The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 26

July 4, 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

The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College [pdf]

Founded in 1986, The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College was started in order to "serve the wider policymaking community in the United States and the rest of the world by enabling scholars and leaders in business, labor, and government to work together on problems of common interest." To accomplish this mission, the Institute works to disseminate its various findings via publications, conferences, workshops, seminars, congressional testimony, and other activities. Visitors can become familiar with their work by looking at their new publications on the homepage. In recent years, works featured here have included analysis papers on fiscal stimulus measures and economic reports on the financial situation of America's elderly population. Moving on, visitors can learn more about their specific research programs on the left hand side of the page. Here, under the "Research Programs" tab, they will find specific policy briefs and papers that deal with gender equality and the economy, the distribution of income and wealth, and economic policies in the 21st century. Finally, visitors can sign up to receive their RSS feed and their email updates. [KMG]

National Park Service, Nature & Science: Teacher Resources [pdf]

The National Park Service has developed this exemplary set of educational resources which draws on their greatest assets, namely national parks from Maine to Utah. The materials are specifically designed for teaching geology, but it's easy to see how these items could be incorporated into general science classes. The main area on their homepage features over a dozen teacher guides and park programs that feature detailed geology lessons that draw on the landscapes of Yosemite National Park and the dynamic volcanoes of Hawaii. On the right side of the page, visitors can scan through the "Highlights" area to learn more about online park images, park maps, and even peruse a calendar of upcoming educator workshops. The site is rounded out by the "Geology Books and Media" area, which features information about technical reports, textbooks, and geology-themed children's books. [KMG]

Dakin Fire Insurance Maps

Fire insurance maps are an important source of historical information about cities throughout the United States, and this delightful collection from the University of Hawaii offers a great selection of these valuable documents. Currently, the collection contains 78 total maps of various urbanized areas within the Hawaiian Islands. Most of the maps are focused on Honolulu and they reveal the early stages of intense urbanization across the city. The maps date from 1891 to 1906 and they feature a tremendous amount of detail including information about local road infrastructure, building footprints, and so on. This resource will be of great use to urban historians, geographers, and others with an urban bent. [KMG]

Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative [pdf]

Based at the University of California, Berkeley, the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI) is a "global consortium of people who share the vision of creating a distributed virtual library of cultural information with a time and place interface." While visitors can elect to read about the technical aspects of working on such ambitious efforts, many will want to look at the "Cultural Atlas Portal" to get a start on things. Visitors will find that the Portal contains an interactive map of the world which can be used to look for materials from Australia to North America. These cultural atlases include projects like "The Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project" and "Mapping St. Petersburg". After looking over a few of these projects, visitors may wish to click on the "Community" area. Here they can learn how to contribute their own projects to ECAI or how to work with partner institutions to create a new piece of work, visitors can also find out about ongoing projects around the globe. [KMG]

English Composition: Writing for an Audience

How does one write a great essay? Is it possible to come up with an original voice? These two questions and many more are discussed in this 26-part series on English composition. Offered as part of the Annenberg Media website, this video series "introduces basic principles and strategies for communicating in writing to a variety of audiences and improving general composition skills." Over the course of this series, interested parties will hear from a wide range of writing professionals. Each episode is 30 minutes long and the program titles include "Finding Something To Say", "Reading as a Writer", and "Peer Feedback". The material is quite varied, as users will find segments with Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh arguing about the definition of "welfare" and writers from the television program "MAD TV" talking about the experience of collaborative writing. [KMG]

Welcome to Zon! [Macromedia Flash Player]

Learning Chinese is not easy, but this magnificent site may spark a new interest among those who have been thinking of taking up the language. Created by Professor Yong Zhao at Michigan State University, Zon is a multiplayer online learning environment designed to introduce users to the Chinese language and culture through gameplay. His work was sponsored by the Office of the Chinese Language Council International and Michigan State University. As a part of the total experience, users will have the opportunity to learn from non-player characters, responsive game agents, and other players. First-time visitors can learn more about Zon by clicking on the "About" section, and after that they can register (a quick and free process) to get started. [KMG]

The Campaign Finance Institute [pdf]

With funding from the Carnegie Corporation, The Joyce Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Campaign Finance Institute is a non-profit institute affiliated with The George Washington University that "conducts objective research and education, empanels task forces and makes recommendations for policy change in the field of campaign finance." Along the top of the homepage, visitors will find thematic sections that include "President", "Congress", and "Interest Groups". Each of these sections includes full reports, press releases, data tables and charts. Additionally, visitors can look for specific materials by using their embedded search engine. Also, visitors can sign up here to receive email updates on the Institute's research and programs. Overall, it's a very useful site for anyone with an interest in campaign finance from a personal or an academic perspective. [KMG]

Center for First World War Studies: Lions Led By Donkeys

Years ago, scholar John Bourne encountered historian Peter Lawrence in a class at Birmingham University. In this class, they discussed the various British officers in World War One who weren't as well known as some of the other commanders. Professor Lawrence asked "Who were all these generals anyway?" Later, Bourne and a number of his colleagues decided to look into the lives and legacies of the masses of other general officers who commanded British troops during World War One. The results of their work can be found on this site, as visitors can read over 70 short biographies of these unsung leaders. The biographies are arranged alphabetically, all the way from Brigadier-General Sandys Ainslie to Brigadier-General Hugh Kennedy Woods. The site has a number of other resources listed on the left-hand side of the page, including book reviews and information about tracing a soldier. [KMG]

General Interest

Thomas Jefferson's Library [Macromedia Flash Player]

On June 10th, 1815 Thomas Jefferson made a remark that would surprise no one, "I cannot live without books." During his long life, Jefferson collected thousands of books, and even though his collection was pared down due to a fire in his home in 1770, he quickly regrouped and began adding to his collection. In 1815, Congress purchased his library for $23,950. This digital collection from the Library of Congress pays homage to this tremendous collection by offering visitors several interactive features about Jefferson's books, an object list, and an event calendar of related lectures and talks on the collection. Visitors may wish to begin by exploring the "Themes" area, which divides some of Jefferson's books into categories like "Memory", "Reason", and "Imagination". Each section contains selected images from works like a 18th century Builder's Dictionary consulted by Jefferson and a collection of Machiavelli's political works published in 1768. For a more thorough examination, the "Interactives" area provides access to a number of full-text versions of some of these books. [KMG]

National Press Club [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf] (Last reviewed in the Scout Report on March 3, 1995)

On a March day in 1908, 32 newspapermen met at the Washington Chamber of Commerce to discuss beginning a professional club for journalists. Over the past one hundred years, the National Press Club (NPC) has served as a meeting place for thousands of journalists and has also hosted important newsmakers like Boris Yeltsin, Golda Meir, and Indira Gandhi. First-time visitors can look over the calendar of events, learn about the Club's facilities, and read their "Freedom of the Press" section. Most casual visitors will want to begin by clicking over to the "Freedom of the Press" area. It's a great way to learn about the organization's work to promote freedom of the press throughout the United States through various advocacy projects. While some of the material is available only to members, the "Library" contains numerous free resources for working journalists and others with a penchant for current affairs. The most useful section may be the "Reporters' Resources" which brings together external links that will be most helpful to reporters; the resources are organized thematically into sections like "Politics", "Elections", and "Business". Visitors should also check out the "Speakers" section. This section offers "XM Satellite Radio Broadcasts from the Club" where visitors can listen to a variety of NPC Luncheon Speakers, Newsmakers and other newsworthy events as well as original roundtable discussions. [KMG]

Dialogue Radio and Television [QuickTime]

Started in 1988, "Dialogue" was originally a weekly radio program that featured conversations with important public figures, journalists, authors and other prominent persons. The program has grown since then to include a television series and it remains based at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The program is hosted by George Liston Seay, and visitors can click on "About the Host" to learn more about his background. Additionally, the site contains a "Listen to Past Programs" area where visitors can browse through a subject index of past shows, and also listen (and look) at past programs dating back to 1998. Some recent programs of note include "Communicating Across Cultures" with Professor Lawrence Rosen of Princeton University and policy scholar William Krist on "Planting Policy: American Agriculture and World Trade". [KMG]

Dance Teacher Magazine

Adherents and devotees of the terpsichorean arts don't have nearly enough quality online resources, but fortunately Dance Teacher magazine has a fine website. The site digests a wide array of materials from the print version of their publication, along with web-only features. The site is quite easy to navigate, and most of the primary materials are contained with the sections "Teaching", "Style", "Health", and "Business". The "Teaching" area contains tips on engaging reluctant dancers, eliminating boredom in mixed-level classes, and on organizing the dance classroom. Moving on, the "Business" area covers some of the ins and outs of managing a dance-related business with pieces titled "Is Sharing Your Studio Right For You?" and "Investing Intelligently". Further down the homepage, the "Style" area contains pieces like "Stress-Free Costume Ordering" and "Enhance Your Tutu Expertise". On the left-hand side of the page, visitors can look at their online features such as "Teaching the Salsa!" and a frequently updated pop quiz on the world of dance. Finally, visitors shouldn't leave the site without checking in on the "Editor's Blog". [KMG]

American Choral Music, 1870-1923

If you don't already know the names Amy Marcy Cheney Beach, Dudley Buck, or William W. Gilchrist, this website will certainly pique one's interest. Associated with 19th and 20th century American choral music, information on these persons (and others) can be found on the American Choral Music site. This online collection is a joint collaboration between the American Choral Directors Association and the Library of Congress. In a nutshell, the site contains choral music from the public domain that users can download, along with information on the composers and material on each work's historical context and stylistic features. Currently, the site contains 28 full-length works which include Dudley Buck's "Festival Hymn" (written for the 1872 Peace Jubilee in Boston) and Amy Beach's "Festival Jubilate", which was composed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Of course, that's not all as users can also make use of Horatio W. Parker's "Bow Down Thine Ear" and George W. Chadwick's "Elfin Song". [KMG]

University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute [pdf]

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) was established after an initial gift of $10 million to the University in 1965. Today, the UMTRI has a staff of approximately 130 working on projects that include accident data collection, traffic safety analysis, bioengineering, and public policy. The material on their site is divided into six primary areas, including "Transportation Expertise", "UMTRI Library", "Data at UMTRI", and "Educational Opportunities". Visitors who venture over to the "Transportation Expertise" area can learn about their current (and past) areas of project design and execution. The projects are divided up thematically into areas such as crash avoidance and active safety and energy efficiency and emissions. Further on down on the site, visitors can learn about their extensive research capabilities and facilities in the "Facilities & Services" section. It's an interesting area as it provides insights into their work on vehicle dynamics and biomechanics. Actually, more casual users of the site may also appreciate the "Popular Links" area on the homepage. Here they will find links to related sites such as the Center for National Truck and Bus Statistics and the Road Roughness Site. [KMG]

A Daring Experiment: Harvard and Business Education for Women, 1937-1970

Women have been educated at the Harvard Business School (HBS) since 1937, and this online exhibit from the Baker Library at HBS provides a wealth of material on the period from "the first daring experiment in 'practical education' for women" in 1937 to 1970, when women became residents in HBS dormitories. The materials here are organized chronologically into areas like "Co-Education: Women and Men at Harvard Business School, 1963-1970". As users proceed through this collection, they will find images from the period, along with short essays that flesh out the various ways in which women were incorporated into the academic programs and life of the HBS. Visitors can also take a look at the "Oral Histories Collection" area which includes interviews with four women who graduated from the program during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. The site is rounded out by a brief guide to the in situ archival collections held at the Baker Library which deal with this subject. [KMG]

Network Tools

Yahoo! Widgets

The word "widgets" used to serve as a surrogate type of product or imaginary good to illustrate various business case studies. Today, widgets are helpful little desktop accessories that can be used to track weather conditions, record typing speed, and even track traffic conditions. Yahoo! Widgets continues to grow on a daily basis, and visitors will want to check back on this site frequently for new and helpful devices. Most of these applications are compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

NetNewsWire 3.1.7b1

This latest iteration of NetNewsWire, the popular newsreader, is suitable for novices and those who've been using newsreaders since 2004. This particular reader allows users to sign up for an unlimited number of popular RSS feeds by merely checking boxes. Also, the application also features an integrated podcast manager, which will automatically send new podcasts to one's music jukebox. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 [KMG]

In The News

Diploma Mills Continue To Be An Area of Concern for the Federal Government

Diploma Mill Concerns Extend Beyond Fraud [Free registration may be required]

Bill to crack down on diploma mills stalls

Brainstorm: Diploma Mills

Psst. Wanna Buy a Ph.D.?

Institution Accreditation

Avoid Fake-Degree Burns By Researching Academic Credentials

The unsavory world of diploma mills is a complex one, and a number of government agencies have attempted to regulate their activities with varying degrees of success. The Internet has aided operators of these educational "institutions" who frequently offer advanced degrees for little, or more often, no coursework. This past Sunday the New York Times reported on the case of Dixie and Steven K. Randock Sr. from the town of Colbert, Washington. The Randocks have been accused of operating more than 120 fictitious universities, and the federal government's concern goes beyond the mere matter of a phony degree. Law-enforcement officials fear that the growth of such diploma mills offers terrorists the potential to obtain bogus degrees in order to obtain visas in the United States. At the state level, about 20 states have passed laws to prohibit the trade in phony diplomas, but the U.S. Congress seems to be moving a bit more slowly on the issue. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a New York Times article from this Sunday about the world of diploma mills. The second link leads to a piece from Dan Walters of The Modesto Bee which talks about a bill in California that would effectively crack down on diploma mills. Moving on, the third link leads to a timely piece of commentary from former university president Stephen Joel Trachtenberg on diploma mills, which appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education this week. The fourth link leads to another special report from the Chronicle of Higher Education by Thomas Bartlett and Scott Smallwood, which investigates the profusion of dubious doctorates in the education sector. The fifth link will lead visitors to the U.S. Department of Education's Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, which can help those wondering about the authenticity of an institution. Lastly, a link to the Federal Trade Commission's page on how to avoid "fake-degree burns" is offered for additional information and assistance. [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 1994-2008.

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

Copyright Internet Scout, 1994-2008. 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.