The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 30

July 31, 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

Utah State History [Flash Player, pdf]

The Utah State History website casts a broad net when they note that their mission is "to preserve and share the past for a better present and future." As a division of Utah's Department of Community and Culture, they reach out to the public through the work of this site and other entities, including the Utah State Historical Society. On their homepage, visitors will note that the site is divided into six primary sections, including "Program Areas", "Learning & Research", and "Experience History". The "Experience History" area is a good place to start, and visitors can learn about their preservation efforts and also learn about some of Utah's key historic sites. Moving on, the "Learning and Research" area provides timelines of Utah's history, access to a large online archive of photographs, and information on locating cemetery records in the state. Finally, the "Program Areas" section features information about their research center and the Utah State Historical Society and their featured publication, the Utah Historical Quarterly. [KMG]

History & Culture of Brazil

Through years of research and teaching experience, Professor Edward Riedinger of Ohio State University has created this instructional website designed to expose students and others to the history and culture of Brazil. The site is intended to support Professor Riedinger's courses, and it contains links to textual, cartographic, visual, and audio resources. These materials are divided into six basic sections, including "Human Settlement", "Cultural Streams", and "Modern Times". Each section contains a series of short essays on the topic in question, peppered with links to outside resources of note. Overall, the site is quite easy to navigate, and the pleasing graphics help make for a rewarding experience. [KMG]

The Landscape of Recession: Unemployment and Safety Net Services Across Urban and Suburban America [pdf]

A number of key policy groups and organizations have begun taking a hard look at the unemployment situation across the United States, and the subject has not escaped the attention of scholars at the Brookings Institution. Elizabeth Kneebone and Emily Garr authored this 12-page report released in July 2009, and it offers a bit of analysis on the demand for emergency and safety net services across urban and suburban areas in the United States. For this work, they chose to focus in on the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas in order to analyze recent unemployment trends in these cities and their suburbs. They examined the changing demand for safety net services (such as unemployment insurance claims) over the past several years. It's a compelling look at the subject, and it's something that policy analysts, urban scholars, and others will find quite useful. [KMG]

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: National Wetlands Inventory [pdf]

Wetlands went through a hard time in the 19th and much of the 20th centuries as they were summarily drained and used for real estate development. Today, scientists, planners, and recreationists are well aware of the value they provide in terms of their role as lively animal habitats and as a way to recharge groundwater. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the primary federal agency that provides information on the state of the country's wetlands, and this site provides extensive geospatial data on their current extent and location. Visitors can check out the "What's New" area to get started, and they will want to look at the recent annual reports and some of their research highlights. On the right-hand side of the homepage, visitors can click on the "Wetlands Mapper" tool and also view the wetlands via Google Earth. On the left-hand side of the homepage, visitors can elect do download digital wetlands data by state or quadrant, and they can also learn more about obtaining hard-copy maps. [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

The Barren Lands

The area west of Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan is known as the Barren Lands region, and it was thoroughly documented and explored by J.B. Tyrrell in 1893 and 1894. Tyrell was a geologist working in the service of the Geological Survey of Canada when he led two separate expeditions to the region. This thoughtful digital collection from the University of Toronto's Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library includes over 5000 images from the original field notebooks from the expedition, along with written correspondence, photographs, maps, and published reports. A great place to start is the "Expedition Overview" area. Here visitors can read a brief overview of each expedition, and then follow along the path of the original expedition route on period maps. The site also includes a biographical sketch of Tyrell and his younger brother, James. [KMG]

Google Maps Rumsey Historical Maps

David Rumsey is one of the world's great map collectors, and he has been very generous by sharing his treasures via the David Rumsey Map Collection website. Recently, Rumsey has selected 120 historical maps from his collection to link up with data from Google Maps and Google Earth. These maps are tremendous repositories of historical and cultural information by themselves, and when they are joined up with the other maps, they present a multifaceted way of visualizing the past, present, and future of these locales. As the website notes, this is "a marriage of historic cartographic masterpieces with innovative contemporary software tools." First-time visitors can read the explanation of how this is done, and then scroll down to look through the list of maps, which includes Chicago in 1857, Moscow in 1836, Kyoto in 1709, and a celestial globe from 1792. Also, visitors can toggle the satellite view via the Google Maps overlay map in order to compare and contrast the changes that have occurred over the past decades and centuries. [KMG]

The Ford Foundation [pdf, Flash Player]

Created in 1936 by Edsel Ford, The Ford Foundation has distributed over $15.6 billion in monies for organizations working on issues such as human rights, social justice philanthropy, and access to education. For visitors new to the site, it's worth starting out by clicking on the "Issues" section. Here they can learn about the eight primary areas of focus within the Foundation, and also learn about some of their specific initiatives, like the "Advancing Public Service Media" initiative and the "Economic Opportunities for the Rural Poor" initiative. Moving on, visitors should check out the "Newsroom" area for a quick overview of recent success stories and reports, including their work on creating land banks as a way to fight urban blight and how iPhone apps could save public radio. Visitors can also use the interactive map on the homepage (and in the "Regions" section) to focus in on the different programs across the globe. [KMG]

Felix Mendelssohn at the Library of Congress

Felix Mendelssohn was a musical jack-of-all trades and he was renowned in his lifetime as an exquisite pianist, conductor, and of course, composer. To mark the bicentennial of his birth in 1809, the Library of Congress's Music Division has created this collection of primary source material related to Mendelssohn's life and accomplishments. A good place to start here is the section containing articles on Mendelssohn's work as a composer. Here visitors can read pieces which explore his sacred works and his celebrated octet in E-flat major. The site also includes eight holograph manuscripts, including a score for the work Der Blumenstrauss and his setting of the 95th Psalm. The site also contains three biographical sketches on Mendelssohn, his older sister, Fanny, and his wife, Cecile Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. [KMG]

General Interest


Some Scout Report readers might be wondering: "What is a light source?" Its a valid question, and the short answer is that these light sources in question are "accelerator-based sources of exceptionally intense, tightly focused beams of x rays and ultraviolent radiation." This helpful website is billed as the place for news, information, and educational materials about the world's synchrotron and free electron laser light source facilities, and first-time users will want to click on the "Learn About Light Sources" section to get better acquainted with such facilities. Moving on, visitors can get the latest scientific updates from such facilities via the "Light Source Science" area. Moving on, those already active in the light source community can peruse the "For Light Source Users" area. The homepage also contains a frequently updated calendar of light source related events, along with links to their RSS feed and Twitter updates. [KMG]

Cambridge Physics: Past, Present and Future [Quick Time]

Opened in 1874, the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge is one of the oldest teaching laboratories in England. Researchers at the Laboratory have made key findings regarding the electron, positive rays, and the nucleus. This interactive site was created by staff members at the Cavendish (with the collaboration of the physics department) in order to educate the public about their work and history. First-time visitors should scroll over the boxes on the homepage to learn more about some of their key discoveries as a way of becoming familiarized with their work. Moving on, the "Past, Present, Future" area provides a virtual tour of the Cavendish Laboratory, along with biographies of the key figures who've worked at the Laboratory since the 19th century. [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

U.S. Department of Transportation: Maritime Administration [pdf]

As an agency within the Department of Transportation, the Maritime Administration is primarily concerned with the world of waterborne transportation. The agency also works in a variety of areas, including shipbuilding, port operations, national security, and safety. Users who find themselves on the site's homepage will find sections dedicated to topics that include "Ports", "Ships & Shipping", "Mariners", and five additional areas. In the "Ports" area, visitors can learn about the agency's current work on facilitating shipping and private business, along with infrastructure development programs that are underway. Further along, the "Ships & Shipping" area is quite interesting, and visitors can learn about the Marine Highway Program and the Ship Disposal program. Finally, the site is rounded out by a fine online library, which contains factsheets, policy papers, and video and audio features. [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

Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections

Through a series of strategic initiatives and focused work, the Birmingham Public Library has digitized thousands of items and placed them online on their digital collections page. The site has two dozen different thematic collections, and visitors can browse them by material type (maps, newspapers, etc.) or just scroll down the alphabetically organized list. Amidst these unique collections, there are several that are worth special attention. The first is the archive of the Birmingham Iron Age, which was started in 1874 when the city was a mere 26 months old. Looking over its pages is a great way to get a sense of the pressing issues of the day and the development of this new industrial city. The next collection of special note is the "Buildings in Birmingham". Here visitor can make their way through 299 images that document the transformation of the city's built environment. [KMG]

MoMA: James Ensor [Flash Player]

As a native of the Belgian town of Ostend, the artist James Ensor was inspired by some of the themes that have informed the work of many other artists, including light and death. His diverse styles and artistic perspective make him difficult to categorize, as he engaged in portraiture, and often seemed to utilize paint in a way that was both modern and traditional at the same time. The Museum of Modern Art recently created a special exhibition of his works, and this interactive website offers up select works from the show, along with essays, and a timeline of his life. Each work is accompanied by a full-caption and a zoom feature, and visitors can get acquainted with Ensor's perspective by viewing works like "Skeletons Trying to Warm Themselves" and "The Oyster Eater". [KMG]

The Perkins Geology Museum at the University of Vermont

With sponsorship from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and other organizations, The Perkins Geology Museum at the University of Vermont has been able to expand their online offerings in recent years. Most visitors will want to make sure and look over the "Perkins Digital Archive" and the "Landscape Change Program" sections. In the "Perkins Digital Library" area, visitors can make their way through over one thousand images of rocks, minerals, and fossils. Users can get started by searching the database by keyword or location, and alternately they can click on lists of thematic collections. Moving on, the "Landscape Change Program" features a database of over 24,000 images that document landscape change in Vermont from 1690 to the present day. It's an impressive collection, and visitors can search the materials via a search engine, a random sample, or by county. Just to get started, visitors might type in "Burlington" or "covered bridges" for fun. [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

Voyages and Travels: Ancient and Modern

Sir Walter Raleigh was a man who liked to travel the globe. He was in good company, as persons stretching all the way back to Herodotus (and before) had a certain wanderlust that could only be quenched by seeking out new lands and experiences. Some of their musings on the places they explored can be found within the electronic pages of the volume presented here by The Voyages and Travels work was originally part of the Harvard Classics series, and it contains seven accounts of travel and exploration. These accounts include "An Account of Egypt" by Herodotus, Sir Walter Raleigh's "The Discovery of Guiana", and a narrative of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's trip to Newfoundland in the 16th century. [KMG]

Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul

In 1988 while Afghanistan was in the grips of a civil war, government and National Museum officials were concerned that the historical artifacts and works of art in the Kabul museum might be damaged or looted. In order to protect these treasures they were hidden in the Central Bank treasury vault at the presidential palace. In 2003, during a period of relative stability after the U.S. military campaign overthrew the Taliban, the presence of the treasures was revealed, and an international effort was begun to put them on exhibition. In the U.S., the show is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, but if you can't make it to the in situ exhibit this website from the National Geographic Society is a great virtual substitute. The site presents the full story of the exhibition and a wealth of additional information. Visitors will find videos and audio slide shows of sites in Afghanistan where the artifacts originated, images of modern Afghanistan, and recorded Afghan music. There is also a link to the Metropolitan Museum's website to see a selection of artifacts in the exhibition, such as gold and turquoise shoe buckles from the 1st century A.D., and a folding crown, an example of nomadic design. [DS]

Network Tools

HTTrack Website Copier 3.43-7

If you have ever found yourself out of range of a wireless network, you may find this handy application to be a real find. HTTrack Website Copier allows users to store and view websites for perusal at a later date. The application downloads the site to a local directory, and visitors can view the site at their leisure while offline. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95/98/ and XP and those running Linux. [KMG]

Recuva 1.29.429

Just when you thought a certain file was gone forever, there may be a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. The Recuva application is designed to help users recover and locate lost files, and its user interface device is quite easy to use. After users select a drive, the application goes to work, and it will eventually return a list of deleted files. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Urban foragers wander around the city in search of food, communion, and conversation

Urban forages feast on sidewalk salads

Documentary about urban foragers in Chicago

The freegans' creed: waste not, want not

Forage Oakland

Urban Edibles

Wild Food Tours

Wandering around sidewalks and alleys looking for edible plants like dandelions or goosefoot might not be appealing to everyone, but to urban foragers, it's just part of a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way of life. The urban foraging movement has been growing as of late, and there are numerous weblogs and websites dedicated to those who wish to learn more about the subject. Many urban foragers will often share information with others in order to share the wealth of an apple tree or a collection of edible plants. Urban foragers abide by a code of ethics that includes respect for private property (no trespassing, obviously), and they aim to treat people with respect and to also clean up after themselves. The practice is not without its perils, as many plants in and around cities can be sprayed with chemicals or grown in soil that is laden with heavy chemicals. Chicago-based urban forager Nancy Klehm recently noted that she does this in order "to slow down, to not follow the grid, to skip out of technoconsumerism. I do this to realize that the health of my body is connected to the health of the land." [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a nice piece from the Reuters News Service on the practice of urban foraging. The second link leads to a delightful 17-minute documentary on urban foragers in Chicago titled "Sky Full of Bacon 07: Eat This City". Moving on, the third link will whisk users away to a great piece by William Skidelsky writing for The Observer. In the piece, Skidelsky investigates the world of "freegans" by spending some time with one of their kind, Tristram Stuart. The fourth link leads to the Forage Oakland weblog which contains "edible maps" of Oakland. The fifth link will take visitors to the Urban Edibles site, which is a "community database of wild food sources in Portland, OR". The last link leads to the homepage of "Wildman" Steve Brill, who is "America's best known forager." [KMG]

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