The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 21

June 1, 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

Maynard Institute for Journalism Education [pdf]

Established in 1977, the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education has been committed to training new cohorts of minority journalists across the country. The Institute is named after the late Robert C. Maynard who was a well-respected African-American journalist and co-founder of the Institute for Journalism Education. The Maynard website is full of resources for minority journalists and those generally interested in increasing the diversity in Americas newsrooms. A good place to start is by looking over some of the columns by Richard Prince such as Diversitys Greatest Hits and taking a look at some of the updates from Maynard Institute alumni. The Resources section is exemplary and visitors will find online diversity guides, information about career opportunities, and an interactive timeline titled Minorities in the Media: 1900-Present. [KMG]

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center [pdf]

With much of the United States becoming interested in the world of organic farming, sustainable agriculture, and related pursuits, it is nice to know that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a very nice online presence dedicated to alternative farming systems here at the Alternate Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC). The site has been recently redesigned, and visitors can jump right in by looking over the I Want To area, where they can locate funding resources, explore the world of aquaculture, and even explore alternative farming methods. After taking a look there, visitors can also browse the sites contents by subject area, including organic production, ecological pest management, and farm energy options. One fine gem on the site is the Community Supported Agriculture area. Here, visitors can find a farmers market or local community supported farm in their corner of the United States. [KMG]

American Psychological Society: Teaching Resources

Teachers of psychology looking for high-quality resources to augment their students classroom experience need look no further than this collection of online materials. Compiled by the American Psychological Society, the links are divided into topical sections that include health psychology, statistics, clinical psychology, research methods, and a dozen other topics. Visitors to the site will find links that lead to course materials for an introductory class on physiological psychology and a set of materials on educational psychology from Miami University. Finally, the site is rounded out by a very extensive section on statistics, including links to several online statistics glossaries and calculators. [KMG]

Philosophy Talk [Real Player]

Under the banner of The program that questions everything.except your intelligence, this one-hour radio program promises philosophy in action. It certainly delivers on that promise, and for anyone who thought philosophy was lifeless and without any real-world application, they will be proved wrong after just a few minutes of listening to this program. Hosted by Stanford philosophy professors Ken Taylor and John Perry, recent editions of the program have covered terrorism, love, intelligent design, justice, and of course, baseball. Visitors can dig into the archives, learn about upcoming shows, and they will not want to pass over their blog either. Overall, this program is intellectually rousing and one that could be used as supplementary resource for any number of philosophy courses. [KMG]

Turning the Page [Shockwave]

Not everyone has the ability to journey over to the British Library in London, but anyone with a good Internet connection can journey through the pages of this august institutions most prized volumes. The Turning the Page site brings together digitized version of over a dozen sumptuous tomes for the web-browsing public and curious scholars. Visitors can page through the first atlas of Europe (compiled by none other than Mercator), view William Blakes famed notebook, and take in the genius of Mozarts Thematic Catalogue, complete with musical examples. Additionally, visitors have the ability to take a look through newly added materials, such as a 15th century Lisbon Hebrew Bible and an Ethiopian bible from 1700. [KMG]

International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme [pdf]

Based in Stockholm, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) studies a wide range of interactions between both biological and physical processes and interactions with human systems. Their research agenda is impressive, and visitors to their homepage can dive right into their materials by reading one of their recent newsletters or by looking at the news updates. In the Resources area, visitors can download some of the IGBPs research reports and browse some of their recent conference presentations. Scientists and policy analysts alike will want to look at the Earth System Science Partnership area in order to learn more about their very ambitious work towards an integrated study of the Earth System. This is being done in partnership with three additional international global change research institutions, and it is well worth a look. [KMG]


The University of Oregons arts and administration program is highly regarded, and they also happen to put out a visually compelling broadside for arts and culture workers called CultureWork. As its mission statement notes, the primary goal of the publication is to provide timely workplace-oriented information on culture, the arts, education, policy, and community. The first issue appeared back in May 1997, and visitors are invited to view all of the back issues (along with the current one) here at this site. Some of the recent broadsides have included Canaries in the Coal Mine: Art, Freedom, and Community, Boomers, XYs and the Making of a Generational Shift in Arts Management, and Recognizing Artists as Public Intellectuals: A Pedagogical Imperative. [KMG]

UI Plants

The University of Illinois has created this fine database for use by students, avid gardeners, and just about anyone with an interest in woody plants. The database contains copious amounts of information about woody plants found in the northern portion of eastern North America, and visitors are welcome to select plants from the database by their scientific name or by their common name. After making these selections, visitors can look over a number of illustrative photographs and also learn about each plants habitat, size, color, hardiness, and texture. From abies cilicica to the zelkova serrata (or Japanese zelkova), this online database is a most welcome find. Additionally, visitors can send along some feedback on the site via a webform. [KMG]

General Interest

PENNsound [Windows Media Player, iTunes]

The University of Pennsylvanias Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing has created this impressive site to bring together a wide range of spoken word endeavors, including poetry readings, literary discussions, and other engaging items. The Center is led by Charles Bernstein and Al Filreis, and visitors can get a sampling of their efforts by looking over the New at PENNsound section of the homepage. After doing so, they will definitely want to look over the featured authors and series on the left-hand side of the homepage. There are a number of gems here including Allen Ginsberg reading William Blake, Normal Mailer discussing the difference between fact and fiction, and a reading with Peter Straub. Additionally, visitors will want to check out the selection of podcasts available here. [KMG]

Maritime History of Massachusetts [Macromedia Flash Player]

From Newburyport all the way to New Bedford, Massachusetts has many places steeped in a rich and interesting maritime past. Recently, the National Park Services National Register of Historic Places and Maritime Heritage Program created this interactive guide to the maritime history of the Bay State. The site spares no punches, as it opens with a lovely photograph of the Boston Light Station on Little Brewster Island, complete with some very appropriate sound effects. Visitors can explore the sites through a series of interactive maps and then read four essays that deal with maritime commerce, shipbuilding, the U.S. Navy, and lighthouses and lifesaving stations. For each site, visitors can read a brief history and learn more about visiting each destination. Its a great way to learn about this particular part of the United States, and it could serve as the inspiration for a nice vacation as well. [KMG]

Pennsylvania Covered Bridges

Covered bridges cause moments of delight for historic preservationists, and they entered a new place in American popular culture when they figured prominently in a certain Clint Eastwood film in the early 1990s. Recently, staff members and student assistants at Bucknell University spent a significant amount of time creating this digital collection of covered bridge photographs. Interestingly enough, the original photographs were taken by a long-time member of the biology faculty at Bucknell, one Professor Nelson F. Davis. The photos date from 1898 to 1939, and all told, there are over 300 images in this collection. Visitors will enjoy looking over this collection, and these documents will be of great interest to anyone fascinated by these types of bridges, engineering, or the history of rural Pennsylvania. [KMG]

U.S. Department of Energy: Nuclear Energy [pdf]

In recent years, there has been a great deal of talk regarding alternate energy sources in the United States. While not exactly an alternate source of energy, there has definitely been more interest in nuclear energy and related technologies as of late. For anyone interested in such matters, the US Department of Energys Office of Nuclear Energy is definitely worth a visit. From the homepage, visitors can learn about recent news items regarding the programs of the Office, take a look at some internship opportunities, and even make their way to the Public Information Center. This is definitely one of the strongest areas of the site, as visitors have access to the full-texts of various congressional reports regarding nuclear energy and a complete glossary of nuclear terms. Most people with a general interest in this subject will want to read through some of the program fact sheets, which include Recycling Spent Nuclear Fuel and Building New Nuclear Plants. [KMG]

Word for Word [Real Player]

Not many public radio programs can claim to have a host who has worked on a pirate radio ship off the English coast, but Word for Word is just that type of program. Host Melinda Penkava oversees the work of this remarkable program, which offers up an interesting and timely speech on a pressing topic in the news. These speeches come from such venues as the National Press Club, the Chautauqua Institution, and the Aspen Institute. Visitors to the Word for Word site can listen to these intelligent programs and also sign up to receive their podcasts as well. Recent programs have included a speech by the late David Halberstam, Representative Charles Rangel, and National Urban League President Mark Morial. [KMG]

NSTA: Teaching Objects [Macromedia Flash Player]

Learning about science isnt always easy, and teaching various concepts can be quite vexing at times, particularly for newer teachers. Stepping in to provide a bit of assistance, the National Science Teachers Association has created these helpful science objects that provide a bit of a refresher course in each area. Created in partnership with organizations like NASA, NOAA, and the GE Foundation, these interactive features cover Newtons First, Second, and Third Laws, the origins of the universe, and the universe outside our own solar system. Visitors can also search to discover features that cover coral reef ecosystems, the different kinds of energy, and the oceans affect on weather and climate. [KMG]

Looking at Learning.Again, Part 2

Working in tandem with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the team of experts at the Annenberg Media Foundation has created this excellent instructional series. In this eight-part program, educators can learn about how young people learn and then see how to critique and apply these various theories. The sections include Learning to Share Perspectives, Algebra and Calculus: The Challenge, and Childrens Ways of Knowing. After looking over one or all of these insightful programs, visitors can also look at the series website which offers more details about the participants and the structure of the series. Finally, visitors can also sign up to receive related support materials if they are so inclined. [KMG]

Network Tools

Snarfer 0.8.3

With the explosion of RSS feeds, it can be a trying proposition to keep up with even a small set of interesting feeds. This version of Snarfer can help users do just that as they can perform keyword searches across their selected feeds, look for items throughout both eBay and Craigslist postings, and also use a number of specialized menus. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows XP or Vista. [KMG]

Pathway 1.0.3

Sometimes wandering through the wilds of Wikipedia can result in confusion. For Dennis Lorson, his wandering led him to create this handy application. With Pathway 1.0.3 visitors can retrace their own steps through Wikipedia by creating a graphical network representation of article pages. Its worth a try, and it will work with all computers running Mac OS X 10.4. [KMG]

In The News

Critics, authors and editors concerned over recent moves to eliminate book review sections in nations newspapers

Newspapers juggle book review sections in a time of change

The folly of downsizing book reviews,1,3962449.story?coll=la-news-comment

Battle of the book reviews,0,4948424.story

CRITICAL MASS: The blog of the national book critics circle board of directors

Salman Rushdie and Stephen Colbert discuss literary criticism

Help Protect Atlanta's Book Review

Over the past few years, newspapers around the country have been eliminating or downsizing their book review sections. Newspapers from the Los Angeles Times to the Chicago Tribune to the most recent Atlanta Journal Constitution have slowly removed their book editor position. Some, such as the San Francisco Chronicle folded their book review section into another part of the newspaper but after strong community protests it was restored. Although San Francisco Chronicle readers have their beloved Book Review Section back, it has been cut in half to make room for advertising. Newspapers who have made cuts cite reasons such as the lack of readership due to the growing popularity of online reviews, but book critics and authors both worry about the trend. The Washington Post and the New York Times have increased their coverage of book reviews in order to provide more content for those loosing their book review sections, but overall the trend is to remove or drastically downsize the book review section of newspapers. Over the past month, the National Book Critics Circle has launched a campaign to save book reviews. They began a blog, Critical Mass, which posts comments from writers, book editors, critics, newspaper editors and owners. It might seem odd that authors would be concerned about the demise of their fiercest critics, but book critics play an important role in the world of books. Critics are known for finding hidden treasures by unknown authors, books that may go unnoticed by the book reading public. While well-known authors need book critics less than their unknown colleagues, most note the importance of critics early in their career. John Updike, in his rules for book reviewing observed the important relationship between reviewer and public: The communion between reviewer and his public is based upon the presumption of certain possible joys in reading, and all our discriminations should curve toward that end. [CMH]

The first link will take users to a piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the recent changes by newspapers book review sections. The second link will take users to an Opinion piece in the Los Angeles times by author Michael Connelly criticizing the downsizing of book reviews. The third link leads to another piece in the LA Times, discussing the pros and cons of print versus online book reviews. The fourth link leads to the National Book Critics Circles new blog, Critical Mass, which includes interesting posts by critics, authors, editors and more. The fifth link will whisk users to a short video of Salman Rushdies recent visit to the Colbert Report to discuss the recent moves by newspapers to downsize book reviews and explain why critics arent necessarily the enemies of authors. The last link leads to an online petition that contains more than 5,000 signatures (including Rushdie and Norman Mailer). The petition asks that the Atlanta Journal Constitution restore its book section. Anyone may sign and show their support, and they may also peruse the names of those who have already signed to search for the many influential authors who are concerned with this recent trend. [CMH]

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