The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 33

August 22, 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

Mississippi State University Libraries: The Sheet Music Collection [pdf]

Charles H. Templeton Sr. grew up playing the oboe and the piccolo, and during his life he cultivated an intense passion for music, and for four decades he collected hundreds of musical instruments, various recordings, and over 22,000 pieces of sheet music. In 1987, the donated his entire collection to his alma mater, Mississippi State University. On this site, visitors can view almost 6,000 pieces of sheet music from his collection. As Templeton had a rather catholic taste in music, the collection includes foxtrots, show tunes, war songs, blues, movie tunes, and ragtime numbers. It's a great collection, and visitors can browse by composer, date of publication, genre, or title. From "All Quiet Along the Potomac To-night" to "Zulu Love Song", there really is something for everyone in this sheet music collection. [KMG]

National Film Preservation Foundation: The Film Preservation Guide [pdf]

No doubt many organizations and institutions have a canister of 16MM film lying around someplace and some diligent member of their organization might ask: "How can we preserve this item?" A very astute question, and this helpful guide from the National Film Preservation Foundation provides substantial guidance and assistance. The 138-page guide describes methods for handling, duplicating, making available, and storing film, which are practical for nonprofit and public organizations with limited resources. Visitors to this site can download all of the sections in this report, which include chapters like "Legal Context for Film Preservation" and "Understanding Film and How it Decays". The report also includes case studies, illustrations, charts, glossary, and a bibliography. [KMG]


Museum exhibition designers and related professionals need some room of their own on the web, and this very useful site will be most welcome. Created with support from the National Science Foundation and other organizations, ExhibitFiles provides access to resources culled from other working professionals in the field of exhibit design. The core contributors include professionals working at the Science Museum of Minnesota, the National Museum of American History, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. First-time visitors can sign up to become a part of this vibrant online community, and also elect to receive updates about what's new on the site. On the homepage, visitors will find two primary sections: "Case Studies" and "Reviews". In the "Reviews" area, visitors can read through reviews of recent exhibits from professionals, and the "Case Studies" offers close looks into the art, science, and execution of compelling designs. [KMG]

Total Solar Eclipse 2008: Live from China [Macromedia Flash Player, Windows Media Player]

On August 1, 2008, a total solar eclipse moved over parts of Russia, Greenland, Canada, and China. Fortunately, the dedicated team at the Exploratorium was there, and they documented this unique event. The first thing visitors should check out here is a replay of the events as they occurred. After viewing the eclipse, visitors should read the dispatches from the Exploratorium crew. These colorful and descriptive dispatches include commentaries on everything from setting up to capture the event to visiting the "Stonehenge of the Gobi Desert". Visitors can also chime in with their two cents, and then move to the "Features" area. Here they will find topical pieces like "The Sun-Eating Dragon and Other Ways to Think About An Eclipse" and journal excerpts from previous eclipse events. [KMG]

European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies [pdf]

More and more governmental agencies and bodies are having sustained conversations about the ethical concerns raised by new technologies and scientific discoveries. One such governmental body interested in these questions is the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies. Convened by the European Commission, the group is composed of fifteen experts who examine various ethical questions that arise. On the group's homepage, visitors can view their opinion papers and statements in the "Opinion" section. The papers cover a wide range of topics, including the ethical aspects of animal cloning for food and nanomedicine. Needless to say, these papers are available in languages such as French, German, and Maltese. Additionally, visitors can view all of their past publications here, along with copies of their newsletter, "Ethically Speaking". [KMG]

Mathematics Illuminated

Bringing mathematics to life is an admirable yet difficult task. New approaches to teaching the subject are always welcome, and that is precisely the focus of this very fine series produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting. This 13-part multimedia learning resource is offered as part of the Annenberg Media website, and it covers everything from the study of prime numbers to the beauty of symmetry. Visitors can view each one of the 13 half-hour programs, and the titles include "How Big is Infinity?", "Other Dimensions", and "Game Theory". That's not all, as visitors can also click over to the Mathematics Illuminated supplementary website which includes interactive features, a glossary, and other materials for educators. [KMG]

The Environmental Literacy Council: Teaching Resources [pdf]

Environmental science encompasses a number of fields within the natural sciences, and an interdisciplinary approach to the subject is a must. For educators working in this area, the Environmental Literacy Council's Teaching Resources site will be a real find. On their site, visitors should click on over to one of the sections on the right-hand side of the page. The sections here include "General Resources", "Environmental Science Toolkit", and "Survey & Textbook Reviews". The "Environmental Science Toolkit" is a good place to start, as it contains data table examples, information on creating citations, a guide to important concepts in environmental science, and an experimental design rubric. Additionally, visitors should not miss the Environmental History Modules which help teachers link up fundamental historical concepts to important environmental issues. These modules include "War and the Environment" and "Ordinary Landscapes", and they are both creative and quite engaging for students and teachers. [KMG]

General Interest

The American Image: The Photographs of John Collier Jr.

A number of institutions are actively engaged in creating thoughtful and comprehensive digital collections of important photographs, but this rather outstanding collection from The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico sets a new standard in such endeavors. Working with the College of Education's Technology & Education Center (TEC), they have created a collection that is both interactive and analytical in its scope. The heart of the collection is the photographs of John Collier Jr., who was hired by the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) during World War II to take photographs of day-to-day life in America. After digitizing these images, staff members included them in the popular Flickr application, which allows a wide range of persons to make comments on each photo. Visitors can browse through these images by different theme, including "Farming", "Maine", "Navajo Nation", and "Schools". After this, visitors should click on over to the "Active Looking" area. Here they will become more proficient at analyzing and decoding images for information. "The Shooting Script" area allows visitors to compare historical photographs with those modern images in order to gain a greater perspective on who the audience for each image might be. Finally, visitors can also read a short biography of Collier on the site. [KMG]

Educational Resources from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco [pdf]

If you're aching for high-quality resources about economics, home lending rates, and the world of economists, this site from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco will be just the tonic you require. Visitors should note that the primary sections of the site include "Student Activities", "Teacher Resources", and "Publications". In the "Student Activities" area visitors can chime in with questions for "Ask Dr. Econ", play the "Great Economists Treasure Hunt", and also visit "FedVille", which offers young people an introduction to the world of the Federal Reserve. Moving on, the "Teachers Resources" area contains curriculum materials, and a personal finance lesson plan and game. The site is rounded out by the "Popular Content" area, which includes an introduction to U.S. monetary policy, information about credit reports, and the Economic Letter, which includes short essays on current topics by economists. [KMG]

Great Chicago Stories [Macromedia Flash Player]

From great culinary moments (the birth of the hot dog) to the rise of the skyscraper, Chicago has been privy to a number of important historical events. This award-winning website created by the Chicago History Museum allows visitors to explore the city's diverse past through historical fiction stories and artifacts from their collections. On the site, visitors can click on sections that include "Interactive History Map", "Story Audio", and "Classroom Activities". In the "Interactive History Map" area, visitors can click on stories that discuss public housing, the birth of the hot dog, the planned community of Pullman, and the early trading post history of the city. After choosing a story, visitors will be immersed in the historical experience via audio materials, a map, and a set of questions which round out each story. Visitors can also just listen to the whole story, and then learn more about the site in the "About Great Chicago Stories" overview area. [KMG]

Poetry Everywhere [Macromedia Flash Player]

Poetry can truly be found anywhere, and that is the animating force behind the website and the series created by WGBH in Boston, along with other partners at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Poetry Foundation. On PBS, the Poetry Everywhere "moments" appear somewhat unexpectedly, but here visitors can make their way through these readings as they see fit. Visitors can check in on fifteen different poets reading their work, including Charles Simic reading "stone", Billy Collins reading "The Lanyard", and Lucille Clifton reading "won't you celebrate with me". Perhaps the real highlight of the site is the 12 animated films created by students working at docUWM, which is a documentary media center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. These short films illuminate poems like Robert Creeley's "The Language" and John Ashbery's "Paradoxes and Oxymorons". [KMG]

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive [Quick Time, Real Player, Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

In a city known for creative expression and its free-thinkers, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is a major cultural institution. The site is a veritable cornucopia of artistic endeavors, including film, performance art, installations, and lectures. Visitors planning a trip to either institution will want to click on the "Visit" section, and others with a more scholarly bent may wish to proceed directly to the "Collections & Resources" area. Clicking on this area's "Film Collection" subsection will reveal a host of resources, including the "Audio & Videocasts" area. This is a real find, as visitors can listen and watch contemporary artists and filmmakers discuss their work in detail. Of course, visitors would be remiss not to look in the "CineFiles" area. Here they can make their way through hundreds of film reviews, press kits, and film festival program notes from decades past. [KMG]

Environmental Health Perspectives [pdf]

As the peer-reviewed journal of the United States' National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Environmental Health Perspectives serves to disseminate important environmental health information and research findings. Each issue includes book reviews of current publications, research papers, news briefs, and a children's environmental health section. Visitors to the site can read the current issue, search all of the back issues, and look for materials by topic or theme. On the homepage, visitors can take a look at their recently published pieces in the "Recent In-Press" area and then move on to the latest issue. Finally, the site also provides complete information on submitting scholarly work for peer-review and potential inclusion in a forthcoming issue of the journal. [KMG]

Arnold Arboretum: South Central China and Tibet: Hotspot of Diversity

For well over one hundred years, The Arnold Arboretum has sent scientists to document and explore the various corners of Asia. In the early 1920s, the Arboretum sent an expedition that remained in the Hengduan Mountain region for three years. Upon their return, the expedition returned with all types of flora and fauna, including stuffed birds, seeds, and hundreds of photographic images. This online collection contains digitized materials from that notable expedition, and subsequent expeditions that have taken place in the 1990s and the 2000s. Visitors can dive right in by clicking on the "Search Expedition Collections" section where they can look at images of rock specimens, read reports from the expeditions, and browse interactive maps of the region. It's a tremendous collection, and one that will warrant several return visits. [KMG]

The Society of Dilettanti [Macromedia Flash Player]

Founded in a London dining club in 1734, the Society of Dilettanti consisted of British noblemen and gentlemen who had traveled in Italy and Greece seeking cultural enrichment and who appreciated and collected ancient Greek and Roman art. This exhibition at the Getty Villa features paintings, sculptures, drawings, and rare books related to these bon vivants. One of the group's frequent toasts, "Seria ludo (Serious Matters in a Playful Vein)" expresses the spirit of the Dilettanti. This spirit is also evident in the online slideshow, which includes humorous portraits of the Society's members. Portraits include founding Dilettanti Sir Francis Dashwood, depicted by first official painter George Knapton, as Saint Francis of West Wycombe Park (the name of Dashwood's country house, near the village of West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire), wearing a Franciscan monk's robes and haircut, holding a goblet, and bowing to a statue of Venus. [DS]

Network Tools

Personal Brain

The Personal Brain application promises "mind mapping" and it's an intriguing idea at that. Essentially the application allows users the ability to map out key documents, contacts, files, and Web pages via a graphic user interface. It is well worth a look, and this particular version can be used for 30 days at no charge and a free edition is available to use as long as you want. Personal Brain is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

WavePad 3.12

Aspiring record producers and sound artists will enjoy learning about this latest version of WavePad. This software allows users to make and edit voice and audio recordings, and they can also add a variety of effects like echo, amplification, and noise reduction. Additionally, there are text-to-speech and speech recognition functions, which are both nice bonuses. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, and 10.5. [KMG]

In The News

College presidents call for open discussion about the drinking age across the United States

Drinking-age proposal draws attacks,0,6882635.story

College leaders hope to renew debate on a lower drinking age,0,1651220.story

ABC News: Answer to Underage Drinking: Make It Legal

MADD: Some University Presidents Shirk Responsibility to Protect Students from Dangers of Underage Drinking

Amethyst Initiative

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984

Harvard School of Public Health: College Alcohol Study [pdf]

For the past two decades, there hasn't been a great deal of discussion regarding the drinking age in the United States. In 1984, The National Minimum Drinking Age Act effectively established a nationwide limit by removing 10% of the annual federal highway funding from states that chose to set their drinking age below the age of 21. In recent weeks, a rather unusual group has come together to spark a new debate about this rather tempestuous topic: college presidents. This summer, the Amethyst Initiative released a statement signed by over 100 college presidents stating that "the 21 year-old drinking age is not working, and, specifically, that it has created a culture of dangerous binge drinking on their campuses." The Initiative is not in favor of advocating for a particular policy change or modification, but rather asking for "informed and unimpeded debate" on the subject. A number of organizations were quick to respond to the document, including Chuck Hurley, the chief executive of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), who noted that he was "profoundly disappointed" in the initiative. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a piece from this Wednesday's Baltimore Sun which discusses various reactions to the signed statement from the Amethyst Initiative. The second link leads to a news article from the Wednesday edition of the Los Angeles Times about those college presidents in California who offered their signatures to this statement. Moving on, the third link leads to an extended investigative piece from ABC News which talks to university officials, parents, students, and policy makers about this subject. The fourth link will lead visitors to a press release from MADD that offers expert testimony from scientists and others regarding the effectiveness of the 21 year-old minimum drinking age in saving lives. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the Amethyst Initiative. Here visitors can view a complete list of college presidents who have signed the statement thus far, and also learn more about their work. The sixth link leads to a summary of The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 written by Dr. David J. Hanson. Dr. Hanson's entire site is worth a look, as he provides information about a wide range of alcohol issues. Finally, the last link leads to the homepage of the Harvard School of Public Health's College Alcohol Study. Here visitors can read some about some of their latest findings and also look over additional resources. [KMG]

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