The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 8

February 24, 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

National Institute of Justice [pdf]

Beyond the immediacy of crime and criminal acts, there is a concern among those involved in the justice system with analyzing and investigating all aspects of criminology and related subjects. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) as the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice is particularly concerned with these issues. On their website, visitors can learn about the NIJs mission, research priorities and their strategic goals. Scholars and the general public will appreciate the rather large database that includes the institutes publications, annual reports, and speeches. Browsing through the publications area is quite easy, and visitors will find such recent reports as DNA Analysis for Minor Crimes: A Major Benefit for Law Enforcement and Predicting a Criminals Journey to Crime. Finally, visitors also can access the NIJ Journals current issue, as well as browse every issue back to 1995. [KMG]

Altruism and Empathy in America: Trends and Correlates [pdf]

The General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) has been administered twenty times since 1972, and a number of rather important and valuable findings have been culled from the data. Most recently, one particular report from the NORC based on this data garnered significant media attention. The 49-page report deals with the nature of altruistic love, and similar behaviors. The survey found wide support for altruistic love on a number of items, and also noted that there was a significant connection between altruistic behavior and romantic love. Additionally, the report noted that religion plays a role in promoting altruism. Some of the other findings of the study included the observations that women have a greater feeling of empathy than men and that financial status had very little to do with feelings of altruism or empathy. [KMG]

The Word on the Street

In the three or so centuries before the rise of affordable newspapers in the middle-nineteenth century, the broadside was often utilized to send a message to the masses. Emblazoned with the occasionally lurid woodblock print, these single sheets of paper brought news of recent events, royal proclamations, and official notices to the general public. Recently, the National Library of Scotland created this fine online collection of broadsides from 1650 to 1910. All told, there are 1800 broadsides in this digital archive. Visitors can search the broadsides by year, keywords, title, or by subject. Of course, searching the collection by subject may be the most enticing option, as some of the headings include apparitions, elegies, pirates, street life, and of course, temperance. The site is made even more compelling by the inclusion of background reading material on the production and distribution of the broadsides. [KMG]

Exploring Space: The Quest for Life [Real Player, Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

The search through the cosmos for intelligent life, or any life for that matter, continues to fascinate everyone from dedicated scientists working for NASA to such personages as Shirley MacLaine. Broad in its scope, and innovative in its use of computer-animated deep-space imagery, this program from PBS explores the various mysteries about the origins of life that may lie in outer space. This site provides a host of online essays and interactive features that are meant as complements to the television program. The sections here include The Mars Prospect, The Search for Aliens, and Meteorites & Life. Within each section, there are a number of quizzes and fun activities, such as one that lets visitors attempt to fly to Mars. The site is rounded out by a number of insightful essays, including those that deal with the themes of the rights of alien life forms and other such speculative topics. [KMG]

Two on College Writing

Writing Resources [pdf]
Purdue Universitys Online Writing Lab [pdf]

Around this time of the year, college students may find themselves staring blankly into a screen as they face any number of daunting writing assignments. Fortunately, there are two fine online resources that may aid them in this process. The first is offered by the Princeton Writing Center, and it contains a number of helpful essays on how to find and develop a paper topic, dealing with writing anxiety, and preparing to perform well on essay exams. The next site is the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University, which has been in existence since 1995. Here, visitors can find a number of excellent writing guides and related material, including The Writing Lab Newsletter, which brings together helpful information about tutoring theory, methodology, and training writing tutors. Of course, visitors should not be surprised to learn that the site also contains a substantial number of documents on grammar, mechanics, literary analysis, and writing in the social sciences. Taken together, these two sites represent a mighty contribution to those seeking to learn how to compose better essays and papers, and also for those working with such individuals. [KMG]

National Academies: Transportation [pdf]

The National Academies have a number of thematic research groups and councils that perform a number of invaluable functions, including research on timely topics and providing informed commentary on a number of policy issues. This particular website is dedicated to offering information from the Transportation Research Board, including research reports and electronic newsletters. The site also contains direct links to recent publications, including Freight Capacity for the 21st Century and Buckling Up: Technologies to Increase Seat Belt Use. Visitors also have the opportunity to peruse a section that provides information on current or recently completed transportation research projects. For visitors who may be working in the transportation field, there is a calendar of transportation conferences and workshops that may be of substantial interest. [KMG]

General Interest

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum [Real Player, pdf]

With only a few short days before the start of spring training, Scout Report readers may enjoy taking in some of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museums website. First-time visitors may want to begin by looking at some of the very nice online exhibits offered here. Some of the more delightful exhibits include the history of the baseball uniform as well as programs from World Series past. Of course, those with a penchant for days gone by will want to look through the Baseball History area, which features This Day in Baseball History along with profiles of such legends as Wade Boggs. True sports historians will also revel in the A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center section of the site, as it contains information about utilizing the Center and a selection of player files from a collection that contains over 20,000 items. [KMG]

Girodet: Romantic Rebel

This website accompaniment to the exhibition Girodet: Romantic Rebel, currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, features about 20 paintings and drawings by Girodet. Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy- Trioson (17671824) was trained in the workshop of Jacques-Louis David, who is considered the leading painter of the French Revolution (last mentioned in the February 18, 2005 Scout Report Girodet broke with the strict neoclassical style of his master to develop his own more romantic and dreamy style. The subjects of Girodet's paintings were often drawn from contemporary, 18th century, interpretations of myths, such as the legend of Ossian, a Nordic "myth" contrived by the writer James Macpherson. Girodet also painted Atala, an American Indian woman character from the novel by Chateaubriand, a friend of the artist. Navigate the site by jumping immediately to the Selected Works section, or browse Exhibition Themes. Either way, don't miss the section on the conservation of the Revolt of Cairo (1810), to see how AIC conservators used infrared reflectography imaging (IR) to reveal an extensive under-drawing. [DS]

Digital Orchid Library

Several years ago, the author and traveler Susan Orlean brought the world of those obsessed with orchids to the general book-reading public. These rather entrancing flowers had a substantial following before her work, and they remain a passion for many. Working in collaboration, Michigan State University, the American Orchid Society, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the National Agricultural Library have assisted in the creation of this lovely online digitized collection. Here, visitors can electronically traipse through such gems as the periodical The Orchid World from 1911 and 1912, then move on to more demanding texts such as Die Orchideen von Java, compiled by one Johannes Jacobus Smith. Accompanied by detailed illustrations of orchids, visitors will find much to delight in throughout these various taxonomical works. Of course, visitors would be remiss not to visit the narrative accounts of orchid-collecting presented here, particularly About Orchids: A Chat by Frederick Boyle. In it, they will find such passionate panegyrics as those expressed in this sentence: I take it that orchids meet a craving of the cultured soul which began to be felt at the moment when kindly powers provided means to satisfy it. [KMG]

Go Ask Alice!

Some readers may be wondering aloud: Who is Alice, and why do I want to ask her anything? Well, Alice is in fact a team of Columbia University health educators, health care providers, and specialists from health-related organizations worldwide. Alice was created in 1993 at Columbia, and is one of the longest-running health question and answer websites. As one might surmise, the site provides intelligent, informed, and lively answers to a number of pressing health issues, such as drug use, body image, and various aspects of emotional health. Visitors can search the archive of answered questions, and also look through topical sections that cover subjects such as alcohol use and relationships. The site also includes a weekly poll and an area where visitors can sign up to receive each weeks question (and response) in their email inbox. [KMG]

Poetry Foundation [Real Player]

The Poetry Foundation, established in 2003, was created through a fund provided by Ruth Lilly. Since its creation, the Foundation has grown by leaps and bounds, and one of their best public outreach efforts is this website. With a well-thought out visual design, their homepage is a great starting point for learning more about the world of poetry. Sections on the homepage include Publishing, Features, Dispatches, and Archive. Visitors may wish to go back to the past and examine the archive, which includes thousands of poems, several lists of favorite poets, and a visual archive that features cartoons that address the subject of poetry. Visitors looking to delve into some current material will definitely appreciate the Cover Story feature. Here visitors can listen to Paul Giamatti and Alfred Molina read Brownings Fra Lippo Lippi and My Last Duchess respectively, as well as read a historic piece from Poetry magazine where Carl Sandburg offers solid praise of Ezra Pound. Overall, the site merits numerous visits and is quite a gem. [KMG]

National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment Site [pdf]

For many across the country, the National Park system contains some of the most precious cultural and natural resources in the United States. At any given time, the National Park Service is working on dozens of long-term plans for the development and conservation of various properties under their oversight, including national monuments and national historic sites. This website provides access to current plans, environmental impact analyses, and related documents that are under review. Visitors to the site can search for plans by geographic region, by state, or by a drop-down menu of all of the various properties. The site also contains a number of other helpful links, including those that lead to a glossary of relevant terms and the Council on Environmental Policy. [KMG]

Network Tools

Camino 1.0

With a host of helpful features, Camino 1.0 will be a most welcome addition for Mac users everywhere. The interface for the browser is quite elegant, and gives users the ability to pause and resume downloads, along with enhanced security, and tabbed browsing. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.2. [KMG]


Many users may have dozens, if not hundreds, of bookmarks located within their favorite browsers. It can be time-consuming and quite tedious to check their validity, and this is where this application can step in to help with this process. Link200 will go through bookmarks in Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Netscape and remove those that are no longer valid. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

E.L. Doctorow wins PEN/Faulkner Award

Doctorows The March Wins Top Honor

NPR: E.L. Doctorow on Sherman and The March [Real Player]

2006 PEN/Faulkner Winners

Wired for Books: Audio Interview with E.L. Doctorow [Real Player]

A Cloud of Dust: John Updike Reviews The March

General Shermans Memoirs

Sherman House Museum

Over thirty years ago, E.L. Doctorow wrote a multi-layered narrative about Americas Gilded Age that incorporated the likes of Harry Houdini, Emma Goldman, Stanford White, and Scott Joplin. The book was called Ragtime, and established Doctorow as an author of note within the minds of the American public. Since then, he has written a number of books, including Billy Bathgate, which was awarded the PEN/Faulkner award in 1990. This week, the author was presented with the award a second time for his novel, The March. The novel is set during Union General William Tecumseh Shermans well-known scorched-earth campaign through Georgia and the Carolinas. The book has been quite favorably reviewed since its publication last year, and John Updike (writing in The New Yorker) remarked that the work offers an illumination, fitful and flickering, of a historic upheaval that only fiction could provide. Responding to the announcement of his award, Doctorow kept his comments to one newspaper brief, noting simply that he was very gratified. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to an article by Bob Thompson from this Tuesdays Washington Post, which offers some additional details about Doctorows recent award. The second link will take visitors to a very nice audio feature from National Public Radio that was originally broadcast in October 2005. The segment, conducted by Robert Siegel, includes a selection from the novel read by Doctorow, along with a printed excerpt from the novels first chapter. The third link leads to the official announcement of this years PEN/Faulkner award, along with information about all of the finalists. The fourth link leads to a 44-minute interview with Doctorow, conducted by Don Swaim in 1986 for the series, Wired for Books. The fifth link leads to a thoughtful and delightful review of The March, offered by John Updike in the pages of the September 12, 2005 issue of The New Yorker. The sixth link leads to an online version of Shermans extensive memoirs, where he recounts his vast military experiences and expeditions. The final link will take visitors to the website of the historic Sherman family home in Lancaster, Ohio. [KMG]

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