The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 4

February 2, 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

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Safety Topics [Macromedia Flash Player]

The world of aviation can be a mystifying one, and for those who hope to start a career in the field of aviation maintenance and repair, it can be even more trying. Fortunately, a number of websites contain primers on the basics on such fields, and this particular website has some very nice online courses on small aircraft engines and propellers. Created by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the site includes short interactive guides and a quiz on propeller safety. Visitors can also read over a number of articles from the archives of their publication "Safety Pilot". Some recent articles of note include "First-flight fiascos" and "When Is an Aircraft Too Old?" For beginning students of aircraft maintenance, this website will be a most welcome find. [KMG] [pdf]

With years of experience in the field, the group provides a variety of comprehensive and training programs for students in the related fields of heating, ventilating and air conditioning. While their organization does have a number of professional development programs for more advanced learners, their website also features a number of instructional modules and learning exercises for novices. Most of these educational resources can be found under the "Curriculum" section of the site. Here, visitors can look over modules that deal with electrical systems, refrigeration principles, and the basic electrical systems of such devices. After looking over those materials, visitors may wish to continue on by looking over their schedule of classes and upcoming conferences. [KMG]

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

Learning about various branches of mathematics can be tough at any age, and this fine set of resources created by staff members who are primarily based at the Utah State University is designed to make this process just a bit easier. With substantial funding from the National Science Foundation, they have successfully developed a large set of interactive online learning units that deal with topics such as geometry, arithmetic, and trigonometry. First-time visitors may want to begin by looking over the "About" section, which includes a tutorial designed for educators who wish to use the materials as well as another tutorial that will teach educators how to create lessons and activities. Delving into the learning materials at the site, visitors can browse through the learning modules by subject or grade level. Visitors can also browse teacher published lessons, all of which have been vetted by staff members at the National Library. Finally, visitors will want to definitely look over the virtual manipulatives library, which includes instructional materials that students will find quite engaging. [KMG]

Chem1 Virtual Textbook [pdf]

Chemistry serves as a fundamental discipline for those who will go on to careers in everything from medicine to nutrition and it is important for students of this science to have a wide range of resources at their disposal. One rather useful online resource is this virtual textbook for general chemistry created and updated by Professor Stephen Lower of Simon Fraser University. Visitors to the site can dive right in by reading an introduction titled "What is Chemistry all about, anyway?", and then proceed through a very well-structured set of chapters dedicated to the basics of atoms, equations, chemical energetics and other topics that would be typically covered in such a course. The site is rounded out by a good set of links to related interactive chemistry tutorials and exercises. [KMG]

Collections Online: Joseph Cornell

Joseph Cornell was a man of many talents, and during his sixty-nine years his artistic endeavors included short films, shadow boxes, colleges, and his well-known assemblages. After his death in 1972, his sister began the process of donating his personal papers and various effects to the Smithsonian Institution. Over the past few years, the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art have worked to place a number of these materials online. First-time visitors can read a brief biography of Cornell in the "About the Collection" area and then move on to the "View Collection" section. Users will find that the collection is arranged into eleven series, which include areas dedicated to his diaries and various ephemera. Some sections of note here include the seventh series which contains some of Cornell's later inkblot drawings and unfinished collages. Lastly, the second series here includes correspondence with artists who Cornell admired and collaborated with, such as Geraldine Page and Mark Rothko. [KMG]

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Flight and Rescue [Macromedia Flash Player]

As this online exhibit opens, visitors will hear a prelude played on the piano and a map of Eastern Europe and Russia unfold before their eyes. This is the beginning of the Flight and Rescue exhibit, presented by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. With the use of powerful visual materials, primary documents, interviews, and striking narration, this interactive exhibit tells the story of how some 2100 Jewish refugees were able to escape the Holocaust through the assistance of a Dutch businessman and a Japanese diplomat. In each of the exhibit's four sections, visitors can pause the narration to look through some of the primary documents that help provide additional context for different elements of the refugee's journey. After viewing each of these four sections, visitors can also read the full-text of the exhibition, which is available in English, Chinese, Dutch, and Japanese. For visitors who would like a closer look at any of the documents used to create this exhibition, a search engine will let them examine each one in great detail. [KMG]

Digital History [Real Player, pdf]

Utilizing digital and online technologies to teach different disciplines continues to be quite popular, and the Digital History website will be a most welcome find for teachers (and students) of American history. Developed in collaboration with the University of Houston, the Chicago Historical Society, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and several other entities the site includes an online American history textbook, an interactive timeline, a multimedia section, and a very rich selection of primary source materials. The multimedia section is a real find, as it contains several well-thought out lectures with titles like "The History of Domestic Violence", "The Cultural Civil War of the 1960s", and "America Today and America Past". Students will also appreciate the writing guide area, as it contains several short essays on how to write in a history class and how to compose a critical book review. [KMG]

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute [pdf]

Stanford University has been the home of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project for over twenty years, and they also have the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. On their website, visitors can learn about their work, which includes sponsoring conferences, providing research fellowships, and developing the Liberation curriculum for educators interested in nonviolent movements. The Liberation Curriculum section is actually a fine place to start exploring the site, as it contains lesson plans and other online resources (such as transcripts of Kings speeches) that will assist teachers in crafting valuable classroom experiences. Visitors will also want to make sure and visit the King Papers Project section of the site as well. Here they can find transcripts of some of King's most important works and a number of audio recordings of his sermons and speeches. [KMG]

General Interest

Franck-Bertacci Collection: Louisiana Digital Library

As with many states across the country, Louisiana remains strongly committed to creating and maintaining a digital database that accurately reflects their culture and history. They have done a fine job, and the Frank-Bertacci Collection is a real treat, particularly for students of the history of New Orleans and its transformation in the twentieth century. This photograph collection includes work from both the Charles L. Frank Photographers Studio, and its subsequent work under the direction of Albert Bertacci. Through the online archive of over 2000 photographs, visitors will be treated to views of 1960s subdivisions, mansions in the French Quarter, and the construction of the Louisiana Superdome. Visitors can perform basic keyword searches across various fields, including title, subject, date, among others. For visitors seeking a bit more direction in their searching, there is also a subject list offered here for their use. [KMG]

U.S. Green Building Council [pdf]

Building "green" buildings is more than just a guideline for the U.S. Green Buildings Council; it's their primary goal and passion. With over 7500 member organizations, their number includes representatives from all sectors of the building industry who are dedicated to promoting buildings that are "environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work." While some of their online materials are only for members, visitors will find plenty of valuable materials on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating system, which is recognized as the benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. Visitors to the LEED section of the site can learn more about the system and view presentations on the subject. Finally, the homepage contains news updates about their work and outreach efforts. [KMG]

Independent Lens Online Shorts Festival [Macromedia Flash Player]

Since its creation a few years ago, the Independent Lens series has worked with various filmmakers and producers to create thoughtful portraits. These portraits have included subjects such as the life of Billy Strayhorn, people living with dystonia, and the world of Ethiopian coffee growers. Recently, they also embarked on yet another ambitious project: an online shorts festival. Visitors to this site can partake of all ten of these films at their leisure. Included are a film that explores a Parisian secret from 1951, a meditation of growing old, and an artist who created a monument out of mud, old paint, and adobe. After viewing the films, visitors are also welcome to leave their comments in the "Talkback" section, submit a film or find out more about the members of the jury for this online film festival. [KMG]

Drummerworld [Quick Time]

Drummers and those who generally love the musical arts will appreciate Bernhard Castiglioni's very comprehensive website dedicated to the art and practice of drumming. Based in Switzerland, Castiglioni has spent a great deal of his personal attention and care in crafting a site that contains information about dozens of drummers, material on drum clinics, and reports from major drumming conventions and conferences. The "DrumClinic" section should be a first-stop for aspiring drummers, as they can browse through video clips of professionals demonstrating various techniques and grooves. And best of all, the material is by no means limited to just jazz and rock drumming, as other styles, such as Latin and gospel drumming are covered as well. Of course, the section "Drummers" contains very fine clips of numerous musicians, including contemporary favorites as Sheila E. and Meg White and jazz stalwarts such as Rashied Ali and Art Blakey. Other notable performances include a meeting between Gene Krupa, Sammy Davis, Jr. and the man who was billed as the "world's greatest drummer", Buddy Rich. [KMG]

StoryCorps [Quick Time, Real Player]

Drawing inspiration from the wide-ranging projects of the Works Progress Administration, the StoryCorps project was created "to instruct and inspire people to record each others' stories in sound." Over the past four years, they have taken a number of their mobile recording booths (called "Storybooths") on the road across the country, and since that time, they have made thousands of recordings. They have done an admirable job throughout, and some of the fruits of their labors may be found on this site. Visitors can click on the "Listen" section to some of the recordings, and they can also browse the stories by subject headings, which include "wisdom", "friendship", and "growing up". Visitors who are inspired to tell their own stories can view a list of upcoming Storybooth locations and also sign up to receive email updates about the project. [KMG]

The Commonwealth Foundation [pdf, Real Player]

Created in 1965, the Commonwealth Foundation was created with a mandate to strengthen civil society in all of the member nations. Membership of the Foundation is open to all Commonwealth countries and as of 2006 membership stood at 45 governments. Over the past four decades, they have worked on issues including human rights, gender equality, poverty eradication, and good governance. As might be expected, the site contains ample material on their various initiatives, along with information for those who might be seeking funding for their own projects (if they happen to be a citizen of a member Commonwealth). The "Resource Material" includes audiovisual materials that include some very fun and interesting short stories submitted for the annual Commonwealth Short Story Competition and their in-house publication, "Commonwealth People". For visitors who wish to stay abreast of the Foundation's work, there is a place here to sign up to receive their electronic newsletter. [KMG]

Thurgood Marshall Law Library: Historical Publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights [pdf]

Since 2001, staff members at the Thurgood Marshall Law Library at the University of Maryland have worked to create an electronic archive of United States Commission on Civil Rights publications. They have worked with a number of partners on this ambitious project, including the United States Government Printing Office and The United States Commission on Civil Rights. The site is easy to use, as visitors can locate various publications merely by consulting the materials by title, date, or subject. The subject listing is quite thorough, as visitors can look through headings like "Alaska", "Migrant Workers", and "Welfare reform". Browsing by year is an equally fruitful proposition as documents such as "Racism in America and how to combat it" from 1970 and 1992's "Civil rights issues facing Asian Americans in the 1990" will be of interest to legal scholars, historians, and others. [KMG]

100 Years of SLIS: Images Celebrating Our Past

In 1895, the initial framework was in place for what would later become the University of Wisconsin's Library School. Now known as the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS), the School continues to honor the traditions of librarianship, while incorporating the modern technologies that continue to push the discipline and profession forward. This particular collection of digital images documents the activities of students in the library school from the 1910s to the 1960s. Created by students in SLIS, the program includes digital images culled from yearlogs assembled by previous generations of students. Here visitors can browse the collection by people, year, place, or activity. Some of the photos include class pictures, May Day celebrations, and numerous images of faculty members and even the former home of the school, which for a number of years was a converted fraternity house on campus. [KMG]

Network Tools

Drupal 5.0

With more and more groups and individuals becoming interested in placing content online, a number of programs have been developed to simplify this process, with a minimum of technical know-how. Drupal 5.0 allows users to create everything from personal websites to e-commerce applications. Visitors will also want to learn about the different modules that can extend Drupal's functionality and look over the forums, which are heavily trafficked. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and newer. [KMG]

Moodle 1.7

The word moodle is an acronym for "modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment", which is quite a mouthful. What Scout Report readers should know is that Moodle 1.7 is a tremendously helpful opens-source e-learning platform. With Moodle, educators can create a wide range of online courses with features that include forums, quizzes, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, and surveys. On the Moodle website, visitors can also learn about other features and read about recent updates to the program. This application is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer or Mac OS X and newer. [KMG]

In The News

The City of Roses Looks Skyward for New Transit Option

In tram, city seizes chance to shape region

Oregon university has high hopes for new commuter tram

Portland Aerial Tram

OHSU Tram Special Report [pdf]

The Twinky Tram Song [QuickTime]

Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)

The Light Rail Transit Association [pdf]

The city of New Orleans had a streetcar named desire. New York still has the "A" train. Portland, Oregon now has its "Jean" and "Walt". These happen to be the names of the two cabins that comprise the city's newly opened tram line. In a city that embraces public transportation like many other places embrace the opening of a new four-lane highway, even this project encountered resistance. Nevertheless, this past week the Portland Aerial Tram opened this past week amid much excitement as civic leaders, urban aesthetes, and the generally curious gathered to watch the first official trip of the tram. Rising up from the Willamette River to the campus of the Oregon Health and Science University, the tram moved along at speeds of up to 22 miles per hour. The entire trip takes less than five minutes, and along its route, the gleaming oblong pods pass over redeveloped industrial areas, single-family homes, and Interstate 5. Despite the initial praise by transportation advocates and planning types, there are some who remain skeptical of the project due to its rather substantial cost overruns. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a fine staff editorial from this Saturday's edition of The Oregonian that comments on the tram's completion, and on how it is indicative of Portland's civic leaders general ability to think "outside the road grid". Moving along, the second link is from this Monday's San Francisco Chronicle, and it offers a portrait of the tram and the response from local residents. At the third link, visitors can look over the Portland Aerial Tram homepage. Here they can learn about riding the tram and upcoming free ridership days. The fourth link will take users to a very comprehensive site from The Oregonian which provides a video tour of the tram as it glides along its route, a report on the cost overruns of the tram, and links to a number of relevant weblogs. The fifth link leads to a recording of a "The Twinky Tram Song", which was penned and performed by the local group The Subcons to celebrate this new addition to the Portland transportation scene. The sixth link will take visitors to a website created by Jon Bell which provides information and photographs about Morgantown, West Virginia's own personal rapid transit system. Unusual for a town of that size, this transit system connects the two campuses of West Virginia University with the downtown area. The last link leads to the delightful homepage of the Light Rail Transit Association, which has been advocating for better public transport since 1937. Based in the United Kingdom, the Association's homepage includes a number of photo galleries that document different systems around the world, along with discussion documents and an online shop. [KMG]

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