The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 16

April 22, 2005

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsored by University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries.

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 eighth issue of the fourth volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about 3-D Simulations.

Research and Education

Inside Higher Ed

The wide, wide, wide world of higher education has found a new chronicler in the form of the Inside Higher Ed website. The group was founded in 2004 by three higher education journalism and recruitment executives who felt that "the time was right for new models of providing information and career services for professionals in academe." First-time visitors should consider signing up to receive the electronic updates, or just browsing through some of the latest news stories. Also, each news story has a place where visitors can chime in with their own opinions, if they so desire. The site also has a good job posting area, so persons looking to make a career move (or secure a first-time position) will want to look at this area of the site closely. Finally, the "Views" section contains some first-hand observations about such topics as blogs, the importance of jobs in far-flung places, and Saul Bellow. [KMG

American Radio Works: Power Trips [RealPlayer]

Under rules enacted in 1995, members of Congress are effectively banned from accepting any gift worth more than $50, though as this latest investigative radio series from the American RadioWorks team demonstrates, it would appear that members of the House or Senate are still taking many trips at no cost. Working in tandem with a group of graduate students at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, the team catalogued every privately sponsored trip taken by members of Congress since 2000. They discovered that more than $14 million was spent by universities, corporations, and other groups to take these influential persons to a variety of meetings, presentations, and other functions. On this site, visitors can listen to the complete radio presentation, along with obtaining information about how much their own representatives travel and who accepts the most money in trips. Overall, this site is quite informative and more than a bit provocative. [KMG]

World War I Sheet Music

The Center for Digital Initiatives at Brown University has created a number of fine collections since its inception in 2001, and this latest offering is no exception to that trend. The site is focused on providing access to hundreds of instances of sheet music that addresses various aspects of World War I. In this area, it is a definite success as the material is perfect for historians, musicians, or others who may be studying material and visual culture in the early 20th century. Users may browse through the sheet music by title, publisher, subject, and creator. Additionally, a historical essay and general introduction should be forthcoming on the site in the near future. Visitors would do well to check out such fine titles as "America He's for You", "Salvation Sal", and of course, "The Girl Behind the Man Behind the Gun," with lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse. [KMG]

EPA's National Exposure Research Laboratory [pdf]

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) performs applied research in a variety of fields, and one of its main laboratories happens to be the National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL). Scientists at the laboratory "conduct research and development that leads to improved methods, measurements and models to assess and predict exposures of humans and ecosystems to harmful pollutants and other conditions in air, water, soil, and food." Visitors will appreciate such features as the summaries of the lab's current research projects (which include studies of upland coastal areas and biological indicators of pollution). Additionally, visitors can search an interactive map of the US to find out what such projects might be going on in their own state or locale. For fellow scientists and researchers that might have need of such information, the site also contains a number of databases, including the Human Exposure Database System and the Water Resources Database. [KMG]

Journal of Online Behavior

The Journal of Online Behavior (JOB) "is concerned with the empirical study of human behavior in the online environment, and with the impact of evolving communication and information technology upon individuals, groups, organizations, and society." The peer-reviewed articles cross science and social science disciplinary boundaries as well as geographical boundaries. The electronic version of the journal, which is available free of charge, includes an interactive discussion space. Some topics addressed in the articles and research reports include comparative media effects on communication processes and outcomes; social-cognitive dynamics and their effects presented by online interaction; temporal and longitudinal analyses of media influences and adaptation; and media usage and effects by and among ethnic and cultural groups. This site is also reviewed in the April 22, 2005 NSDL MET Report. [VF] [pdf]

Created and maintained by the Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project (DILP), this nice website is designed to facilitate access to high-quality resources related to Islamic history, law, practice, and the societies of various Muslim peoples. The homepage is well designed, as it provides a general search engine, and an option to browse the site and its materials in four different languages. For those unfamiliar with the subject, they may want to begin by perusing the materials in the "Discover Islam" section. Here they will find essays that introduce the basic tenets of Islam and Muslim practices. The homepage also contains a list of the "Most Popular" areas of the site, which include a fine gallery of photos and calligraphy, along with a Shi'ite encyclopedia. [KMG]

Space Available: The Realities of Convention Centers as Economic Development Strategies [pdf]

Among urban policy analysts, politicians, and investigative journalists, there is great concern about the viability of developing new convention centers in an attempt to "prime the pump" of an urban region. For the most part, the prevailing wisdom seems to indicate that persons coming to large conventions in a city will spend millions of dollars when they are in town, and that cities will benefit greatly from such inward investment. This paper, authored by Heywood Sanders for The Brookings Institution, takes on much of this conventional wisdom in its 36 pages. Released in January 2005, the report finds that the overall convention marketplace continues to decline, and despite this fact, numerous localities continue a type of "arms race" in order to those these events. The paper is well written, and should be of interest to those persons in the fields of economic development, and the future of cities, more generally. [KMG]

General Interest

Before Victoria: Extraordinary Women of the British Romantic Era

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, life for women in Britain was much different in many regards than in the present day. Women could not join the professions, and married women had no rights to property. By the time of Queen Victoria, women's lives had become even more transformed, and this change produced new feminine roles and also produced a clutch of great poets, novelists, and actresses. This online digital exhibit, which complements an in situ installation, from the New York Public Library contains seven brief topical essays, along with a nice selection of images that afford additional insights. One such essay is the one titled "Fables for the Female Sex", which addresses the explicit moral direction handed down to women through visual culture, literature, and conduct books during this period. For those who find this topic compelling, the site also has a fine list of additional readings. [KMG]

PBS: The Meaning of Food

This PBS documentary companion website on the Meaning of Food describes itself as "an exploration of culture through food. What we consume, how we acquire it, who prepares it, who's at the table, and who eats first is a form of communication that is rich with meaning." The site shares stories, recipes, beautiful images, and more under the headings: Food & Life, Food & Family, and Food & Culture. The website addresses such subjects as kosher food, the Slow Food Movement, pet food, and heirloom seeds, to name a few. In addition, the site provides a bibliography; a simple, downloadable lesson plan for educators; broadcast times for the Meaning of Food documentary series; a small collection of cartoonish desktop backgrounds; and several related links. This site was also reviewed in the April 15, 2005 NSDL Life Sciences Report. [NL]

Canada Gazette [pdf]

Published regularly by the Queen's Printer since 1841, the Canada Gazette is the "official newspaper" of the Government of Canada. The Canada Gazette serves Canadians by giving them access to the laws and regulations that govern their daily lives, along with assisting the private sector in meeting legal requirements. Essentially, what appears in the Gazette are new statutes and regulations, proposed regulations, and an assortment of other government notices. Before perusing a copy, visitors may want to examine the very detailed explanatory section, including Publishing Information. Visitors can view all of the latest publications from the Gazette and may also browse back issues dating back to 1998. Overall, this site will be a great find for those who are seeking to keep track on pending Canadian legislation and other related items, either for personal or scholarly reasons. [KMG]

Heritage Council [pdf]

Ireland has a great of historic material culture to preserve, especially when one considers its history and patterns of human settlement over the preceding millennia. In 1995, the Heritage Council was established under the Heritage Act of 1995 with a primary role "to propose policies and priorities for the identification, protection, preservation and enhancement of the national heritage. Visitors can begin on the homepage by looking at a number of the Council's news releases, or by signing up to receive the electronic edition of its monthly email newsletter. The publication section is quite strong, and visitors can search currently available online materials by "sector", such as forestry, ecclesiastical heritage, and stained glass. Visitors may also want to take a look at their thematic areas of research and outreach, which also contain documents and practical information about visiting various sites and locales throughout Ireland. [KMG]

MedlinePlus: Mental Health

MedLinePlus is a joint collaboration between the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health which has received strong marks during the past few years for providing high-quality health-related materials to the Web-browsing public. This particular area of the MedLinePlus site is devoted to providing materials about mental health. Here visitors can learn about various related topics by browsing through the top-level sections that include Alternative Therapy, Coping, and Nutrition. Within each area, visitors will be directed to links provided by a host of sources, including the Mayo Foundation, the Surgeon General, the American Psychiatric Association, and a number of other reputable institutions. The News section is also a fine way to keep abreast of recent developments in the field of mental health, as it culls news releases from some of the major international press agencies. [KMG]

Mississippi Department of Archives & History [pdf]

Established in 1902, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History is the second oldest department of archives and history in the United States. From its headquarters in Jackson, the Department administers a host of public history programs, the state archives and library, as well as offering oversight to a number of National Historic Landmarks in the state. Visitors with a penchant for Mississippi history will want to take a look at the agency's online newsletter and its special feature, "Mississippi History NOW". Visitors can also look through individual sites for each historic site maintained by the department, including the home of Eudora Welty and historic Jefferson College. Of course, users will want to also peruse the online finding aids and archival management documents if they plan on using this resources in the future. [KMG]

Stanford Medieval and Modern Thought Text Project

Since the inception of the Internet, there have been a number of well-done digitization projects of medieval texts, and some of them have been in existence for close to a decade. One of the newer and more compelling projects in this area is Stanford's Medieval and Modern Thought Text Digitization Project. Started in 2002, the goal of the project has been to digitize close to 25,000 pages every year in the broad area of medieval and modern thought. Support for the project has come from a variety of sources, including the Smart Family Foundation and the Allan Morgan Standish book fund. Visitors can search the materials offered here, or browse through the currently available titles, which are organized into smaller themes, such as science, language and literature, and so on. One real gem here that is worth checking out is the very fine volume "Dates, Charters, and Customs of the Middle Ages." [KMG]

Network Tools

Opera 8

The popular Internet browser Opera has been through numerous versions, and this latest edition builds on its earlier successes. With this latest version, users with disabilities are well served, and various keyboard shortcuts and mouse gestures allow for simplified navigation through various websites. Of course, features from previous editions are still here, including a built-in pop-up blocker, an email client and a password manager. This version is compatible with Windows 95 or newer. [KMG]

iPodder 2.0

Streaming audio programs on the Web are of great interest to many, and range from those programs sponsored by various policy institutes to popular music programs. Unfortunately, sometimes individuals cannot be present when their favorite programs are broadcast over the Internet. Stepping in to assist users is iPodder 2.0, which allows them to select and download audio files from anywhere on the Internet to their desktops. Also, users can use the application to download various audio files at specific times as well. iPodder 2.0 is compatible with Windows 2000 or XP and Mac OS 10.3 or newer. [KMG]

In The News

Rising urban community fortunes continue to spark debate among local residents and policy-makers

Studies: Gentrification a boost for everyone
Community Blasts CU for Secrecy, Evasiveness
NW Lauderdale to be a topic of black-heritage conference,0,5695095.story?coll=sfla-news-broward
Tenant Net
NPR: Urban Renewal Comes to Chicagos Bronzeville [RealPlayer]
POV: Flag Wars [Macromedia Flash Player, RealPlayer]

By now the script for the process of gentrification is fairly recognizable throughout American cities: Wealthy residents move into (or return to) inner-city neighborhoods to be close to various urban amenities and eventually displace long-time residents who are unable to pay rising property costs (such as increased taxes and so on). The process is so well known that in fact it even served as one of the themes of the recent movie, "Barbershop 2." Of course, debates continue to swirl around questions about the number of people actually displaced as a result of gentrification, with certain scholars claiming that relatively few longtime residents are priced out of their neighborhoods and still others claiming that certain aspects of gentrification are essentially a form of war against low-income persons, particularly persons of color. In a recent article in a prominent urban studies journal, Professor Lance Freeman of Columbia University offered his own findings from a national study which notes that comparatively few low-income residents are forced from their home as a result of gentrification. Regardless of this important study, the topic continues to be one that has galvanized community groups, tenants rights associations, and other organizations in cities across the United States.

The first link will take visitors to an insightful news piece from this Tuesdays USA Today that talks about the results of this recent study examining the effects of gentrification. The second link leads to a news story from the Columbia Spectator that discusses the recent request from Columbia University to expand its property holdings through the process of eminent domain. The third link leads to a news story from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that discusses how one African-American community in Fort Lauderdale is coping with the process of gentrification. The fourth link leads to the well-developed Tenant Net website, where visitors can learn about tenant resources in New York City and other places around the United States. The fifth link leads to a fine audio feature from the Tavis Smiley show that affords some insight into the ongoing debates about gentrification in Chicagos famed Bronzeville neighborhood on the citys South Side. The final link leads to the website for the PBS program Flag Wars, which offers a multimedia portrait of gentrification in a neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio. [KMG]

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From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2005.

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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2005. 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.

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

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