The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 36

September 8, 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

Urban Environment: Challenges to Sustainability

Ever since the Development Gateway resource was created a few years ago, they and their partner organizations have never shied away from taking on some of the thorniest issues facing human populations around the globe. Recently, they assembled their own set of top-notch experts to talk about the future of urban environments from a variety of informed perspectives. The subjects they were primarily concerned with included air pollution, the lack of clean water, and other issues that concern large urban areas, particularly in the developing world. Divided into four primary sections, the homepage brings together perspectives from Gateway members that answer questions such as What are the biggest challenges to cities? Other sections are also offered that provide effective networking suggestions for professionals and civic officials who might be intimately involved with such policy solutions. The site is rounded out by the Communities area, which allows users to view information on the role of technology and urban development and cities which have adopted certain sustainable technologies. [KMG]

The Centre for Swedish Folk Music and Jazz Research [RealPlayer]

Swedes have long supported their own indigenous folk music, and for decades, they have also actively supported Americas most well-known indigenous music tradition, namely jazz. Many of this Nordic countrys residents have made contributions to jazz, and all of these musical traditions are documented by the dedicated individuals at The Centre for Swedish Folk Music and Jazz Research in Sweden. Located in Stockholm, The Centre has created this website to get the good word out about some of their publications, and also to provide a number of online resources for musicologists, students of popular culture, and the web-browsing public. First-time onlookers will want to read Lars Westins extended meditation on jazz in Sweden, which begins with the sentence What makes Swedish jazz so Swedish? From there, visitors can also learn about their onsite collections, and read essays on Swedish folk music. As a nice coda, the site is rounded out by several audio tracks of Swedish folk music. The site is, of course, also available in Swedish. [KMG]


Writing about religion can be a difficult task, and for many novice journalists it may present a number of quandaries. One helpful resource is the ReligionLink website, which is designed to help journalists write informed stories about the ways religion affects public life. Edited by Diane Connolly, who served as the religion editor of the Dallas Morning News, the site contains weekly updates with a number of story ideas related to ongoing subjects related to religion. Archives of these updates are available on the site, and may be browsed by topic, which include such helpful classifications as ethics, clergy abuse, books, volunteerism, and several others. Recent areas of coverage include a guide to experts on religion and pop culture (complete with contact information) and the nature of the ongoing debate over stem-cells. [KMG]

Deaf Education Information Center from the Clerc Center

Gallaudet University is the preeminent school for the deaf in the United States, so it makes sense that the Laurent Clerc National Education Center is housed on their campus. The Clerc Center has also been given a mandate from Congress to develop, evaluate, and disseminate innovative curricula, instructional techniques and strategies, and materials specifically for deaf and hard of hearing children and youth. From their homepage, visitors seeking more information about the deaf and hard of hearing will want to glance over the topical areas here, which include those that provide basic information about deafness and the development of technologies designed to assist the deaf and hard of hearing. The section that most visitors will want to look over is the Information on Deafness area, which features fact sheets and links to external resources that deal with assistive hearing aids, sign language, the mental health of the deaf, and teachers who work with the deaf. [KMG]

Getting the Message Out! National Political Campaign Materials, 1840-1860 [Real Player]

Round about the middle of the 19th century, many politicians relied on the time-honored practices of broadsheets, barn-sized advertisements, newspaper endorsements, and other such forms of promotion to get the word out about their campaigns. This website, created by the Northern Illinois University Libraries, provides a close examination of this national popular political culture from 1840 to 1860 through images of the period, along with a few lively recordings of campaign songs of the day. Visitors will want to start by reading over some of the campaign histories, which offer brief synopses of the candidates and the major issues they grappled with at the time. Additionally, there are brief biographies of each major candidate (such as James K. Polk and James Gillespie Birney). After getting up to speed, visitors will want to browse through the different multimedia offerings here, and they should definitely listen to some of the catchy political jingles. Some that should not be missed include the ever-popular A Bumper Around Now My Hearties! and Come to the Contest. [KMG]

The New Orleans Kid Camera Project [iTunes]

What happens when a group of energetic young people offer cameras to a group of even younger people in New Orleans? As it turns out, quite a bit, and the proof is in the photographs on this site. The New Orleans Kid Camera Project was created in order to allow children from flooded neighborhoods to explore their environment and express themselves, their stories and feelings with their friends. The goals of the project are quite ambitious, as its leaders are bringing together an interest in the power of community development and art therapy into the mix as they offer these young people the opportunity to document their community through a variety of endeavors. Through weekly meetings, young people and group leaders get the opportunity to learn a host of skills and also share their photographs. As mentioned previously, interested parties can take a look at their group blogs to learn more about their progress, and also check out some of their photo galleries, which are organized by ward. The photographs are quite stark and honest, and include images of a small child looking happily towards the camera, accompanied by the caption The girl who loves to pose. Persons who wish to stay abreast of future developments on the site can sign up to join their mailing list. [KMG]


Basic geometry resources are always in demand, and educators and students alike will breathe an easy sigh of relief as they are introduced to this set of resources dedicated to this ancient branch of mathematics. Provided by Eric Weisstein at Wolfram Research, the site is simple to navigate and is divided into subtopics that include coordinate geometry, dissection, distance, line geometry, and several dozen other fields of interest. Within each of these subtopics, each topic is addressed in a language that is accessible, accompanied by graphs, charts, and other visual aids that complement the written explanations. Visitors are welcome to leave their own comments on each explanation, and hypertext links lead to other appropriate resources and definitions. [KMG]

Teaching Quantitative Skills in the Geosciences

Those in the know are aware that when educators from the Midwest convene, good things are bound to happen. That is most certainly the case with this set of resources for teaching quantitative skills, which arose from a series of workshops held over the past few years and from faculty editors and staff at the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College. Visitors will want to peruse such sections as Teaching Techniques and Tips, Activities for Class and Lab, and a very nice pedagogical and philosophical section titled Issues. This particular section answers such queries as Why is teaching quantitative skills an important part of geosciences education? and Which skills are important? The Teaching Techniques section is particularly rich, as it contains classroom-tested resources that will help teachers with teaching concepts with equations and related topics. [KMG]

General Interest

Cyburbia Resource Directory: Zoning and Land Use Regulations [pdf]

For those aspiring to know more about real estate, zoning, planning, or a host of other related fields, Cyburbias collection of zoning and land use regulations will be most interesting. As most people know, the codes that govern such decisions as the maximum height of buildings and building area coverage can be complex, and so access to such documents can be tremendously important. Currently, the site contains codes from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States. Visitors can look through the codes at their leisure, and even offer their own comments on their relative merits. Of course, students of the real estate business can glean a number of insights from these documents, and teachers may be able to use them in the classroom to demonstrate how these codes vary across municipalities. [KMG]

Small Business Administration: Managing

The world of business can be a difficult one, particularly for those entering the business world as owners or managers of a small business. Fortunately, there are a number of resources online that can ease this transition. The United States Small Business Administration has created this resource that is designed to give business owners a basic overview of how to manage, market, and lead their business. The site is divided into several discrete sections, including Management for Growth, Leadership and Marketing & Sales. Within each section, visitors can read essays that address such topics as the management of employees, buying a franchise, equity financing, and strategic planning. One of the highlights here is a free online growth strategies course. The site is rounded out by an area that provides information about some of the Administrations special initiatives designed to help women, minorities, and veterans. [KMG]

Enduring Outrage: Editorial Cartoons by Herblock

Legendary political cartoonist Herb Block left no pressing issue (or political party) unturned during his long career, which spanned most of the 20th century. Along the way, he picked up three Pulitzer Prizes, including one in 1973 that he won with his Washington Post colleagues for their coverage of the Watergate scandal. In 2002, the Herb Block Foundation donated over 14,000 of his original drawings and more than 50,000 preparatory sketches to the Library of Congress. A very small, yet excellent, selection of some of those renderings may be viewed at this site, which complements an in situ exhibit at the American Treasures Gallery in Washington, D.C. The drawings here include several that deal with the nuclear power plant disaster at Chernobyl, the Republican Partys so-called Contract with America in the 1990s, and television campaign advertisements. Each drawing is accompanied by a brief explanation of the work, along with specific information on when each cartoon originally appeared. A timeline of Herb Blocks life and a checklist of objects that are included in the exhibit round out the site. The site might also be well used by political science and government in order to complement more traditional classroom materials. [KMG]

Slave Narratives [Macromedia Flash Player]

With a powerful narration by Dr. Maya Angelou, the opening frames of the Slave Narratives website pique even the most casual visitors interest immediately. Created by the Museum of the African Diaspora (based in San Francisco), the site features an innovative interface that allows users to roll over a series of multicolored dots to learn about the first-hand perspectives of slaves such as Francis Bok, Mary Prince, Fountain Hughes, Harriet Jacobs, and Juan Francisco Manzano. As Dr. Angelous voice intones an introduction to each individuals narrative, visitors can read a transcript of their story, or just listen along. Visitors who wish to learn more will want to consult the Resources area which includes bibliographic information for related works that tell of such experiences. [KMG]

Mayo Clinic: Tradition and Heritage [Macromedia Flash Player]

Heeding the words of their father, one Dr. W.W. Mayo, No one is big enough to be independent of others, Dr. William J. Mayo and Dr. Charles H. Mayo helped create one of the worlds first private integrated group practices of medicine. Now know as the Mayo Clinic, the story of their work is closely intertwined with the story of American medical history. As an attempt to bring this story to the web-browsing public, staff members at the Clinic recently created this historical timeline that offers some perspective on their institutional history. With their mouse in hand, visitors can move across the interactive timeline, which deploys high-quality photographs and short descriptions in its quest to document the Clinics various achievements, such as the creation of the first heart bypass machine in 1955. Finally, online visitors can get up close and personal to some of the artifacts that are close to the Mayo Clinic traditions, including a 1904 photograph of some of the medical staff at the Clinic. [KMG]

Map and Geographic Information Center: University of Connecticut

Map libraries are a common feature of many large public universities across the country, and the Map and Geographic Information Center at the University of Connecticut is part of this tradition. Bringing together a combination of current US Geological Survey maps and historical maps of importance, their site is a good place for geographers and other such persons seeking detailed spatial information about this state. By going in to the MAGIC Database from the sites homepage, visitors can view maps of Connecticuts coasts, rivers, labor market area, and regional planning districts. On the historic side of things, there are a number of fine maps that document the states past, including the 1811 Warren & Gillett map of the entire state and a number of maps that document certain counties such as Fairfield and Hartford Counties in 1856 and 1855, respectively. [KMG]

Rossetti Archive

Not unlike its contemporary, the William Blake Archive (mentioned in the January 2nd, 1998 Scout Report), the Rossetti Archive exists to advance the study of one particular painter and writer, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, "who was, according to both John Ruskin and Walter Pater, the most important and original artistic force in the second half of the nineteenth century in Great Britain." The Rossetti Archive does this by transporting traditional methods of humanities scholarship into the digital environment, by providing what will eventually be a comprehensive collection of digital versions of all Rossetti's works, supplemented with analysis, notes, and editorial commentary. Ultimately, it will be easy for scholars to use any digital object in the Rossetti Archive, as well as share their analyses, and view others' work. In addition, the Rossetti Archive is one of the collaborators in NINES (, an attempt to bring together the numerous digital humanities projects that have come online in the last 10 years, and facilitate online collaboration between scholars. [DS]

Stories on Stage [Real Player, Windows Media Player]

Dramatic readings on the radio were a mainstay of this Marconi-infused mode of communication for decades, and in recent years, more and more public radio station have been creating their own live dramatic reading series. One such vehicle is the Stories on Stage series, which was started in 1993 on Chicago Public Radio. Essentially, each program finds a single actor reading three or four stories that share a common theme. Visitors who are seeking literary and dramatic nourishment will appreciate the fact that this site contains both current and past performances of the series for their listening pleasure. Over the years, readings have featured the works of Raymond Carver, Edith Wharton, and a special episode dedicated to the works of Tobias Wolff. Certainly, one can see that this site might be put to good use in a theater arts classroom or one dedicated to the practice of elocution or performance arts. [KMG]

Network Tools

GroupMail Free Edition 5.1.032

Lets be honest: While sending a mass email may not be ones favorite way to communicate with friends, colleagues, or family, sometimes its just plain necessary. For those occasions, visitors may wish to take a gander at this application which eases this process. With GroupMail, users can create lists that include up to 100 recipients, and then send their messages straight away. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

LiveCargo PC Desktop 3.5.1

With the rise of online collaborations, users in the business, higher education, or related fields may find this application terribly useful. LiveCargo will allow them to send large files quickly, along with offering them the ability to store said files for their convenience. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer or Mac OS X 10.4. [KMG]

In The News

Across the United States, students return to school to find significant changes underway

Back to School in a System Being Remade

Back to School for Reform,1,6157283.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california

Harvard studies ways to promote teaching

Beloit Colleges Mindset List for the Class of 2010

NEA: Help for Parents

Indiana University Health Center: Coping with Starting College

A few years ago, most students would arrive at their schools after Labor Day to find a fresh coat of paint on the classroom walls and a shiny coat of wax on the hallways. Such superficial improvements definitely wont pass muster these days with concerned parents, local school boards, and other groups clamoring for systemic changes within all levels of the American education system. The New York public school system, with its 1.1 million students, is one of those systems undergoing such changes as Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues to cut the number of bureaucrats in the school system and push for the adoption of greater accountability measures. The same process is underway in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where legislation passed in Sacramento last week gave Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa additional power to assume greater responsibility for the future success of this troubled school system. Along with the K-12 set, college students have also returned to campuses across the country to find new support tools in place, such as enhanced writing centers, wellness-themed dorms, and at some select institutions, a renewed attention on undergraduate education. With all the changes going on, it may make some wistful commentators pine for the days when a lone teacher in front of a chalkboard dominated classrooms. Or in terms of the college experience, it may have been President James A. Garfield who said it best when (in referring to Mark Hopkins, the president of Williams College) he opined The ideal college is Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other. [KMG]

The first link will take interested parties to a piece from this Tuesdays New York Times which reports on the transformations within the New York public school system as of late. Moving on to the second link, readers can read an editorial from the Los Angeles Times that addresses the mayors responsibility to the school district and Angelinos in general. The third link leads to a piece written by Boston Globe staff member Marcella Bombardieri on Harvard Universitys new initiative that seeks to improve the teaching of undergraduates. The fourth link is more than a bit fun, as it leads visitors down the primrose path to the annual Beloit College Mindset List. Essentially the list serves as a reminder to professors and others about what their entering freshmen may (or may not) be familiar in terms of cultural touchstones, historic events, and so on. Item 51 on the list is rather amusing, as it reads: Michael Moore has always been showing up uninvited. The fifth link will take users to a set of resources created by the National Education Association for parents who want to get involved with their childs education. Included on the site are two new parent guides that will help ease the preschoolers transition to kindergarten. The last link leads to a site designed by the helpful staff at the Indiana University Health Center. Here, entering college students can learn about how to cope with the process of starting college. [KMG]

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