The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 46

November 30, 2007

A Publication of Internet Scout
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

The Internet Scout Project would like your feedback

Dear Scout Report Reader,
Many of you are aware that Scout is always working on a variety of research and development projects related to connecting educators to authoritative and helpful online resources. Our newest area of interest centers around online resources for teaching and research in the Social Sciences. We have created a brief online survey which will just take a few minutes to complete, and we would love to get your feedback about what you feel is most important as we move forward with this project. Obviously opinions from those of you whose primary field of study or teaching is in the Social Sciences are critical to us, but we welcome anyone to take the survey and provide us with feedback. Also please feel free to pass the URL along to others who you may think might be interested in providing us with their insights. The address for the survey is:

The survey only has about a dozen questions, and shouldn't take you long to complete. We value your feedback and answers and want to assure you that all the information you provide us remains anonymous. Should you have any difficulties with the survey please email us at:

As always, thank you for reading the Scout Report, and thanks in advance for taking a few minutes to fill out the survey!

Chanda Halderman
Managing Editor

Research and Education

The American Political Science Association [pdf]

The American Political Science Association's website is certainly not just for political scientists, though those who fall into that category will not be disappointed by the valuable materials offered here. APSA was founded in 1903, and currently they serve over 15000 members in over 80 countries. First-time visitors may want to stop by the "About" section which provides information about the organization, along with an answer to the question "What is Political Science?" Moving on, the APSA Journals area on the homepage affords visitors the opportunity to sample some articles from recent issues, such as "What China Will Want: The Future Intentions of a Rising Power" and "The Future of Election Reform in the States". Those persons currently working in the field of political science will want to take a look at the excellent "Teaching" section, as it contains resources on pedagogy that include syllabi, service learning assessments, and links to sites that contain additional resources that can be used in the classroom. [KMG]

Down to Earth Astronomy [pdf]

Created by the Space Telescope Science Institute, this website provides access to fun and engaging learning activities about astronomy, all of which live up to the website's name. The Institute also happens to oversee the grant administration, planning, scheduling, and public outreach activities for the Hubble Space Telescope, so it makes sense that they would have some rather nice materials. While the site has a number of useful areas, perhaps the strongest element of the site is the "Amazing Space" section. Here, visitors can learn about the inner workings of telescopes, read their in-house publication "The Star Witness", and take in sights of black holes, comets, galaxies, and gravity at work. Educators should not overlook the "Teaching Tools" area of the site, as they will want to look through their classroom activities, graphic organizers, and reading guides. [KMG]

Science Animations

The use of a well-placed animation in a lecture can help illuminate any number of important concepts in the sciences. Educators seeking high-quality animations need look no further than this very useful site created by staff members at North Harris Community College. The animations are divided into a number of topics, including plants, ecology, astronomy, geology, anatomy, and biology. Each section contains links to a host of fascinating and helpful animations from institutions like Florida State University, Cambridge University Press, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Alberta. As a note, the astronomy and physics areas are particularly strong, and visitors would do well to take a look at the lunar and planetary time-lapse animations offered up by Antnio Cidado. [KMG]

Algebra & Trigonometry

From polynomials to rational expressions, the world of algebra can be a befuddling place. Of course, trigonometry presents certain challenges as well, what with its sine graphs and inverse functions. Students and teachers of these subjects need fear no longer, as this site offers a guide for smooth sailing through all of these thorny matters. These mathematics resources were designed to complement a textbook authored by Robert Blitzer, and they include a number of interactive quizzes and tests. The materials on the site cover topics like exponents, matrices, and conic sections. Some of the materials are meant to be used as stand-alone educational materials, although visitors should note that some require the actual textbook. [KMG]

Get Body Smart: Respiratory System Interactive Tutorials & Quizzes [Macromedia Flash Player]

Don't know your trachea from your bronchioles? Never fear, as this informative and delightful interactive website from contains interactive learning exercises designed to help users learn about the respiratory system. The site features seven tutorials that feature both explanatory text passages and well-labeled illustrations. These tutorials cover the larynx, the pharynx, the nose, and four other parts of the respiratory system. After looking through these tutorials, visitors may wish to take the visual quizzes, which come in both multiple choice and short answer formats. For those hoping to learn more about other body systems, they will want to take a look at the additional links offered here. [KMG]

Physics Question of the Week

There's a simple invitation on this site, and it's worth thinking about: "Ask your friends about these questions, discuss them, try to come to a conclusion, and see what you can learn about physics." These fun and compelling physics questions are offered up by the University of Maryland's Department of Physics, and all told, there are about 300 questions available on the site. Visitors can scroll through the questions chronologically, or they can also look through a topically organized list as well. As the questions involve experimental physics, the answers to each problem are complemented in many instances with photographs and short videos. Finally, many of the questions are also available in Chinese, courtesy of translations from Professor Fu-Kwun Hwang. [KMG]

Latin American Pamphlet Digital Collection

Over the centuries, thousands of pamphlets have been published to serve various purposes. Some have been preserved by individuals and prescient institutions, but countless others have disappeared forever. Harvard University's Widener Library has over 5000 pamphlets from 19th and 20th century Latin America, and until recently, they remained uncataloged and mostly inaccessible. Visitors to this site can browse the collection by title, subject, name, and genre. The materials offered here range from documents on accounting practices to those dealing with yellow fever. Additionally, visitors looking for descriptive documents that describe unexplored territories and the relationship between church and state will not be disappointed. The site also contains a nice help feature and visitors can also email questions to staff members at the library. [KMG]

Scientific Commons [pdf]

The goal of the Scientific Commons website is "to develop the worlds largest communication medium for scientific knowledge products which is freely accessible to the public." This idea was developed by the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and is now hosted at the Institute for Media and Communications Management. Currently, the project is indexing metadata as well as full-text documents in a variety of file formats. The numbers are quite impressive, as the project holds over 16 million publications from over 850 repositories. Visitors to the site can perform a simple search by year, language, or keyword. Overall, the site will be tremendously useful to scholars in dozens of academic fields, or for people who just want to browse around to learn something new. [KMG]

General Interest

British Film Institute: Interviews

The British Film Institute treats the art of filmmaking with both reverence and irreverence and their public forums and interview series are well-regarded by members of the public and dedicated cineastes alike. They have done a nice job of offering up some of their choicest interviews on this site, and visitors can view interview transcripts dating back to 2001 here. The interviews are arranged alphabetically, and they include conversations with such luminaries as John Boorman, Robert Altman, Ben Kingsley, and Satyajit Ray. There are a few welcome surprises here, such as a lively interview with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (known for their witty way around early rock and roll songs) and Tom Baker of "Dr. Who" fame. [KMG]

Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Sketches of Northern Italy

As with his contemporary Frank Lloyd Wright in the United States, Charles Rennie Mackintosh received even greater fame after his death as his designs and patterns were incorporated into hundreds of different items designed for mass consumption. Mackintosh was primarily known as a member of the Arts and Crafts movement and was the best-known practitioner of the Art Nouveau style in Scotland. He was also an accomplished watercolor painter, and his sketches are displayed in various galleries around the world. This particular presentation pays tribute to his skill in this area of visual arts, as it brings together his sketches from Northern Italy along with interactive maps that allow users to follow his journey. Created by The Glasgow School of Art, the site features period maps of Italy from Palermo to Firenze, coupled with Mackintosh's sketches. Visitors looking for specific items will enjoy the keyword listings, which will let them jump right to everything from arches to wrought iron. [KMG]

Plant Information Online

Produced by the University of Minnesota Libraries, Plant Information Online is intended for just about anyone with a green thumb, or those who want to get their thumbs a bit greener. Visitors to this fine database will find details on over 134,000 wild and cultivated plants, along with information on over 2200 North American retail and wholesale seed and nursery firms. From the homepage, visitors can search the plant database by scientific or common name, and they can also take a look at the search tips for a bit more guidance. Additionally, the site also contains links to selected websites that feature both images and more detailed regional data on thousands of plants. After locating plants of interest, some visitors may wish to browse through the nursery database for tips on locating the closest place for geraniums, hydrangeas, and other such forms of vegetation. [KMG]

Jimmy Carter Library and Museum [pdf, Real Player]

Administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum was opened in 1986. For the benefit of researchers and others who cannot make it to Atlanta, this website provides access to some of the speeches and letters of President Carter, along with biographical information about members of the Carter family. First-time visitors will want to start at the "Documents and Photographs" section. Here, they can look over a special exhibit on the Camp David Accords, read oral history transcripts from members of Carter's cabinet, and peruse Carter's official diary from his time in office. Scholars and those wishing to visit and make use of the library's collections should look over the library information section, which contains details on how to begin searching the collection, and a link for visitors to ask questions online. Rounding out the site is a virtual tour of the museum and library. [KMG]

Seen and Heard: Reclaiming the Public Realm with Children and Young People [pdf]

Many people have fond memories of spending time in their neighborhood park or town center, and for young people, these places can have a special importance. This recent report from the Demos organization looks at the everyday experiences of children in public through six case studies. The 67-page report contains three sections: "What's Next?", "Making the Case", and "Spaces, Stories, and Shaping Places". Drawing on detailed ethnographies and observation, the report looks at several different spaces used by young people in the United Kingdom. While offering a number of important suggestions for future directions, the report also notes, "We need a paradigm shift in the way we think about the built environment-one which addresses the deepening segregation between generations." [KMG]

Global Education Digest 2007

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics publishes numerous technical guides and strategy papers every year, and this particular document is both timely and important. The Global Education Digest 2007 offers a comparative look at education statistics and spending across the world, and there are a number of findings that are particularly revealing within its pages. One such finding is that governments in sub-Saharan African spend only 2.4% of the world's public education resources, yet about 15% of the school-age population lives in these countries. Readers can compare education statistics from over 200 countries, and the report also contains a number of useful appendices with additional data. Currently, the report is available in English, French, and Spanish, and soon it will also be available in Arabic and Russian. [KMG]

New York Public Library: Webcasts [Quick Time, Windows Media Player]

The New York Public Library offers hundreds of public events every year, and for those persons who can't make it to 42nd Street and 5th Avenue, this website will allow them to listen and watch videos of these interesting events. Currently the site features over fifty of these events and they include conversations with Werner Herzog, R. Crumb, Orhan Pamuk, and Ken Burns. A number of the events are drawn from collaborative partnerships with organizations such as the PEN American Center. Some of the fruits from this particular partnership are available here as well, including conversations with Zadie Smith, Amartya Sen, and Salman Rushdie. Make some tea, find a suitable viewing position, and plan on making a few return visits to check out the new offerings on this site. [KMG]

Network Tools

Safari 3.0.4

This latest version of Safari contains a number of helpful additions that will come in handy. Along with such popular features as tabbed browsing and the integrated find feature, this version also comes with advanced cookie management tools and a host of new keyboard shortcuts. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4.9. [KMG]


Trying to grab screenshots for a project can be trying with some applications, but Jing makes the process quite seamless and stress-free. Jing allows users to grab screenshots and screencasts via a yellow interface device that sits on the screen at all times. This particular version of Jing is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Members of the film industry, critics, and others ask: "What is animation?"

'Beowulf' vs. cartoons: Animated debate rages

Nose on the Prize, but Which Oscar to Sniff? [Free registration may be required]

ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive

Animation History

Origins of American Animation, 1900-1921 [Real Player, Quick Time]

Animation World Network

Seven or eight decades ago, it was a bit easier to identify what traditional film animation looked like. If pressed for an example, most people might mention the iconic 1928 cartoon, "Steamboat Willie", which features the perpetually smiling Mickey Mouse piloting a steamboat. These days, while traditional storyboards remain a part of the creative process, animators have tools like rotoscoping, live-action hybrids (a la "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"), cel overlays, and numerous other techniques to bring to their craft. Some of these technical matters have been under closer examination since 2002, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences created the Oscar for best animated feature. Under the guidelines, films nominated in this category must have "frame-by-frame" animation, which means that recent films such as "Beowulf" and "Ratatouille" would qualify for nominations in the coming year. "Beowulf" utilized the motion capture technique, and some animators remain skeptical of whether this technique qualifies as "animation". Of course, the lines between animation and other forms of cinematic expression have always been blurry, and it will remain a subject of debate by members of the industry and others for some time to come. [KMG]

The first link will take readers to a piece on this recent debate in the world of animation which appeared in The Arizona Republic this past Sunday. The second link leads to another piece on this subject from this Wednesdays New York Times. Moving on, the third leads to the very fun and interesting ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. Here visitors can view historic animation manuals, clips from the early days of movie animation, and so on. The fourth link leads to a site created by animator Lynn Tomlinson as a way to offer alternatives to the history taught by the big studios. The fifth link leads to the most welcome Origins of American Animation Site, 1900-1921 site, where visitors can watch rare examples of early American animation, including the celebrated short Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse at the Circus. Persons hoping to learn more about the nuts and bolts of the animation industry will enjoy the last link, which features pieces on How To Succeed In Animation and a cornucopia of newsletters and information on upcoming releases. [KMG]

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The Scout Report.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

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

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

Copyright Internet Scout, 1994-2007. Internet Scout (, 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.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

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

Internet Scout Team
Max GrinnellEditor
Chanda HaldermanManaging Editor
Edward AlmasyCo-Director
Rachael BowerCo-Director
Andrea CoffinMetadata Specialist
Clay CollinsInternet Cataloger
Emily SchearerInternet Cataloger
Tim BaumgardWeb Developer
Kyle MannaTechnical Specialist
Benjamin YuleTechnical Specialist
Lesley Skousen-ChioAdministrative Support
Debra ShapiroContributor

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