The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 6

February 15, 2008

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

Legacy: Spain and the United States in the Age of Independence 1763-1848 [Macromedia Flash Player]

During the eighty-five year period after the 1763 Treaty of Paris, Great Britain, Spain, France, Native Americans, and the young American republic engaged in a number of conflicts, alliances, and battles on the North American continent. Drawing on primary source materials from the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery and numerous other organizations, this delightful exhibit looks at the crucial Spanish contributions to the American cause during the Revolutionary War and the presence and influence of Hispanic culture in Florida, Louisiana, California, and the Southwest. Visitors can begin their exploration through the site by clicking through the five primary sections, which include "War of Independence" and "Spain in the American Imagination". Upon arriving at each section, visitors will be presented with an interactive "wall" of portraits, maps, treaties, and other items of historical ephemera. Additionally, the site also includes an interactive catalogue and a map. Needless to say, the site's materials are also available in Spanish. [KMG]

Digital Library for Earth System Education [pdf]

The Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) is a clearinghouse of high-quality materials for educators, students and scientists "working together to improve the quality, quantity, and efficiency of teaching and learning about the Earth system at all levels." First-time visitors will want to look at the "Getting started with DLESE" section, as it provides a bit of background information, along with a guide to searching the library. Visitors can also get a better sense of the site's content by looking at the "Resource of the Day" featured on the homepage. More advanced users can also take advantage of the embedded search engine to look for educational resources by type, grade level, or relevant educational standard. The site is rounded out by a "News" area, which features items that are of interest to the Earth science community. [KMG]

Rhetoric for Engineers

As a field of study, rhetoric has enjoyed a popular resurgence in at the college level, and when deployed effectively, various rhetorical devices can make any piece of writing much more compelling. Ron Graham has created this site designed to help engineers and "other practical people" with the practice and art of rhetoric. The site includes a summary of basic rhetoric, along with some "Two-Minute Drills", which are designed to help engineers with developing answers to questions like "Are engineers made or born?" and "Define 'reliability'". Visitors can also look over the site's complete contents via an interactive guide which covers everything from abstraction to workplace distractions. [KMG]

The Road Not Traveled: Education Reform in the Middle East and North Africa [pdf]

The World Bank has long been interested in looking at education throughout the world, and this recent report pays close attention to education systems across the Middle East and North Africa. The report was released in February 2008, and offers a comprehensive economic analysis of the impact of education investments in the region. The report notes that while most of the countries in this region have made great strides in recent decades, they will need to place a premium on so-called "soft skills" (such as problem solving) in order to compete in a global economy. Additionally, the report recommends that policy-makers should use incentives, public accountability, curriculum and labor market reforms in order to make the region's economies more dynamic. [KMG]

Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students

Crafting meaningful and articulate lab presentations and correspondence can be difficult for anyone, including engineers and other scientists. This particular set of resources is deigned to teach engineering and science students about creating and writing materials such as resumes, formal laboratory reports, presentation slides, and so on. The guidelines are gathered into several different sections, including "Introduction", "Presentations", "Correspondence", and "Formal Reports". There is material for instructors here as well, and the offerings include pieces on the design of writing assignments, the interactive teaching of writing, and the evaluation of writing assignments. Finally, the site also contains a number of writing exercises on grammar, punctuation, and word usage. [KMG]

Studies in the History of Ethics [pdf]

Started in 2005, Studies in the History of Ethics is a peer-reviewed electronic journal and research portal focused on publishing articles and reviews which deal with the history of ethics. First-time visitors can use the homepage to look over more recent works, such as a symposium on the ethics of John Stuart Mill which includes pieces from scholars at the University of Utah and the National University of Singapore. Further down the page, users can also read up on the journal's calls for works to be included in future symposia. Moving on, visitors can click on the "Archives" section to read past pieces published online and they can also use an embedded search engine to look for specific works. The site is rounded out by an RSS feed and contact information for the journal's editors. [KMG]

Library of Congress: Science Reference Services

As one of the world's premier libraries, the Library of Congress has many staff members dedicated to helping members of the general public find the information they need. Along with providing in-person assistance in Washington, D.C., they also maintain this nifty site designed for persons looking for science reference material online. There is not much that isn't included on the site, as visitors can view webcasts on creating a school garden, look over research guides, and learn about "Everyday Mysteries". The "Everyday Mysteries" feature provides answers to questions such as "Who invented electric Christmas lights?" and it can be quite addictive. Visitors should also click on over to the "Science Reference Guides" area. Here they can look at comprehensive research bibliographies on chocolate, astronomy, electric power, and dozens more. With all of this material, visitors may also want to sign up for their RSS feed. [KMG]

MIT Security Studies Program [pdf]

Based at the Center for International Studies at MIT, the Security Studies Program is interested in "the integration of technical and political analysis of national and international security problems." Visitors to the site can look over their research agenda, learn about their degree programs, and also look at their interactive calendar. Scholars will definitely want to make their way to the "Program Publications" area. Here they will find the Program's annual report, their research journal, and a monthly newsletter titled "Early Warning". Moving on, visitors should also take a look at some of their working papers, which include "Transforming the Rewards for Military Service" and "The Political Science of Agent Orange". The site is rounded out with a search engine and information about relevant conferences. [KMG]

General Interest

AFSCME, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike

In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to Memphis to support striking sanitation workers. On the evening of April 3, King delivered his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech to strikers and their supporters. The very next day, he was assassinated. This site takes visitors through the experiences of those who were there and also through the words of Dr. King during his time in Memphis. Visitors can begin their journey through the site by looking over the "Memphis: We Remember" section. Here they will find video clips, a chronology of the 1968 strike, and a transcript of King's famous speech. Moving on, visitors can also view selected articles from "Public Employee" magazine culled from the spring of 1968. Finally, the last section includes retrospective pieces which bring together the recollections of strikers and others. [KMG]

Frontline: The Mormons

Many people around the world aren't terribly familiar with the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was founded in 1830. In this insightful and probing documentary, Frontline looks into the world of the Mormon Church by talking to current church leaders, as well as dissident exiles, historians, and scholars. Visitors to the site can watch the entire four-hour program online, and then move on to their helpful FAQ section and interactive timeline. The "Themes" area is a real gem, and visitors can move through different themes, including "The Mormon Faith", "Polygamy", and "The Mormon Missionaries". Within each section they can read pieces on each subject offered by members of the Mormon Church, along with those of leading writers and historians. Finally, the site also includes a collection of relevant links and suggested readings. [KMG]

21st Century Music [pdf]

For those not familiar with the world of new music, this very compelling journal may be just the place to start. The journal is edited by Mark Alburger, "an eclectic American composer of postminimal, postpopular, and postcomedic sensibilities." Since the journal's inception in January 2000, Alburger and his colleagues have drawn on a wide range of experts to craft their publication. In each issue, users will find concert reviews, interviews, recording reviews, as well as other pieces of miscellany. Users can download each issue for convenient consultation, and they may also use the contact information provided to send a note to Dr. Alburger. [KMG]

Art and Literature in Siena, 1250-1600 [Windows Media Player]

Located in the hills of Tuscany, the city of Siena was a buzzing hive of cultural activity from the 13th to 16th century. At the heart of the city was the University of Siena, founded in 1203, and scholars and others flocked to hear lectures on law and medicine. Of course, the city also had its famed Duomo, which is one of the premier examples of Italian Romanesque architecture. Recently, the University of Leeds placed four lectures online that deal with the art and literature of Siena, and visitors will be delighted to listen to them as they see fit. They include "The City as a Work of Art: Making and Meaning in the Italian Renaissance", "Duccio and the Flowering of Sienese Art", "Theater in Renaissance Siena", and "Art, Power and Patronage in Renaissance Siena". [KMG]

Johnson's Island, Unlocking a Civil War Prison: Interactive Dig

Johnson's Island in Ohio is arguably the state's best known Civil War landmark. In 1861, the U.S. Army leased 40 cleared acres of the island in order to create a prisoner of war depot. The depot was in operation from 1862 to 1865, when the site began new life as an agricultural station. Recently, David Bush and some of his archaeology colleagues began an excavation on the site in order to locate the barracks that once housed Confederate POWs. This site, offered by Archaeology Magazine, allows users to journey along as the team performs their work. Visitors can look over the field reports filed by the team, read an interview with David Bush, and also read letters and diary notes from the original prisoners and their guards. [KMG]

Hoover Institution: Uncommon Knowledge [Real Player, Windows Media Player]

The Hoover Institution has placed a wide array of multimedia content online for over a decade, and recently they created a site for their "Uncommon Knowledge" program. Hosted by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson, the program features interviews with political leaders, distinguished scholars, and leading journalists. First-time visitors to the site can browse the archives by topic, date, or guest. Currently, the online archive contains programs from 1997 to 2005, along with webcasts from 2006 to the present. Recent conversations added to the site include a discussion with Shelby Steele and a talk with Michael Barone about tax reform and various health-care proposals. [KMG]

Rose and Chess: Discover Two Reunited Medieval Manuscripts

Bringing together medieval manuscripts is always a good thing, and recently the University of Chicago brought two fascinating volumes back together. The first is a courtly romance (Le Roman de la Rose) and the other is a treatise on medieval society that uses the game of chess as its framework (Le Jeu des checs moralis). The two volumes were bound together, perhaps soon after they were created (ca. 1365), and stayed together for over 500 years. In 1907, they were divided into two volumes and sent their separate ways. By bringing them back together, The University of Chicago Library hopes to make it possible for scholars to study the two manuscripts together to learn about their shared origin and production history. Visitors to the site can view each manuscript in its entirety, and they can also look over a brief essay which gives a bit of context about their history. Additionally, visitors should not miss the piece titled "A Tale of Two Manuscripts Reunited", which offers some background on how the two manuscripts were brought back together in one place. [KMG]

Network Tools

Freebie Notes 3.16

Sometimes it can be difficult to remember where one has left an important note or reminder. For people experiencing such a difficulty, it may be helpful to try out Freebie Notes. Freebie Notes 3.16 allows users to create electronic sticky notes that can be used to remind them of important deadlines, meetings, and birthdays. Users can also customize the appearance of these electronic notes as they see fit. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

Save2pc 3.25

Save2pc is an application that allows users to download videos from a number of popular sites (such as Google Video) so that they can be used in different settings. Visitors can paste the URL of a video into the application and the selected video will be downloaded. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Ornithologists continue quest to locate the ivory-billed woodpecker

The Great Woodpecker Hunt [Free registration may be required]

Ivory-billed Woodpecker Chat [Real Player]

The Search for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

Audubon: Ivory-billed woodpecker

Ivory-billed woodpecker [pdf]

Big Woods Conservation Partnership

Three years ago, a bird scientist claimed to have seen an ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas. It was an unusual sighting, mostly because the bird was supposedly extinct, and had been so since the 1940s. The alleged sighting set off a flurry of activity among ornithologists, and even those with little interest in bird watching became interested. The quest for this rare bird continues, as a team of researchers from Cornell University was recently dispatched to the White River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas to continue the search. To look for the bird, they have brought along tools like GPS coordinate monitors, automatic cameras, infrared flash strobes, and sensitive audio recorders. Of course, there are some in the birding community who remain convinced that there are no ivory-billed woodpeckers left at all. There are a number of believers however, and groups like the Nature Conservancy, the Audubon Society, and even NASA have provided support and technical assistance. Even noted biologist E. O. Wilson has chimed in on the subject, noting that while the bird may be gone forever, "Great science discoveries have come from longer odds." [KMG]

The first link leads to a fine piece from this Sunday's Boston Globe which reports on the quest to locate the ivory-billed woodpecker. The second link leads to a chat with author Phillip Hoose, who wrote a book about the ivory-billed woodpecker. Moving on, the third link leads to the homepage for the research expedition sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Here, visitors can learn more about the expedition and read dispatches from the field. The fourth link will take visitors to a drawing of the ivory-billed woodpecker by noted naturalist John James Audubon. The fifth link will lead visitors to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's site dedicated to the ivory-billed woodpecker. Here visitors can read a draft recovery plan and also learn more about the bird. The last link will take visitors to the homepage of the Big Woods Conservation Partnership. [KMG]

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