The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 28

July 17, 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

Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University [pdf]

Practical ethics are the focus of this appealing website from Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. Practical ethics courses were rare when the Center opened its doors 30 years ago, but the founders wisely felt the need to focus on it. Those visitors who are unfamiliar with practical ethics should start by clicking on "Center" found on the top right side of the homepage. From there, visitors can click on "What is Practical Ethics". After this introduction to the field, visitors should skip down to the "News & Events" link, also on the right side of the page, and then go to the "Lectures & Events" category. A thorough summary of each lecture from the Center's free public lecture series, is accessible by clicking on "More", at the bottom of each lecture description. Visitors interested in searching the lectures from earlier years can click on "Past Lectures & Events" located below the "Lectures & Events" category. The "Research & Publications" link has "Working Papers", "Publications", and "Reports" to view, along with the "Prandial Philosophy Post", a brief argument raised during one of the center's lunch seminars or at one of their public lectures. [KMG]

MedlinePlus: Diets [pdf]

In this section of their website, Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, tackles the subject of diets. The information is divided up into half a dozen labeled boxes near the top of the page, and includes "Basics", "Research", "Learn More", and "Reference Shelf". Within these sections visitors can find links to information on "Nutrition", "Specific Conditions", "Journal Articles", "Dictionaries/Glossaries", and more. Many of the topics discussed throughout the categories is the safety of certain diets, such as the link "Nutrition for Weight Loss: What You Need to Know About Fad Diets", and "Are Detox Diets Safe?" found under the Teenagers category at the bottom of the page. Visitors interested in participating in clinical trials going on throughout the United States, can check out the links " Diet" and " Diet Therapy" under the category Clinical Trials. [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

Magnetic Resonance Online Texts

This well-organized and very thorough website was developed by the physicist Stanislav Sykora with the aim of providing free online texts, theses, and course materials on the subjects of magnetic resonance (MR), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear-magnetic resonance (NMR) and other related topics. The amount of material on the site is impressive. At the top of the page are links to an "MR Blog", as well as to "MR Links" and the "Site Plan & SEARCH". The NMR/MRI Extras section on the right side of the page is particularly useful for visitors interested in all things about MR. Its links to "Events" provides an up-to-date list of symposia, conferences, and meetings, along with links to the events' sites. The "Societies" link offers at least 50 groups about MR, some of which are country-based, and others that are region- or application-based. [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

Virginia Tech: Special Collections' Digitized Manuscripts [pdf]

Local history, cookery, and the American Civil War come to life within this fine site created by the Digital Libraries Collection department at Virginia Tech. The site contains thirteen digitized manuscripts which provide insights into various facets of the state's history and life in the 19th and 20th centuries. The documents are divided into four sections, including "American Civil War", "Local History", and "Culinary History". The "Culinary History" area is quite rich, as it contains four very rare items that detail the personal cooking preferences of several women in the mid-19th century. The "Local History" area contains ledger books from a church in Christiansburg and guest signature books from two well-known resorts in Yellow Sulphur Springs and White Sulphur Springs. The site is rounded out by the inclusion of the papers of John Hilton, an English immigrant who served as a corporal in Company F of the Pennsylvania Infantry during the Civil War. [KMG]


Housed at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois are an excellent resource for anyone with an interest in American history. Recently, the University decided to develop a comprehensive online encyclopedia titled "DuBoisopedia". The hope is that such a volume will "capture the details, both large and small, that together made up Du Bois's life and times." With this wiki site, scholars and students are welcome to add high-quality pieces that illuminate various aspects of Du Bois's life and they have a team of researchers dedicated to maintaining the accuracy of the content here. First-time visitors may wish to read the guidelines offered on the homepage, and then they should take a look at some of the articles, which include those on Fisk University, William James, and Russia. [KMG]

Laboratory Technique Videos [Quick Time, Real Player]

Students of organic chemistry will find this website from the University of Calgary to be a most welcome find. Created by a team of educational experts at the University, the videos here demonstrate a variety of techniques that are commonly used in laboratory settings. There are a dozen videos here, and they include "Filtration", "Reflux", "Distillation", and "Using a Separatory Funnel". The films here are available in a number of different formats, including Quick Time and Windows Media. The site also includes an "Interactive Tutorials" section. Here visitors will find tutorials that will introduce them to spectroscopy, separation and isolation, and the rather amusing world of "Detective O-Chem", which asks the user to take on a fictional avian flu outbreak. [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

Understanding Records and Archives: Principles and Practices [pdf]

Why do people create records? What are they good for? How can organizations use record-keeping to further their aims and goals? These are but a few of the questions explored by the course "Understanding Records and Archives: Principles and Practices". This site is part of the OpenCourseWare initiative at the University of Michigan, and the course itself was created and taught by Paul Conway. On this site, visitors can access a range of materials from the course, including the syllabus, a reading list, assignments, and a course schedule. In the "Lectures" area, visitors can read the notes from each class meeting, and the topics covered include basic archives concepts, legal issues, and the nature of archives. For anyone involved in information science and library studies, this site will be most useful. [KMG]

UCSC Electronic Music Studios: Technical Essays

If you don't know analog from digital, you may wish to spend a few hours reading up on the nuances of electronic music right here. Created by the University of California at Santa Cruz Electronic Music Studios, this site features over a dozen illustrated essays that explore different subjects related to the production of electronic music. The subjects covered here include "Sound Propagation", "Hearing and the Ear", "Basics of Digital Recording", and "Simple Harmonic Motion". Actually, a good starting place is the "Microphones" essay. Here visitors will learn the basics of how microphones work, along with specifics on they way they pick up sound patterns and the "microphone mystique". Overall, it's a good site for anyone who enjoys music or who might be a budding audiophile. [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

Red Hot Jazz Archive [Real Player] (Last reviewed in the Scout Report on May 9, 1997)

When we last reviewed the Red Hot Jazz Archive in the spring of 1997, the site was pretty hot, and it has continued to heat up over the past decade or so. The Archive is primarily concerned with documenting the world of early jazzmen, so visitors will find ample information on Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Kid Ory, Bunk Johnson, and many others. Visitors can start their journey through the site by clicking on the "Bands" area. Here they will find an extensive list of the bands from the "hot" era organized alphabetically. When visitors click on a band's name, they will be presented with a short summary of the band's accomplishments, and in many cases, some sample recordings. Moving on, the "Films" section is a real treat, as it contains information about some short films made about jazz bands in the late 1920s and early 1930s. What's even better is that four of the films are available in this section, including a version of "St. Louis Blues", as sung by Bessie Smith. Also, the site contains a series of essays by experts like Scott Alexander and George Avakian on the early days of jazz. [KMG]

BBC Special Reports: Devolution Decade

In 1999, the British Parliament granted Scotland a certain degree of greater autonomy through the process of devolution. A year earlier in 1998, the Parliament passed the Scotland Act 1998, which created both the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive. The BBC decided to create this website to serve as a repository of original reporting and commentary on the past ten years, and visitors to the site will find a weblog, feature stories, and an area dedicated to "Landmark Legislation". On the right-hand side of the page, the "Audio/Video" area features clips with legislators and other leaders offering their opinions and viewpoints on Scottish devolution. Additionally, the site features a retrospective on how the BBC covered the process and a feature on the Scottish Parliament building. [KMG]

National Book Critics Circle [pdf]

Founded in 1974, the National Books Critics Circle is an organization that includes over 900 book reviewers who are "interested in honoring quality writing and communicating with one another about common concerns." The Circle offers forums around the United States, and they also give annual awards for books in six different categories. On their homepage, visitors can learn about these annual awards, catch up on their weblog posts, learn about upcoming events and readings, and read their press releases. The "Articles" section is quite good, and it includes recent reviews and features like "Six Questions for James Mustich, Editor of The Barnes & Noble Review". Additionally, interested parties can learn about membership in the Circle and the current board members. [KMG]

Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Art New Media [Real Player, iTunes, pdf, Flash Player]

In terms of new media, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art serves as a model for other institutions. Their website offers visitors and art-lovers a multitude of ways to access, interact, and share art from their various collections. Visitors can start their tour through the site by clicking on over to the "Unframed" weblog. Here they can read up on the observations from staff members at the Museum about the arts and artists of Southern California. Further down the site, visitors can check out their latest online exhibitions, join the Museum's social networking communities, and view videos and podcasts. The "Works in Focus" area is quite a find, and here visitors can search the Museum's collections and take a tour via an interactive map. [KMG]

Psychotherapy Networker

The Psychotherapy Networker website is the online presence of the print magazine, which covers "the everyday challenges of clinical practice, while also offering perspective on the social issues, critical ideas, and therapeutic innovations shaping the direction of the [psychotherapy] profession." Visitors to the site will find the full text of the "Current Issue" and the full text of "Recent Issues". Subscribers to the bimonthly magazine have full access to the "Archives". On the left side of any page is a "Popular Topics" link that has over a dozen topics, including "The Business of Therapy", "Challenging Cases", "Ethics", and "Trauma". Visitors should check out the "CE Courses" link at the top of any page as it has many types of continuing education course offerings, such as "Telecourses", "Audio Courses" and "Online Courses". There is even a "Magazine Quiz" to take that will yield two CE credits if 12 questions about designated articles are answered correctly. [KMG]

The Agnes Chamberlin Digital Collection

Mushrooms and wildflowers were the inspiration for the Canadian painter Agnes Chamberlin, and the University of Toronto Libraries has digitized 318 of her lovely and detailed botanical illustrations. Visitors should start by clicking on the top left link "Agnes Chamberlin", to read about why she started painting, and then click on "Chronology", to the left of the story of her life, to get a feel for the time period in which Agnes Chamberlin was working. The "Browse/Search" tab at the top of the homepage will take the visitor to the search and the browse functions. The browse function allows the visitor to browse in several ways, such as by the plant's English name, also called the common name, the Latin name (also called the botanical name), and as individual or grouped wildflowers. Visitors can order a print of the image by clicking on "Digital Image Order Form" located below the image. Images may also be printed, by clicking on "Printable Version", located below the image. [KMG]

Caldwell Lighting: Shedding Light on New York

Visitors interested in a wonderful, well-written history on the light fixtures of Caldwell and Co. will enjoy the Smithsonian Institution Libraries website and digital collection of his work. Started in 1895, Caldwell and Co. made electric lights that aesthetically fit into the interiors of buildings without taking away from their traditional architecture. This creative ability made them popular among prominent architectural firms and wealthy clients of time. The "Browse the Collection" link at the top right of the homepage will lead visitors to choose the following categories by which to browse: "Product", "Client", "Project", and "Architect". The Products are as varied as "clocks", eight different types of "lighting", "religious objects", and "ironwork". A General Keyword Search, with images or without, is also available on the same page as the browse option. At the bottom of the website is a list of over two dozen buildings where Caldwell's more important works are located, and as it turns out, New York City is where most of them can be found. [KMG]

Philadelphia Museum of Art: Conservation

The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents this online mini-tutorial on the conservation of fine arts objects, complete with definitions, and plenty of examples. The site starts with differentiating preventative conservation measures - everything that can be done to slow the deterioration of a work. The Projects section contains examples of these conservation techniques. Within this section, the "Costume and Textile Department Move" describes the eight-year-long process of moving the Museum's extensive costume collection to a better storage facility. The section entitled "Rodin's The Thinker" describes the conservation treatments used to restore the finish of this famous statue, corroded and damaged by acid rain, after being exhibited outdoors for sixty years. One of the final steps was applying a protective wax coating, which has been renewed twice since the restored Thinker was re-installed in 1992. [DS]

Network Tools

TheWorld Browser

In a world with increasingly diverse options for wandering around the Internet, TheWorld Browser offers a visually stimulating change from some of the more staid browsers. This version has some rather nice tool options for blocking ads and also features built-in mouse gestures to move around pages a bit more smoothly. Additionally, this version also contains such commonly found features as a "favorites" list and a download history device. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP or Vista. [KMG]

CheckUp 2.5

If you're concerned about the care and feeding of your Mac, you may want to check out this handy application. CheckUp 2.5, which is a multipurpose maintenance utility designed to monitor CPU usage, disk drive activity, and network adaptors. Users of this application can view detailed information about all running processes, and also tweak the application to remind them when certain conditions are met as regards to a specific resource. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.5 and this is a trial version that can be used at no charge for thirty days. [KMG]

In The News

Debates about the content and focus of United States history courses continue on in Texas

The Culture Wars' New Front: U.S. History Classes in Texas

Board of Education may face controversy over new curriculum

Curriculum debate marred by ideologues

Texas Education Agency: Social Studies Expert Reviewers [pdf]

Smithsonian Source: Resources for Teaching American History [Flash Player, pdf]

TeachingAmericanHistory [iTunes, Real Player]

Everything is a bit bigger in Texas, and it would seem that an ongoing debate about what should be taught in history classrooms in the Lone Star State mirrors that particular sentiment. Along with other states, Texas recently approved new science standards that allowed for creationist critiques of evolution, and this current debate revolves around the place of faith in such curricula. Several of the history curriculum reviewers, including one Reverend Peter Marshall, have suggested that the curriculum be modified to emphasize the roles of the Bible, the Christian faith, and the civil virtue of religion. There also appear to be initial divisions about which historical figures should be referenced within such materials. Jesus F. de la Teja, the chairman of the history department at Texas State University, noted that the curriculum should draw on a more diverse set of role models, especially Latinos. Other outside observers have stated that these curriculum analysts should all be trained academics, while other parties remain skeptical of trained historians' emphasis on multiculturalism. This debate has raged on across the country for decades, but it will be interesting to see how things turn out in Texas over the coming months. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to an article from this Tuesday's Wall Street Journal which addresses some of the ongoing curriculum debates in Texas. Moving on, the second link leads to a recent piece from the Beaumont Enterprise which talks about the Texas State Board of Education's curriculum review process. The third link will whisk users away to a passionate editorial piece on this subject by Jacquielynn Floyd of the Dallas Morning News. The fourth link will take visitors to the initial remarks by the social studies reviewers on the proposed curriculum changes. Teachers of American history will be delighted to learn about the fifth site, which was created by the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies. Here they will find excellent teacher-selected resources, complete with primary documents and lesson plans. Finally, the last link leads to the TeachingAmericanHistory site, which was created by the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University. Here visitors can listen to free lectures, look over lesson plans, and check out their primary document library. [KMG]

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