The Scout Report -- Volume 14, Number 47

November 26, 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

Human Security Gateway [pdf]

This Canadian website highlights human security, which is the threat to individuals by one's own government or rebel forces in civil wars, rather than by foreign armies and other forces. The site is available in English or French and will prove to be a useful resource for researchers, policymakers, journalists, educators and the public. The more than 23,000 resources offered on the site include reports, journal articles, news, and fact sheets. On the upper left side of the homepage, you can choose to search by "Topics", "Regions", or "Resources". For a brief description of what the topics, regions, or resources encompass, you can choose (for example) "Describe Topics" located at the bottom of the drop down menu under Topics. Once you have clicked on that area, you will go to a screen of all the topics, with blue question marks next to them. Roll over the question mark to see an explanation pop up. Another useful feature is the ability for users to customize the updates that they receive via e-mail or RSS feed. [KMG]

American Social History

The Digital Library Federation's website, Aquifer American Social History Online, is a site that brings together 175 collections that catalog American social history. Some of the types of materials included on the site are photographs, maps, oral histories, data sets, sheet music, posters, books and journal articles. On the right side of the homepage you can browse by "Times", "Subjects", and "Places". The items included here date back as far as the 1600s, covering the 50 states plus Puerto Rico and subjects ranging from African-Americans to World War II. Visitors can search using "Advanced Search", at the top of the page, or a simple search using the box at the top of the page next to the word "Go." Regardless of which search mode you use, you will be able to view your search results in "Image View", "Timeline View", or "Map View". "Map View" is the newest way to view your results, by showing a Google map of the United States with your first 100 results' locations pinpointed on the map. Under the "Tools" at the top of the page, you will find information about OpenID, Zotero, Collectus, and Image Viewer. By signing up for an OpenID, you can save your searches and results, as well as be notified of new material put on the site. Visitors can use the Zotero extension as a research tool to annotate and organize, as well as share the results of your research. The Collectus and Image Viewer, from the University of Virginia, allows visitors the opportunity to create and organize saved image collections and to generate slide shows for use in the classroom. [KMG]

The Maritime Dimension of International Security: Terrorism, Piracy, and Challenges for the United States [pdf]

Piracy is becoming an increasingly serious problem in many of the world's oceans and seas. Recent high-profile attacks on cargo ships and tankers have drawn the attention of large governmental organizations and those in private industry. This 53-page report published by the RAND Corporation in June 2008 takes a close look at the maritime dimensions of international security, with a special emphasis on the challenges it presents for the United States. Authored by RAND researcher Peter Chalk, the report looks at the current state of affairs in maritime security, and also makes a broad set of recommendations designed to improve maritime security across the globe. Not surprisingly, the report also takes a close look at the potential links between terrorism and piracy. The report is rounded out by a set of policy recommendations and an appendix which lists high-profile maritime terrorist incidents from 1961 to 2004. [KMG]

Doing Business

A number of international organizations have grown interested in establishing databases that take a close look at the business climate around the globe. One organization is the World Bank, and they recently created this interactive mapping interface that allows users to discover how easy (or difficult) it is to do business in 181 economies. The Doing Business mapping interface program features more than 20 maps that cover over 190 economies across issues like "How often firms are expected to bribe tax inspectors" and so on. Additionally, visitors can toggle on and off various filters, look closely into different regions of the world, and also share links with colleagues through a toolbar at the top right corner of the site. The site also uses a pretty basic color-coded system to classify countries' business climate, with green indicating an "easy" business climate, orange indicating "moderate", and red indicating "difficult". [KMG]

Financial Education For All: Federal Reserve Bank of New York [pdf]

Many of the Federal Reserve Banks have significant educational outreach programs, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is no exception. Their "Financial Education for All" site produces a wide range of publications and fact sheets that are designed for the general public and for students of financial services, economics, and related fields. These documents are divided into sections that include "Banking", "Federal Reserve System", "Foreign Exchange", and "Home Ownership". Perhaps the most useful area is the "Monetary and Fiscal Policy" section, which includes documents such as "Understanding the Federal Budget", "U.S. Monetary Policy and Financial Markets", and a helpful overview of how open market operations function. Finally, visitors can also sign up for their RSS feed and contact members of their educational outreach team. [KMG]

Marcel Breuer Architectural Drawings and Sketches

Master of modernism, Marcel Breuer spent a great deal of time working in the fields of modular construction, furniture design, and other endeavors. Before her death, Marcel Breuer's widow donated a large collection of his little-known architectural drawings and sketches to the Syracuse University Library. The institution already had a tremendous collection of Breuer's papers, and this selection of over 668 items represented quite a worthy addition. First-time visitors can read a brief overview of Breuer's work, and then they may go on to search through the collection by project title, subject, or keyword. Visitors who might be unfamiliar with Breuer's work may wish to browse around for a bit in order to get their bearings. Overall, it's a fantastic collection, and architectural historians and others will find the archive quite useful and interesting. [KMG]

Triangles in the Sky: Trigonometry and Early Theories of Planetary Motion

Humans have long been interested in looking up into the sky and trying to figure out the nature of the planets, the sun, and the moon. Many ancient civilizations were able to systematically observe the sky and eventually they worked out mathematical schemes to describe what they found there. In this compelling article by Sandra M. Caravella, she takes a close look into how they were able to make these calculations. The article is divided into eleven short sections that include "Calculating Planetary Positions" and "The Basic Ancient Model". The piece is meant to be used in the classroom, and it's easy to see how it could be incorporated into the high school or college learning experience. The article also contains a bibliography and suggestions for further reading. [KMG]

FDA: Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research [pdf]

The mission of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) is "to protect and enhance the public health through the regulation of biological and related products including blood, vaccines, allergenics, tissues, and cellular and gene therapies." Their mission is an important one, and consumers and scientists will want to bookmark this page and return to it on a regular basis. On the right-hand side of the page, visitors can sign up for their RSS feed, check out the "About" section, and read through their FAQ. In the center of the page, visitors can peruse the "Hot Topics", which at any given moment might include information on influenza vaccinations or product recalls or withdrawals. The site is rounded out by topical guide to the site along the left-hand side of the homepage. [KMG]

General Interest

Wenceslaus Hollar Collection

Born into an upper middle class family in 1607, Wenceslaus Hollar became interested in etching and engraving at a very young age. As a young man, he left his native Prague to study in Frankfurt, and his first book of etchings was published when he was 28. Over the next thirty years he would spend time in London and Antwerp and by the time of his death he had produced some 2700 separate etchings. This extensive digital collection created by the University of Toronto offers visitors access to thousands of his works. Visitors can view an illustrated chronology of the life and work of Hollar, read the text of a lecture on his work created by art historian Anne Thackray, and read up on his impressive etching technique. Of course, the real heart of the collection is the image database, and visitors can browse through by topical headings, including "Costumes", "Portraits", "Historical Prints", and "Religious Prints". [KMG]

Financial Times: Podcasts [iTunes]

The Financial Times is well-respected for their forays into business journalism and their reporting on various related matters. Recently, they have entered the world of podcasting with great vigor, and this site contains a trove of podcasts and audio files. Visitors can subscribe to their podcasts via iTunes, but they may first wish to look through the drop-down menu on the homepage. Here, visitors can look over (and listen to) recent programs on digital business, long-term investing, global philanthropy, and the World Economic Forum. Further down on the site, visitors can look through the archives of the FT Money Show. The archives stretch back to April 2007, and one nice feature here is the brief synopsis that is available for the most recent show. [KMG]

Bata Shoe Museum

The tagline for the Bata Shoe Museum is "For the Curious". It's an appropriate motto, as this provocative museum in Toronto contains over 10,000 shoes within its prodigious holdings. The museum opened in 1995, and visitors to this site can traipse through sections such as "Exhibitions" and "Collections" to learn more about their interpretive mission and their thematic areas. Most visitors will want to start by looking at the online exhibit "All About Shoes". Developed in cooperation with the Department of Canadian Heritage, the collection allows visitors to view over 500 shoe images, 200 of which are in 3D. Short of actually picking up the actual shoes themselves, this is a very effective and immersive way to examining the intricate patterns and designs on each item of footwear. Moving on, visitors can also check out the podcasts by assistant curator Sarah Beam-Borg. In recent months, Borg has offered up talks and commentary on "Dancing through the Halls of History" and "The Fate of Fashion". Finally, interested parties may also wish to check out the "Visiting" area to learn about the museum's hours of operation, special events, and so on. [KMG]

The Beazley Archive [Last reviewed in the Scout Report on July 14, 1998]

The Beazley Archive, of the Classical Art Research Centre at The University of Oxford, has a website loaded with wonderful images of the art of ancient Greece and Rome. On the homepage you will find tabs for: "Art", "Pottery", "Gems", "Sculpture", and "Antiquaria". There are also tabs for a "Dictionary", "Databases", and "Tools". Under the "Tools" tab, visitors will see a cross-reference to the "Dictionary", which can be accessed by clicking directly on the tab, or when you come across "any term the novice user might not know," which will be underlined and highlighted. Also under the "Tools" tab you'll find a link called "Albums", which conveniently allows you to keep an album of images from the databases for personal study. Also on the homepage you'll find a link to "Discovery, reception and diffusion of classical art," under the "Highlights" section. The link leads you to illuminating and accessible explanations, accompanied by images from the collection, of how classical art came to be discovered, and by whom, how it was received in society upon its discovery, and how it ultimately ended up becoming known to the world. This is a great section for those who want to learn about the relevance of the images in the archive. Visitors shouldn't miss the "Sculpture" section, where they can see examples of different styles and periods, but also to learn "How casts are made" and the "History of the cast collection" at Oxford. The detail in many of the sculptures is simply stunning. [KMG]

Spanish Civil War Posters

The Library of Congress' collection of 120 Spanish Civil War posters dating from 1936-1939 are a good-looking group of items that portray both the Republican and Nationalist causes of Spain during the Spanish Civil War. In order to start searching or browsing all the images of this collection, click on "Search This Collection" in the middle of the page. To browse the images, click on "All the Images" section. If you would rather search, you have many modes to do so, including subjects and formats, creators and other associated names, and titles. As most of the text on the posters is in Spanish, visitors may wish to look over the English translations. Unfortunately, many of the posters can only be viewed as thumbnails, unless they are being viewed in person at the Library of Congress. Although many of the posters are in bold reds, blues and yellows, their undertones are dark. Some of the black and white prints look much like newsprint, and are more pedestrian in form. [KMG]

The Association of Jewish Libraries [iTunes]

This website is a comprehensive resource for those interested in Judaica librarianship, Jews, Judaism, the Jewish experience, and Israel. Visitors can click on "Awards" on the left side of the page to see the awards given for Jewish librarianship, Jewish children's books, and the publishing of Judaica reference materials. User can go to the "Accreditation" link to see the libraries that are accredited by the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), and learn about how to apply for accreditation. Under the "Resources" link, visitors can read the transcripts of the "Feinstein Lecture Series" on Judaica that the Foundation for Jewish Culture sponsors. After looking over that area, visitors may wish to click on the link to the AJL Podcast on the left side of the page. Here they will find many topics covered, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, music, and Jewish holidays. Moving on, a link to Children's and Teen's literature features prominently on the homepage of the AJL Podcast link, and visitors will find links to several podcasts of books of Jewish content. Finally, they can also click on the "Book of Life Podcast," on the left side of the page to listen to a podcast about Jewish people and the books they enjoy. [KMG]

Tango with Cows: Book Art of the Russian Avant-Garde, 1910-1917 [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

To those unfamiliar with the world of the Russian Avant-Garde, the phrase "tango with cows" might sound like the name of a new avant-garde electronic music juggernaut. In fact, the phrase is the title of a book and poem by noted Russian writer Vasily Kamensky. Kamensky's work, along with others, forms the heart of this provocative exhibit created by the Getty Center. This site is designed to complement their in situ exhibition, and it succeeds with great panache. The exhibition "explores the way Russian avant-garde poets and artists responded to crisis through their book art." The "crisis" in question here happens to be the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917 and the overall milieu of increased urbanization and technological embrace. On the site, visitors can explore some of these books in detail via a specialized interface and also view select books in their entirety. The real treat is that visitors can also listen to some of the poems in these books in Russian or English, and even download complete versions of certain works for their own edification. [KMG]

The Tibet Album: British Photography in Central Tibet, 1920-1950

From 1920 to 1950, the British government enjoyed an era of better relations with Tibet, and a wide range of civil servants from Britain visited the country on a number of different diplomatic missions. During their stay, many of them took photographs documenting the various aspects of Tibetan life. Many of these photographs found their way into the collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum and the British Museum. With assistance from the Arts & Humanities Research Council, these two institutions came together to create this outstanding digital collection of these photographs of Tibet. First-time visitors can browse the collection by photographer, thematic collections, places, dates, and people. After browsing around for a bit, visitors can sign in to create their own "Tibet Album" containing their own favorite images. The site is rounded out by the official dairy of the 1936-1937 Gould Mission to Lhasa, complete with accompanying photographs and related historical items. [KMG]

Network Tools

VoxOx 1.0

VoxOx 1.0 is an application that will help those parties who might be vexed or confounded by the world of communication or social networking software. With this application, users can easily participate in just about any form of communication (including telephony) separately or in a linked up fashion. VoxOx offers webmail integration, social networking support, mobile-to-mobile calls, and a call-forwarding service. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP or Vista. [KMG]

Picasa 3.0

Developed by the folks at Google, Picasa is an effective and well-organized photo management application that will help users separate their Cyprus vacation photos from images from their child's birthday party. The application also includes several editing tools, an improved red-eye corrector, and a "Share" button which uploads photos online and emails friends and family directly. This version is compatible with all computers running Windows XP or Vista. [KMG]

In The News

As cafs close in France, some grow concerned about the vibrancy of caf culture

Caf where immigrant culture and mainstream Paris meet

Across France, Caf Owners Are Suffering [Free registration may be required]

Society-Parisian cafes and terraces

The Tradition of Coffee and Coffeehouses Among Turks

Smart City Radio: An Authentic Sense of Place [Real Player]

10 Hottest Coffeehouses

In France, a country known for its outdoor philosophizing and caf culture, there are a few ominous changes as of late that have many lovers of Gallic culture and pastimes rather worried. This past week, the New York Times reported that France now has fewer than 41,500 cafes, down from 200,000 in 1960. It is estimated that two cafes close every day in France. There are many suspected reasons for the closings, including the downturn in the economy, changing habits, and a time crunch among working professionals and just about everyone else. More and more French people consider the very ritual of having a cigarette, an espresso, and an aperitif unhealthy, and most can hardly afford the time to commit to such a leisurely paced activity. Some caf owners are quick to blame the smoking ban that was instituted by the French government this past January. Others feel that the caf is an essential part of French culture, particularly one Daniel Perry, who remarked, "We need the caf to have an equilibrium between the village and the world outside. Without the caf, you lose the conviviality. You lose your mates. Business agreements are made behind the zinc." [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece from the Irish Times about a particularly noteworthy caf in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis that serves as a cultural melting pot. The second link leads to an article from this Saturday's New York Times that talks about the problems faced by caf owners in France. Moving on, the third link will take visitors to a nice overview of Parisian cafes and terraces offered up by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. The fourth link will whisk users away to an overview of the very fine coffeehouse culture that has existed in Turkey for well over a millennium. The fifth link leads to a great program from the "Smart City" program that talks about how cities can work to create places and destinations that will attract a broad range of people. The final link leads to a list of the 10 "hottest" coffeehouses from Forbes Traveler, and it is sure to spark debate and perhaps a few caffeine-centered road trips. [KMG]

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