The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 48

December 14, 2007

A Publication of Internet Scout
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

The New Jersey Digital Highway [pdf]

Merging onto any highway can be a real challenge, but getting onto the New Jersey Digital Highway is a snap. Billed as the place "Where History, Culture, and Learning Merge", this digital archive brings together history and culture from the Garden States museums, libraries, archives, and historical societies. First-time visitors may want to perform a quick search via their search engine, or they can also browse the collections by time period or county. Visitors should definitely look at the collection titled "The Changing Face of New Jersey-The Immigration Experience From Earliest Times to the Present". Here, they can look through materials dating back to 1741 that include oral histories, photographs, diaries, and sheepskin deeds. [KMG]

The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House: African American Women Unite For Change [pdf]

During her long life, Mary McLeod Bethune was an educator, social activist, and prominent leader in the women's rights movement. This latest installment in the National Park Service's "Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans" centers on her council House in Washington, D.C., and is a fine resource for history teachers and those with a general interest in American history. The Council House happens to be where the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) was located for over twenty years, and a number of important discussions regarding the integration of the military took place here. Visitors to the site will want to take a look at the historical essay on the house before getting started, and then they will want to look at the readings on Bethune and the NCNW. The lesson also includes a host of visual images along with some fine classroom activities and discussion questions. [KMG]

National Pesticide Information Center [pdf]

The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) was created through a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Its primary function is to provide "objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions about pesticides and their use." The site contains seven primary sections, including "General Information", "Technical Information", "Pest Control", and "Emergency". Most casual visitors to the site should click on over to the "General Information" area. In this section, they will find fact sheets and posters on pesticide safety, storage and disposal, and case studies. Of course, they shouldn't forget about the other areas of the site, particularly if they are interested in regulatory issues involving pesticides and emergency resources. Finally, the site also contains a search engine for those who know exactly what they need to find. [KMG]

Oxford Internet Institute [pdf, Real Player]

More and more research institutes are interested in examining how the Internet has reshaped human interaction, governance, and industry, and the Oxford Internet Institute is certainly one that people will enjoy learning about. The Institute offers several academic degrees, and their site offers up their latest research findings for consideration by the press, scholars, and members of the general public. In the "Research" section, visitors can learn about their various research initiatives and also take in some of their recent publications, such as "The Internet in Britain" and "Reconfiguring Government-Public Engagements: Enhancing the Communicative Power of Citizens". They also have a delightful selection of webcasts from the past several years, including programs on how e-research enables new form of collaboration across the sciences and the humanities. The site is rounded out by their very own extensive blogosphere, which is well developed and definitely worth a look. [KMG]

Basic Legal Citation

For law students, learning about the world of legal citations is key. For many years, the standard reference work on legal citation was a manual known as "The Bluebook". This work has been revised numerous times over the years, and this online version appeared in May 2007. It is offered here as a public service, by the Legal Information Institute (LII) at Cornell University's Law School, and it will be helpful for those looking for a quick online reference work. It is worth noting that this particular introduction is focused on the forms of citation used in processional practice rather that those used in journal publication. Visitors can search through the contents at their leisure, and they can also jump around to sections that cover the use of underlining, italics, and citation principles. [KMG]

Digital Durham

Durham, North Carolina has been the subject of many scholarly works, and its particular location and context makes it a compelling place for persons interested in examining urbanization, immigration, industrialization, and emancipation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Created by Duke University and the North Carolina State Library, this digital archive presents a cornucopia of primary sources, including personal letters, entries from a prominent general store in the region, maps, and census data. Visitors should feel free to browse through these documents, or they can also perform a detailed search. Other features of the site include a brief geographic overview of the Piedmont region and a glossary of terms used in the 1880 census. Educators will enjoy looking over the "Teachers Corner", which includes lesson plans that utilize some of the primary documents in the archive. [KMG]

Minerals in the Biosphere [pdf]

Bringing together the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and the lithosphere can be a formidable challenge. This classroom activity created by H. Catherine W. Skinner of Yale University manages to do that quite elegantly, and it is one that geology teachers will want to try out in their own classrooms. In this activity, students will be presented with the opportunity to explore the natural processes that influence the geological distribution of materials, study elemental cycles, and also examine how they can affect human health. On this site, visitors can read about the pedagogical approach of this activity, download instructor notes, as well as the specific goals of the assignment. [KMG]

MicroMatters [pdf]

The BioEd Online Project at Baylor University's College of Medicine continues to release new educational resources for persons in the fields of health science, medicine, and biology. Their MicroMatters project creates "teaching materials and online resources in microbiology and infectious diseases," and is a welcome addition to BioEd's existing materials. MicroMatters is a short magazine designed to teach students about communicable diseases, how microbes are spread, various epidemics throughout history, and the immune system and vaccines. Educators may want to use this magazine in conjunction with other classroom activities, or they could also recommend it to other educators who are looking to address similar topics in their own classrooms. [KMG]

General Interest


From Manchester to Dubai, the Emporis website is a real treat for architects, urbanists, geographers, and anyone with an interest in buildings. Currently, the site contains detailed information on buildings and companies in over 50,000 cities, and visitors can enter a city of interest in the search engine to get started. For the spatially-minded, there's also a "World Map" area where they may click on the continents to take a tour of buildings large and small. Each entry contains a selection of photographs and details about the building's materials, architectural style, height, and other details. Some buildings also have a "Facts" section which offers up other relevant tidbits. Overall, it is a well-designed site that is worth several return visits. [KMG]

Culturally-Situated Design Tools [Macromedia Flash Player]

Through the ages, various forms of visual expression have implicitly (and explicitly) drawn on a variety of mathematical principles. The people at the Center for Cultural Design at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are interested in reaching out to a wide range of people through culturally-situated design tools, so they have created this fine site to do just that. The activities offered on the site are designed to help students learn standards-based mathematics through examinations of pre-Columbian pyramids, basket weaving, and rhythm wheels. Within each of the activities, visitors can read a bit of historical background, and then participate in a number of interactive activities designed to reinforce a range of mathematical principles and axioms. Educators will appreciate the teaching materials that are included with each activity, as they include links to other materials and examples of student work. [KMG]

Critical Dance Forum

Terpsichorean pursuits sometimes get short shrift on arts sites, but this site celebrates all aspects of dance and ballet. CriticalDance is an international non-profit entity established to support all of the dance arts, and their site includes forums, photo galleries, external links, and articles culled from their magazine. First-time visitors may want to start by looking through the online "Ballet-Dance" magazine, where they can read both the current issue, and issues dating back to July 2003. Here they will be delighted to find pieces on British choreography, reviews of recent performances, and information about upcoming dance performances and conferences. Moving on, visitors should also browse through the photo galleries and take a dip into the online forums where they can feel free to ask questions about all aspects of dance. [KMG]

Americans for the Arts [pdf] (Last reviewed in the Scout Report on September 15, 1995)

Based in Washington, D.C. and New York, Americans for the Arts is primarily interested in representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. From their homepage, visitors can learn about their most recent advocacy efforts and also learn more about creating and supporting arts opportunities in various communities across the country. A good place to start on the site is the "Information & Services" area. In this section, users can learn about joining their cultural policy listserv and also access the National Arts Policy Database. The database is a tool that allows users to view over 8000 records that include news articles, program profiles, and research abstracts related to arts policy and practice. Visitors should not leave the site without looking over their insightful and frequently updated weblog. [KMG]

Virginia Cooperative Extension: Agricultural and Natural Resources Publication [pdf]

State extension programs are a great way for interested parties to learn about everything from community development to integrated pest management. These publications from the Virginia Cooperative Extension cover these topics, and dozens more. On the site, visitors can look over a table contents that divides the papers into such headings as "Agricultural and Applied Economics", "Food Science and Technology", and "Horticulture". Most of the papers are available in one or more formats, and along with more practical publications, there are a few that may inspire a new hobby or passion. Some of these include papers that help individuals learn about home-curing pork and how to correctly site a vineyard. [KMG]

Letters Home From Congress

Letters from prominent individuals can yield valuable insights about their relationships and their views on a multitude of important (and, at times, trivial) matters. The University of Vermont recently digitized over 440 letters from three of their former elected officials that provide a number of insights into significant local and national events, traveling to and from Washington, and legislative issues under consideration in Congress. The politicians profiled here are Senator Warren R. Austin (who served from 1931-1946), and Jacob Collamer and Samuel C. Crafts who served in the middle of the 19th century. Visitors can browse the collection of letters by topic, author, and place, and for anyone with an abiding interest in either Vermont history or American political history and lore, this site will be quite a treat. [KMG]

Journalists in Iraq: A Survey of Reporters On The Front Lines [pdf]

In November 2007, the Project for Excellence in Journalism published this survey of reporters working on the front lines in Iraq. The report includes responses from 111 journalists who have worked or are currently working in Iraq, and the majority of them have worked there for at least seven months since the war began. The survey for this report was conducted from September to November 2007, and there are a number of interesting findings that came out of this investigation. Almost nine out of ten journalists stated that their local staff cannot carry any type of reporting equipment (including a notebook) because it is too dangerous to be identified as working with the western media. Most of the journalists interviewed for the survey also said they had a positive view of the U.S. military's embedding program, as it afforded them access that would not be possible without it. [KMG]

Wine, Worship & Sacrifice [Adobe Flash Player]

"Wine, Worship and Sacrifice: The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani", organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World of New York University, presents an array of objects that document the ancient culture of Colchis (modern-day Georgia). The objects presented here include: gold, silver and ceramic vessels; jewelry; bronze sculpture; Greek and Colchian coins; and Greek glassware. Metal - gold, silver, iron or bronze - was the main medium of Colchian art and craftsmanship. Browsing the exhibit highlights reveals a plethora of gold and precious metal, such as a gold necklace with turtle- shaped pendants, weighing in at 3 ounces, or a gold bracelet in the shape of a boar's head that weighs almost one-fourth of a pound. Perhaps the most interesting portion of the site is the close examination of Grave 24, discovered by archaeologists in August of 2004. Grave 24 contained "more than 1000 pieces of gold, hundreds of silver objects and more than 15,000 beads in glass, faience and various semi-precious stones." The web site shows a selection of these objects in their original context, and also allows visitors to zoom in for more information. [DS]

Network Tools

Free FLV Converter 1.2.1

Taking Flash files from the web can be a bit cumbersome, so this application will definitely be a most welcome find. This free Flash converter allows users to take Flash files and transfer them to formats appropriate for portable devices and other items. The site is available in both French and English and this particular version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, 2003, and Vista. [KMG]

Crossword Construction Kit

You don't have to be Will Shortz to create a great crossword puzzle, and this handy desktop crossword publisher will help users on their way to puzzle nirvana. With this application, users can enter the words and clues, select a puzzle shape and page layout, and the puzzle will be generated shortly. It is worth noting that this version can be used for thirty days at no charge and that it is compatible with computers running Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, and XP. [KMG]

In The News

As more information goes online, companies and individuals try to maintain privacy of web searches Puts a Bet on Privacy [Free registration may be required]

Ask.coms privacy "eraser" misses a few spots

Protests accompany Googles expansion of Street View

Google Maps Street View

Security Bites Podcast

Six Tips to Protect Your Search Privacy

Most people dont give much thought to typing terms into a search engine, but recently there has been increased anxiety among some users about what happens to these searches after they are completed. Of course, most major search engines generally keep track of search terms typed by users. Concern began to heighten after a study by the New York Times indicated that some queries conducted via AOL could be traced back to individuals. In response to this ongoing issue of online privacy, a number of companies have stepped up efforts to ensure that searches remain private. unveiled their "AskEraser" this week, which essentially tells their search engine not to save any future queries. A number of privacy experts have responded positively to this latest development, though there have been skeptics as well. Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute, noted, "My gut tells me that basically it is not going to be a competitive advantage. I think people will look at it and see it as a cool thing, and they may use it. But I don't think it will be a market differentiator." Beyond the business aspects of this new feature, privacy debates involving the information from other sites such as Facebook and Google's Street View will no doubt continue to be addressed by privacy groups, corporations, and the federal government. [KMG]

The first link will take users to an article about's new privacy feature from this Tuesday's New York Times. The second link leads to a post from Salon's "Machinist" weblog, which offers a critical appraisal of this privacy feature. The third link leads to a piece from the International Herald Tribune on the privacy issues raised by Google's expansion of their "Street View" mapping application. Moving along, the fourth link leads to Google's "Street View" application. Here, visitors can take virtual walks through fifteen cities, including Boston, San Francisco, Detroit, and Providence. The fifth link whisks users away to CNET's "Security Bites" podcast site. Visitors to the site can listen to helpful podcasts on protecting computer data, battling botnets, and global cybercrime. Finally, the last link leads to six rather helpful hints on protecting search privacy, courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. [KMG]

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