The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 23

June 12, 2009

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

Amnesty International Report 2009 [iTunes, pdf, Flash Player]

Amnesty International's annual report on the state of the world's human rights has always been a valuable read. The organization continues to expand the scope of the report this year by offering detailed country summaries and a number of multimedia features, such as photo montages, video clips, and customizable charts and tables. Visitors can use the drop-down menu on the homepage to look for specialized reports on each country, and they should also make sure to read the Foreword written by Irene Khan, the Secretary General of Amnesty International. The "Facts and Figures" area offers some nice visual representation of some of the facts from the report, including those related to freedom of expression, asylum seekers, prisoners of conscience, and executions. Visitors interested in regional profiles can click on the "World By Region" area to get a breakdown of the situation in different regions of the world. Finally, the "Global Themes" area includes topical overviews of some of the most pressing issues around the world, including violence against women and the ethical considerations surrounding counter terrorism tactics. [KMG]

Brown Archival & Manuscript Collections Online [pdf]

The Brown Archival & Manuscripts Collection Online (BAMCO) is a digital repository which contains documents related to many different subjects, including poetry, the history of Rhode Island, American political and diplomatic history, the history of science, and women's studies. This site provides users with finding aids for these various collections, along with digitized version of more than a dozen of said collections. Visitors can click on the "Browse all collections" area to look at all of the materials, or they can use the "Browse collections w/digital facsimiles", if they know they only want digitized materials. The currently digitized collections include the papers of James Manning (who corresponded with many a prominent Baptist minister in the late 18th century) and the Albert E. Lownes collection on Henry David Thoreau, to name only two. The Lownes collection contains books by Thoreau, critical works, and so on. The site also has contact information for those looking to ask specific questions about the collections. [KMG]

Economics Working Papers in Oxford [pdf]

As the home of one of the world's strongest economics departments, it stands to reason that the working paper series at Oxford University would also be quite impressive. It is, and economists, policy analysts, and others will find much to occupy their time on this site. The papers are arranged chronologically, and first-time visitors might do well to take a look through some of their more recent works to get a general feel for the materials here. Some of the more recent paper titles include "What is the Top Priority on Climate Change?", "A Century of Economic Growth in Latin America", and "Competitive IPOs". The papers are drawn from a number of series, including the Oxford Financial Research Centre Economics Series and the Global Poverty Research Group. [KMG]

Transforming America's Community Colleges: A Federal Policy Proposal to Expand Opportunity and Promote Economic Prosperity [pdf]

Community colleges are the bedrock of American higher education, and young and old alike use their facilities to gain specific technical skills and explore the world of the liberal arts. This May 2009 policy brief from the Brookings Institution's Blueprint for American Prosperity series offers a few policy suggestions on how the federal government might reinvest in community colleges across the nation. The twelve-page brief was authored by Sara Goldrick-Rab, Douglas N. Harris, Christopher Mazzeo, and Gregory Kienzi. The brief offers a number of concrete suggestions for the federal government, including the recommendation that they should establish national postsecondary goals and also devote a significant portion of existing funding to improve and evaluate teaching practices in these institutions. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Basic Business Statistics

As business is one of the most popular undergraduate majors in the United States, it stands to reason that there are a number of specialized textbooks and supporting instructional materials that are dedicated to various topics within this field. This particular website is designed to serve as the companion to a basic business statistic textbook published by Prentice Hall, and it contains quizzes, overviews, and other materials that will be helpful to both students of the discipline and educators. The materials here are divided into nineteen chapters that cover topics like sampling, data presentation, linear regression, and decision making. Visitors can also take advantage of the search engine here, which is located at the top right-hand corner of each page. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Mediterranean Travel and Trade, 1300-1800

The University of Kansas' Kenneth Spencer Research Library website offers many interesting collections, including "Kansas Wildflowers", "Invertebrate Paleontology" and "Florence Nightingale Letters". Their well-executed digitized collection on "Mediterranean Travel and Trade 1300-1800" is fascinating and rather lovely, as the scans of the white/ecru book pages, documents, journals, maps, illustrations, etc. contrast well with the black background that was chosen for the website. The result is not just restful on the eyes, but also elegant, and allows for unhindered, intense study of the documents at hand. Other features that enable researchers or the intellectually curious to easily work with the materials are the "Add to Workspace" and "Export" options in the upper left and right hand corners, respectively, of an item chosen to view in more detail. The "Export" feature allows for saving, but the "Add to Workspace" allows the image to be added to one's presentations or other media. Additionally, dragging the cursor over the image allows for viewing help, viewing the image information, dragging the image, and fitting the image to the frame. [KMG]

The Middle East Water Collection [pdf]

This extremely well-researched website offers a unique perspective on the Middle East, by presenting multi- and interdisciplinary documents, books, data, journal and newspaper articles that are devoted solely to water. The Middle East Water Collection website, presented by the Oregon State University libraries, examines the very complex issues that water presents, "to provide a greater understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of water and its interactions with politics, development, social issues, culture and religion." Additionally, the online collection is just a part of the complete 9000 item collection available at Oregon State University. Visitors can search via "Region/Country", "Basins", "Subjects", or "Full Text" by using the drop down boxes on the left hand side of the homepage. The "My Favorites" tab near the top of the page allows visitors to save any of the items to their own favorites page, simply by clicking "Add to Favorites" at the bottom of the entry they want to save. A pop-up window will display indicating the item has been saved to the visitors' page. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Rhode Island Critical Resource Atlas

Geographic Information System (GIS) technology is used to assist planners, scientists, geographers, and others to visualize data sets. This particular project created draws on data from the state of Rhode Island's Geographic Information System (RIGIS) database in order to assist land managers and other interested parties. The project was created with support from the Environmental Protection Agency, the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension, and a number of other organizations. On the site, visitors can click on maps of forests and wetlands, land use patterns, groundwater resources, soil hydrology, and biodiversity. On the site's homepage, visitors can also use the "Towns" drop down menu to look at information for different cities throughout the state. Additionally, the "Watershed Atlas" area provides detailed maps of the twelve watersheds located in Rhode Island. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

General Interest

George Washington: A National Treasure [Flash Player]

When people think of George Washington, they frequently think of the very famous portrait of the man himself painted by Gilbert Stuart. Visitors to this site will get a chance to explore every angle of that painting on this site, along with puzzles, quizzes, and historical features that offer insight into Washington's life and times. The site was created by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, with generous support from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. Visitors should start their exploration by clicking on the "Explore the Portrait" link. Here they can take in the portrait through three vantage points: the symbolic, the biographic, and the artistic. It's a fantastic and multifaceted portrait of, well, a portrait, and it's worth several visits. Moving on, "The Patriot Papers" area of the site contains several fun activities, including a tile game, and a feature titled "CROSS-ing the Delaware". Finally, this section also contains some fun articles that answer timely questions like "What were George Washington's teeth really made of?" [KMG]

Cinema Context: Film in the Netherlands from 1896

If you've ever had the desire to learn more about cinematic traditions in the Netherlands, you'll be pleased to learn about the Cinema Context website. This database contains four separate databases related to Dutch film culture, including those related to films, cinemas, people in the industry, and film companies. These databases can be found in the sections titled "People", "Companies", "Programmes", and "Cinemas". More casual visitors may wish to use the "Browse" area to learn about the film companies in the country, censorship debates, film magazines, and cinemas scattered throughout cities like Amsterdam and Eindhoven. The site has received critical acclaim, as one film studies expert recently noted that "Thanks to Cinema Context, we are now able to expose the DNA of Dutch film culture." [KMG]

City of Pullman Image Collection

The city of Pullman in eastern Washington was first settled in 1874 by Bowlin Farr, who would also plat the town in 1881. A decade later, a committee decided that Pullman should serve as the location for the land grant college. The school that would later become Washington State University opened its doors in January 1892, and the town's fortunes have been linked closely to those of that institution ever since. This delightful digital collection brings together over 1200 photographs and postcards culled from the Special Collections holdings at the Washington State University Libraries. On the collection's homepage, visitors can perform a keyword search, look over a list of topical headings, or just elect to browse through the entire collection. Visitors might want to get started by typing in "palouse" or "agriculture". [KMG]

Fascinating Egyptian Mummies [Flash Player]

Turn up those speakers, and listen to the sounds of eerie, blowing winds in the desert and some woeful Egyptian music. This website starts off by using a multimedia approach to lure visitors into the Muse de la civilisation's Fascinating Egyptian Mummies online and museum exhibit. The music follows visitors once they choose the link "Head Into The Tomb". A bouncing yellow arrow all but insists visitors choose the link to "Mummification Process Exhibition". Once the arrow is clicked, visitors hear some menacing Egyptian music and are asked if they want to "Play" a game that tests their skill at determining the steps in the mummification process, or they can choose to skip the game to go directly to the exhibition. The information dispensed here includes the observation that the mummification process took 70 days to complete, and information on some famous mummies is given as well. The next game is about determining which organ goes in which Canopic jar. It's not as easy as it sounds. The final game concerns the weighing of the heart, which visitors can choose to undergo only if they dare. [KMG]

African American Women in Iowa Digital Collection [pdf]

This fruitful collaboration between the Iowa Women's Archive and the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa has produced this enlightening website containing over 200 items including links to "scrapbooks", "photographs", "pamphlets" "oral histories" and "newsletters". Visitors can use the box on the right hand side of the homepage entitled Sample Searches, to click on the above links. The "Highlights of Collection" area, located at the bottom of the homepage, allows visitors to click on any of the thumbnails in the line up of items shown, to see the image enlarged. By simply double clicking on the thumbnail, users can also access bibliographic data about the item. Definitely worth a closer look, the 1924-1928 scrapbook of Althea Beatrice Moore Smith, which can be found under "scrapbooks" on the right hand menu. Once the scrapbook has been accessed, visitors can add the document to their "favorites" page, or if the document has multiple pages, add a specific page of the document to their "favorites" page, by clicking on the appropriate choice in the upper left hand corner of the document. [KMG]

A Virtual Tour of the 1906 Earthquake in Google Earth

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) offers a host of earthquake information, but this portion of their website focuses on the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, which was not only the worst in United States history, but also "revealed the existence and significance of the San Andreas fault to earth scientists...[and] gave birth to the science of earthquakes." Visitors can "view" the 1906 earthquake from several perspectives on this interactive site. Clicking on "Read more" in each section will lead visitors to the several files available. The section entitled Global Geologic Setting of the 1906 Earthquake allows visitors to download several KMZ files on the plate tectonics "situation" around the San Andreas fault that set the stage for the earthquake. The section entitled "Historic Photographs of the 1906 Earthquake" informs the visitor that the earthquake was the first natural disaster to be well-documented by photographs, and that UC Berkley holds the largest collection of such photos, numbering in the thousands. This USGS site has 73 photos available on their site, and they include subjects such as fault rupture, shaking damage, landslides, and ground failure. Finally, the site also includes links to other collections of photos of the 1906 earthquake. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Billie Jean Isbell Andean Collection: Images from the Andes [Heidi]

Billie Jean Isbell began researching the Andes with her 1967 honors' thesis, and she has returned many times since then and documented her research and travels. This very compelling digital collection brings together around 1500 photographs that she took in and around the Andes, along with a selection of indigenous music and her ethnography, "To Defend Ourselves: Ecology and Ritual in an Andean Village". Visitors can get started by looking at the "Collection Highlights" area which includes thematic areas like "Gender", "Rituals", and "Protest Art". The "Vertical Ecology of the Andes" area is a true gem, and it contains photographs and other materials that document the ecological zones throughout the region. Additionally, the "Resources" area contains detailed citations on the papers that have been produced as a result of Isbell's work, along with other related publications. [KMG]

ArtBabble [Flash Player]

ArtBabble is a collaborative project with a number of institutional partners, including Art21, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and New York Public Library. The site also provides venues for user comments and contributions. With these features, ArtBabble resembles a slightly more controlled YouTube, specifically for art. Some current videos on the site are Design by the Book, a series of four videos showing what happens when a glassblower, letterpress printer, ceramicist, pattern designer, and graphic designer use the resources of New York Public Library as inspiration for their work. Another video is on installation artist Aernout Mik discussing his exhibition at MoMA, which was recently mentioned in the June 5, 2009 Scout Report.

Network Tools

KeePass Password Safe 1.16

Password security these days is of the utmost importance, and users who wish to remain diligent about such matters will appreciate learning about KeePass. This utility stores users' passwords in one encrypted database, and visitors can also use their built-in password generator. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Scientists gather in Seattle to discuss the science of sleep

When Sleep Leaves You Tired

Turn off the TV; it's time for bed

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Prevalent in Nonobese Patients

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep

10 tips for better sleep

Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams

This week, scientists met at the annual Associated Professional Sleep Societies meeting in Seattle, and they were working on the problem that has bedeviled many college students, long-distance truck drivers, and others for decades: too little sleep. More and more people in the United States are getting inadequate sleep, and there are a number of culprits (including television and the demands of work) to blame. A chronic lack of sleep has some troubling repercussions, including an increased risk of depression, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. If that wasn't enough, a lack of sleep can also impair cognitive functioning and the body's metabolic rate. Fortunately, there are some potential solutions, including a "power-down" hour which basically means cutting off email use, cell phones, and other constant companions for at least an hour before retiring to bed for the night. The National Sleep Foundation also recommends that people decrease their caffeine intake and also work to maintain a regular schedule. [KMG]

The first link will lead visitors to an article from Melinda Beck, which appeared in this Tuesday's Wall Street Journal. In the piece, Beck talks about her own experience with a sleep study at Brigham and Women's Hospital. The second link whisks users away to a piece from the LA Times health weblog "Booster Shots" that talks a bit about some other findings from the recent meeting in Seattle. The third link will take visitors to a press release from Science Daily which talks a bit about some recent research on obstructive sleep apnea. Moving on, the fourth link leads to the homepage of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Here, visitors can learn about their work and also find information about sleep centers. The fifth link leads to an excellent resource on understanding sleep from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. The sixth link leads to some fine tips on getting better sleep from the Mayo Clinic. Finally, the last link leads to a complete version of Sigmund Freud's Interpretation of Dreams. For those of you who are getting adequate sleep, this volume may come in handy. [KMG]

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