The Scout Report -- Volume 12, Number 51

December 22, 2006

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsored by University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries.

A Note to our Readers

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

In The News

A Note to our Readers

Scout Holiday Publishing Schedule

The Scout Report will be on vacation December 29th and January 5th. We will return with the January 12th, 2007 report. [CMH]

Best Holiday wishes and see you next year,

Chanda Halderman
Managing Editor

Research and Education

The Internet as a Resource for News and Information about Science [pdf]

Americans get quite a bit of information from the Internet, and if recent surveys are any indication, they also seem to spend quite a bit of time browsing around the web as part of their day. This 42-page report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project released in November 2006 confirms that Americans also tend to use the Internet as a way to research various scientific subjects and related news items. The report was jointly conducted with the assistance of the San Francisco-based Exploratorium, and revealed that fully 40 million Americans use the Internet as their primary source of news and information about science. The report contains a number of other interesting findings, including the observation that 87% of online users have used the Internet to look up the meaning of a scientific concept, answer a specific science question, or check the accuracy of a scientific fact. The report will certainly be very useful to science educators and those concerned with information science and related topics. [KMG]

United Nations Environment Programme: The Billion Tree Campaign [pdf]

Painters and poets throughout the millennia have explored the aesthetic beauty of trees in great detail, and in the past few centuries, humans have become intimately aware of how trees form the foundation of many natural systems. Recently, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched their major worldwide tree planting campaign, Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign. One major component of their outreach efforts is this very fine website, which includes sections such as Facts and Figures, Trees and Humanity, and of course, How to Plant a Tree. On the site, visitors also have the option to pledge their support for the project in a variety of ways. The Facts and Figures section is also helpful, as it contains answers to a number of basic questions such as Where are forests found? and some more specific information on the importance of this project. [KMG]

David Rumsey Map Collection: Antique Atlases

The world of antique maps and atlases is a wide one, and includes such fine volumes as the exquisite atlas of New Spain created by Alexander von Humboldt in 1811 and Mitchells School Atlas of 1847. These atlases and hundreds more can be viewed at this site, provided courtesy of the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. Online since 2000, the antique atlas section is divided geographically into smaller sections that cover North America, Africa, and Europe. After clicking on over to one of these sections, visitors will be presented with a complete list of the available atlases. As the site utilizes the powerful Insight Browser, visitors can scroll around on each document at their leisure, zooming in and out along the way. [KMG]

Digital Mozart Museum

Since 1954, the International Mozarteum Foundation has been steadily editing the complete works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and their critical editions have become essential items for musicians and musicologists. This month, they placed the fruits of their collective labors online on this site, and it is truly a glorious achievement. Currently, there are 25,734 pages of music and 8,441 pages of commentary, and this number will increase in the future as more material is added. The Foundations future plans include placing its collection of autograph scores and original sources online as PDF files. Overall, the site is rather easy to use, and visitors should note that the site does receive a great deal of traffic at times, so it is best to also be patient if theres a short delay in returning materials. [KMG]


Living all the way from the rocky coast of Nova Scotia to the forests of Brazil, hummingbirds can be found in a vast range of climates. Recently, the National Geographic Magazine created this multimedia portrait of these hardy creatures and placed it online for the general public. On the homepage, visitors can read a brief overview essay on the lives of hummingbirds, and then continue on to over of the sites six primary sections. These sections include a photo gallery, an On Assignment area which includes field notes from staff photographer Luis A. Mazariegos, and a Learn More area, which includes links to relevant websites. The real highlight of the site is the narrated tour by Ernie Franzgrote into the lives of different hummingbirds, including the violet-capped, the purple-crowned, and the marvelous spatuetail. [KMG]

China Leadership Monitor [pdf]

Based at the Hoover Institution, the China Leadership Monitor is a publication that seeks to inform the American foreign policy community about current trends in Chinas leadership politics and in its foreign and domestic policies. Published quarterly, the journal began publication in 2002, and since then its reputation has continued to grow. With a wide range of perspectives included within its pages, visitors will enjoy browsing through the past issues, which they can do chronologically, or topically. Visitors can also read biographical profiles about the contributors and also browse through a list of reference tables which detail the changes within party leadership in the country. Finally, visitors should also be glad to learn that the publication covers a host of topics, including law enforcement, demographics, elections, and trade policy. [KMG]

The Pacific Northwest Olympic Peninsula Community Museum [pdf]

Working with financial support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the University of Washington and a host of local institutions in Washingtons Olympic Peninsula created this web-based museum. Designed to include primary documents and other visual materials from the areas rich cultural traditions, the site contains a number of online exhibits and educational resources. Through interpretive essays, photographs and maps these online exhibits detail the culture of the Makah Indians, logging, and even a few tragic events, such as the Great Forks Fire of 1951. After looking over one or more of these fine exhibits, visitors may wish to perform a detailed keyword search via their search page, or they can also browse by contributor. And for those who may also be seeking similar funding for a likeminded project, they have placed a great deal of information about their project online, including some of their grant proposal documents. [KMG]

University Channel [Real Player, Windows Media Player, QuickTime]

A number of universities and their ever-attentive public affairs offices have been working on creating websites that will place some of their best and brightest online in a variety of forms, including podcasts, videocasts, blogs, and so on. The University Channel does this one better, by creating a webspace where a number of universities can place their respective materials in an aggregate form. Currently, their contributors include Bennington College, the Council on Foreign Relations, Duke University, Princeton University, and the University of Virginia, along with several dozen others. From their homepage, visitors can consider the most recently posted materials, which in recent months have included talks on North Korea, juvenile justice policy in the 21st century, and biology and human dignity. Visitors can search the available materials here, and also sign up for a number of RSS feeds. [KMG]

General Interest

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

While many writers have to wait decades, if not centuries, after their death to receive critical or commercial success, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was lucky to achieve both during his lifetime. Born in Portland, Maine in 1807, he was a figure of national prominence by the 1850s, and a much-beloved professor at Harvard. Recently, the Maine Historical Society created this fine tribute to the man and his work. The site is divided into seven primary sections which include an extended biographical essay about his life and work, information about his family and his homes in Portland and Cambridge. Of course, any site about Longfellow would be incomplete without a generous selection of his poems, and this site has that particular detail well covered. In the Longfellow poems database, visitors can view a sortable list of his works, which can be arranged by poem title, first line, and publication date. [KMG]

Volcano of Delight: Historic Sheet Music, 1800-1922

With a dramatic geological flourish, the cover of the music for the 1890 song, Alices reverie features an exploding volcano. Interestingly enough, the volcano is not spewing forth lava or ash, but rather what appears to be sheet music, direct to the waiting hands of delighted onlookers. This sheet music for this tune, along with 9000 others, can be found at this website, which was created by the Library of Congress. Culled from their prodigious collection, the majority of these items are for voice and piano, but a sizable number are instrumental. Most of the songs are from the years 1850 to 1920, and visitors can perform simple searches to look for any items of interest. There are a few highlights that are worth looking up here, including early works by Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern. Additionally, the site includes a finding aid. [KMG]

The American Suzuki Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point: the Suzuki Method in Action [Real Player]

Dr. Shinichi Suzuki developed the Suzuki method of violin instruction in Japan shortly after World War II. The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) is home to the American Suzuki Institute, founded in 1971 by UWSP professor of violin, Margery V. Aber, who was an admirer of Suzki's teaching method. This digital collection presents moving image footage recorded in 1976, when Suzuki spent two weeks at the American Suzuki Institute, giving lectures and demonstrations, as well as teaching both master classes and group classes. A search on the site for Suzuki will retrieve 35 videos in an easily browsed list. Additional instructions for searching by topic are given in the introductory essay, and it is also possible to search by the titles of musical compositions. For example, a keyword search on twinkle yields 5 recordings of Suzuki's students playing Twinkle, twinkle little star or other Twinkle variations. [DS]

Medline Plus: Mammography [pdf, Real Player]

MedLine Plus has been bringing helpful medical and health information to the web-browsing public for over a decade, and they have always been committed to providing information for educators as well. As one of their more specialized sections, the mammography site contains information on how to perform mammograms, including several interactive tutorials. First-time visitors will want look at the Contents of this page area, which allows them to move directly to sections such as Clinical Trials, Research, Pictures/Diagrams, and Overviews. One nice touch is that the site draws on materials culled from a number of high-quality sources, including the National Cancer Institute, the National Womens Health Information Center, and the American Cancer Society. Two other resources here that are worth special mention are the Atlas of the Body (provided by the American Medical Association) and the multilingual mammogram tutorials offered in Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. [KMG]

Introduction to Electronics, Signals, and Measurement [pdf]

MITs OpenCourseWare initiative has garnered favorable mentions from educators around the world since its inception several years ago, and new material is added to the site every semester. One recent addition to the site was this particular set of materials for an introductory course on electronics. Under the direction of Professors Manos Chaniotakis and David Cory, this course is designed as a practical-hands on-introduction to electronics with a focus on measurement and signals. Included on this site are a set of lecture notes, laboratory assignments, review notes, and practice exams. While students from around the world could definitely benefit from this material directly, educators could also peruse this material in an effort to gain some sense of how they might structure their own course. [KMG]

Yale School of Medicine: Diagnostic Radiology [pdf]

Like many health-care related fields, the area of diagnostic radiology is growing rapidly, and a number of educational institutions and professional organizations have been working on creating online resources to help those entering the field. The Department of Diagnostic Radiology at Yale University has created this resource, which functions as a thorough listing of web-based materials. Upon arriving at the site, visitors can scroll through a list of thematic materials, including radiology sites, departmental resources, and teaching file and image sites. Educators working in the field will find the teaching file sites particularly useful, as they include links to materials that can be used in the classroom. Additionally, educators may want to give this site to their students, as they can also make good use of it. [KMG]

National Eye Institute: Photos, Images, and Videos [Real Player, Quick Time]

Once upon a time, demonstrating the appearance of different diseases and conditions to aspiring members of the various medical professions required an actual human being. While there is still no substitute for learning rounds and first-hand observations, still images, photographs, and videos can be quite effective learning tools in this area. This particular online resource, created by the National Eye Institute, features hundreds of images of different eye diseases and related items. The items here are divided into a number of different sections, including research and education, eye photos and images, and new images. The site is well suited for educators, as a number of the smaller sections include simulations of various eye diseases, along with a series of in-class exercises. [KMG]

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance [pdf]

Living and coping with depression or bipolar disorder can be difficult, but there are a number of high-quality online resources that can be very useful to those with these conditions, or for those who work directly with these individuals. The homepage of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) can be of great help in this area, as their site includes everything from their Real Recovery podcasts to such basics as factsheets on both diseases. A good place to start here would be with any of the five primary sections, which include crisis intervention resources and recovery steps. Visitors can also view many of these materials in Spanish and they may also wish to sign up to receive the DBSAs electronic newsletter. [KMG]

Network Tools

OpenOffice 2.1

Some users will already be familiar with the OpenOffice applications, but for those who havent run across it yet will be equally pleased to learn that there is a new version of the program available. The application includes a number of features that will allow users to create text documents, presentations, diagrams, and databases. With an interface that is similar to a number of existing commercial products, OpenOffice 2.1 is easy to use and to understand. Finally, users of this program can save their documents in a variety of formats. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and newer. [KMG]

Avant Browser 11

Web browsers may come and go, but the Avant Browser seems to have significant staying power. With this latest version, interested parties will find themselves presented with a number of new and compelling features. Along with a number of key new pop-up advertisement blockers, visitors can also take advantage of the browsers RSS reader. Additionally, the clean look of the browsers graphical interface is noteworthy. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

As year draws to a conclusion, the Statistical Abstract of the United States offers plenty of fodder for discussion around the holiday table

Who Americans Are and What They Do, In Census Data

Snapshot of the US: 65 days in front of the TV and five months of media,,1972530,00.html

Media occupies half of Americans lives, data from Census shows

New homes were cheapest in the South in 2005

The 2007 Statistical Abstract [pdf, Excel]

Eurostat [pdf]

Most people are aware of the unwritten rule that politics and religion are two subjects that should generally be avoided while visiting friends and family to share a holiday meal or related activity. Fortunately, there is no such rule that forbids discussing the educational attainment levels in either Wisconsin or Massachusetts. Within the tables of the 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States, users will find the raw data that can be used in such conversations. Released last week, the annual edition of the Abstract contains 1400 tables that cover everything from Americans growing problem with obesity to their seemingly insatiable appetite for media consumption. The publication of this particular document by the U.S. Census Bureau always attracts the attention of various commentators from Vermont to Venice, and this year is certainly no different. Some of the data presented in the Abstract represents a disturbing trend to a number of commentators, including Professor Wayne Fields of Washington University who remarked, What people used to rely on people they love for, and get face to face, maybe they get that electronically now. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a news piece from last weeks New York Times which discusses some of the data found within this years Statistical Abstract. Moving along, the second link leads to a bit more coverage of the Abstract offered by Dan Glaister, reporting for the Guardian newspaper. The third link will take visitors to a piece from the Rutland Herald that offers some additional statistics culled from the Abstract, including the striking observation that almost five months of the average Americans year is taken up by various media, ranging from reading the newspaper to listening to the radio. Persons with an interest in housing will appreciate the forth link, which leads to a news article from the Dickson Herald. The article notes that the media sales price for a new single-family home in the South was $197,300, which is far below the national median price of $240,900. The fifth link whisks users away to the homepage of the 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States, where they may browse around all of its many tables to their hearts content. The last link leads to the homepage of Eurostat, which is the central statistical data collection agency for the European Union. [KMG]

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

Internet Scout Project Team
Max GrinnellEditor
Chanda HaldermanManaging Editor
Rachael BowerCo-Director
Edward AlmasyCo-Director
Debra ShapiroContributor
Andrea CoffinInternet Cataloger
Michael GrossheimSystem Administrator
Kyle MannaTechnical Specialist
Christopher SpoehrWeb Developer
David MayerWeb Site Designer

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout Project staff page.