The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 1

January 6, 2006

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

Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal

While some may think the extent of Caribbean literature is limited to the works of Derek Walcott, the website for this journal housed at the University of Miami may help visitors to expand their horizons. Anthurium is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes original works by Caribbean writers and scholars, and appears only in a digital online edition. Started in the fall of 2003, the journal has published pieces on Caribbean slave narratives and new poems on the experiences of indigenous peoples throughout the region. Visitors can also use a number of indices to find works of interest, including those that are organized by author or title. Finally, visitors may also appreciate the fact that there are external links to other digital initiatives, along with a link to the Caribbean Literary Studies program at the University of Miami. [KMG]

Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles Collection

For many decades, librarians and their assistants combed over newspapers for items of interest, including obituaries, colorful news stories, and advertisements. These types of clippings were mounted on note paper and subsequently placed into bound volumes. Over the past few decades, a number of institutions have begun to digitize these invaluable documents. One such institution is the Wisconsin Historical Society, which happens to have hundreds of these scrapbooks. Currently, visitors can search through 16,000 articles, which include materials on Wisconsin people and communities from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Users can perform basic searches using keywords and place names, or perform very detailed searches through headlines, country, newspaper, or main heading. From Robert La Follette to John Muir, much of Wisconsins past that is both grand and everyday is revealed within this site. [KMG]

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center [pdf, Real Player]

For close to seventy years, the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland has had a diverse set of ongoing research projects dealing with wildlife and natural resources in and around the region. Their homepage offers a great deal of material on these projects, along with some very fine information for the general public. The Spotlight section is a good place to start as it contains a frog call quiz and video clips of Atlantic sea ducks in their natural habitat. The Science Features area contains an area where visitors can ask resident biologists pressing questions and a Did You Know? section that provides answers to such questions as Why are whooping cranes endangered? The site is rounded out by an area that provides a tribute to Chandler S. Robbins, an employee of the center for over sixty years. Robbins is perhaps best known as the author of The Field Guide to Birds of North America and for his work on identifying the deleterious effects of DDT on bird populations. [KMG|

Community-based Networks and Innovative Technologies [pdf]

Much of the talk about an information society and the use of technology in such a society remains an unfulfilled promise in the developing world. This disconnect is particularly strong in rural areas, which often do not have the necessary infrastructure to take part in any social or economic improvements that may be the by-product of such developments. This report from the United Nations Development Program, authored by Sean O Siochru and Brian Girard looks at how an innovative combination of community-driven enterprises and the new wave of wireless and related technologies may assist such communities most effectively. The report is divided into five primary chapters, and a number of appendices which contain detailed case study information from such countries as Poland, Argentina, Peru, and India. Those users who may be pressed for time may wish to read the preface and the report summary offered here. [KMG]

Slavery in New York [Macromedia Flash Player, Real Player]

The diversity of the city of New York for many seems to be one of the best examples of Americas melting pot, and for many people around the world, Gotham is the city that first comes to mind when thinking about Americas great urban metropolises. It is of course no surprise to many informed members of the public that the city was also at the heart of the slave trade for close to two hundred years, a fact that seems to stand in stark contrast with the openness of todays city. This well-designed online exhibition, created by the New York Historical Society explores this aspect of the citys history through the use of interactive galleries and multimedia presentations that include interviews from National Public Radio with the curators of the exhibition. The section titled Free Blacks in New Yorks Public Life (contained within Gallery 6) is definitely worth a closer look, as it looks at how blacks were portrayed in paintings and other rendering during the Federalist period. [KMG]

The Henry Ford Museum [Macromedia Flash Player]

Whatever ones feelings may be about Henry Ford, his legacy to the American public is tremendous, and his love of American history is well-documented. Part of this legacy may be found at the Henry Ford Museum complex, which contains a number of operational units, such as Greenfield Village and the Benson Ford Research Center. For those who might be unable to make the pilgrimage to Michigan, the Museums omnibus website will help bring some of the fine edifying material into their homes. For starters, there is the Explore & Learn area of the site, which contains a number of online exhibits such as a tour of the bus that carried Rosa Parks on her fateful trip in Montgomery and the Innovators exhibit, which profiles such Americans as Thomas Edison and R. Buckminster Fuller. [KMG]

General Interest

Millennium Seed Bank Project [pdf]

A number of organizations have developed a concerted interest in establishing seed banks to protect the wide diversity of existing plant life for future generations. The Royal Botanic Gardens is currently working on their own project, whose ultimate goal is to collect 24,000 plant species. So far, they have successfully secured samples from almost all of the native flowering plants in the United Kingdom, and their work continues on in the present day. Many visitors to the site will want to peruse their homepage and the helpful graphic (a peapod) helps orient first-time visitors to the various sections on the site, such as Solving Seed Problems and their publications and data area. The site also includes a field manual for those who would like to collect their own seeds in the field as well as data about the seeds collected thus far in the Seed Information Database. [KMG]

African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pignozzi Collection

Masterpieces from the Jean Pignozzi Collection is an exhibition currently on view at the National Museum of African Art (NMAfA) in Washington D.C., organized by the Pignozzi Collection-Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC) and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and funded by Continental Airlines. The show features works by 28 African artists from 15 African countries, whose works have been collected by Swiss photographer Jean Pignozzi. Pignozzi began collecting African art in 1989, and has amassed a collection of over 6,000 pieces. The web exhibition is arranged into 3 sections and the first two: Apartheid & Africa and Kinshasa provide background information. The third section, Artist Works and Biographies, includes biographical sketches and photographs of the 28 artists, and examples of at least one of each artists' works, such as Bodys Isek Kingelez fantastical architectural constructions, or Romuald Hazoume's masks, or (one of the few women in the show) Esther Mahlangu's brightly colored murals. [DS]

Student Press Law Center [pdf] (Last Reviewed on August 30, 1996)

Since its creation in 1974, the Student Press Law Center has devoted itself to providing support services to high school and college journalists about the importance of the First Amendment. Their website is designed to complement their work, and one section that visitors should examine is their resource center area. This area contains a FAQ area about the nature of student press rights at the high school and college level and several interactive tests on student media law and the First Amendment. Visitors will also want to peruse the current edition of the Student Press Law Center Report, which is published three times a year. The Report includes coverage of ongoing cases involving student publications, and archives dating back to 1996 can be found here as well. The site is rounded out by a number of news updates offered along the left-hand side of the homepage. [KMG]

Partnership for a Nation of Learners [pdf]

It is hard to imagine a way to seamlessly integrate museums, libraries, and public broadcasters into the needs of their communities, but the Partnership for a Nation of Learners initiative seeks to do just that. The initiative was started by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Institute of Museum and Library Services and is designed to assist such institutions in the quest to be leaders in their local communities. To do this, the Partnership is offering workshops, web-based materials and grants. This website was created to provide information on these programs. While a great deal of material has yet to be added to the site, they plan on offering case studies of successful partnerships, along with archived videoconferences. [KMG]

Electronic Literature Organization [Macromedia Flash Player]

Astute readers of the Scout Report may find themselves asking: What is electronic literature? Well, as defined by the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) the term refers to works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer. The ELO was started in 1999, and since that time the organization has worked to facilitate bringing new works in this arena to the general web-savvy public. Visitors to the homepage can proceed to examine any number of new works, such as the non-linear work Shandean Ambles, authored by Deena Larsen. Along with the usual contact information, the site also has a tab for presenting information about the ELOs programs, such as the Preservation, Archiving, and Dissemination (PAD) Project, which is designed to identify and protect endangered electronic literature and like-minded creations. The site is made complete with a news archive that dates back to July 2000. [KMG]

The Glocal Forum [pdf]

Globalization is a concept and process that is generally understood by the general public and the media. Glocalization, however, is a term that requires some explanation. The term is meant to serve as a new paradigm for international relations and an innovative practice of development cooperation. The Glocal Forum is a way for a diverse set of policymakers and concerned citizens to maintain a sustained dialogue on how this paradigm (and its attendant processes) may transform local communities in a positive and equitable fashion. The Forums homepage contains links to three separate initiatives, including the Glocal ECities Network and the Glocal Forum US. The Glocal Forum section of the site contains information about their annual conference and their primary directives, which include youth empowerment and peacebuilding. [KMG]

Network Tools

Virtual Desktop Toolbox 2.62.3

This intriguing program effectively enlarges your monitor by creating non-virtual or virtual desktops. Users can organize programs and windows by categories, and also share programs and windows between virtual desktops. Visitors also have the capability to customize their workplace by adding a background picture and sounds. This program is compatible with all computers running Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

Startup Mechanic 2.6

As the New Year begins, many may be concerned about how to ensure that their computer system is running smoothly and without those seemingly omnipresent ad-tracking programs and other such nuisances. One program that is worth taking a look at is the Startup Mechanic, which scans users systems for data mining and tracking components. The program also includes Startup Monitor which will notify users when any program registers to run when the system starts up. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

International convention moves to ban global export of caviar

Caviar export ban may help threatened species

Roe woes for caviar lovers

UN-backed treaty puts caviar export quotas on hold pending new data

Caviar Emptor: The Decline of the Caspian Sea Sturgeon [Real Player]

FAQs: Caviar Trade


Those oh-so salty eggs of the sturgeon have fascinated everyone from Aristotle to the nouveau riche that reside on various cul-de-sacs along Americas eastern seaboard. Regrettably, the demand for these tiny morsels has outstripped the supply, and this week the secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species declared that there would be a temporary ban on caviar exports. In recent years, there has been increasing concerns about the long-term viability of the sturgeon population, and a number of factors (including pollution) have led to drastic reductions in their numbers. Much like the price of gold in recent years, the price of beluga caviar has doubled, with the current price standing at about $200 an ounce. Many concerned organizations are concerned due to the fact that temporary bans in 2001 and 2002 failed to result in stricter conservation measures and sturgeon populations continued to fall. It should be noted that effectively managing the sturgeon population has been bedeviled by the fact that harvest data for these rather imposing creatures do not include those fish that are poached across their natural habitat. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a news article from this Wednesdays International Herald Tribune which provides some interesting background information on the recent ban. The second link leads users to a piece from the Toronto Star that discusses the potential effects this ban may have on Canadian connoisseurs of caviar. The third link leads to an official press release from the United Nations News Centre about the caviar export ban. The fourth link leads to a site that provides information about the current status of the Caspian Sea sturgeon, along with helpful environmental friendly alternatives. The fifth link will take users to a FAQ offered by the World Wildlife Fund that answers such questions as Why is caviar traded? The final link leads to a site created by the Marine Conservation Society that provides information about which fish are from well managed sources around the world. [KMG]

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