The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 35

September 4, 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

NOAA: Ocean, Great Lakes and Coastal Research [pdf]

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) research website on the coasts and the nation's lakes is committed to the proposition that "[k]nowledge of the oceans, their resources and their relationship to human activities is vital to our society." The menu on the left side of the page has nine research areas to explore, including "Habitat Protection and Restoration", "Aquatic Invasive Species", and "Coastal Resource Management". Each area of research includes numerous links to other NOAA websites, as well as a list of NOAA Research Programs of relevance. Clicking on the orange "Education" tab in the middle of the page takes visitors to a page with over a dozen education resources for teachers and students. Just scroll down to the heading Ocean and Great Lakes Information for some fantastic opportunities, such as the "Teacher at Sea Program", "Biscayne Bubbles", and "Interactive Climate Analysis and Data Plotting". [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

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Digital Collection

The Harvard Law School Library digitized its holdings of materials associated with Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and his family. This website constitutes phase one of the project, and contains items that are related to his service in the 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment of the Union Army, including correspondence, telegrams, and a diary. Click on "Scrapbook" in the first bullet point on the homepage to see Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s, scrapbook from the Civil War. The inside cover, which is the second image, shows a handwritten inscription of 1864, and instructions that "the enclosed letters to be buried unread at my death - without fail." The Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Visual Materials Collection includes "photographs, etchings, drawings, and paintings" of his parents and wife, and can be accessed by clicking a link in the third bullet point on the homepage. Finally, the link to the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Object Collection is provided in the fourth bullet point on the homepage, and objects in the collection include "Civil War uniform relics, family and personal effects, and a death mask." [KMG]

UCLA: The Globalization Research Center-Africa [pdf]

In April 2001, the Globalization Research Center on Africa was established at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The Center was part of the Globalization Research Network, which included similar initiatives at the University of South Florida, George Washington University, and the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Today the Center continues to conduct "research on the dynamics and effects of globalization, with particular emphasis on impacts within Africa." On their homepage, visitors can look at recent news updates ("Africa Globalization in the News") and take a look at their signature projects. These signature projects include the "Global-Link Africa Online Curriculum", which is a multimedia curriculum resource for thinking "about globalization and its relationship with Africa, Africans, and United States-African policy." Users will also want to look through their recent research reports and presentations, which include works on the relationship between African nations and China and water management strategies. [KMG]

The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa

The online version of the University of Iowa Press' Biographical Dictionary is a website that just feels welcoming. The colorful 1934 Cesco mural, "Agriculture," featured on its homepage, and portions of it on other sections of the website remind visitors of Iowa's farming roots. In the "Introduction" tab, one of the editors makes the argument that "Iowas cultural climate, at least in the last half of the nineteenth century, might have made it more than coincidental that 'a disproportionate share of the influential people of the 1930s came from Iowa.'" Some of these influential people include Herbert Hoover, John L. Lewis, Henry A. Wallace, and Harry Hopkins. Visitors who want to learn more about these famous figures and their Iowa roots can click on the "Browse by Name" tab at the top of the page, choose a link to the first letter of their last name, and read more about them. The "Browse by Topic" tab has over two dozen topics to choose from, including "Ornithology", "Mining", and "Invention". [KMG]

National Endowment for the Arts: Research Notes [pdf]

Along with their sponsorship of various artistic endeavors, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) creates specialized analyses of topics of interest to policy-makers, arts administrators, and others with an interest in the arts. Their Research Notes papers can be found here, and visitors can browse the papers by the date of their release or by subject. Currently, there are almost 100 papers listed on the site. The first paper was released in 1982, and since then, the NEA has sponsored papers that include "College Course-Taking Patterns in the Arts", "International Data on Government Spending on the Arts", and "Public Participation in the Arts: 1982 and 1992". Finally, the site also contains links to the NEA's research brochures and a place where visitors can sign up to receive email updates about new research publications. [KMG]

Open Secrets (Last reviewed in the July 30, 1999 edition of the Scout Report)

The Center for Responsive Politics has been around for over 25 years and they are primarily focused on "tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy." The Scout Report last profiled the site in 1999, and it remains a very useful place for anyone with an interest in political action committees (PACs), congressional races, and industry profiles. Visitors to the homepage will see the "Capital Eye" weblog front and center, and it's a good place to start. The rest of the material is divided into sections that include "Politicians & Elections", "Influence & Lobbying", "News & Analysis", and "Action Center". If you're looking for political donation information and related materials, check out the "Search" engine on the right-hand side of the homepage. Here visitors can type in a ZIP code, organization, keyword, industry, or name and retrieve publicly available information about campaign donations and the like. For those who want to receive regular updates, there's the "MyOpenSecrets" area. Here interested parties can "watchdog" all the data they want via their handy user interface. [KMG]

The Core Historical Literature of Agriculture

How did people raise pigs in the 19th century? What were people talking about in the journal of Agricultural History in 1965? These are but a few of the questions answered in the documents contained within The Core Historical Literature of Agriculture website. Created by staff members at the Albert R. Mann Library at Cornell University, the site contains important agricultural texts from the nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. Visitors can learn more about the collection in the "About" section, and then move along to the "Browse" area. Here visitors can browse all of the titles alphabetically or chronologically. Also, visitors can find the recent additions here underneath the main browsing area. New visitors might want to peruse the 1827 volume "The Honey Bee: its natural history, physiology and management" or the 1921 work, "The Marketing of Whole Milk". [KMG]

Public Health Preparedness and Response to Chemical and Radiological Incidents: Functions, Practices, and Areas for Future Work [pdf]

This 66 page report released in August 2009 looks into the world of public health emergency preparedness, and for those persons who work in the fields of emergency response policy, public health, or security studies, this work will be most timely. Authored by five researchers at the RAND Corporation this technical report looks into "the roles of the public health service in emergency preparedness and its response to chemical and radiological incidents." The report is divided into four chapters, two appendices, and a references section. As events like nuclear plant accidents, chemical terrorism, and other related occurrences can have tremendous implications for public health, the report is most valuable. [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

John Johnson Collection: Trades and Professions

John de Monins Johnson was a tremendous collector of printed ephemera during his life, and he was particularly keen on items which depicted people at work in various vocations. He was inspired by his work in Egypt as a papyrologist during the early 20th century, and he went on to return to Britain to help save the country's paper heritage. Johnson's collection ended up at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, and this digital offering contains over 900 examples of this type of work. Visitors can look through the images by title or artist, and each item has a bibliographic record. While there are many gems here, visitors shouldn't miss the image of a brewhouse from 1747 or the trade card which has the telling heading "To All Lovers of Angling". [KMG]

BBC4: Great Lives [iTunes]

William Hogarth, Henry VII, and Richard Pryor all make appearances in the thoughtful BBC4 radio program, Great Lives. Hosted by Matthew Parris, the program was started in 2007, and it continues to grow in popularity. The format is fairly straight-forward: Guests on the program choose someone who has inspired their lives and a conversation ensues. Visitors to the site can sign up for the podcasts from the series, or they can just browse through past programs by year. Currently, there are almost 70 programs on the site, and some of the highlights include journalist Misha Glenny remembering the life of anti-Mafia campaigner Giovanni Falcone and musician Andy Sheppard talking about John Coltrane. [KMG]


For the latest and most compelling news on the world of government, visitors might do well to check out GovZine. Govzine is a social news aggregation service focused on various aspects of government, including updates from industry websites and weblogs. First-time visitors can check out the "Popular Scoops" area which brings together recent materials culled from hundreds of different online news sources. Visitors can also arrange the "Popular Scoops" by week, month, or year. Job-seekers will enjoy access to the "Recent Jobs" postings, which are displayed on the left-hand side of the homepage. Along the top of the homepage, users can look at topic-specific postings via the sections "Technology", "Workforce", "Procurement", and "Management". Also, visitors can sign up receive the weekly top stories from GovZine. [KMG]

Mind: The Science, Art, and Experience of our Inner Lives [Flash Player]

The homepage for the Mind project presents two initial choices: a pile of burning wood next to the word "Ponder" and a cute looking cat-like creature next to the word "Play". Both sections help curious parties explore the world of our inner lives and thoughts as we interpret them through art, science, and ideas about the external world. In the "Play" area visitors can take in visually stimulating interactive activities that ask questions like "Do you know what you communicate with your body?" and "What makes something cute?" Moving on, the "Ponder" area contains explorations of topics like "Why do teens take risks?" and "Can science really study love and attraction?" One can imagine that these features could be used as supplementary activities in a psychology or neuroscience classroom, and others might just want to check them out as a conversation starter. [KMG]

Minnesota Reflections

For visitors whose only introduction to Minnesota is from the movie "Fargo" or Garrison Keillor's fictional town of Lake Wobegon, the website Minnesota Reflections comprehensively shows the many other facets of life in the land of 10,000 lakes. The Minnesota Digital Library Coalition has created this digital project as part of a collaborative effort involving the contributions of 95 cultural heritage institutions across Minnesota. The contributions include a total of 31,000 documents, images, and maps, and can be searched, or browsed "by collection", "by topic", or "by region". The 22 topics to be browsed range from "Agriculture" to "Indians of North America" to "Famous Minnesotans" to "Weather". Browsing "by region" will give the visitor the choice of eight regions to explore. The "Preferences" link up in the top right side of the page allows visitors to choose how their results are displayed. [KMG]

Leigh Hunt Online: The Letters

Not familiar with British Romantic writer Leigh Hunt? After going through the University of Iowa Library's collection of his letters online, visitors will know Hunt intimately. For those visitors who don't have the stamina to pore over the more than 1600 letters that have been digitized thus far, an excellent history of him can be found by clicking "Who is Leigh Hunt?" in the "About the Project" link. The link "About the Brewer-Hunt Collection" reveals that Brewer, an Iowa native of modest means, began collecting Hunt's work in the last 13 years of his life and amassed such a collection, that it was purchased by the University of Iowa Libraries in 1934. The link also mentions the correspondence in the collection that Hunt had with many other noted authors. Visitors should click on "Digitized Letters" to view the thumbnail gallery of Highlights of the Collection and see a host of Sample Searches. "Search Hints" are given in a link on the left hand side of the page, right above "NINES Collaboration". [KMG]

The Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens [Flash Player]

Palm Beach County in Southern Florida is the home of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. For armchair travelers, the quickest way there is via their fine website, where some of their exhibitions and collections can be found. The "Collection" tab at the top of the page will take the visitor to over 1000 images of items in their collection, most of which are from the mid 19th century to the late 20th century, and are articles of daily Japanese life, such as bottles, door pulls, dolls, and foot warmers. Visitors should not miss the "Japanese Gardens" section of the website, as there is a photo gallery of the six gardens on the museums grounds. The introduction to the gardens state that the Journal of Japanese Gardening ranks these gardens eighth out of over 300 Japanese gardens outside of Japan. There is a PDF of a "Garden Guide" available in English and Spanish, and the link to all of the photos of the gardens is in the middle of the "Japanese Gardens" page. [KMG]

The Art and Technology Program, 1967-1971 [pdf]

LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, has raided its archives to create this website, which presents an experiment LACMA conducted over forty years ago. Beginning in 1967, the museum paired artists with high-tech companies to see what would happen. The results of the experiment were the exhibit "Art and Technology" in March 1970 in the American Pavilion of Expo 70 (the world's fair held in Osaka, Japan), and then later reinstalled in modified form at LACMA in May 1971. Rather than a standard exhibition catalog, "Art and Technology" was accompanied by a book of the same name. The book was more like a white paper or a report, documenting the seventy-six artist proposals, and their interactions at the forty sponsoring corporations. The website is essentially an online re-issue of this book. Not all of the pairings ran completely smoothly. For example, the passage in the online book that describes installing the Andy Warhol's Rain Machine, a construction that rained down sparkling water droplets on 3-D images of daisies, begins, "Virtually every stage in the assembling of the work was problematic." [DS]

Network Tools

VLC Media Player 1.0.1

There are a number of open-source media players out there, and VLC Media Player is definitely one of the better options. With this application, users can advance files frame-by-frame and also customize the toolbars so that the user interface is free of any other non-essential items. As one might expect, the application can play a wide variety of formats, and it can also be used to record. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer and Mac 10.5 and newer. [KMG]

SmarterFox 2.1.2

If you could have a Smart Fox, why not just get a SmarterFox and be done with it? This nice add-on for the Firefox browser certainly makes web-surfing a bit more appealing and visually stimulating. SmarterFox displays a sharp looking "bubble" complete with customizable search engine shortcuts when highlighting a word or phrase. SmarterFox will also offer various suggestions when users are typing and it can also be used to download various links and Flash video content. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer in tandem with the Firefox browser. [KMG]

In The News

Four years after Hurricane Katrina, current and former residents of New Orleans and the Gulf coast think about the future

Some ache for New Orleans but not ready to return

Iconic Hotel Provides Hope for New Orleans [Real Player]

Study Probes Racial Tension Between Hurricane Katrina Evacuees and Houston Community

New post-Katrina construction shows that a sustainable industry may have come out of the storm

Four years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans still needs us

Hurricane Digital Memory Bank: Collecting and Preserving the Stories of Katrina and Rita

Scattered around the country, residents of the Crescent City and the Gulf region are of many different minds about returning to their beloved city some four years after Hurricane Katrina. Chef and business owner John "Chappy" Chapman pines for the Gulf, even though he has set up shop in Nashville. In his own mind, he'll never return: "I'm not afraid. It's just that I lost so much." The city can point to a number of recent successes, including the reopening of the Hotel Roosevelt, a noted French Quarter landmark, a number of "green" reconstruction businesses that have been successful. Other commentators have been remarking on the work that needs to be done in and around the city, and some have also noted the continuing tensions between those persons displaced by Hurricane Katrina who ended up in places like Houston. Writing in this Sunday's New York Daily News, journalist Errol Louis noted that there is much to learn from countries like the Netherlands, which have dealt with issues surrounding land reclamation and flood preparation for centuries. It will certainly be interesting to see what the next four years holds for New Orleans. [KMG]

The first link leads to a piece from this Monday's USA Today which features interviews with former residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The second link will take visitors to a radio piece from National Public Radio about the restoration and rebirth of the Hotel Roosevelt. Moving on, the third link leads to a news article and audio report from Voice of America News about a recent study that looks at the racial tension between Hurricane Katrina evacuees and people in Houston. The fourth link leads to an article from the New Orleans Times Picayune about the creation of a "green" building business in and around New Orleans. The fifth link leads to an editorial piece by Errol Louis about the future of New Orleans in this past Sunday's Daily News. The last link will take users to the excellent Hurricane Digital Memory Bank. Here, visitors can look over contributions from survivors, relief workers, family, and anyone with "reflections on the hurricanes and their aftermath." [KMG]

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The Scout Report.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2009.

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

Copyright Internet Scout, 1994-2009. Internet Scout (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout

Internet Scout Team
Max GrinnellEditor
Chanda HaldermanManaging Editor
Edward AlmasyCo-Director
Rachael BowerCo-Director
Andrea CoffinMetadata Specialist
Clay CollinsInternet Cataloger
Emily SchearerInternet Cataloger
Tim BaumgardWeb Developer
Kyle MannaTechnical Specialist
Benjamin YuleTechnical Specialist
Lesley Skousen-ChioAdministrative Support
Debra ShapiroContributor

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout staff page.