The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 18

May 5, 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

Australian Biological Resources Study [pdf]

Deceptively simple but rich in scope, the mission of the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) is to document which plants and animals are found in Australia, map their locations, and provide information this information to the general public. Part of their mission is fulfilled quite nicely by the presence of this website, which includes material on their research activities and administration, and most importantly a series of online databases. The first of these databases is ABRS Fauna Online. Using this database, known as Platypus, visitors can learn all about the fauna found on the continent, and even download the database package for taxonomists. Of course, visitors would be remiss not to take a look at the like-minded database of Australian flora, which includes similar material. For taxonomists, biologists, and others who are harboring a secret love of such fields, this website is truly a treat. [KMG]

Law Library of Congress [pdf]

The mission of the Law Library of Congress is to provide research and legal information to the U.S. Congress as well as to U.S. Federal Courts and Executive Agencies, and to offer reference services to the public. Truth be told, this is a pretty tall order, and they fulfill this objective quite admirably, and in no small part due to this fairly comprehensive and well-designed site. The homepage contains three primary sections: General Information, Research Services, and Digital Resources & Links. The General Information section offers a very brief overview of the Library, and the Research Services section leads to information designed for those who wish to visit the Library and perform research onsite. The real substance of the site is found in the Digital Resources & Links area. Here, visitors can explore information of Supreme Court nominations (past and present), look through the Global Legal Information Network, and even browse on over to the website of the American Bar Association. [KMG]

European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research [pdf]

Given their affiliation with the United Nations, it is not surprising that the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research is well-known for their ambitious work on such topics as affordable housing, social integration, and disability welfare. While their homepage is a bit difficult to navigate at first, it does contain an all-inclusive search function, along with easy access to their in-house newsletter. After browsing around a bit, visitors may wish to proceed to the Research Areas section. Here they can take a look through some of their thematic research areas (such as labor markets and migrations), view a list of recent publications, and learn about the researchers working in each area. As might be expected, the Centre also sponsors a number of conventions and meetings, and visitors can also find out about these activities here, if they so desire. [KMG]

Battle Lines: Letters from Americas Wars [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

There are many ways to explore the history of Americas various military conflicts, and over the past decade or so, a number of fine organizations have plumbed the depths of their holdings to create insightful and compelling explorations of these affairs. Recently, the Gilder Lehrman Institute and the Legacy Project came together to create this collection of correspondence from over 200 years of conflict. Here visitors can listen to dramatic readings of letters that deal with the loss of loved ones and the traumatic nature of warfare. Visitors can listen to these readings while following along, for an enhanced experience. The actual letters are contained in chapter headings, including those titled Enlisting, Comforts of Home, and Combat. Utterly engaging, this collection is a real find, and does a fine job of bringing a wide variety of experiences in wartime to the general web-browsing public. [KMG]

National Park Service: Antiquities Act [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

Established in 1906, The Antiquities Act was the first law to establish that archaeological sites on public lands are important public resources. This website was designed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Act, and should be considered rather essential for any persons interested in such matters. After browsing a basic overview of the Acts primary provisions, visitors should consider the Monument Profiles section. Within this well-thought out section, visitors can learn about such important sites as Devils Tower National Monument, Chaco Canyon, as well as a number of other locations. Another nice way to learn about these sites is to peruse the interactive maps offered in the Maps, Facts & Figures area. Finally, the site also contains complete details on the various events that will take place at these different sites over the coming year. [KMG]

Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage

The homepage of the Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage website is quite inviting, as it combines images of the commonwealths distinctive flag with historic images of racing horses, a reference to one of the regions most well-known pastimes. Drawing on archival collections from such local institutions as the Montgomery County Historical Society, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, along with many others, there are over a dozen fine digital collections here for the curious and historically minded. These well-thought out collections include personal letters and images from the Edgar Allen Poe collection, a clutch of digitized items (including letters and photographs) from the acerbic writer H.L. Mencken, and items from the life of that most feared lefty, pitcher Lefty Grove. Finally, visitors also have the option of searching all of these collections by using a user-friendly search option that resides in the upper-right hand corner of each screen. [KMG]

General Interest

Logging On and Losing Out: Dealing Addiction to Americas Kids [Real Player]

By the 1970s, gambling, which had once been a seemingly ubiquitous part of American life, was largely confined to places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. That soon changed as many states began to turn to lottery games as a source of revenue, then licensed riverboat gambling, and then the deluge began. One type of gambling that has undergone a true renaissance is poker. In recent years, poker has also become extremely popular with young people in high school and college. Never one to shy away from a controversial or important subject, the good people at American RadioWorks recently produced this well-done documentary on the subject examining its potential ramifications. Visitors to the site can listen to the entire program, read a transcript of the proceedings, or take a look at some of the individual profiles of those who have participated in such endeavors. The results are quite different, as one young man has won over $150,000 by playing online poker, while another found himself $20,000 in debt. The site is rounded out by a selection of links to relevant web resources, such as the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors. [KMG]

Distance Education Clearinghouse [pdf]

Over its long history, the University of Wisconsin System has endeavored to assist persons in all corners of the state of Wisconsin, and has also extended its reach to different regions of the United States and the world. They have also been a leader in distance education, and in 1995, the University of Wisconsin-Extension division started the Distance Education Clearinghouse website. Visitors can look through one of the numerous headings on the website to begin their journey here, but they would do well to start at the Introduction to Distance Education area. Here they can read different definitions of distance education, consider glossaries of related terms, and take a look at a FAQ section, which even answers such basics as Why distance education? The other sections are equally helpful, as they contain research findings on the effectiveness of distance education, pedagogical support for teachers in distance education settings, and most pragmatically perhaps, a section dedicated to those seeking financial aid for distance education opportunities. [KMG]

StartUpNation [Real Player, iTunes]

It would seem that more and more people are interested in developing their own business, and a number of websites are dedicated to helping these persons achieve that goal. One valuable website in that realm is StartUpNation. Created by Jeff and Rich Sloan, the site contains a well-designed homepage that includes links to sections dedicated to areas of interest to the prospective entrepreneur, including those that deal with customer service and creating strategic marketing plans. A good place to start is the Lean from the Experts area, located on the left-hand side of the homepage. Here, visitors can learn from successful individuals, such as Glenn Coggeshell of Black Dot Coffee. Along the same side, visitors can also read about how to choose a business for themselves and also how to plan to make this business a reality. In keeping with the times, the site also affords users the opportunity to sign up for RSS feeds and the ability to listen (and download) a number of podcasts. [KMG]

Atlanta in the Civil Rights Movement [pdf]

While it might be difficult to locate the exact nerve center of the American civil rights movement, Atlanta might be one of the top contenders, both due to the fact that it was the home of many grassroots civil rights organizations and the many noted protests and actions that took place during that time. Developed by the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE), this site pays homage to Atlantas role in the movement by offering a timeline of key events in the struggle, along with a searchable inventory of special collections, which contains materials from ARCHEs member institutions, such as the Atlanta History Center. The first stop for visitors should be the timeline of events that occurred in Atlanta from 1940 to 1970. Along with well-written explanatory essays, each section contains information about various primary and secondary resources used to craft each essay. As previously mentioned, scholars and others will also appreciate the search engine on the site, which effectively looks across all of the member institutions special collections by name, keyword, or phrase. [KMG]

The Jane Johnson Collection

Back in the middle of the 18th century, what was a young parent to do when it came to providing a meaningful and lasting education for their son or daughter? It would be a few decades before Rousseaus Emilie, and a bit longer for John Dewey to make the scene, so parents had to be a bit more creative. One particularly enterprising soul was Jane Johnson, who decided to create a set of materials designed to instruct her son, George William Johnson, in a variety of subjects. Several hundred years later, the good folks at Indiana Universitys Lilly Library decided to digitize these rather remarkable teaching aids so that the web-browsing public might be able to look through them at their leisure. All told, there are 438 separate pieces, including six sets of alphabet cards (complete with vowel sounds), two booklets, three sets of lesson cards in verse and anecdotal form, and several card sets of moral instruction. The cards are quite visually appealing, and they contain references to such contemporaries as George Berkeley, and George Wright, a noted Member of Parliament. For those with a penchant for taking a stroll down the memory lane of pedagogy and instruction, this collection is worth several visits. [KMG]

Playing with Shadows: An Introduction to Shadow Puppetry [Macromedia Flash Player]

Discover everything you ever wanted to know about Chinese Shadow Puppetry at this web site from the Kennedy Center. The site is designed to introduce American children to this Asian art form, but visitors of all ages will enjoy learning about how the puppets are made, how the shadows are cast using the screen and lighting, as well as typical stories and characters that have reoccurred in puppet shows for hundreds of years. One particularly interesting section of the site is a set of videos, including an interview with contemporary artist Ching Pong describing his collaboration with Shaanxi Folk Art Theater, a renowned Chinese puppetry troupe, to produce Cathay: Three Tales of China. This show uses both Chinese shadow puppets and Western rod puppets, as well as digital animation. There are also videos of more traditional puppet shows featuring cranes, bears, and Chinese dragons. [DS]

Network Tools

Exam Professor

The average professor or lecturer in todays educational environment might be on the lookout for a helpful way to facilitate exams, and this application is just that type of application. With Exam Professor, users can create exams quickly, publish them online, and even mix up the questions. On their website, visitors can learn about all of the features of the program, and take a look at a demonstration exam. This version allows users to create one exam at no charge, and is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP and Mac OS X 10.4 and newer. [KMG]

iSend 2.4

With all the bells and whistles that are present on most computer applications, the Scout Report has been actively seeking more simple and elegant programs. Arising out of the cacophony of available applications appeared iSend 2.4. Its purpose is quite simple: it allows users to send text messages via a small widget that resides on their desktop. Users only need enter the mobile phone carrier and the cell number, and the text message will be sent off shortly. This version is compatible with computers running Max OS X 10.4 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Study finds that full-time stay-at-homes would make over $130,000

Stay-at-home would be a high paying job [Windows Media Player]

What a life: Working 9 to 5and 6 to midnight..

What is Moms Job Worth?

Mommy Talk: Misconceptions about Working Moms

Digital History: Mothers and Fathers in America: Looking Backward, Looking Forward

Working Moms Refuge

Over the past hundred years, a number of economic and social transformations have resulted in dramatic changes to the American family structure. While debates about this complex topic rages on, one thing is certain: Stay-at-home moms do a great deal of work, and the work encompasses everything from managing household finances to counseling children (and sometimes even their own spouse). This week, the staff at Waltham-based released an intriguing study that shows that a full-time stay-at-home mother would earn $134,121 a year if she were paid for all the diverse tasks she performs. This amount is similar to the annual wage earned by an ad executive or judge. In order to tabulate these predicted earnings, the survey administrators calculated the earning power of the jobs that most closely comprise a mothers role. Of course, this included such professions as janitor, van driver, psychologists, day-care teacher, as well as several others. Some of the prevailing sentiment among mothers upon hearing about the study can be summed up best by the forthright remarks made by Dr. Laura Riley, a mother of two: There is no price tag-Im priceless. [KMG]

The first link leads to coverage of this story from, complete with a video commentary by newscaster, Lisa Daniels. The second link will take users to a piece from this Wednesdays Boston Herald that offers additional insight into the study. The third link takes users to the special page on the wages of stay-at-homes created by The fourth link whisks users away to a very interesting commentary by Marci Laehr (a working mom) on the debates about whether or not to stay-at home full-time after the birth of a child. Visitors can also chime in with their own opinions here, if they so desire. The fifth link leads to a fine essay offered by Professor Steven Mintz of the University of Utah on the changing roles of mothers and fathers in America over the past few hundred years. The final link, appropriately enough, leads to a bit of an electronic refuge for working moms. Here users will find tips for single moms seeking to maintain some balance between their careers and their family life. [KMG]

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From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2006.

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The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout

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