying to discover and promote the most effective roles and contributions of librarians to the Internet and vice versa." The KidSpace section is designed with kids in mind and offers links to an annotated bibliography of Internet resources on various topics including The World, Computers/ Internet, Math & Science, and Sports & Recreation. A separate section for parents and teachers provides links to educational resources. Other features include a section where children under age 13 can ask the librarian a question, a Culture Quest highlighting various regions of the world, text and audio files of stories, facts about U.S. presidents, basics on HTML, and ideas for science fair projects. [VF] This site is also reviewed in the October 22, 2004_NSDL MET Report_.
The Harvard School of Public Health is renowned for its fine outreach programs, and in recent years has also initiated a strong online presence. That presence includes this well-designed site (created by the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention) which allows users to determine their potential risks for various diseases, including diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and strokes. By answering a few questions, visitors can learn about their various risk levels for these diseases, and also peruse a list of nine ways to stay healthy. Another section of the site answers such commonly-asked questions as "What is prevention?" and "What is a screening test?". The "Community Action" section of the site offers helpful tips on achieving some personal wellness and preventive goals through fact sheets on reducing tobacco use, promoting physical activity, and limiting alcohol consumption. [KMG]
Oral history is in some ways the oldest form of expression, as people have told one another stories since the time of the first human societies. People have continued to grow more interested in recording the voices and experiences of others throughout the past few decades, and the works of such popular authors as Studs Terkel have kept oral histories in the limelight. For those persons interested in learning more about how to conduct such interviews, this guide from the Smithsonian Institute will be quite intriguing and useful. Authored by Marjorie Hunt, this 35-page guide offers a broad interview on how to conduct effective oral history projects and interviews. The guide also offers information on how to present the findings that are collected through such a project (such as a scrapbook), along with providing a list of web-based and print resources. [KMG]
Mary Mallon was an Irish immigrant who worked as a cook in and around New York City during the first years of the 20th century. Today she is better known popularly as "Typhoid Mary", due to the fact that she infected approximately 47 persons with typhoid fever and also for the massive publicity that surrounded her later imprisonment and long battle to clear her name. This engaging website serves as a complement to the recent NOVA program about the life (and broader context of public health concerns) of Mary Mallon. The program is based on a historical study of Mallon written by Professor Judith Walzer Leavitt of the University of Wisconsin, and explores the various implications of this various case that combines both a heightened sensitivity to public health issues and the ways in which this sensationalized incident was portrayed by various officials and journalists. Here visitors can read a letter written by Mallon during her imprisonment and browse through an interactive feature on the history of quarantine. Finally, there is also a selection of links to other related websites and a teacher's guide. [KMG]
The Tate Gallery in London has received numerous accolades for its fine online educational resources, including archived public presentations and lectures. The In Focus website is yet another one of these types of Internet resources, and allows those with an interest in art to hone in on various subjects in greater detail. By looking through their In Focus series, visitors may learn about landscape painting in America, the pop art movement of the 1960s, and surrealism. A real treat on the site is the Works in Focus section, which allows visitors close and contextual appraisals of a number of modern installations, such as Damien Hirsts provocative Pharmacy and that most famous painting, Ophelia by John Everett Millais. The Millais feature is also notable as it includes a fine interactive timeline of Millaiss life, along with a detailed look at the materials and techniques deployed in the creation of this powerful and popular piece of craftsmanship. [KMG]
This year the National Book Festival celebrated its fourth year and played host to more than 70 different authors and their respective literary traditions. Sponsored by the Library of Congress, the authors include those who write biographies, works of poetry, and fantasy. On the website, visitors can learn about the various authors who appeared at the Festival, and learn about different ideas that will assist both teachers and librarians in creating a safe, nurturing environment that will allow people to learn more about reading. Of course, the real highlights on the site are the archived webcasts from the Festival. Here visitors can watch these talks and discussions by such authors as Clive Cussler, Peter Straub, Richard Peck, R.L. Stine, Arthur Frommer, and the ever-popular Anna Quindlen. [KMG]
There are certainly times for everyone where they cannot seem to remember a certain phrase or word, and it may become rather vexing and frustrating. Fortunately, there is now the OneLook Reverse Dictionary website which can help persons confounded by this situation. Essentially, users can type in a concept into a search engine and receive a list of words and phrases related to that concept. For example, typing in "joy from the pain of others" returns over one hundred results, including "schadenfreude" and "regret". There are several other uses to the site, including the ability to explore related concepts or to answer basic identification questions. Perhaps the most important function of the Reverse Dictionary is that users (if they are so inclined) may also use the database to solve crossword puzzle clues. [KMG]
There are a number of publications that deal with architecture and its related professions, such as interior design and landscape architecture, and Architecture is one such publication. With a strong web presence, the magazine offers persons searching the web a selection of materials from the current issue, along with valuable material on professional development programs and information about the latest trends in the field. The "Buzz" section features news from the world of architecture, and has recently featured updates on international housing competitions and notes on the passing of the well-known American modernist architect Edward Larrabee Barnes. Recent full-length pieces on the site have included commentaries from architects on rebuilding the inner city and new approaches to creating infill structures at the University of Pennsylvania. [KMG]
The traumatic and unsettled backdrop of social and cultural change throughout the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s will not soon be forgotten by any of those persons who lived through that period. Some groups of people came together under the banner of the women's liberation movement, and still others surrounded themselves in the unifying guise of ethnic solidarity and pride, such as those who participated in the American Indian Movement. No one ongoing event garnered as much attention, however, as the Vietnam War did. That particular event inspired a host of posters, handouts, and other printed ephemera that may have quickly disappeared, as do many pieces of material culture often do. Fortunately, the University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections division has created this online archive which brings many of these documents together in one place. The documents are divided into thematic categories, such as racism, socialism, farm workers, gay rights, and religion. There are some real compelling documents on the site, and those with a penchant for social and cultural history will enjoy this fine collection. [KMG]
Established in 1988 with a $5 million endowment from Ralph and Goldy Lewis, the Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies was established "to promote the study, understanding and solution of regional policy issues, with special reference to Southern California." Directed by Paul Ong, the Center works on a variety of programs, including studying the impact of welfare-to-work programs, immigration, pollution prevention policies, and economic development strategies. Of course, one of the site's highlights is its strong publication section. Here visitors can download various working papers, policy briefs, and annual reports. Some of the more recent works include "Arts and Cultural Institutions in Los Angeles: Patterns of Utilization" and "The State of Southern California's Housing". The site also features several nice sets of maps, including a time series of maps from 1930 to 2000 that track the population density in Los Angeles County. For those readers of the Scout Report who find themselves in Southern California, there is also a listing of upcoming events sponsored by the Center that take place at UCLA. [KMG]
For those individuals who have numerous documents scattered across their computer, a local network, and various drives, Archivarius 3000 is an application that is worth a look. The application allows users to perform an instant full-text search of documents and email, and supports a number of popular formats. Archivarius 3000 also has a multilingual interface which currently supports 10 European languages, including German, French, Spanish, and Swedish. The application is compatible with all operating systems running Windows 95 and higher. [KMG]
As long as more and more people continue to enjoy instant messenger (IM) conversations using their computers, there will continue to be a demand for helpful applications such as IM Secure 1.5. With this application, users can keep their IM conversations private and secure. Another nice touch that is included is that the program works with whatever service and client the users may be already using. This particular version of IM Secure 1.5 is compatible with all operating systems running Windows 98 and higher. [KMG]
In The News
More vaccine not expected until January
Bush, Kerry trade blame over scarcity of flu shots
With few suppliers of flu shots, shortage was long in making [Free registration required]
CDC: Influenza (Flu)
U.S. may allow Canadian flu vaccine
AMA: National Influenza Summit Home Page (pdf, Microsoft PowerPoint)
Some 36,000 Americans die from flu complications every year so public alarm in reaction to the recent decision by British regulators to shut down the supplier of 46 million doses, or about the half this year's planned supply to the U.S., was hardly surprising. The action leaves only about 54 million flu shots available to Americans from a competing firm, and the U.S. government quickly decided that most healthy adults should delay or skip them to leave enough vaccine for the elderly and other high-risk patients. The government has urged voluntary rationing before, during a shortage in 2000. This year, however, will mark a record shortage just before flu season begins. Although the Bush administration offered assurances that anyone who needed a flu shot would get one, the shortage quickly developed into a political issue, with President Bush and Senator Kerry trading blame for the scarcity on the campaign trail. Meanwhile, U.S. and Canadian officials scrambled to come up with a plan to allow 1.2 million doses of Canadian-manufactured vaccine to be imported as an experimental drug.
The first link offered here leads to an overview news story that summarizes the shortage situation so far and the outlook for fresh supplies of vaccine later in the flu season. The second link describes how the shortage has been playing out as a personal issue in a presidential campaign otherwise dominated by war and terrorism. The third link goes to a New York Times piece which notes that the shortage follows decades of warnings from health experts about problems with the flu vaccine supply and distribution system. The fourth link leads to the Centers for Disease Control influenza information page and a broad range of information targeted to both consumers and health care professionals. The fifth link describes the negotiations underway between the U.S. and Canadian governments to allow importation of vaccine from Canada under FDA regulations. The last link is the home page of the American Medical Association conference on influenza vaccine held in April and includes links to all speakers' presentations in either pdf or PowerPoint formats. [CL]
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