The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 3

January 26, 2007

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 [pdf]

Sea turtles are fascinating creatures, and they have a lovely online home here at the Seaturtle website. It is an ambitious site that contains everything from the latest scientific research on seaturtles to a blend of materials designed for the more casual visitor as well. From the homepage, visitors can read the Marine Turtle Newsletter, view recent news headlines about these animals, and also view updated announcements about job opportunities in the field of marine animal research and advocacy. The Tracking section is a true gem, as visitors can look at an interactive map that shows the location of tagged sea turtles and also learn more about the status of sea turtles who are in marine hospitals. Additionally, the Multimedia area contains some fine podcasts that deal with sea turtle conservation efforts and rehabilitation. [KMG]


Starting in 2001, three institutions in the Chicago region began to create the vPlants database, which allows interested web-surfing parties to browse through various data from 90,000 plant specimens. Even more impressive is the fact that users can also view digital images for almost 50,000 of the specimens. Currently, these institutional partners are also in the process of adding 12,000 fungus specimen records. From their well-designed homepage, visitors can search for plant names by family, genus, or common name. Additionally, visitors can also browse a glossary of terms and a set of external links. The database brings the plant life of the region to life through its mix of visual materials and well-written descriptions. Neophyte botanists will appreciate its accessibility, and more experienced persons can find items of use here as well. [KMG]


Created by Professor Andrea Harbin in 1995, NetSerf is a way for websurfers and dedicated medievalists to find out about various online resources that deal with many aspects of the medieval world. Over the past eleven years, the site has grown significantly, and first-time visitors will want to browse through the subject headings on the sites homepage to get a sense of the wide range of material covered here. On the left-hand side of the page, visitors can select a site at random, or view a list of the top ten NetSerf sites. After looking over some of the sites, visitors will probably want to turn to the online glossary provided here, which defines words from abbey to zupan. [KMG]

Poynter Online

Founded in 1975, the Poynter Institute was created by Nelson Poynter, who served as chairman of the St. Petersburg Times and the Congressional Quarterly. Over the past three decades, the organization has worked to train new cadres of journalists through a variety of intensive seminars and educational formats. Poynter Online provides interested parties access to a wide range of articles and columns created by well-regarded members of their organization and other working journalists from around the United States. Visitors can view job postings in the field, look over career columns, and even submit questions to columnists. Along with this vocationally oriented material, there are sections such as diversity, photojournalism, and ethics, which contain insightful pieces on these subjects. As might be expected given the general trends in media, there are a number of helpful blogs here that address writing for general audiences, ethical considerations for journalists, and so on. For aspiring journalists and those currently working in the profession, this site is tremendously useful. [KMG]

National States Geographic Information Council [pdf]

With the exponential growth in geographic information systems (GIS) across the United States, there are a number of organizations with an interest in coordinating a variety of activities around the sustained growth and management of these various systems. One such group is the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC). With members drawn from the federal government, academia, and the private sector, the Council is committed to advocating on behalf of these state GIS agencies in the interest of creating efficient and accessible databases. A good place to start on their website is the Hot Topics area, which provides access to their blog and information about some of their latest initiatives, which include those that address homeland security and topographic accuracy. Additionally, visitors can also learn more about their events and conferences, and also about membership opportunities. [KMG]

International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning [pdf]

More and more journals start their lives not as paper entities, but as electronic publications, and scholarly interest in these electronic publications is growing. This particular electronic journal is published twice a year by the Center for Excellence in Teaching at Georgia Southern University and is designed to be an international vehicle for articles, essays, and discussions about the scholarship of teaching and learning. As a way to learn about various perspectives on teaching and learning, it will be greatly appreciated by educational theorists and practitioners. Visitors to the site can learn how to submit manuscripts, learn about the review process, and read details about the editorial review board. Some of their recent articles include Dialogic Communication in Collaborative Problem Solving Groups and Whats It Really All About? The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as an Authentic Practice. [KMG]

A Portrait of Generation Next [pdf]

Over the past few decades, a number of well-known writers such as Robert Coles, Alex Kotlowitz, and Allan Bloom have weighed in on the lives of young people, often generating meaningful dialogues (and controversy) along the way. This recent 45-page report from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press may spark such conversations as well, for it offers a portrait of the so-called Generation Next, which applies to those young persons between the ages of 18-25. Based on phone interviews conducted in the fall of 2006 where Pew researchers spoke to approximately 1500 individuals, this report asked participants about their political beliefs, their use of technology as a form of social communication, and their thoughts on immigrants. It is an interesting and compelling report, and one that will pique the interest of sociologists and those who work with young people. [KMG]

Government Innovators Network [pdf] (Last reviewed in the Scout Report on December 16, 1997)

Since its first review in the Scout Report almost ten years ago, the Government Innovators Network has grown exponentially, and remains a delightful example of the power of well-organized web portals. Produced by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, this website is a marketplace of ideas and examples of government innovation. From their homepage, visitors can take advantage of this buzzing marketplace by looking over some of their recent news stories, a Whats New feature, and their general topic list. Within each topic, visitors will be directed to another list of subtopics, which includes a listing of relevant policy documents, events, and news stories. Finally, visitors can also sign up to receive their newsletter, titled Innovators Insights and also view multimedia features on faith-based housing developments and woman leaders in criminal justice. [KMG]

General Interest

Washington As It Was: Photographs by Theodor Horydczak, 1923-1959

While other photographers of the area such as Dorothea Lange may be more well-known to the general public, Theodor Horydczaks body of work is one that deserves equal attention. Relatively little is known about his background, though most people agree that he was born in Eastern Europe and that he may have been a member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. What is known is that he documented many aspects of the Washington metropolitan area from the mid-1920s through the 1950s. The American Memory Project at the Library of Congress has created this online archive of his work, which includes around 14,350 photographs. In the database, visitors can look through photographs that document commercial buildings, playgrounds, street scenes, and the 1933 World Series. Visitors can also read several short essays about his work and an even shorter essay about what is known about the man himself. [KMG]

Smart City [iTunes, Quick Time]

People interested in urban affairs have a number of fine ways to find out about the latest developments in the field, and one of them is right here at this website. Hosted by Carol Coletta, Smart City is a public radio talk show that brings on experts to discuss topics such as affordable housing initiatives and economic development strategies. The program started in 2001, and visitors to the site can listen to programs from 2004 to the present day. Visitors can also sign up to receive their newsletter and their podcasts. Additionally, visitors can also take a look at a list of links related to recent presentations on the show. [KMG]

The Circus in America: 1793-1940 [Quick Time]

For over a century and a half, the circus was at the forefront of Americans minds when they thought of large-scale entertainment. To be sure, there were other ways to experience crowds in a shared setting, but with their movement through towns both large and small, the circus seemed to captivate both cosmopolites and more rural folk. Designed by the staff members at The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, this multimedia site brings together a range of primary materials (including video clips) that tell the stories of six major American circuses from 1793 to 1940. At the top of the homepage, visitors can elect to learn about the acts in each circus, the animals that delighted both young and old, and the transportation methods used to move these enormous productions from Nyack to New Bedford. There is also a circus timeline of events here, and some Special Attractions, which include essays on various aspects of circus history and a selection of sounds of the circus. The site is rounded out by some video clips of restored circus wagons on parade and itineraries for the six featured circuses which give users a sense of the exhausting schedules they often had. [KMG]

The 1916 Rising: Personalities & Perspectives [Macromedia Flash Player]

As a formative and pivotal moment in Irish history, the 1916 Rising has commanded the attention of many historians over the past nine decades. Recently, the National Library of Ireland created this engaging online exhibit about these events. In total, this resource includes over 500 images drawn from the Librarys books, newspapers, drawings, and proclamations. The actual exhibit itself moves visitors through sections that provide a basic outline of Irish history, and then move through the events over the following centuries that would lead up to the Uprising itself. Perhaps the finest moments of the collection are contained within the last few sections, where visitors learn about the fate of those who were arrested due to their activities during the Uprising. [KMG]

Say Brother [Quick Time]

A number of public affairs programs of historical interest have found themselves on the web as of late, and the important African-American show Say Brother produced by WGBH is one of these programs. Started in 1968, the television program has featured conversations and discussions with Julian Bond, Nikki Giovanni, Eartha Kitt, and other leaders within the African-American community. With a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), WGBH began the process of preserving the original master tapes of this program, and they also placed excerpts of each program online at this website. Here, visitors can view these excerpts and also search all of the programs by subject, personal name, or program number. The site is rounded out by an exemplary list of online resources for African-American history organized under the headings of heritage collections, publications, and archives and archivists. [KMG]

Tutorials and Web Resources for College Mathematics Courses

A number of websites provide access to very fine educational resources designed to assist college students master their subjects of study. This site, created by Ken Foster at the Southwest Tennessee Community College, provides a detailed list of links to sites that cover topics such as art education, accounting, automobile repair, and computer sciences. By clicking on the Table of Contents, visitors can also learn more about which specific subject areas are included within each broader category. The sites are all basically contained within one extended list, so visitors may have to scroll around a bit to find what they are looking for, but other than that, the site is easy to use. For educators looking to provide students with a way to find supplementary learning materials, this is an excellent place to look. [KMG]

Grand Challenges For Engineering

Where will the next great ideas in engineering come from? What will they be? These are but a few of the excellent and thoughtful questions being asked as part of the Grand Challenges For Engineering initiative. Sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), this website is part of their effort to solicit opinions on this material from engineering experts and members of the scientific community. Visitors to the site can learn about members of the initiatives committee and also learn about some of the innovations that the panel is already thinking about, such as the challenges of landing on Mars. In the Hopes section, visitors can read several essays, including one from President Jimmy Carter on his own thoughts on future challenges in this area of human endeavor. It is also worth noting that visitors can offer their own opinions on all of the material here, and that comments are moderated along the way. [KMG]

A project of the McKnight Foundation and Walker Art Center, the mission of is to "improve the lives of Minnesota artists and provide access to and engagement with Minnesotas arts culture." Right now provides an online database of the work of Minnesota artists and organizations from all disciplines, and hopes to evolve into a market place and communication forum for artists and supporters. Browse around to read about current art in Minnesota, like the Art Shanty Project, a 5-week exhibition that draws dozens of artists, who build ice shanties on Medicine Lake, near Minneapolis - this year the first shanty (the Postal Shanty) had to be set up on the beach, waiting for the lake to completely freeze. All kinds of events take place in and around the shanties, from a Go Fish card game tournament, to sing-alongs and performances. During regular open hours visitors can wander through shanties such as the Shanty of Misfit Toys, the knitting Shanty where you can learn how to knit, and the Postal Shanty, where you can send a letter. also provides a wealth of art news, in the form of pictures, articles, blogs, audio, video and RSS feeds. [DS]

Network Tools

BibDesk 1.3

Whether one is trying to import citations from Johann Huizingas medieval treatise, The Waning of the Middle Ages or just include a few newspaper references, creating masterful bibliographies can be a trying experience. Fortunately, there is BibDesk 1.3. With this graphical bibliography manager, users can create seamless citations and bibliographies, and it also keeps track of electronic copies of these materials throughout the process. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3 and newer. [KMG]

Google Earth 4

The first release of Google Earth was highly anticipated, and this latest version contains a number of additional features that will delight anyone with even the slightest interest in all things spatial or geographical. Visitors can view various landforms in three dimensions, and also examine a number of well-known landmarks in great detail. Of course, the application can also be used for more mundane tasks, such as locating a close-by drycleaners. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 2000 or XP or Mac OS X 10.3.9 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

As the initial construction of a massive gas pipeline begins in Brazil, a number of groups remain concerned about the effects

Vast Pipelines in Amazon Face Challenges Over Protecting Rights and Rivers [Free registration may be required]

Threatened Amazon tribes fight against the odds

Indigenous Peoples in Brazil [Macromedia Flash Player]

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

Woods Hole Research Center: Amazon Ecology Program [pdf]

Alyeska Pipeline [pdf]

Twenty-one years ago, Brazils state-controlled oil company discovered a major source of gas and oil around Urucu, which sits in the Amazon. After two decades of dealing with a substantial amount of opposition, the company (with the approval of the Brazilian government) appears poised to begin construction on the 400-mile pipeline which will bring the gas to the city of Manaus. As might be imagined, a number of challenges confronted the project, not the least of which was the potential long-term environmental impact on the region. Over the past several years, a number of residents of the state of Amazonas have been promised a wide-range of economic benefits, which has diffused certain factions who have opposed the project. Brazil, like many other rapidly developing countries, is looking for a wide range of energy sources, and in the past they have embraced hydroelectric projects on a vast scale. The pipeline is supposed to provide the impetus for a number of related economic development projects, including a plant that will process an Amazon fruit, which is used as a health beverage, and a factory designed to produce organic fibers. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece that appeared in this weeks New York Times, and which offers some background on both the pipeline and some of the larger concerns about the project. The second link leads to a fine article which appeared online this Tuesday in the Indian Country News. Written by Jim Adams, the article talks about the ways in which indigenous groups in the Amazon have successfully fought to maintain control of the region in which they live. The third link leads to an online encyclopedia of information about the indigenous peoples of Brazil, created by the Instituto Socioambiental. Given the increasing importance of the flows of petroleum around the world, the fourth link offered may be of great interest, as it leads to the homepage of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The fifth link will take users to the Woods Hole Research Centers Amazon Ecology program homepage, where those who are so inclined can learn about the future of the region and also consider some of the Centers informative and educational material. Finally, the last link leads to the homepage of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, where visitors can learn about how the pipeline works. [KMG]

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From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2007.

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Copyright Internet Scout Project, 1994-2007. The Internet Scout Project (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

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

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