The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 14

April 7, 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

The Condition of Education [pdf]

The very title of this website would perhaps draw only hushed whispers from those commentators in the world of education policy, and thats probably not a bad reaction. The site makes good on the promise of its title, as it offers the casual and seasoned visitor a wide variety of indicators in the forms of tables and charts, including total enrollments in grades K-12, trends in half-day kindergarten, and past and projected undergraduate enrollment figures. Culled from annual reports created by the National Center for Education Statistics, these helpful pieces of information and data are complemented nicely by a series of special analyses, including Mobility in the Teacher Workforce and Private Schools: A Brief Portrait. If visitors encounter any problems finding the information they desire, they should consult the Users Guide, which contains directions on how to best navigate the site. Finally, the site is rounded out by a brief summary that highlights some of the findings of the 2005 Condition of Education report. [KMG]

The Victoria and Albert Museum [QuickTime]

Sitting down to spend a few minutes browsing The Victoria and Albert Museums website is a bit like spending a few minutes at a lavishly-prepared banquet that contains masterful examples from the worlds diverse culinary traditions: It cannot be done. Fortunately, the website can be visited many times, and given the impressive amount of fine content here, one probably shouldnt just make one visit. First-time visitors might want to take a look through the Collections area, which allows them the opportunity to view material from their architecture, ceramics, fashion, and design holdings. Those interested in the behind the scene operations of the museum will want to slide on over to the Research & Conservation area. Here they can learn how heavy sculptures are moved throughout the museum and how the slightest and most delicate objects are conserved. The homepage also contains basic, yet essential, information on visiting any one of the three museums, along with offering specialized websites that profile current and upcoming exhibitions of note. Finally, if users are feeling a bit overwhelmed, there is always the welcoming blankness presented by a simple search feature in the upper-right hand corner of each and every page within the site. [KMG]

Making Sense of Clusters: Regional Competitiveness and Economic Development [pdf]

As more and more scholars and policy experts struggle to determine what makes a successful region (urban or otherwise), there is a growing interest in the notion of cluster strategies and how they may be best deployed. Basically, this economic development strategy states that a group of related firms or companies in close proximity can create a number of productive and competitive advantages for the region. Recently, Joseph Cortright of The Brookings Institution researched the academic literature on industry clusters, and subsequently released this compelling 66-page paper in March 2006. The paper begins with a review of the existing literature on the subject, then proceeds to discuss why they are relevant, and also includes a section on future research questions that might be asked by those interested in the field. As Cortright concludes, cluster research should evolve to become a creative and informative mixture of art and science. [KMG]

The Promises and Challenges of Digital Learning [Real Player, pdf]

The supposed promise of digital learning initiatives across the globe continues to draw commentary from both passionate believers to unrepentant skeptics. Recently, the staff at the Development Gateway website, created a special report on the topic of online education, and more specifically at lessons learned, innovations that work, and the future of ICT in education for developing countries. The homepage contains a number of Issue Roundtables, where a variety of experts in the field weigh in on topics such as Can it solve the education crisis in poor countries? and Is high internet cost the only obstacle? After perusing a few of these archived roundtable discussions, visitors will want to look at some of the other sections, which include explorations of best practices in online education and some of the potential roadblocks to creating and sustaining e-learning initiatives. [KMG]

International Institute for Environment and Development [pdf]

Since its founding in 1971, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has committed itself to working for more sustainable and equitable global development. Through a number of partnerships, the IIED continues to work in a cooperative fashion with national governments, regional non-governmental organizations, and other agencies. In terms of their thematic focuses, their work lies primarily in five areas, including climate change, human settlements, natural resources, and governance. New visitors to the site will want to explore these five areas through a series of clickable tabs featured prominently on the homepage. Within each area, visitors will find news updates on each topic, along with working papers and conference reports. For those looking for specific publications, a search engine offered here allows users to search by keyword, author, title, series, or region. [KMG]

ALA Archives Digital Collections

While some may harbor antiquated and erroneous impressions of librarians, those in the know can attest that these invaluable professionals like to get out and about just like their kinfolk in other learned professions. There is ample historical proof of this fact offered by this website, which contains a selection of digitized documents from the American Library Association (ALA) Archives, housed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently, the digitized collections include the F.W. Saxon Photographs Collection and the Library Building Photographs Collection. The Saxon Collection includes over 170 group pictures of librarians attending the ALA conferences in the US and Canada from the period 1894 to 1932. The Library Building Collection is quite intriguing, as it contains 78 postcards of libraries from locales such as Gadsden, Alabama. [KMG]

General Interest

The Virtual Gramophone: Canadian Historical Sound Recordings [Real Player]

If you have been pining for a recording of Henri Lacroix singing La parade des ouvriers, this website from the Library and Archives of Canada will be quite a delight. Created as a multimedia database, the site is devoted to the earliest days of recorded music in Canada, and it contains hundreds of digitized recordings that include both Canadian artists and material written by Canadians. Of course, the site isnt just about the music; it also contains brief biographies of these artists and composers, along with a glossary that explains terms such as magnetic recording and phonautograph. The site also offers up an extended bibliography of general sources, including record catalogs, discographies, and music encyclopedias that pertain to the world of early Canadian recorded music. And in terms of recorded music, there really is something for everyone here, as the offerings range from lieder sung by Canadians of note to recordings by the Choir of the Abbey of Saint-Benoit-du-Lac. [KMG]

The American Nurses Association [pdf]

From time to time, the Scout Report profiles a professional organization whose site will be of interest to a broad range of readers. While the American Nurses Association website does have some material that is strictly for members only, there is a significant amount of relevant and timely free content of note. The first place visitors might start is The Nursing Insider. This handy feature tracks news items that will be of general interest, including those that deal with the changing landscape of health care policy and service-provisioning across the United States. For those looking for older stories, their online archive for this feature dates back to 2000. Another valuable feature of the site is the area dedicated to the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Like many other peer-reviewed online academic publications, the Journal is a high-quality publication that deals with a number of compelling topics in the field. Additionally, the Publications section contains a number of free publications, including several that address the possibility of pursuing a career in nursing and some general fact sheets about the organization. [KMG]

BBC Radio 4: The Living World [Real Player]

Nature documentaries and like-minded programs continue to fascinate the general public, and the demand for such material would seem to be almost infinite. While some may be most familiar with those shows that appear on television, there are a number of radio-based programs that are worth considering. One such program is the BBC Radio 4s own The Living World, hosted by Lionel Kelleway. Described as a gentle weekend natural history programme, this 25-minute show takes an inquisitive look into the world of British wildlife through interviews with experts and field excursions. Browsing through some of their recent programs, visitors will learn about the hares of Derbyshire, the woodland moths of Devon, and some recent arrivals to the London area, such as the Chinese Mitten Crab. [KMG]

Prospect Park [pdf]

While many readers may be aware that trees grow in Brooklyn, few may be cognizant of the fact that, yes, a forest grows in Brooklyn. This urban forest just happens to be in the boroughs own lovely Prospect Park, designed by those giants of landscape architects, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Often overlooked by some who are primarily concerned with that other large swath of green in the middle of Manhattan, Prospect Park contains a 90-acre meadow, a zoo, a celebrated performing arts festival, and a lake. Visitors to the Prospect Park Alliance website can learn all about these things, and also delve into the parks history. Those planning a visit may wish to look at the General Info and Places To Go sections for a selection of brief descriptions and photographs. For those seeking a historical perspective the History & Nature area is delightful. Here visitors can learn about the parks historical development and creation, and learn more about those individuals responsible for the parks design and aesthetic appeal. Finally, visitors should look at the online exhibit A Glimpse Of Prospect Park for a bit of visual perspective on the parks history. [KMG]

Imagining Ourselves

What are the shared experiences of young women across the globe today? Alternately, what are some of the unique and individual experiences that young women are having across the globe? These are but a few of the questions raised by the Imaging Ourselves website, created through a partnership started by Paula Goldman and the International Museum of Women. The idea for the site came when Goldman was having a conversation with a friend after the events of 9/11, and wanted to find a way to ask thousands of women: What defines your generation of women?. Each month the site takes on a new theme (such as love, money, and the future), and asks women to write in about their thoughts on each of these themes. After receiving the responses, they are posted here on the website for the web-browsing public. Currently, women from over 100 countries have posted their stories, and they include those titled Playing with Mexicos colors in my heart and Holistic Healing. [KMG]

Photographs From the African Diaspora [Macromedia Flash Player]

Fans of Robert Silvers and his photomosaics will enjoy this Web site from the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco. A two-story tall image of an African child, photographed by Chester Higgins Jr. hangs above the main entrance to MoAD. A mosaic version of the photograph, composed of 2,000 images contributed by people from all over the world, is the centerpiece of the Web site. Clicking anywhere on the child's face retrieves a 30-thumbnail quadrant of the mosaic. Select any of the individual images in the group to enlarge them, view identifying captions, and read stories (although a story isnt included for every picture yet). The variety of images is astounding, from a wedding in Baltimore in 1965, to a woman in traditional dress carrying a basket on her head in Mali in 2000, to a Masaai coming of age ceremony in Tanzania. In addition to browsing from the photomosaic, it is also possible to search by keyword. Furthermore, the pictures retrieved by a keyword search include related stories more often than pictures selected from the mosaic. [DS]

Network Tools


For those with a number of relatives, friends, or colleagues in far-flung international destinations, the Skype application is definitely worth a look. With Skype, visitors can call others with the application installed at no charge. Visitors will need to select a Skype nickname, and then proceed to add the phone numbers they wish to call. It should be noted that phone calls to mobiles and land lines are possible with Skype, but there is a fee associated with this service. This version of Skype is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 or XP and those running Mac OS X. [KMG]

Courier Email 3.5

Over the past few years, a number of people have been compelled to search out various email clients that may best suit their needs. With that in mind, the Scout Report is pleased to make note of Courier 3.5, which is one such type of email application. The application offers users the option of turning off the display of HTML mail, and also the ability to harvest email addresses from the Windows Address Book. The application also offers users multi-language spelling support, automatic mailbox backup, and auto-response capability. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Trailer for film about Flight 93 draws sharp criticism

Filmgoers get 9/11 shock

United 93: Is U.S. ready for a 9/11 film? [Microsoft Windows Media]

Theater pulls trailer for United 93

Four Years on, A Cabins-Eye View of 9/11

Tribeca Film Festival 2006 [Macromedia Flash Player]

Project Rebirth [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

Dealing with tragedy is not a communal condition unique to the United States, and a number of recent events this week have brought the events of 9/11 back to the forefront of public contemplation and concern. This week, a judge ruled that Zacarias Moussaoui could face the death penalty for his role in the events surrounding that particular fateful and tragic day. Several hundred miles away in New York, another set of persons found themselves in the presence of a movie trailer advertising the upcoming film United 93, which chronicles the experiences of those onboard that flight before it crashed down in Pennsylvania. A number of patrons at the AMC Lowes Lincoln Square 12 theater in Manhattan complained to the theaters managers about the trailer, with some complaining that it was simply an attempt to exploit the images and human tragedy of that day. Theater manager Kevin Adjodha remarked that One lady was crying, and she was saying we shouldnt have [played the trailer]. That this was wrong.I dont think people are ready for this. Others have claimed that this is a story that people want to hear about, including the families of those killed on United Flight 93. The director of the film, Paul Greengrass stated I was surprised and humbled at the extraordinary way the United 93 families have welcomed us into their lives and shared their experiences with us. The world premiere of the film will be at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 25th, so it will be interesting to see how audiences will react to this rather stark and dramatic portrayal of these events. [KMG]

The first link takes users to a news article from the New York Daily News about the reaction to the films trailer at several theaters in Manhattan. The second link leads to a news piece from Newsweek that includes a link to the trailer for the film, along with additional comments from the films director. The third link leads to a piece from the Boston Herald that reports that one theater has made the decision to pull the trailer entirely. The fourth link leads to a New York Times article from January 2006, which offers some insights into the process involved with making the film. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the Tribeca Film Festival. Here, visitors can learn about the history of the festival, and peruse the schedule of films being previewed there. The final link leads to the homepage for Project Rebirth, the non-profit organization responsible for documenting the reconstruction of the area around the World Trade Center site. [KMG]

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