The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 41

October 14, 2005

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

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

In The News

Research and Education

The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake

With his ship, The Golden Hind, Sir Francis Drake cut an imposing swath for Queen Elizabeth (and country) as he circumnavigated the earth from the years 1577 to 1580. During this time, he claimed a portion of California for the crown and continued to wage battles against the Spanish. Many of the primary documents, including maps and engravings, related to his travels and life were collected by the late Hans Peter Kraus. Kraus was an avid collector and antiquarian book dealer who successfully compiled a significant collection of materials related to Drake, which he later donated to the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress has placed these remarkable materials online in this collection, and the general public will be delighted to wander through some of these offerings. Visitors who may be less familiar with Drakes life may wish to look over a timeline of his life, complete with period engravings and illustrations. [KMG]

Global Performing Arts Consortium [Real Player, pdf]

With an interest in developing a global consortium of arts organizations, a number of institutions, including Cornell University and Columbia University, came together to create easily accessible, multimedia, and multilingual information resources for the study and preservation of the performing arts. Perhaps their biggest accomplishment thus far is the Global Performing Arts Database (GloPAD), which is a massive database that includes detailed multilingual descriptions of digital images, texts, video clips, sound recordings, and complex media objects. As one might imagine, using the database can be a bit complicated, but fortunately there is ample information provided here for the neophyte. As might be expected, there are a number of sample searches to get users started, including production titles such as Showboat, or people such as George Bernard Shaw. [KMG]

Isidore of Seville

Edited and maintained since 1996, Tim Spaldings Isidore of Seville website is a real find. It contains a number of online exhibits and collections that explore a wide range of themes, ranging from perceptions of Mona Lisa over time to the use of dragons in art. One of the most helpful collections is dedicated to the Oracle of Delphi and other ancient oracles. Here visitors can view a photographic collection of images and read a variety of academic interpretations about oracles throughout history. Those with a penchant for the ancient world will also want to look at one of his most recent additions, the Wiki Classical Dictionary. Devoted to the history, literature, as well as the mythology of the ancient world the dictionary currently contains 564 articles, all of which may be searched in their entirety. [KMG]

NOVA: Einsteins Big Idea [Real Player, Macromedia Flash Player]

It is hard to overestimate the importance of Albert Einsteins equation, Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. A recent special from NOVA explores many different facets of the lasting and pervasive effects of this revolutionary statement. The website was developed to provide a host of complementary resources to the actual television program, and as such, anyone with even a trace of interest in the history of science or physics will want to take a close look. The interactive features are excellent; they include 10 top physicists explanation of the famous equation and a timeline of Einsteins life. The essays offered here are also top-notch, and they include a piece titled Einstein the Nobody by David Bodanis and Relativity and the Cosmos by Alan Lightman. [KMG]

National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research [pdf]

A number of research centers are concerned with the state of the worlds coral reefs, and the National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research (NCORE) is one such center of scholarly excellence. Located at the University of Miami, NCORE is primarily concerned with the analysis and predication of coral reef resilience. On their site, visitors can learn about some of their primary research initiatives, such as their work on the Florida reef tract and on tracking the effects of climate change on the reef communities. The general public will also find their digital map series quite useful as well. In this section, users can examine a number of complex digital maps and images that provide information about the state of coral cover around Puerto Rico, South Florida, and the Bahamas. [KMG]

Uncommon Knowledge [Real Player]

Hosted by Peter M. Robinson of the Hoover Institution, Uncommon Knowledge has been taking a critical look at public policy issues since 1996. With support from the John M. Olin Foundation, Uncommon Knowledge is distributed by American Public Television and can also be heard on NPR. In keeping with the traditions of the Hoover Institution, the programs feature lively debate on any number of topics, ranging from gun control to international foreign diplomacy. Visitors to the website can browse through a list of recent shows, or look through their archives which date from 1997. Visitors may also wish to view the entire television program on their computer, listen to the audio presentation, or read a transcript. [KMG]

General Interest

Metro Bits [Real Player]

There are many distinguishing features of the worlds great cities, and one of these features is a well-maintained and efficient mass transit system. Developed and maintained by Mike Rohde, this site pays homage to many of these systems. The site includes sections on the art and architecture of these systems, photo galleries, and a FAQ section that answers such topical queries as What is a metro? and How safe are metros? One particularly nice feature is the World Metro List, compiled by Jordi Serradell. Here visitors can browse through a list that offers some comparative data on the worlds metro system, such as the number of stations or their total length. Additionally, the area Metros with a View provides material on outstanding vistas that can be found on a number of systems, such as those in Stockholm and Medellin. [KMG]

Food & Society [pdf]

With an increased concern over the nature of food production across the globe, it would make sense that a number of organizations and foundations would see fit to address these conditions through any number of crucial initiatives. Launched in 2000, Food & Society is one such initiative. Created by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the purpose of the initiative is to support the creation and expansion of community-based food systems that are locally owned and controlled, environmentally sound, and health promoting. On their homepage, visitors can sign up to receive news updates and look through a calendar of upcoming events. Another highlight of the homepage is the Food in the News, which features the latest information on such topics as farmers markets and recent reports, such as Perceptions of the U.S. Food System: What and How Americans Think About Their Food. [KMG]

Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution [Macromedia Flash Player]

Beginning in the early 1960s, a number of social movements began to take hold across the United States. The American Indian Movement, feminism, the Black Power Movement, and others called into question existing power structures and certain cultural hierarchies. The Jewish Womens Archive has created this interactive site, which explores the role of Jewish women in the feminist revolution. Visitors can elect to move through the materials on the site by following a timeline, viewing a number of themes, or searching the entire collection. Some of these compelling themes include Confronting Power, Feminism and Judaism, and Setting the Feminist Agenda. The timeline is a good way to peruse some of these documents and experiences, as it includes information on such luminaries as Sally Priesand (the first woman rabbi in America) and the First Conference on Jewish Women in 1973. [KMG]

Black Mask Magazine [pdf]

The world of hard-boiled crime fiction has been around for many decades, and a number of magazines sprung up in the 1920s to fulfill the growing demand for such hoary stories and tales. One such magazine was Black Mask, which was launched in April 1920 by H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan. The magazine quickly garnered attention, and it was also the first magazine to publish the work of Dashiel Hammett, Erie Stanley Gardner, and Raymond Chandler. On this site, visitors can learn about the magazine, and numerous others, including Terror Tales and Strange Detective Mysteries. The site also contains a number of full-length stories from the original magazines, including The Notched Gun from the magazine Adventure and An Inside Job from Black Mask. [KMG]


Over the past few years, a number of organizations have become increasingly active in placing resources online for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth. The OutProud site is one, which is dedicated to providing a number of high-quality resources for young people and other persons, such as health care professionals and family members. While the sites homepage may be a bit confusing at first, visitors can use the material here to find out about local sources of friendship or support and they can also peruse the latest headline news stories digested here. The OutProud Library feature presented here contains dozens of suggested readings, complete with a search engine that allows users to look for books for families, parents, and transgender individuals. [KMG]

The East Asian Collection

The University of Wisconsin Digital Collections initiative continues to surprise and delight visitors to their collections. Their latest offering is certainly no different; it includes historical images that present a visual archive of 20th century East Asian cultural heritage. The collection is actually comprised of two subcollections, namely the Holmes Welch Collection and the China in the 30s Collection. Holmes Welch was a scholar of modern Chinese religions whose family donated his library of primary photographic materials of religious life in China and Hong Kong to the University of Wisconsin after he died in 1981. The China in the 1930s Collection contains a number of images connected with the military, which are mostly associated with the Japanese invasion of China and the Sino-Japanese Conflict. [KMG]

Network Tools


With costs for all types of consumer goods on the rise, users might be looking for any deals they can find. One program that might help with these costs is the Skype application, which uses peer-to-peer technology via the Internet so that users can make long-distance calls. The program includes a sophisticated encryption and a surprisingly excellent level of audio fidelity. The program is compatible with computers which run Windows XP or 2000. [KMG]

Plans 7.4

Most everyone would enjoy a new and easy-to-use way to keep their daily and long-term activities in order, so with that in mind, it is worth taking a look at this helpful web calendar tool. With Plans 7.4, users can customize their own template and also create multiple calendars quickly. The site also contains a number of user forums and an interactive demonstration feature to get new users started with their own calendar. This version of Plans is compatible with all computers running Linux. [KMG]

In The News

Poor and Homeless Continue to Face Major Challenges in Urban Areas

Crowded Out By Luxury Lofts, Poor Seek Relief,0,2051236.story?coll=la-home-local

Polk Gulch cleanup angers some

Nation taking a new look at homelessness, solutions

Study: U.S. poor trapped in urban areas

Katrinas Window: Confronting Concentrated Poverty Across America [pdf]

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness [pdf]

As the recent tragedy wrought by Hurricane Katrina revealed, poor and homeless residents of Americas cities remain particularly vulnerable. Whether it is the phenomenon of gentrification or the world of natural hazards, many continue to remain marginalized in terms of opportunities, whether they be economic or otherwise. This week, a number of news pieces once again reminded the general public about the precarious situation faced by this group. In Los Angeles, the City Council decided to impose the first limits on the luxury loft and condo boom that is gradually pushing out single-room-occupancy hotels, most of which are concentrated in the citys downtown area. While this type of creeping development may affect the poor in increasingly popular urban places, less successful cities continue to have many neighborhoods with concentrated poverty. As a report from the Brookings Institution released this week noted, poor planning over the past several decades has continued to concentrate public housing at the urban core. Generally, the end result is that many urban dwellers remain cut off from the rapid economic and housing growth that has been experienced around the urban fringe. [KMG]

The first link will lead users to a nice article from this Wednesdays Los Angeles Times that discusses the recent action taken by the City Council. The second link leads visitors to a San Francisco Chronicle article that discusses the recent trend towards gentrification in the citys Polk Gulch neighborhood. The third link leads to a USA Today article from this past Monday, which talks about how the recent Hurricane Katrina tragedy may transform certain aspects of addressing the homelessness situation in the country. The fourth link will take visitors to a CNN news piece, which talks about the recent report from the Brookings Institution that examines the concentration of urban poverty throughout a number of US cities. The fifth link leads to the full text of that report, authored by Alan Berube. The final link will take users to the homepage of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. [KMG]

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