The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 20

May 20, 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 tenth issue of the fourth volume of the MET Report is available. Its Topic in Depth section offers websites and comments about Robotic Surgery.

Research and Education

International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme [pdf]

The primary aim of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) is "to deliver scientific knowledge to help human societies develop in harmony with Earth's environment". To achieve this rather broad agenda, the IGBP works in collaboration with other like-minded international organizations, including the World Climate Research Programme. From the homepage, visitors can read an executive summary of the organization's work and achievements, or access highlights from its ongoing research, such as recent work on the North Sea and its function as a "carbon pump". Researchers and scientists will appreciate the extensive publications section, which includes recent work on global wetland distribution and predicting global change impacts on mountain hydrology and ecology. Finally, the site also contains a list of IGBP-sponsored events, along with related conferences and other such germane events. [KMG]

Social Watch [pdf]

Founded in 1995, Social Watch was first established to provide a global platform for non-governmental organizations to monitor and promote the effective implementation of the commitments made by national governments during the United Nations World Summit on Social Development. Since that time, the group's work has continued in the areas of monitoring poverty eradication and gender equality and users with interests in these areas will appreciate both the organization's annual report (available from the homepage) and its country-by-country reports. One very well-developed interactive graphic feature is the development indicator section of the site. Here, visitors can view representations of such indicators as female adult literacy, deforestation, and fertility across the globe, along with discrete data from each country. Additionally, many of the materials offered here are available in Spanish as well. [KMG]

National Opinion Research Center [pdf]

Located on the campus of the University of Chicago, the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) provides objective research for its clients and the general public interest in areas ranging from housing to drug abuse. On the NORC website, visitors can learn about its newest survey and research efforts, such as the Illinois Health Curriculum Study and the Residential Energy Consumption Survey. Moving on to the Research Departments area of the site, visitors can look at the work of these research units, which includes reports culled from their different research initiatives. Additionally, interested parties will want to look at the websites of NORC's four academic centers, which include the Center on Demography and Economics and the Population Research Center. The site also features information about career opportunities for those persons interested in working at NORC. [KMG]

Chopin Early Editions

Over the past few years, the Special Collections unit of the University of Chicago Libraries has distinguished itself by creating a number of high-quality digital collections. The Chopin Collection is another such collection, as it brings together over 400 first and early printed editions of musical compositions by Frederic Chopin. This particular collection is quite compelling as it brings together a number of variant texts, originating from the different versions published concurrently in several countries. First-time visitors can begin by browsing the collection by title, uniform title or genre, such as scherzos, fantasias, or boleros. Lovers of Chopin will find this site quite enticing, as will musicologists, both amateur and professional. The site is rounded out by a section dedicated solely to providing information about the way in which the digital collection was created. [KMG]

The Institute for Interactive Journalism

Located at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism, The Institute for Interactive Journalism helps news organizations and citizens "use new information ideas and innovative computer technologies to develop new ways for people to engage in critical public policy issues". Visitors will want to be sure to look at the section that provides information about their New Voices program which is designed to support innovative community news ventures in the United States. Of course, those involved in such endeavors may wish to peruse the various grant opportunities offered through the Institute. The Institute also sponsors the Batten Awards Innovation in Journalism, which are designed to reward journalism that uses new information ideas and technologies in innovative ways. Visitors can view current and past recipients of these awards, which include a number of interactive website features created by such organizations as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and KQED in San Francisco. [KMG]

George Mason University: Exploring and Collecting History Online

Exploring and Collecting History Online (Echo) is a project based at George Mason University's Center for History and New Media and is funded by grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The project began in 2001 to experiment with new approaches to collecting history online, focusing specifically on the recent history of science, technology, and industry. Their goal is to realize the potential of the Internet to create a more democratic history, which "means including multiple voices and diverse perspectives in the historical record; making the historical record accessible to multiple audiences; and developing historical practices that many different people, not just 'certified' professionals, can conduct." Drawing upon "the most exacting standards and approaches of professional historians and archivist," the Research Center catalogues, annotates, and reviews online historical information which visitors can browse by topic, time period, publisher or content as well as search using online search forms. Historical practitioners interested in launching their own websites can explore the resources and featured archival projects in the Collecting Center, download free tools available in the Tools Center, browse the Practical Guide offered in the Resource Center, or contact the group to find out about free workshops and consultation services. This site is also reviewed in the May 20, 2005 NSDL MET Report. [VF]


Sponsored by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, HungerWeb is designed to serve as an online clearinghouse for important materials on topics broadly related to the problem of chronic hunger. Some of the topical areas covered by HungerWeb include access to agricultural resources, food aid in times of crisis, and environmental protection. First-time visitors will want to look through the "Hunger: An Overview" section which provides some brief introductory materials on the state of hunger in the United States and across the globe. The other material is contained within a number of other topical areas, including agencies and organizations, research centers, and employment, internship and volunteer opportunities. Of course, each entry also contains a brief synopsis of what users can expect to find within each place, such as the site for the Agricultural Research Service or the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. [KMG]


The WEEE Man, designed by Paul Bonomini, is a huge robotic figure made of scrap electrical and electronic equipment. The figure is currently located down by the Thames River in London and is designed to represent the average amount of electronic products that every British resident throws away during a lifetime. Beginning in January 2006, manufacturers and retailers will be responsible for recycling this waste under new EU legislation called the WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) Directive. Bonomini's extremely intriguing project is designed "to transform public perception of waste from 'out of sight, out of mind' to visible, thought-provoking and behavior-changing." On the site, visitors can learn about this project and learn about their own personal impact in terms of generating electronic waste products. In the section titled, "What is the problem?", visitors can learn about the electronic product life cycle and other important aspects of this growing problem. The site is rounded out by a selection of link to sites that provide additional information, such as the Industry Council for Electronic Equipment Recycling. [KMG]

General Interest

Roadside America

Americans love to drive, and Doug Kirby, Ken Smith, Mike Wilkins have been tracking the rather unique (and sometimes, quite bizarre) elements of the roadside landscape for more than 20 years. Beginning in 1996, they began to offer their findings on the Roadside America website so the general public would have full knowledge of what types of roadside oddities they might encounter on any given road trip. Their very fun homepage features a "What's New" section that details such new roadside findings as the world's largest thermometer in Baker, Calif., and a rather intriguing raven statue in Ravenden, Ark. Of course, some visitors will want to take a look at the "Electric Map" to get a better sense of each state's offerings. Before leaving on any road trip, visitors will definitely want to look at the "Latest Visitor Tips" offered by fellow roadside attraction devotees. [KMG]

Documenting History : Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris was a Pittsburgh photographer who spent more than 40 years documenting the city's black community, in part as the staff photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier from 1941-1975 (he had freelanced for the paper since about 1936). Harris died in 1998, never receiving the recognition he was due, and in 2001 the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh acquired his photographic archive, about 50,000 pictures. The Teenie Harris Archive web site is an exercise in community curation--currently there are 1400 unidentified images at the site, with space for visitors to add comments and information. The Museum will add images monthly until 3,600 are presented. Already there are fascinating pictures at the site: a young Dizzy Gillespie--you'll know him by his trumpet, with the bent bell--and many pictures of Pittsburgh's Hill District, before it burned in the riots following Martin Luther King's 1968 assassination. All Pittsburgh ex-pats should pay this site a visit, to identify the pictures.

History Trail [RealPlayer]

For some, becoming more interested in history may be somewhat of an uphill battle. Sometimes it may be due to preconceived notions about the way the subject was presented when they were young, and others may find the material a bit dry. This website offered by the BBC presents a variety of historical perspectives that are both engaging and informative, and as such, the site is well worth a look. The various sections address such powerful themes as "Church and State", "Victorian Britain", and "Conquest", which affords visitors the opportunity to learn about the nature of the Norman invasion in 1066. The "Local History" section is quite helpful as it teaches visitors how to explore their own communities through historical clues, documents, and visual evidence. Each section contains brief articles, activities, and quizzes that help flesh out the material. [KMG]

Science Buzz

The Science Museum of Minnesota has produced a number of fine online features, and the Science Buzz site is no exception. On the site, visitors can find in-depth information about a variety of science news stories that often do not receive adequate coverage elsewhere in the media. Some of the current stories on the site include West Nile virus, cloning, and even invasive flying carp. Visitors will want to start by perusing the "What's Abuzz" section on the homepage. Here they can find about current science news stories and peruse previous stories as well. For persons who know what they are looking for there is a section titled "I want to learn about", where they can go directly to stories about such topical areas as physical science, math, or the history and nature of science. Finally, visitors can also elect to give their own feedback on the various elements of the site. [KMG]

Ireland's Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government [pdf]

The origins of Ireland's contemporary Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government can be traced back to the passing of the country's Poor Relief Act of 1838. Today, the Department has a broad mandate, and is responsible for a host of highly coordinated policy strategies that include nuclear safety, planning, local governance, and preservation programs. From the Department's homepage, visitors can learn about the annual Heritage Week festivities, find housing statistics, learn about its strategy for addressing the homeless problem in the country, and a host of other topics. The publications area also contains a number of helpful policy and guideline documents, including materials on sustainable housing developments and waste management control. The site is rounded out by a press release area where visitors become more familiar with the agency's more recent work. [KMG]

Eye of Science

The wonderful Eye of Science project began in 1994, and is currently under the direction of Oliver Meckes and Nicole Ottawa. As their philosophic statement on this website states, "Our aim is to combine scientific exactness with aesthetic appearances, and thereby help to bridge the gap between the world of science and the world of art." In order to help serve this mission, they have placed numerous examples of their work online in a series of galleries on this site. Using electron microscopy and a host of other equipment and techniques, the pair has created these fine images of such things as parasites, cross-sections of a lavender leaf, and a rather harrowing photograph of an itch mite. Along with viewing these images, visitors can also learn about the awards they have received and learn about the equipment they use in their work. [KMG]

International Council for Science [pdf]

A number of international organizations are working towards bringing together the best and the brightest in the fields of science for the benefit of society. The International Council for Science (ICSU) is one such organization and on its website visitors can read about the organization's latest work, learn about their its programs, and read various reports and press releases. Visitors looking to delve into ICSU publications should look through the Resource Centre area, which includes its annual report and also strategic reviews, which cover topics as energy and sustainable societies. Additionally, the site contains a data and information area which contains a host of materials that relate to the relationship between science and the development of the so-called "Information Society." [KMG]

Network Tools

Tiki CMS/Groupware 1.9.0

Many users will find this particular project to be quite helpful, particularly if they are trying to coordinate collaborative projects across great distances. Tiki CMS/Groupware 1.9.0 is an open-source content management system that can be used to create a diverse range of Web applications, sites, portals, and intranets. Additionally, the major features include newsletters, blogs, an image gallery, and quizzes. This particular version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

Group-Office 2.13-4

Applications offering more congenial online working environments continue to be released, and this version of Group-Office is definitely worth a look. Utilizing this Web-based office suite, users can add on separate modules that will allow them to customize the program to their specific needs. Some of the features include an email client, a file manager, a calendar, and customer relations management. This 30-day free trial version is compatible with Mac OS X and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Kudzu May Help Curb Excessive Drinking

Study: Herb Helps Curb Binge Drinking,0,179837.story?coll=sns-ap-health-headlines
Chinese Herb Significantly Reduces Alcohol Intake, Study Finds
College Alcohol Study [pdf]
Invasive Species: Kudzu
Kudzu: The Vine
Kudzu: A Digital Quarterly

For more than 100 years, kudzu has been seen by many as a curse on the landscape of the American South, growing up to a foot in a single day, and extending over thousands of acres of land. This pervasive plant may be getting a better name soon, as recent research has indicated that the plant may be able to help curb binge-drinking. In a recent study conducted by researcher Scott Lukas at the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital indicates that those participants who took kudzu pills drank an average of 1.8 beers per session, compared with the 3.5 beers consumed by those who took a placebo. This research draws on many hundreds of years of anecdotal evidence from China, where various parts of the kudzu plant have been used in a variety of treatments. The initial reports seem to suggest that while kudzu wont in fact turn heavy drinkers into complete teetotalers, it will in fact help them cut back.

The first link will lead users to a news article from this Wednesdays online version of Newsday that talks about these intriguing findings. The second link will take visitors to the official press release on the findings from Harvard Medical School-affiliated McLean Hospital. The third link leads to the homepage of the College Alcohol Study at the Harvard School of Public Health, which contains a number of helpful reports and news briefs about the state of drinking on college campuses and various alcohol abatement programs. The fourth link will take visitors to a website offered by the federal government that provides some insight into the world of the kudzu plant. The fifth link leads to a page which provides some dramatic photographic evidence of how kudzu envelops all types of structures throughout the South. The sixth and final link will take visitors to the online journal, Kudzu, which was founded in 1994 in Oxford, Miss. [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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For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout Project staff page.