The Scout Report -- Volume 11, Number 46

November 18, 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

Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention

The Library of Congress American Memory Project has been producing high-quality digital collections for a decade, and one of their first projects has recently been updated and is worthy of a second (or first) look. This particular collection brings together a number of documents, including dozens of broadsides related to the work of the Continental Congress, dating from 1774 to 1788. The majority of these items contain extracts of the journals of Congress, resolutions, proclamations, treaties, and other congressional proceedings. Other documents in the collection include early printed versions of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Those persons who are seeking a bit more background information will want to take a look at two timelines that cover related events from the 1764 Sugar Act to the official ratification of the Constitution in 1788. Finally, the site also contains a nice essay titled To Form a More Perfect Union.. [KMG]

Chartres: Cathedral of Notre-Dame

The Cathedral of Chartres, located some 50 miles outside of Paris, is considered one of the most important cultural landmarks in France, and even Europe. In 2004, Professor Alison Stones of the University of Pittsburgh began to create an online collection of visual materials documenting this imposing structure. Working with some of her students and colleagues, this project was supported by the Universitys Digital Research Library and is now available to the web-browsing public. The breadth and depth of the collections 3100 items is impressive, as it includes everything from seventeen century vistas of the city of Chartres to architectural drawings of interior features of the cathedral, such as the nave. A search engine provided on the site allows visitors to search for items by name, description, type of material, or photographer. [KMG]

NOAA Paleoclimatology Program [pdf]

It is a tall order to try to study even the recent past, so visitors should find the research accomplishments of the staff members at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations (NOAA) Paleoclimatology Program quite impressive. Their work revolves around examining different aspects of the natural world, such as ice cores and lake sediments, in order to understand climate variability over a wide range of time periods. Visitors to the homepage will find themselves presented with a clickable interface that presents information on such topical areas as paleoceans, caves, and ice core analysis. Perhaps one of the real highlights here is the Paleo Perspectives area, which contains three different well-written documents that offer the paleoclimatological perspective on drought in the North American historical record and abrupt climate change in the historical past. [KMG]

The Megiddo Expedition

Located at a site that is of immense historical importance, the excavations at Megiddo in Israel have drawn researchers and archaeologists for over one hundred years. In the ancient world, Megiddo was a nexus of what may be termed international trade, as caravans of merchants came through from as far as Asia and Africa. Of course, there are a number of other reasons the site is tremendously important, including the fact that the Egyptians first began their empire-building ways when in the 15th century BCE they moved to conquer Canaan here. This site, developed by Tel Aviv University, allows visitors to explore a virtual recreation of this ancient site and to learn about the work of previous excavation on the site which have provided new insights into the Bronze Age. Interested parties may also want to read the current and back issues of their newsletter, Revelations, and learn about how they may join an upcoming excavation on the site. [KMG]

Rural Community Assistance Corporation [pdf]

Founded in 1978, the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) is dedicated to assisting rural communities in achieving their goals and visions by providing training, technical assistance and access to resources. Their work is primarily focused on work in the 13 Western states and for communities with populations under 50,000. The homepage is quite inviting, and allows users to peruse a list of upcoming events and support activities sponsored by the RCAC or other like-minded organizations. Persons seeking assistance or working on behalf of such communities will appreciate information from the homepage on such programs as housing, financing, and rural infrastructure development initiatives. The publications area of the site is quite strong, especially considering that visitors can study over ten newsletters here, including Alaska Anew, which details specifically with the search for finding solutions to the solid waste problem in Alaska. [KMG]

World Agricultural Information Centre Portal [pdf]

Disseminating information about any subject to a broad range of constituents and concerned parties and organizations can be a formidable task, no matter what the medium might be. This website is designed to achieve just that goal for agriculture, and it has a mandate from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) is designed to provide a framework for disseminating agricultural information. In many ways functions as a portal, collecting links to relevant websites and documents through a series of topical and subtopical headings. Given the sheer amount of material here, visitors will take comfort to learn that the sites homepage features a Highlights section that draws their attention to new additions, such as the FAO Tsunami Portal. Additionally, visitors can take advantage of a sophisticated search engine offered here, or just browse around through such topics as agroindustry and forest management. [KMG]

General Interest

Pandemic Flu [pdf]

With the recent rise in flu outbreaks both across the United States and the rest of the world, the United States government has developed a broad range of strategies for keeping citizens up to date on the current status of these developments. The Pandemic Flu website is the official US government website for information on the subject (along with coverage of avian influenza) and should be of interest both to the general public and to those working in the fields of public health and policy. First-time visitors may want to begin by looking through the general information area on the homepage. Here they will find answers to basic questions as What is an influenza pandemic? and also be able to peruse materials about avian flu and vaccines and medications designed to treat both conditions. Most visitors will also want to learn about the official national strategy designed to both prepare and respond to an influenza pandemic. This document is available from the sites homepage in its entirety, as is information about what agencies (nationally and internationally) are monitoring outbreaks of these diseases. [KMG]

Prints With/Out Pressure: American Relief Prints from the 1940s through the 1960s

This web site offered by New York Public Library (NYPL) complements an exhibition of relief prints on display October 28, 2005 - January 26, 2006. The site includes a brief history of how relief prints came to be an important part of NYPL's collection, an introduction to the process of relief printing, a dozen prints selected from the show, and an annotated A-Z list of artists whose work is held by NYPL. Many of the prints were originally created to be book illustrations. At the site, you will learn how relief prints are created by inking raised areas of a printing plate, usually composed of wood or linoleum; read biographical notes about artists; or discover the context of various illustrations, such as Fritz Eichenberg's Breakfast at Lowood School, for Jane Eyre. There is also a section on the importance of print clubs in American art collecting. [DS]

Pompeii: Stories from an Eruption [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

Described by Pliny the Younger in part as a fearful black cloud, the massive eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 wiped out the settlement of Pompeii. Of course, a number of other small towns were also greatly affected, many of which also had fine architecture and advanced forms of public infrastructure, such as roadways and bridges. The story of the explosion and the subsequent archaeological digs in the area is the focus on this interactive online exhibit created by the Field Museum. A good place to start is the interactive timeline which allows users to move through the events of that fateful day to learn about the progression of the volcanic activity and the reaction by local residents. After looking over the timeline, visitors can learn about each of the cities affected by the eruption, including Oplontis, Herculaneum, and Terzigno. [KMG]

Antique Maps of Iceland

Iceland is a nation with a long and rather unique history, and it is worth noting that it has also been thoroughly mapped and examined by cartographers, explorers, and other such types over the past millennium or so. Fortunately, the Nordic Digital Library Center and the National and University Library of Iceland have joined forces to create this digital archive of all maps of Iceland from before 1900. Visitors who would like some explanation of these materials can seek out a short historical essay on the maps by author Haraldur Sigurosson. The maps themselves are divided up chronologically, headed by explanatory titles, such as The first maps of Iceland and The coastal survey of 1776-1777. Each map is accompanied by a short passage of text that explains the origins of each map, along with offering information about how each map fits into an emerging sensibility of Icelands location in relation to other landforms. Finally, the site is available in both Icelandic and English. [KMG]

Historic Pittsburgh (Last profiled in the Scout Report on October 22, 1999)

Digital projects that purport to offer extensive primary and secondary source materials on any given conurbation are numerous and this particular digital project on the city of Pittsburgh certainly lives up to its name and stated objectives. Created with funding from the Hillman Library Endowment and the Institute of Museum & Library Services, this collection brings together historic material dealing with Pittsburgh from a number of key sources, including the University of Pittsburghs Library System and the Carnegie Museum of Art. A great deal of new material has recently been added to the site, including 26 volumes of Hopkins Real Estate maps dating from 1872 to 1939 and a feature that allows users to explore the existing image database by the photos location within one of Pittsburghs many colorful neighborhoods. Of course, visitors can use the sites various finding aids and search engines to find exactly what they want, and also learn about recent additions to the database by perusing the News section of the site.

Digital Past

The Land of Lincoln is certainly not lacking in organizations who seek to document the rich history of the area, whether it be the many innovations in farm technology that have arisen out of the creative minds of local inventors or the gritty urban landscapes of the Second Citys nooks and crannies. Fortunately for those with a penchant for these subjects, there is the Digital Past website, which began in 1998 with a partnership with the North Suburban Library System in Wheeling, Illinois. Currently, the digital archive contains over 35,000 items (such as postcards, architectural plans, and personal letters) culled from close to 30 institutions in the area. Visitors may want to take a look at some of their thematic collections of digitized objects and related materials, such as those devoted to the architecture of the North Shore community of Glencoe or a history of the city of Park Ridge. Of course, visitors should feel most welcome to search the complete archive of materials here, which they may do by looking through a list of cities, organizations, and proper names. [KMG]

Network Tools

WebLogExpert Lite 3.6

For those users with websites, this little application will prove to be quite useful. Utilizing this latest version of WebLogExpert Lite, users will be able to review specific statistics about visitors to their site, including activities such as file access, error reports, and the like. The program also can generate reports on such activities that include both tables and charts. This version of WebLogExpert Lite is compatible with all computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

Weather Watcher 5.6.1

While one cant do much to change weather conditions, there are certainly a number of fine ways to stay more than adequately informed about this all-so common topic of casual conversation. This latest offering allows users to retrieve the current conditions, hourly forecast, detailed forecast, and weather maps for over 77,000 cities across the world. The application can also be set to automatically retrieve weather data at set intervals or to have a weather map set as desktop wallpaper. This version of Weather Watcher is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Thanksgiving in a Bottle

Seattles Jones Soda offering salmon-flavored soda

A Thanksgiving meal like youve never had

The History Channel: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Recipes

Teaching about Thanksgiving

Jones Soda Co. [Macromedia Flash Player]

As the last leaves find their way from their branches down to the ground below, many Americans begin to think about their Thanksgiving meals and their elaborate preparations. For some, these meals mean succulent turkey, small mountain ranges of mashed potatoes, and baked yams. For still others, it may mean a turkey substitute, a beet salad, and asparagus spears. Relatively few people think of consuming a Thanksgiving dinner through a straw, but thanks to the inventive folks at a Seattle-based soda company, they can do just that. The company is offering two five-pack soda kits (complete with a serving spoon and moistened toilette) that contain such mouth-watering flavors as herb stuffing, turkey, and smoked salmon pate. The company president, Peter van Stolk, first envisioned the concept during a road trip in 2003, and figured that establishing a bulkhead on the meat-flavored soda niche market might be a shrewd idea. When asked about the flavor of the salmon soda, van Stolk remarked that I cannot finish a bottle, I just cant. He was even more passionate about the Brussels-sprouts flavored concoction, noting, Its horrible. Regardless of van Stolks own sentiments, those seeking a way to avoid washing any of those pesky Thanksgiving dishes may be unusually attracted to this collection of beverages. [KMG]

The first link offered here will direct visitors to a news story offered by CNN-Money which discusses the rather novel approach to Thanksgiving created by the Jones Soda company. The second link will take users to a nice piece of reporting from the Chicago Sun-Times Janet Rausa Fuller, which includes the results of a taste-test of these unusual beverages from a troika of women who work at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. The third link leads to a special feature from The History Channel on the origins and myths associated with Thanksgiving. The fourth link leads to a clutch of classic Thanksgiving recipes offered by Readers Digest. The fifth link will take visitors to a rather intriguing educators guide to teaching young people about Thanksgiving from the state of Washingtons superintendent of public instruction. The final link will take visitors to the homepage of the Jones Soda Company. Here visitors can learn about their Thanksgiving Day replacement soda offerings, and a variety of other curious products, such as the Strawberry Manilow and Berry White drinks. [KMG]

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