The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 7

February 23, 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


Looking back to the late nineteenth century, one can find traces of the earliest distance education learning programs at the university level at places like the University of Chicago and Columbia University. It would take six decades before an entire university was created specifically as a distance teaching institution, and it would happen on the other side of the Atlantic. This school is Open University in Britain, and they have continued this mission for over four decades. Recently, they created the LearningSpace website which contains dozens of different online courses, categorized into disciplines such as education, modern languages, and history. While visitors dont have to register to use the materials, they may find it useful. Registering will allow visitors to discuss the materials in a forum, write journal entries, and complete different quizzes. [KMG]


With funding from the National Science Foundation, the Learning & Performance Support Laboratory at the University of Georgia has created this website for mathematics educators. Their primary focus is to build teachers mathematical content knowledge through mathematical investigations, and the resources presented here reflect this commitment. The primary mathematical fields covered here include algebra, geometry, number concepts, and data analysis. Within each of these sections, visitors will find Recommended Investigations, which are classroom-tested activities. These activities are engaging and well-written, and it is easy to see how they could be incorporated into a variety of lesson plans. Finally, the site also contains an interactive math dictionary that covers everything from absolute value to z-score. [KMG]

Meteorology Education & Training [Macromedia Flash Player, Real Player, pdf]

Designed as part of the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET), the Meteorology Education & Training website provides a wide range of resources designed for budding meteorologists and those with a general interest in the field. From the homepage, visitors will find sections such as Topics, Communities, Resources, and an About area. Within the Topics section, visitors will find information on fields such as fire weather, coastal weather, basic climate, and space weather. Visitors can read up on these areas, and in many instances, they can take a short quiz to test their knowledge. Meteorology educators and students will enjoy the learning modules contained within the Resources area, as they cover such terrain as convective storm matrices and an introduction to anticipating hazardous weather and community risk. [KMG]

New York Public Library: Audio and Video Archive [Quick Time]

Lectures on the history of the New York subway and a master class with chanteuse Barbara Cook come together on this lovely website created by the New York Public Library, along with dozens of other webcasts. The site was created to allow the web-browsing public access to some of the very enticing talks, lectures, presentations, and performances that happen as a result of the New York Public Librarys efforts. The site contains talks on the history of illustrated Japanese books, a panel discussion on Googles Print Library Project, and a conversation with Broadway impresario, Hal Prince. It is worth noting that the site also contains a nice selection of presentations on crafting and developing a small business proposal, and making sure that the business succeeds. [KMG]

Global Integrity [pdf]

Many of the worlds national governments have been plagued by charges of corruption and pervasive malfeasance over the past few decades. As a result, a number of international organizations have been created to provide information on corruption and governance trends for the policy community and the general public. With funding from the World Bank, the Global Integrity organization produces the Global Integrity Report, which features a number of integrity indicators, which analyze openness, governance, and anti-corruption mechanisms for a wide range of countries. Visitors to their site can read the Report in its entirety here, and also browse through a number of media resources designed for journalists. Additionally, visitors can also learn more about the organizations staff members and their various methodologies for compiling reports. [KMG]

Center for Bioethics [pdf]

Housed at the University of Minnesota, the mission of the Center for Bioethics is to advance and disseminate knowledge concerning ethical issues in health care and the life sciences. To accomplish this important mission, they are actively engaged in a number of interdisciplinary research projects and they also perform a number of community outreach activities. From their homepage, visitors can learn about some of their activities and recent announcements and events. After taking a brief look here, visitors will want to move along to the Resource Center section. Here, they will find short summaries on a variety of bioethics topics, detailed overviews with thorough bibliographies, as well as an excellent set of resources for teachers who wish to incorporate bioethics into the classroom. Finally, visitors should not miss their Publications area, which includes the complete archive of their own Bioethics Examiner and a number of legal overviews of bioethics issues. [KMG]

Cities Around the World

From Carthage to Chicago, this fascinating digital collection from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee presents quite a cornucopia of photographic images drawn from the worlds cities, past and present. The images are from the American Geographic Society Library, and just two photographers, Harrison Forman and the noted urban geographer, Harold Mayer, took the pictures. All told, there are over 5500 photographic images in this collection, and first-time visitors should read over the brief introductory essays on the scope and content of this project before jumping into the materials. By clicking on the Cities section, visitors can browse around the cities with the most photographs, and then they may also wish to perform a detailed search. There are some fun surprises here, including an aerial view of the Union Stock Yards in Chicago and the governors residence in Dar es Salaam. [KMG]

Cooperative Digital Resources Initiative

In an effort to provide a large set of high-quality digital resources for the study of religion, the American Theological Library Association and Association of Theological Schools established the Cooperative Digital Resource Initiative (CDRI). Drawing on the extensive holdings of its member institutions, including Vanderbilt University, the Hartford Seminary, and Boston University, CDRI has assembled an impressive digital image collection that features woodcuts, coins, maps, postcards, sermons, and other ephemera. First-time visitors can utilize the search form offered on the homepage, or they may also wish to browse the collections thematically. There are some real gems here, including a collection of postcards of New England Congregational and Baptist churches and illuminations from Armenian Gospels. [KMG]

General Interest

Folklore Pamphlets, 1921-1945: Wisconsin Historical Society

As part of their Turning Points in Wisconsin History collection, staff members at the Wisconsin Historical Society have digitized a rather compelling set of folklore pamphlets. The folklore pamphlets were created by Charles E. Brown, who served as the curator of the Museum of the State Historical Society and secretary of the Wisconsin Archaeological Society. Published between 1921 and 1945, these pamphlets were originally created for the Wisconsin Folklore Society and other groups. Each pamphlet is from four to eight pages long, and they include such titles as Moccasin Tales, Indian Folk Lore, and Lake Mendota: Prehistory, History and Legends. As this is Wisconsin, visitors should not be surprised that there are four or five pamphlets that deal with tales of Paul Bunyan and his various adventures. [KMG]

Muse Achmnide [Macromedia Flash Player]

Drawing on the expertise of a number of well-regarded institutions, the online Muse Achmnide will bring users into the world of the ancient worlds of Persia, Babylonia, and the Egyptian empire. While the graphic interfaces used throughout the site take some getting used to, there are a number of lovely features here. In the Consultation section, visitors can browse around through various collections, such as archival drawings and renderings from the various geographic areas covered here. They can also view objects from the ancient world and learn about their historical and cultural importance. Visitors can also move through the sections to create their own archive, which they can share with friends or colleagues. Finally, there is a Help section that explains how to effectively navigate the sites different areas. [KMG]

AIDS Posters

The graphic arts have been used persuasively for decades, and in the arena of public health, there have been a number of images that have stayed in the public consciousness for years. Recently, the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library created this digital archive of 625 posters from 44 countries, including Australia, Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Poland. Commenting on the collection, Professor Roger Detels remarked, The collection provides a fascinating insight into the many approaches that have been used to try to modify risk behaviors. Visitors can browse through the collection at their leisure, and they can do so by looking over a list of countries or a very detailed subject list. Overall, the collection is well-thought out and executed, and one that will be of interest to students of public health, graphic design, and other related fields. [KMG]

Ladybirds of Ireland

When people think of Ireland, the first thing that is conjured up is probably not the image of the 10-spot ladybird, but the country certainly has them. They also happen to have 26 other species of ladybirds, all of which are documented on this site. Created by the National Museums of Northern Ireland, this site is dedicated to the study and recording of Irish ladybirds. A fine place to start would be the Ladybirds of Ireland area, which contains some basic facts about the local ladybird population, along with detailed information about each type of ladybird. The site also contains an extensive photo gallery of ladybirds, including information about the Harlequin ladybird, which has had a deleterious effect on native ladybirds. [KMG]

Rudolf Steiner Archive

Born in Croatia in 1861, Rudolf Steiner was many things throughout his life, including educator, artist, and a philosopher. He is regarded to be both the founder of the philosophical school of anthroposophy and the Waldorf education movement. While anthroposophy may not be as well known to many today, it was once quite popular and was often referred to as the spiritual science. For persons interested in learning more about Steiners life and writings, this website will be most helpful. Here they will find a number of introductory essays about Steiner, a wide selection of his writings, and events and conferences related to his work and body of thought. The site concludes with an On This Day feature, which allows users to learn about what Steiner was doing on any particular day of the year during his life. [KMG]

Microsoft Word Training Modules

With a variety of training modules designed for those in the field of medical administration and general business environments, these well-thought out educational materials will be a most welcome find. Created by the staff members at the Internet4Classrooms site, these modules address such topics as inserting images in MS Word, creating signs with MS Word, and keyboard shortcuts. Each of the modules is written with introductory users in mind, and they include helpful graphics that illustrate different actions and tools. Additionally, the site also includes a series of Beyond the Basics learning modules that provide guidance on how to use the mail merge function and how to create hyperlinks within MS Word. [KMG]

Massage Therapy 101

As massage therapy grows in popularity as a career choice, a number of experts and professionals in the field have created numerous web resources for current and future massage therapists. One such website is Massage 101, which is maintained by Karin Konopelky, who practices massage therapy in Ontario. Here, visitors will sections such as Massage Techniques, Massage Oil, and Complimentary Therapies. The Techniques is a great find, and it contains information on acupressure, aromatherapy, and shiatsu. The section on massage equipment provides basic information on the necessary equipment that one should have when embarking on a career in the field. A FAQ section that provides answers to such questions as How will a massage feel? rounds out the site. [KMG]

Kohler Art Library: The Artists Book Collection.

The Kohler Art Library at University of Wisconsin-Madison presents this illustrated database that indexes roughly 760 titles from its collection of over 800 artists' books. The database can be searched by book title, creator's name, publisher, date, or subjects. Other search terms relate to types of book structures, bindings, medium/technique, and contributors. Each record in the database has either a short description of the book's contents or a complete transcription of the colophon, the short paragraph traditionally placed at the end of a book, that tells about its production. In addition, for slightly more than half the books, several images are included. For example, the colophon for From a housewife's diary, by Claire Van Vliet, states that the "covering is dish towels bound by James Bicknell", and the image included shows that the towels are red plaid. [DS]

Network Tools

TrueCrypt 4.2a

With more people growing deeply concerned about the security of their computer files, this latest version of TrueCrypt should pique their interest. With this application, users can use 11 algorithms to encrypt their files in a password-protected volume. The program also will recommend complex passwords and also erase different signs of the encryption program, including mouse movements and keystrokes. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP, 2000, and 2003. [KMG]

Active WebCam 8.0

A number of users may have heard of various webcam programs, and if they remain interested in such devices, Active WebCam 8.0 is worth a look. With this application, users can capture images at up to 30 frames per second, and then can also use the program to stream audio and video. Additionally, users can also control the cameras pan, tilt, and zoom features as they see fit. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, and 2003. [KMG]

In The News

As unrest continues in Guinea, a number of international organizations respond

Guinea Opposition Tries to Avoid War,,-6428677,00.html

Discontent in Guinea Nears Boiling Point [Free Registration May Be Required]

UNHCR Plans to Repatriate Liberian Refugees From Guinea [Real Player]

Call for lifting of stage of siege after week-long news blackout


Human Rights Watch: Guinea [pdf]

The last several weeks have been particularly difficult ones for Guinea, and many residents of the country are openly expressing discontent with the ruling government of President Lansana Conte. Residents have good reason to be upset, as President Conte declared martial law and has also effectively shut down almost all of the nations media outlets, except for one radio station in Conakry, the countrys capital city. While Contes firm and dictatorial leadership of the country has meant that Guinea has remained stable for over two decades, he has also been seen as emblematic of the corruption that has beset a number of African countries since the end of the colonial period. A recent United Nations investigation also revealed that close to 80 percent of the weapons used in civil wars in both Liberia and Sierra Leone were funneled into the region with the assistance of corrupt Guinean officials. Speaking this week, Professor Djibril Tamsir Niane remarked, There is the will for change. The entire population of Conakry was on the streets in January. It is the beginning of a new era. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece from this Tuesdays Guardian which talks about the growing number of clashes between the Guinean government and its citizens. The second link leads to a piece from the New York Times which provides first-hand commentary from Guineans on the current situation on the ground there. Moving along, the third link leads to a bit of reporting from Voice of America that discusses efforts that are underway to move Liberian refugees from Guinea into a more stable location. The fourth link leads to a press release from Reporters Without Borders that asks for a lifting of the state of siege in the country. The fifth link is offered by the ReliefWeb site, and it contains an interview with George Cunz of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the ongoing response from international humanitarian organizations. The final link will take users to the Human Rights Watch webpage dedicated to providing information about Guinea, including a report on human rights developments in the country. [KMG]

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