The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 16

April 21, 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

Minnesota Maps Online

Historians, cartographers, and those who are just generally curious about maps often flock to archives and museums to get a closer look. Fortunately, many institutions have digitized some (or all) of their map collections and placed them online. The Minnesota Historical Society has created this tremendous collection of land survey maps, plat books and atlases, dating from 1848 to 2001. The search interface for the collection is quite easy to use, as visitors can search the land survey maps by county or township. Those persons who encounter trouble using the search engine can click on a small Help icon to get more information about performing a detailed search. The plat books and atlases are great fun as well, particularly the illustrated historical atlas of Minnesota from 1874. Through its 394-pages, the atlas contains interesting views of the states counties, along with sections dedicated to persons of note at the time, including prominent physicians, attorneys, public men, and lumber dealers. As the preface to this august volume notes, we can conscientiously say that we have strived to make it as near perfect as the circumstances under which we have labored would permit. Truer words have never been spoken. [KMG]

Sustainable Development in Coastal Regions and Small Islands [pdf]

Despite the promises of an information revolution, many small islands and coastal regions remain somewhat isolated, whether it is culturally or economically. In 1996 UNESCO established this program in order to look at how sustainable development might be encouraged on small islands and coastal regions throughout the world. To get a better sense of the projects they have sponsored so far, visitors should first visit the Activities area to learn about some of their field projects. Here they will learn about how they have assisted in the creation of integrated coastal management plans in South Africa and also worked towards developing a fisheries management plan in Haiti. Visitors should also peruse some of the themes offered here, which include Sustainable Island Living and Island Youth Visioning. This latter initiative is worth taking a look at, as it encourages young people living in small islands to develop their own visions of how they would like to see their communities grow over the coming years. Visitors who are seeking a place for dialogue on some of the issues surrounding these places should also examine the virtual discussion forums area. Here they can learn about wise coastal practices, and view responses to the timely question Are tiny islands viable in the 21st century?. [KMG]

Hispanics and the Future of America

Over the past few years, there have been many long-term research projects dedicated to examining the role that Hispanics play (and will continue to play) in the transformation of American social, cultural and economic life. Located within this broad stream of often well-informed and intelligent research is this very fine volume published by the National Academies in 2006 titled Hispanics and the Future of America. Edited by the noted sociologists Marta Tienda and Faith Mitchell, this 490-page volume is divided into eleven chapters and two appendices. The chapters range across a broad spectrum of research interests to provide a holistic portrait of the Hispanic population in the United States. The chapters include Latino Civic and Political Participation, Hispanics in the U.S. Labor Market, and The Health Status and Health Behaviors of Hispanics. [KMG]

Exploratorium: Faultline [QuickTime, Real Player, pdf]

How can the drama and power of an actual earthquake be brought online? Its a difficult task, but the good and talented people at the Exploratorium deserve multiple huzzahs for their fine efforts on this site. Designed to provide some basic information about the nature of earthquakes, the site contains five primary sections. Under the Quake Basics heading, visitors can expect to learn about the basics of earthquakes, including some nice sections on plate tectonics, faults, and how scientists measure such phenomena. As the Exploratorium is based on San Francisco, visitors should not be surprised to find that the section titled Great Shakes includes information on the 1906 earthquake and the devastating quake of 1989 as well. There are some nice video clips here, including a video taken during the 1989 World Series and shots of the damage wrought by the quake in Santa Cruz. [KMG]

Tennessee Documentary History Collection, 1796-1850 [pdf]

Started in 2001, the University of Tennessees Digital Library Center has embarked on a number of ambitious projects over the past five years. This particular digital archive, which was created with the kind assistance of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, brings together a diverse set of documents and images related to antebellum Tennessee. While intended primarily for K-12 educators, the site will be of general interest to anyone with even a passing interest in Tennessee history. Visitors will find a number of ways to search the entire collection, but most visitors will want to utilize the browse subcollections option. These subcollections are organized by donating institution, such as the University of Memphis and the Knox County Public Library. There are a number of real gems here, including letters to Sam Houston, papers from East Tennessee College, as well as letters penned by Andrew Jackson. The site is rounded out by a short, but helpful, bibliography of related works. [KMG]

U.S. Intelligence and the Indian Bomb [pdf]

Though it has been some time since the Scout Report has mentioned the various electronic briefing books published by The National Security Archive at George Washington University, it is good to know that their fine work has continued unabated, and this latest effort is very intriguing. Released in April 2006, this National Security Archive electronic briefing book brings together 40 formerly classified documents that detail the efforts of the US intelligence community to monitor civilian and military nuclear energy activities in India. Drawn from the period 1958 to 1998, these various documents and reports comment on a wide range of material, ranging from nuclear policy, reactor construction, foreign assistance, nuclear tests, and the international ramifications of such tests. Overall, this is a collection of documents that will be of great interest to any one with an interest in the history of nuclear policy, proliferation, and diplomacy. [KMG]

General Interest

The Best of the Humanities on the Web [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

Working together, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the MCI Foundation have created this website in order to bring together some of the best online humanities resources from the worlds great museums, libraries, and universities. Even a cursory glance would indicate that they have done a splendid job, and this site warrants several visits in order to take full advantage of these materials. Along the top of the homepage, visitors will find thematic tabs that will direct them to some of the resources in the areas of history, art, literature, and foreign languages. For visitors who are looking for just a taste of these offerings, they may want to take a look at the monthly feature, which include tours of the National Mall, celebrations of Native American history, and explorations of womens history. Visitors will also take comfort knowing that every website profiled on the site has been reviewed for content, design and educational impact in the classroom. Also, in terms of classroom activities, the site contains dozens of lessons plans that draw on the online resources offered here in an attempt to promote active learning. [KMG]

The American Roadside

The open road has a great deal of allure for many, and the archetypical American road trip fueled by a taste for adventure, so-so dining options, ironic tourism, and well, fuel, is the stuff of legend. Created and maintained by Ron Dylewski, this site serves as an online home for people to come and share information about the experiences they have had along the highways and byways of America. From the homepage, visitors can learn about the latest in American roadside news, including items about the efforts to preserve historic White Castle restaurants and drive-ins. Of course, the site also has a number of lovely photo galleries, including one that pays homage to the diner and another that contains postcards of roadside landmarks such as Simpsons Dining Car in Houston. Before embarking on a long road trip, visitors will also want to look at the forums here as well. The topics covered in these sessions include roadside attractions of note and preservation alerts for those attractions that may soon be paved over in the name of progress. If all of this material is not enough, the site also contains links to roadside blogs titled City Comforts, Big Cities, Big Boxes, and The New Diner. [KMG]

Senses of Cinema

There are thousands of websites dedicated to serious and not-so-serious discussions of film, and even the most dedicated web-surfing individuals may grow frustrated looking for helpful sites in this particular realm of the Internet. The Senses of Cinema website is a real find, and it is devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema. The journal itself is open to a number of different critical approaches to understanding and analyzing film. Based in Australia, and funded in part by the Australian Film Commission, the site contains reviews of films, interviews with filmmakers, film polls, and movie soundtracks. One particularly compelling section is the Great Directors area. Here visitors can read intelligent and intriguing profiles of well-regarded auteurs, such as Robert Altman, Anthony Mann, and Nicholas Ray. The site is rounded out by several informative essays on Australian cinema, including a lucid discussion of the representation of Australias colonial history in film. [KMG]

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Located at the University of Texas, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library holds over 50 million pages of presidential documents, a half million feet of motion picture film, and thousands of other important materials that tell the story of President Reagans life. From the Librarys homepage, visitors can learn how they can perform research at the library, read through a Quick Reference guide on the President, and also browse through some of the many speeches and public statements he offered during his time in office. While the site does offer many finding aids, the bulk of the full-text material offered here is primarily of Reagans speeches given during his time as President. The speeches can be viewed chronologically, beginning with January 1981, and concluding with remarks given on a memorandum on trade with Thailand on January 19, 1989. [KMG]

FDA Centennial [pdf]

On June 30th 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Food and Drugs Act, which prohibiting interstate commerce in misbranded and adulterated foods, drinks, and drugs. Broadly understood, this action was part of the Progressive Movement in the United States which brought forth a number of substantial changes in the way that government interacted with private industry and so on. 100 years on, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to celebrate the centennial of this act by creating this site. Starting at the homepage, visitors can learn about events created to celebrate the FDAs legacy as well as read a nice feature titled This Week in FDA History. Visitors may also want to look through a nice graphic presentation titled FDAs Role in Protecting and Promoting Public Health. Through images and text, this presentation brings together some highlights of their work over the years, including information about the effects of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938. Finally, the site also contains a short quiz on FDA history. [KMG]

Art in Cities

The organizers of Art in Cities say, "Cities are like a huge art gallery with a permanently changing exhibition." Therefore, this web site exists to collect submissions of artwork from cities all over the world, and plot it on a map. To view the art, browse by selecting points on the map, or search by City, Submitter, or artist (Artwork by). There is also a quick link to the most recent uploads. On the day we visited, this link lead to stencil art and graffiti from several cities in the Netherlands, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Eindhoven, as well as one from San Bernardino, CA. This was just the first page of 473 for this specific link, which is in turn only a fraction of the close to 6,000 pieces of art on view at the site. Submitting art is as easy as uploading an image from your computer, and filling out a few fields on a form thus encouraging anyone to walk the streets of their city looking for art to add the site. [DS]

Network Tools

Yahoo Widgets 3.1

The mere mention of widgets to people of a certain age or disposition may conjure up images of an imaginary products designed for insertion into any number of business-type questions, such as How many widgets can be produced if the Acme factory has 4 assembly lines operating at speed X given, etc.? The widgets offered here, on the other hand, are small, yet mighty, stand-alone applications that can be used as helpful computer desktop extensions. While the basic widget package includes a small weather-forecaster and a contacts list, users have submitted dozens of compelling additions to Yahoos widget site, including a bulk coin tosser and one that tracks the price of gold every 30 minutes. This application is compatible with all computers running Windows 2000 or XP. [KMG]

Gallery 2.1.1

A number of helpful photo gallery applications have been released in the past few weeks, and Gallery 2.1.1 is certainly one of the better ones available. With this application users can create photo galleries with ease, create themes for each album, and also administer the usage of the galleries as well. Additionally, users can publish their photo galleries with RSS. This version is compatible with computers running Linux or Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

With feelings of uncertainty on the decline, San Franciscans commemorate 1906 earthquake

San Francisco pays tribute to triumph over 1906 quake

Quake worries on the decline [pdf]

NPR: 100 Years After the San Francisco Quake [Real Player]

SFGate: The Great Quake: 1906-2006 [Real Player, pdf]

1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance

100th Anniversary 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Conference [Real Player, pdf]

Residents of San Francisco, it is safe to say, are accustomed to change and upheaval, whether it is in terms of the American cultural revolution of the 1960s or the ground physically moving underneath their feet. Keeping this in mind, it is no surprise that the city commemorated the traumatic events of April 18, 1906 in a variety of ways this past Tuesday. For many, the keynote event was a gathering of dignitaries and elderly survivors of that mighty quake that took place in the early morning hours this past Tuesday at the citys historic Lottas Fountain. Here, wreaths were laid down to honor the dead, and Mayor Gavin Newsom delivered a short address, and remarked that We rebuilt, and we are stronger and better than ever.. The optimistic mood at this event seemed to mirror a broader sentiment that was conveyed in the results of a recent poll taken throughout the Golden State. Essentially, the Field Poll noted that most Californians dont think earthquakes pose any greater danger than other natural disasters and three in four think they could probably survive an even larger tremor, if one were to occur. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a news article from The Seattle Times that reports on the various celebrations and commemorations that took place this week in San Francisco. The second link leads to a rather compelling story from the San Jose Mercury News about the results of a recent poll that asked Californians about the likelihood of another major quake in the region. The third link leads to a host of National Public Radio stories that address various issues surrounding the earthquake, including artists seeking to commemorate the earthquake in a variety of ways. The fourth link leads to a rather impressive collection of multimedia presentations on the history of the quake from the San Francisco Chronicle that includes a collection of historic postcards and oral histories from those who survived the events of that day. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the 1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance, which serves as a clearinghouse of information on various ongoing activities designed to reflect on the legacy of this event. The final link leads to the homepage of a conference designed to provide contemporary information on the ramifications of a large-scale earthquake around the Bay Area, and how various groups might prepare for such an event. [KMG]

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