The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 34

August 28, 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

The Robbins Collection: School of Law, University of California at Berkeley [Flash]

Established in 1952 by Lloyd McCullough Robbins in memory of his parents, The Robbins Collection is an international center for comparative legal and historical studies based at the School of Law (Boalt Hall) at the University of California at Berkeley. On this website, visitors can learn about the Collection and its public programs. In "The Collection" section, users can read about their holdings, and click on areas like "Civil Law" and "Religious Law" to learn more about their various archives. Moving on, the "Outreach" area located within the "Programs & Events" section contains educational resources on the Roman legal tradition, complete with a historical timeline, glossary, and a print version with additional scholarly resources. One particularly noteworthy feature on the site is an online exhibit about the medieval law school which contains digitized images from important early legal texts, such as Institutiones, compiled by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. [KMG]

Beyond Steel: An Archive of Lehigh Valley Industry and Culture

Regions like the Lehigh Valley have been reinventing themselves since the extended period of deindustrialization began many decades ago. This rather fascinating online exhibit and archive from the Lehigh University Digital Library initiative is designed to aid "researchers in understanding not only the lives of railroad barons and steel titans, but also the experiences of the regular folks who work and live in the community." The digitized items within the collection include industry documents, books, photographs, and oral histories. On the homepage, visitors will find the materials divided into four primary sections: "Business & Technology", "Society & Culture", "Community Services", and "GIS". Several of these sections start out with a thematic essay, and visitors can click on a number of topical areas, like "Coal & Canals" and "Neighborhoods". Visitors with a love of urban geography won't want to miss the "GIS" area. Here they can take a look at the integration of early twentieth-century fire insurance maps of Bethlehem, PA, Bethlehem Steel employee lists, and selected information from the 1900 Census report. [KMG]

New York State Historical Literature Collection

The creation of this particular digital collection from the Cornell University Library was started in 1990 when a selection of key historical works dealing with New York state were scanned with equipment developed jointly by Cornell at the Xerox Corporation. Currently this impressive collection consists of 655 individual items, with a total of over 81 thousand pages of material. First-time visitors may wish to start by reading through the "About" section. After this, visitors can stretch on over to the "Browse" area to get a feel for the collections' holdings. For those with a place-centric perspective, the "Region" option will allow them to click on an interactive map of the Empire State in order to locate various documents from Buffalo to Clinton County. Users are also encouraged to browse around via document title or author. There is tremendous variety here, as visitors can read John Abbott's 1873 account of the life of Peter Stuyvesant and also take a breezy tour through a gazetteer and business directory of Ontario County from 1867. [KMG]

OECD: Policy Briefs [pdf],3354,en_2649_201185_1_119696_1_1_1,00.html

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has a sizeable research staff, and they publish dozens of policy papers, reports, and related documents every year. This website will lead visitors directly to their archive of policy briefs, and it is one that every person with an interest in international relations, economic policy, and related matters will want to add to their collection of bookmarks. The basic list of briefs is arranged chronologically, and recent briefs added to the site have included an economic survey of Greece, an examination of international migration trends, and regional innovation trends in 15 Mexican states. At this part of the site, visitors can read abstracts of each document, and also download them as well. On the left-hand side of the page, visitors can browse all of the briefs by topic, country, or view an alphabetical list of the briefs. [KMG]

BioEd Online: Genes, Health and Society

The BioEd Online project from the Baylor College of Medicine has been creating high-quality instructional resources for a number of years, and this web-based course is one of the most recent additions to their site. The "Genes, Health and Society" course is intended for educators, undergraduates, and anyone else interested in "exploring both classic knowledge and current thinking in the fields of genetics and genomics." Visitors will need to complete a free registration form before accessing the course. After this registration process is complete, users can look over the three modules of the course: "Transmission Genetics", "The Nature of Genetic Material", and "Medical Genetics". Throughout the course, users are asked to complete self-assessment questions and problems, record their observations, and access supplementary resources in areas called "Side Trips". [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

Oregon Multicultural Archives Digital Collection

Ethnic minorities in Oregon are the subject of this Oregon State University Library website and the collection "consists of images that document the lives and activities of ethnic minorities in Oregon." With its streamlined homepage, visitors can focus on the collection and how to search or browse through it. Visitors are also welcome to contribute information on any unidentified photographs, by clicking on "Contact Us", near the bottom of the homepage. In addition, visitors can also click on the "Browse" link to see every one of the 239 items in the collection. Those users with something more specific in mind should use the "Quick Links" drop down box in the top right hand corner of the homepage. Some of the subject areas that can be searched for are "African Americans", "Indians of North America", "Mexican Americans", "Political Parades and Rallies", and "Powwows". The "Indexes" available to search are organized into headings like "Photographer", "Subject" and "Geographic", and they can be found below the "Quick Links" drop down box. [KMG]

U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security [pdf]

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) may not be the most well known among the public, but it plays an important role within the U.S. Department of Commerce, and their website is very informative. Their mission statement found in the "About BIS" link near the top of the page is as follows: "Advance U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system and promoting continued U.S. strategic technology leadership." On the homepage, there are detailed sections on "Policy Initiatives", "Exporter Resources", and "BIS Publications". The tabs on the menu near the top of the page assist visitors with "Policies", "Licensing", "Seminars and Training", and "Int'l Programs". The "Additional Resources", on the left hand side of the homepage offers links to many practical matters, such as "FAQs on Export Licensing", "Compliance Program Assistance", "Online Submissions", and a "Reading Room". [KMG]

Freshwater and Marine Image Bank

The University of Washington Libraries has digitized 21,000 images of freshwater and marine life taken from 1735-1924 that populated various publications about the topic. Some of the publications include 18th and 19th century books with hand-colored images, stereographs, and publications of the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and related agencies that contain a slew of illustrations. On the far right hand side of the homepage is a list of 24 sample subject areas that the images fall into, including "aquaculture", "mollusks", "polar subjects", and "water birds". Visitors wishing to see the complete list of subjects should click on "Browse Subjects", in the top right of the homepage. The "Other Sources" link at the bottom right hand side of the page has links to over a dozen other websites that contain digitized freshwater and marine images, such as "Sea Lamprey Images", "Shoreline Aerial Photos", and "Reef Snapshots", just to name a few. [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

Waterlife [Flash Player]

A beautiful and dramatic website, Waterlife, addresses the dire state of the Great Lakes. Created by the National Film Board of Canada the site has high quality images, a rousing soundtrack, and different narrators. Visitors can choose to discover what part of life water affects from a menu on the left hand side of the page, and in this case, there are many. "Water is..." sits at the top of the left hand side menu, and below it are the almost two dozen topics related to water which can be selected. Rolling the cursor over the slightly transparent list of topics increases their visibility. Some of the topics include "evaporating", "waste", "chemicals", "shipping", "invasive species" and "political". Choose any of the topics, and eerie music accompanies the educational and sobering text that floats and moves about the chosen topic. In some cases, a narrator explains a bit more about the topic and the visitor can still click through the other text presented on the screen. [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

National Portrait Gallery: Thomas Paine

"These are the times that try Mens souls. Let it be told...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it and to repulse it." Thomas Paine, the author of those words in 1776, apropos even today, died 200 years ago as a pauper, and was shunned by his friends and the public. His reputation has much improved since then, and this online and offline exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution allows visitors to indulge in the wisdom of his words. Divided into four sections, the exhibit is immensely readable, with an intriguing quote at the beginning of the paragraph that accompanies each section, and informative descriptions that tell the story of each of the paintings, drawings, and pamphlets that make up the exhibit. Perhaps the most radical of the founding fathers, Paine's words have been repeated my many including Ronald Reagan when he accepted his presidential nomination and Barack Obama during his inaugural address. [KMG]

A Chef's Table [Real Player, iTunes]

For visitors who like watching cooking shows on public television or cable, listening to a cooking show on public radio might also be appealing. Luckily, the website for Chef Jim Coleman's show, A Chef's Table, offers podcasts of his WHYY show for those whose day doesn't regularly include listening to the radio. The written content of the website nicely expands on the radio show, and also lists the books that are featured on the week's show. In the middle of the homepage there is a featured recipe of the week, and on the menu on the left side of the page can be found "Recipes" from past shows, "Cooking Tips", "Cookbook Reviews", and "Archives". The archives contain one show per week, and are available from November 2008 to the present. Finally, for visitors who just can't get enough of Julia Child, full episodes of her show The French Chef are available on the homepage of WHYY, and the August 1, 2009 show of A Chef's Table is about all things Julia. [KMG]

The Rochambeau Map Collection

Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau was the commander in chief of the French expeditionary army from 1780 to 1782. Rochambeau played a key role in the American Revolution, and his extensive map collection covered a great deal of eastern North America. The American Memory project at the Library of Congress has taken 40 manuscript and 26 printed maps from Rochambeau's collection and placed them online here. The views and maps in the collection cover areas from Labrador south to Haiti, and the maps themselves date from 1717 to 1795. Visitors can browse the collection by title, creator, subject, or place. In terms of highlights, interested parties will want to peruse the 1755 map of Nova Scotia and the 1781 military map of the area around Baltimore. [KMG]

Tobacco Bag Stringing in North Carolina and Virginia

Tobacco bag stringing may not be familiar to most people today, as it has not been practiced by any significant number of individuals for decades. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a number of families throughout the tobacco-rich regions of North Carolina and Virginia made extra money by sewing drawstrings into cotton tobacco bags. Visitors can learn about this practice and its history by viewing the primary materials contained on this site created by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Here visitors can view the full text of a report from 1939 which documented tobacco bag stringing in both states. After taking a look at "The Report" section, visitors can move on to "The Workers" section. Here, visitors can learn about the individual tobacco bag stringers, and also view photographs of each worker. Moving on, visitors can view 145 images of the workers, their homes, and their families. [KMG]

Design Observer

Design Observer takes a catholic approach to discussing various aspects of design. Visitors to the homepage will realize this immediately, as they can find posts on architectural theory, furniture design, and the history of innovative trademarks. On the left-hand side of the homepage, visitors can check out the latest relevant Twitter posts, and also scroll down to the "Observed" area. Here visitors can read posts from Design Observer contributors. On the right-hand side of the page, those persons in the design fields can learn about various design competitions, conferences, fellowships, and social networking opportunities. Further down the right-hand side, visitors can take in the "Design Matters" audio program. Hosted by Debbie Millman, the show "combines a stimulating point of view about graphic design, branding and cultural anthropology." Featured guests have included Dave Eggers, Dan Pink, and Natalia Ilyin. [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 Civil War in America from The Illustrated London News

Most people may have a sense of how American newspapers reported on the Civil War, but how did journalists over in London approach this four year conflict? The people at the Beck Center at Emory University, in collaboration with Sandra J. Still and Emily E. Katt, created this digital archive of the Illustrated London News during the Civil War years. The initial phase of this archive began in 1988 when Still and Katt began to collect the ten bound volumes of the Illustrated London News that they would eventually digitize with the assistance of the Beck Center. On the homepage, visitors can look over the various articles from the London News by clicking on the "Articles" area and then view the accompanying illustrative material that accompanied each article in the "Illustrations" area of the site. Visitors are also welcome to search the entire text or illustrations via a convenient search engine. [KMG]

De Young Museum: The Harald Wagner Collection of Teotihuacan Murals [Flash Player]

This website from the de Young Museum (a 293,000 sq. ft. museum located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park) presents a happy ending to what started as a story of looted cultural heritage. Harald Wagner, 1903 - 1976, was an architectural draftsman and property developer, as well as a painter and art collector, who loved and traveled to Mexico frequently, and bought a home there in the 1950s. In four separate purchases in the 1960s, Wagner acquired over seventy painted wall fragments that range in size from a few inches to fourteen feet, and date from 400700 A.D. Research conducted since his death and bequest of his mural collection to the de Young in 1976, now indicates almost positively that all of the Wagner murals came from two compounds, Techinantitla and Tlacuilapaxco, both in the ancient city, Teotihuacan, about an hour north of Mexico City. Due to the ethical issues involved with the bequest of such a large collection, de Young Museum officials negotiated with the Mexican government for several years. The result was a collaborative agreement with Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology for the joint conservation, exhibition, and management of this impressive collection. The complete story of the murals is told at the site, along with zoomable images of seven fragments of the murals. [DS]

Network Tools

PC Wizard 2009 1.90

With so many free options for system utilities, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. PC Wizard 2009 1.90 is a most worthy option, and visitors can use the program to not only detect hardware performance, but it will also look at hard disk performance, and display a graph to note how various elements in a given category perform. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

VoxOx 2.0.4

For people looking to bring together their various forms of online communications in one place, the VoxOx application may be a useful tool. The VoxOx application can be used to chat with colleagues and friends around the world, link up email accounts, and also make mobile-to-mobile calls. Visitors can also use the program to share files up to 100MB and also use create specialized phone lists and also record phone calls. VoxOx brings together almost all of the key communication channels including voice, video, Instant Messaging (IM), text, social media, e-mail, and content sharing, into a single interface. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer and Mac OSX and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Several weeks before a planned shift of the right of way, some Samoans continue to air their grievances

Shifting the Right of Way to the Left Leaves Some Samoans Feeling Wronged

Bus drivers threaten to set fleet alight

Samoa drive switch campaign sabotaged

CIA The World Factbook: Western Samoa

Government of Samoa

A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa

During his first inaugural address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to calm an anxious nation with the words "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Interestingly enough, the prime minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, used that same phrase to calm Samoans' fears about switching from driving on the right side of the road to the left side of the road. It's a controversial switch, and it is due to take place in the country on September 7th. Other countries have certainly changed the side of the road on which they drive, but the last major nation to do so was Ghana in 1974. The prime minister was behind this plan, and claims that by driving on the left side of the road, poor Samoans will be able to obtain and use cheaper second-hand cars from Samoans living relatively close by in New Zealand and Australia. Opponents of the plan have called it foolish, and have also said that drivers will become confused and there could be a dramatic spike in automobile accidents. Other critics have included bus owners and operators, who will be required to effectively carve out new doors into their transport vehicles. As of this week, the prime minister remained adamant that the change would take place regardless of such criticisms, and he even went so far as to refer to one of his detractors as an "avaava" fish. This particular denizen of shallow waters happens to eat garbage, so the reference was less than complimentary. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a Wall Street Journal article from this Monday that contains comments on the proposed switch from the prime minister and the plan's critics. Moving on, the second link leads to a news piece from the Brisbane Times that states that bus drivers in Samoa would "rather set fire to their fleet" than switch to driving on the left side of the road. The third link leads to a piece from Radio New Zealand International on a bit of creative sabotage by those who are not in favor of this plan. The fourth link will whisk users away to the CIA Factbook's entry on Samoa. Here visitors can learn about the country's economy, political system, and primary exports. The fifth link leads visitors to the official homepage of the Samoan government. The last and final link leads to a digitized version of Robert Louis Stevenson's work, "A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble In Samoa". In the book, Stevenson offers a first-person account over the struggle for control of Samoa in the late 19th century by the countries of Germany, Britain, and the United States. [KMG]

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