The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 31

August 8, 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 Carr Center for Human Rights Policy [pdf, Real Player]

The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government was founded in 1999 with a substantial gift from Kennedy School alumnus Greg Carr. The mission of the Center is "to lead public policy debate, to train human rights leaders and to partner with human rights organizations to help them respond to current and future challenges." On their homepage, visitors can read about their latest news items, look over their publications and editorial pieces, and also learn about fellowship opportunities at the Center. Scholars and others will probably wish to start at the "Research & Publications" area. Here they can browse through articles and research reports that have been conducted by Center staff and affiliates. Some of the more compelling reports here include "Children in Conflict: Eradicating the Child Soldier Doctrine" and "Religion and Secular Constitution: Human Rights and the Challenge of Saria". Moving on, visitors also have the opportunity to sign up for email updates via the "News & Events" area. [KMG]

Global Forest Partnership [pdf]

Many have wondered, "What will become of the world's forests?" It's an important question, especially given the pressures presently facing forests from Moscow to Mozambique. Recently, The World Bank asked the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) to convene a group of key stakeholders in order to consider this question. Over 600 forest experts responded to IIED's survey or participated in focus groups in Brazil, China, Ghana, and Russia. The IIED asked participants 15 key questions on possible activities, governance, funding mechanisms, and objectives. The fruits of their work were published in a variety of reports and made available during the summer of 2008. This site provides access to those documents, which include a full report, a summary report, and summaries in French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The background documents offered here include the World Bank Global Forest Partnership Proposal and the original consultation document. Casual users may wish to consult the summary report first, as it is only 13 pages in length. [KMG]

American Museum of Natural History: Division of Anthropology [pdf]

The online collection of the American Museum of Natural History's Department of Anthropology contains over 160,000 objects that have been digitized with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The ethnographic collections of North America, Mexico & Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific are all represented here and by clicking on the "Collections Database" visitors can gain access to these images. In addition to high quality photos and detailed descriptions of the objects, a link to the original catalogue pages from the museum is also included. The website also includes a "Collection Highlights" area, which is divided into eight different categories, including four which deal with expeditions that took place from 1897 to 1915. The excellent "Exhibition History" section spans from 1990 to the present day, and it shows images of the artifacts that were in each of the fifteen exhibitions. [KMG]

Pakistan Research Repository [pdf]

Sponsored by Pakistan's Higher Education Commission, the Pakistan Research Repository was established to help promote the profile and visibility of research originating from various higher education institutions within the country. Currently the archive contains well over 1800 PhD theses, along with various research papers and other documents of potential interest. From the homepage, visitors can view the latest additions to this online repository, and they can also view items within the repository organized by subject, year, type, or originating institution. What is perhaps most impressive about the site is the topical variation throughout the collection, as visitors can view scholarly works on archaeology, chemistry, and various branches of the humanities. Additionally, visitors can sign up to receive RSS feeds. [KMG]

Wisc-Online: Online Learning Object Repository [Macromedia Flash Player]

Drawing on a wide range of subject expertise, the Wisconsin Online Resource Center (Wisc-Online) is a digital library of web-based learning resources known as "learning objects". "Learning objects" are essentially self-contained small chunks of learning that can be embedded in a learning activity, lesson, unit or course. The site includes over 2170 of these objects, and new objects are being developed continuously. Visitors will need to complete a short registration form before they are allowed to access all of the materials on the site, but they can certainly get a sense of what the site includes by checking out the "New Learning Objects" area. Here they will find everything from animated presentations showing how the pH level of a cleaning solution is controlled to an interactive activity on industrial automation. Also, visitors are also encouraged to sign up to receive their RSS feed. [KMG] [pdf]

Every citizen of the United States (and anyone else with an interest in politics) should take a close look at the website. This rather innovative database brings together three unique data sets including bill texts, legislative voting records, and supporting and opposing interests for each bill. This data allows users to determine the contributions given by interests supporting and opposing each bill and the average donations given to legislators voting "Yes" and "No" on each bill. Currently, covers the California Legislature and the U.S. Congress and first-time visitors may wish to start by watching the six-minute introductory video which explains all of the bells and whistles on the site. After that, visitors can click on either the "California" or the "U.S. Congress" sections of the site to learn about current voting patterns related to interest groups (such as teachers unions and the health insurance industry), legislators, and pending bills. Moving on, the site also offers up a presidential money race widget that can be customized in a variety of ways. Visitors may also wish to sign up to receive email updates and they are also welcome to send along feedback. [KMG]

Nature Online Video Streaming Archive [Macromedia Flash Player]

Moray eels and honeybees aren't usually found in the same habitats, but they sure seem to blend well on Nature's online video archive. Designed to complement selected articles and letters from their print magazine, these videos feature analysis and commentary from Nature editors and selected scientists. This archive contains over two dozen video features that report on the honeybee genome, smoking and lung cancer genes, and the evolution of language. It's easy to see how educators might use these videos in the classroom, and even those who are just a bit curious about these topics might find themselves drawn into a certain topic. Overall, the site is a real delight, and it's one that visitors will want to recommend to friends and associates. [KMG]

Internet Mission Photography Archive

The movement of Christian missionaries across the world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is perhaps one of the most studied aspects of religious history in recent times. This very engrossing online digital collection brings together over 10,000 photographs culled from various missionary photographers. The Internet Mission Photography Archive (IMPA) is based at the University of Southern California and includes photographs from the collections of the Moravian Church, the Leipzig Mission, the Norwegian Missionary Society, and three other organizations. In this collection, visitors can view churches, school buildings, mission teachings, religious practices, and a constellation of subjects and themes. Users can browse around at their leisure, create their own dedicated collection, and also search the archive by words, contributing organization, and country. Religious historians, photographers, and others will certainly want to visit this collection several times. [KMG]

General Interest

Quinnipiac University Polling Institute [pdf]

Quinnipiac University's Polling Institute is perhaps one of the best known polling centers in the United States, and their work is frequently cited by major media outlets. Staff members at the Institute are also called upon to offer commentary on the voting habits and preferences of a broad swath of the American public. Visitors to their site can start their journey by clicking on the "Releases by State" area on the left-hand side of the homepage. Here they will find the results of recent polls conducted at the state and national level. From there, visitors will want to visit the "Polling Regional Definitions" where they can learn about how each state is divided up for polling purposes. Also, the site allows users to search all of their press releases by area (such as individual states or "swing states") and timeframe. [KMG]

Against the Odds: Making a Difference in Global Health [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

What is our responsibility to the well-being of others around the planet? This is one of the many pressing questions asked by this uniformly fine digital exhibit and interactive collection created by staff members at the National Library of Medicine. First-time visitors will want to click on over to the exhibit proper for starters. Here they will find the "Health for All" exhibit which takes users on a multimedia tour that explores how various stakeholders such as scientists, government officials, and others are working on issues like community health, disease prevention, and food security. Moving back to the site's homepage, visitors can take advantage of the "Online Activities & Resources" area which features lesson plans for educators and an interactive introduction to global health. The "Guest Column" area features interviews and discussions with community members who are working on global health issues, including Nobel Prize-winner Dr. Bernard Lown and Dr. Jack Geiger, who is one of the founders of Physicians for Social Responsibility. Finally, the "Get Involved" area gives visitors the chance to add their own perspective on such topics as disaster response strategies and access to antiretroviral drugs. [KMG]

Exploring Race [Macromedia Flash Player]

A number of community leaders, politicians, and commentators have called for a national dialogue about race in the United States. The Chicago Tribune has started to address the subject through this website, which provides access to investigative articles, online forums, and videos. On the site's main page, visitors can read articles that look at the effectiveness of racial profiling, the portrayal of African Americans in the media, race-based organizations, and white privilege. Visitors are encouraged to submit their own comments on the articles as well. Along the top of the site, users will notice five symbols that correspond to the sections "Questions", "Etiquette", "Compass", "Eyewitness", and "Revelations". Here visitors can submit some of their questions on race and racial issues, take a glance at the "prejudice compass", and submit their own ideas for essays on how race has impacted their life. [KMG]

British Museum: Power and Taboo: Sacred Objects from the Pacific

"Gods inside, gods outside/Gods above, gods below" is the first few lines of a chant from the Society Islands in the Polynesian islands. It also offers a bit of insight into the inhabitants of that particular corner of the world, as does this very well thought out online exhibit created by the British Museum. Offered as part of their Online Tours series, the exhibit contains 27 items culled from their extensive collection of items related to the various traditions of Pacific Islanders. Most of the items were collected between 1760 and 1860 by the earliest European missionaries and explorers. Each item can be viewed in great detail, and they are accompanied by a brief essay which explores both the importance of each item, along with a discussion of how it was collected. Visitors will not want to miss the rather eerie Kou wood bowl and the 'u'u club used by Marquesan warriors. [KMG]

National Gallery of Art: Videos & Podcasts [iTunes]

The National Gallery of Art is one of America's finest treasures and they continue to offer a host of new resources for people who can visit the museum in person and those who cannot. The resources here are divided into six primary sections, including "Audio Podcasts", "Music Podcasts", and "Audio Tours". These offerings are also organized chronologically, and visitors will find discussions of French painting ("The Magic of Fontainebleau") by curator Kimberly Jones, performances by The Choir of St George's Chapel, and an excerpt from a documentary on painter Joseph Mallord William Turner. The podcasts are a real treat as well, and they offer a great preview of new exhibits, such as the recent "Afghan Treasures" and the Vogel Collection of minimalist and post-minimalist art. [KMG]

American Geographical Society Library: Tibet

Created by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, this nice digital archive is a collection of photographs and maps of Tibet and Lhasa from the early 1900s to the late 1930s, some of which were captured by Wisconsinite Harrison Forman. The website is divided into a number of sections for easy navigation that include photos taken by Forman, maps, and photos from early 1900 taken by two Mongolian Buddhists.
Interestingly, the Mongolian Buddhists took the first photographic images ever taken of Potala Palace and some other Tibetan monasteries, as Westerners were forbidden to enter Tibet at that time. Visitors to the site will notice that the photographs taken by the Mongolian Buddhists in the early 1900s were purely landscapes, but the photos by Forman in the 1930s were mainly of the people of Tibet. In the maps and plans section of the site, visitors should take note of the colorful "View of Lhasa" map of 1891, as well as Waddel's Plan of Lhasa from 1904. The maps and plans can be viewed in greater detail with the usual zoom feature. [KMG]

Louis L. McAllister Photographs

Born in the heartland city of Omaha, Nebraska, Louis Lloyd McAllister moved to Burlington, Vermont as a young man. McAllister's father was a native Vermonter, and the pull of New England proved too much to resist. After settling down, McAllister put his panorama camera to good use and he began taking large photographs of buildings in Burlington, along with shots of construction projects, businesses, events, sewer construction, and group portraits of clubs and schools. By the time McAllister passed away in 1963, he had amassed a collection of over 1300 photographs. Recently, the Center for Digital Initiatives at the University of Vermont Libraries created this delightful digital collection of his work. Visitors can browse through the collection by subjects (from aircraft accidents to wreckers) or they can also perform keyword searches across the complete collection. For those looking into a glimpse of small town New England life, this site is truly the bee's knees. [KMG]

Multiple Choice: From Sample to Product [Macromedia Flash Player]

Sample plates, cards of buttons, and textile and wallpaper swatches in digitized form - are featured on the website for this exhibition from the collections of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and Smithsonian Institution Libraries. The exhibition traces the process that takes samples to final products in a variety of contexts, ranging from home furnishings to architectural ornament to textile design. Highlights of the exhibition include an earthenware sample plate with transfer-printed decorations, made in England in 1899, associated with a finished plate made using the same technique. There is also a video that allows visitors to turn the pages of a sample book containing swatches of a woolen fabric known as duvetyn, made in France in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and used for men's waistcoats, women's dresses, and coats. [DS]

Network Tools


If you are in London and you have colleagues in New London, Connecticut, what do you do? Well, you could try out this latest iteration of ooVoo for starters. ooVoo is a video conferencing and chat tool that also allows users to record their video discussions and conversations. This latest version includes a higher-resolution video chat feature along with extensive support for social networking sites. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, and Vista. [KMG]


International long-distance phone bills can be rather costly, and Scout Report readers who haven't given the Skype application a try may wish to do so now. This latest version allows users to conduct conference calls with as many as nine people and it also includes a browser plug-in that turns phone numbers on web pages into links that Skype can automatically dial. This version of Skype is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and XP. [KMG]

In The News

Seven decades after the Hindenburg disaster, zeppelins are experiencing a minor renaissance

Zeppelins Take Flight Again [Windows Media Player, iTunes]

In Germany, a City's Famed Industry Now Helps Keep It Afloat [Free registration may be required]

Return of the Zeppelin

Dark Autumn: The 1916 German Zeppelin Offensive

Zeppelin NT [Macromedia Flash Player]

First World War: Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin

NPR: Remembering the Hindenburg in Verse [Real Player]

1937 was not a good year for zeppelins. That year, the Hindenburg caught fire while attempting to dock at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey and was destroyed in less than two minutes. Public confidence in these unusually shaped flying machines was effectively shattered, and it seemed as if they would remain a rather curious side diversion in aviation history. Yet, interest in these rigid airships has grown significantly in recent years, and the Airship Ventures Company in California recently announced that they would be offering aerial sightseeing tours of San Francisco in the near future. Of course, the zeppelin business remains relatively small, but there are a number of companies (including Germany's ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik) that see great potential for future growth. Zeppelins have been used in a variety of commercial endeavors lately, including one that found work in the DeBeers diamond company, where it was deployed in diamond exploration before it met an untimely end at the hands of a dust devil while it was parked on the ground. It will probably be sometime before trans-Atlantic zeppelin flights become a reality, but for those willing to pay $300 for a half hour flight aboard such a titan of the sky, it would seem that that is merely a pittance for such a privilege. [KMG]

The first link will lead interested parties to a piece from New Hampshire Public Radio that discusses the reemergence of zeppelins. Also, the feature includes comments from Airship Ventures' CEO, Alexandra Hall. Moving on, the second link will take visitors to an article from this Monday's New York Times on the zeppelin industry in Friedrichschafen, Germany. The third link leads to an excellent piece of reporting from the Daily Mail's own Christopher Hudson on the history of these flying machines. The fourth link will whisk users away to a section of "The War Times Journal" site, which investigates the 1916 German Zeppelin offensive over London and environs. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the Zeppelin NT Company, where zeppelins and zeppelin-related accessories are made. The sixth link leads to a short biography of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the man responsible for inventing and popularizing the zeppelin at the turn of the nineteenth century. Finally, the last link leads to a National Public Radio feature that includes a bit of verse about the ill-fated Hindenburg written by Joe Pacheco who saw the explosion of that particular zeppelin on May 6, 1937. [KMG]

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