The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 41

October 16, 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

Sixty Symbols

Ever wondered about the symbols used by scientists? You're probably not alone, and this website created by a team at the University of Nottingham demystifies sixty prominent physics symbols via informative video segments. The videos are not necessarily meant to be lessons or lectures on the symbols, "The films are just fun chats with men and women who live their subject and know a lot about it!" The videos are quite fun, and the talk on "gamma" includes a discussion of cricket balls, while the "rho" video features paperclips in coffee cups. All of the videos can be accessed via the homepage, and visitors should plan on making several visits to check out all of the clips. At the bottom of the homepage, visitors can also view earlier videos created as part of the project, learn more about their scientists, and take a look at a list of other related sites. [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

Illinois Natural History Survey [pdf]

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is responsible for the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), whose mission is "to investigate and document the biological resources of Illinois...and to acquire and provide natural history promote the common understanding, conservation, and management of these resources." Along the top of the page visitors can find headings that include "Research", "Data", "Publications", and "Events". The "Research" portion of the website includes seven areas of research from which to choose including "Entomology", "Invasive Species", "Wildlife Ecology", and "Human Interactions". The "Data" section provides ecological monitoring data, GIS data, a clearinghouse of wildlife ecology software, and collection databases which allow visitors to search for specimens of plants and animals. The "Publications" include educational materials, annual reports, manuals, a bulletin, and a circular. For those interested in events at the INHS, the "Events" link provides a nice calendar of upcoming seminars. [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

Monastic Matrix

One of the aims of the Monastic Matrix website is to disseminate research to both lay people and scholars about the "participation of Christian women in the religion and society of medieval Europe." Now housed as part of the University of Southern California's Digital Archives, this website allows visitors to view artwork, archaeology, stained glass, architecture, and textiles. By clicking on the link "Figurae" on the right hand side menu, visitors can browse these digital images by "title", "century", "community", and "image type". The "Beata Antonia", found by browsing "community", treats viewers to many beautiful 16th century Italian frescos. After visitors have had their fill of images, they might try the "Commentaria" section, which contains modern scholarly analyses. They should also take a look at the "Cartularium" which is a digital library of primary sources. Although many of the documents are in Latin, French, or other languages, some have been translated into English. [KMG]

Ballad Operas Online [iTunes]

A ballad opera is neither rife with ballads, nor an opera. Rather, a ballad opera is a "British stage production from 1728 to 1760 that combines a comic or sentimental play with musical numbers that re-used 'common Tunes' i.e. airs whose broad circulation allowed them to be recalled by title only." This ballad opera website was created at Oxford University and represents the collective efforts of a team of British and American music scholars. The website does a great job of informing visitors about the attributes of the ballad opera and the societal context in which it came about, by including sections on "Theatre & Dance History", "Cultural History", "Political History", and "Stars of Ballad Operas". Visitors should not miss the "Audio Samples" link, on the left hand menu. There are about half a dozen to listen to, and the recordings are very high quality. Each is about one or two minutes long. The ballad operas are all sung in English so it is fairly easy to understand the words to the songs. The first tune, "How Cruel are the Traitors" is just lovely, and the last "Of all the Girls in our Town", is a jaunty traditional dance tune. [KMG]

Michigan State University Libraries: Map Library

The Michigan State University Map Library website is a real find for anyone with the slightest interest in maps or mapmaking. On their homepage, visitors will find a selection of "Quick Links", which includes links to scanned maps, printable maps, and a feedback form. The scanned maps area is quite diverse, and it features over 50 maps. Some of these maps include 1873 maps of the state's Lower and Upper Peninsula and a healthy selection of maps of Africa from 1866 to 1923. The librarians have also created several "Features", including "Footpaths to Freeways: The Evolution of Michigan Roadmaps". Also, the Map Library Blog is a great way to keep abreast of different additions to their website as well as their physical collection in East Lansing. [KMG]

Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills

The origins of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill can be traced back to 1868 when a German Jewish immigrant named Jacob Elsas began to work in Atlanta's rag, paper, and hide trade. Elsas joined forces with another German Jewish immigrant several years later and then created a firm that would grow to include a print shop, bag mill, and a bleachery. When the plant closed in 1978, the archival records of the Fulton Bag company found their way to the Georgia Institute of Technology archives department. Many of these records have been digitized and they are now available on this site. Visitors can learn about the project in the "Project Info" area, and then browse several historical essays on the company in the "History" section. Interested parties should move over to the "Search" area to look over the company documents by keyword or name. The subject headings are most helpful, and they include thematic collections related to child labor in the mills, detective agencies that spied on activities within the mills, and labor organizing. As a piece of labor history, this archive is a real gem, and it's one that is most worthy of several visits. [KMG]

Nature Milestones

What were the most important advances in cutaneous biology of the past 100 years? The Nature Milestones website provides a detailed answer to that question, along with similar responses regarding light microscopy, cancer, and gene expression. All told there are ten special features on the site, and each feature includes an interactive timeline, scientific commentaries, and a selection of articles from Nature magazine and other peer-reviewed publications. Additionally, each feature includes a list of academic advisors, sponsors, and links to external resources on the subject. Visitors may wish to use these resources in the classroom setting, as they provide basic and advanced materials that can be used by a number of introductory courses. Finally, a number of the materials are also available in the pdf format for easy printing. [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

World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology [pdf]

With academic partners located within universities from Tehran to Lamar, Texas, the World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (WASET) sponsors a journal and numerous conferences. On their homepage, visitors can look through six primary sections, including "Notices", "Events", "Programs", "Journals", and "FAQs". Scholars and others with a similar bent will want to take a close look at the "Journals" section. All told, the WASET publishes journals that range across the social, natural, and physical sciences, and visitors have access to various issues here. In the "Partners" area, visitors can learn about WASET's member institutions. Moving on, the "Indexes" area features an annotated selection of links to other relevant abstracting sources, like Creative Commons and the Electronic Journals Library. [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

Hampton Roads Naval Museum [Flash Player]

The region known as Hampton Roads in southeastern Virginia has seen many a naval battle over the past several centuries. Today, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum continues to offer historic and contemporary exhibits that illustrate different facets of the region's naval history. Interestingly enough, the museum is located inside another museum (Nauticus), and admission is free. Visitors to the museum's website will find a host of interactive online exhibits, educational resources, and information on the USS Wisconsin, which is docked alongside the museum. To start, visitors may wish to click on the "Online Extras" section. Here they can click their way through an interactive map of the Naval Air Station Historic District, learn about the Jamestown Exposition of 1907, and check out the "Hands-on-History" area. This last area is quite well-developed, and it includes photographs of the Navy's Mid-Atlantic region and a cultural resources glossary. Finally, visitors won't want to miss the electronic version of "The Daybook", which is the Museum's quarterly journal of local naval history. [KMG]

University of North Texas Digital Collections: Miniature Book Collection

Is it a recipe for moon tea you seek? Perhaps you'd like to learn more about the century that only had 99 years. It's all here in the delightful Miniature Book Collection created by the dedicated souls at the University of North Texas Libraries Digital Collection group. The collection includes almost 3000 items, and 299 of them have been scanned and added to this website in recent years. The digital collection includes a copy of Cicero from 1521, prayer books from the mid-1600s, and more recent chapbooks by contemporary artists. Visitors to the collection can use their search engine, or just browse around at their leisure. The site also includes issues of the Miniature Book Society Newsletter dating back to 1989 and the archives of the Miniature Book News, which was incorporated into the Newsletter in 2001. [KMG]

The call to volunteer has always animated Americans, and it's always nice to learn about a new way to find volunteer opportunities. is a government website managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the search engine on their homepage is a great place to start. Just type in some keywords in the "What interests you?" box, and then type in a location in the "Where would you like to volunteer?" box, and click on "Find Opportunities Now". Further down on the homepage, visitors can avail themselves of sections that help with getting a service project started ("Getting Started"), a place to share volunteer project trials and tribulations ("Share Your Story"), and a place to disseminate the good word about ("Spread the Word"). Visitors should also take a gander at their "Stories of Service" blog for inspiration. [KMG]

I Know Poe

Do you know Poe? Edgar Allen, that is. The Library of Virginia and The Poe Museum do, and they are inviting visitors to learn more about the man, the myth, the legend here at this collaborative exhibition website. Four icons greet the visitor: a raven, a swinging blade, a hot-air balloon, and a sinister looking cat. Clicking on the raven takes visitors to the "About the Man" area. Illustrated by primary documents from Poe's life (such as drafts of poems and highlights from the Southern Literary Messenger), this section serves as a fine introduction. One rather compelling fact described in this section is that Poe's best-selling book during his lifetime was in fact a guide to conchology, appropriately titled "The Conchologist's First Book". Moving on, visitors who click on the sinister cat section, formally titled "Explore the Myth", will find commentaries on some of the popular myths surrounding Poe. Visitors shouldn't miss the "Learn & Play" area (symbolized by the hot air balloon), as it contains the highly entertaining "I Know Poe Game Show". [KMG]

U.S. Department of the Interior: Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Bureau of Indian Affairs website is replete with useful information for those within the Native American community and those who might wish to learn more about such communities. A great overview of Native American land rights, tribal government, language, and the various Indian Bureaus can be found in the FAQs tab near the top of the page. The interactive "Services Overview" section near the bottom of the homepage, allows visitors to discover more about the services provided by Indian Affairs. Just click on a heading to read the description, or roll over the headings to scroll through all the categories. Some of the categories of services include "Federal Acknowledgement", "Genealogy", "Self-Determination", "Self-Governance", and "Real Estate". The "Knowledge Base" tab near the top of the page has a multitude of topics to choose from, including a "Tribal Directory" that lists the federally-recognized tribes in each state, and includes the link to their website, if they have one. [KMG]

Herbert L. Block Collection

Herb Block (also known as "Herblock") was one of the most influential political commentators and editorial cartoonists in American history. His work began to appear in 1929, and he continued creating social commentary for 72 years. The Library of Congress website digitized some of the 14,000 images that the Herb Block Foundation donated in 2002. Visitors interested in seeing the wide range of topics Block covered in his cartoons can click on the "Search This Collection" link that appears below the introductory paragraphs on the homepage. Once visitors have arrived to the search area they can click on "Subject and Format Headings" underneath the heading "Other Ways to Search" to see the A to Z subject index. Some of the topics include "Escalators--1960-1970","Government Officials--1970-1980","Mao, Zedong--1893-1976", "Overcrowding--1940-1950", and "Discrimination--1950-1960". Back on the homepage, visitors shouldn't miss the link to the "Image Sampler" which contains the "Herblock Collection Image Sampler" featuring 24 images. [KMG]

Fiddler's Grove [Real Player, pdf]

Since 1968 Fiddler's Grove has been the site of an annual fiddle competition. The competition originally begun as a fundraiser by a schoolteacher in 1924 at Union Grove School in North Carolina, but was relocated to Fiddler's Grove due to increasingly large and "unwieldy" crowds. This exhibit tells the story of Fiddler's Grove through magazine articles, festival posters, and, of course, audio and video clips from the festival. Visitors should click on "Exhibit", on the homepage, to see an interactive timeline that can be clicked on to view materials from the chosen time period. Visitors can also navigate the exhibit from beginning to end by clicking on the "Next" arrow on the far right side of the page. Those visitors interested in the audio delights of the exhibit should click on "Sounds". There are six festivals to choose from, and each has more than a dozen songs to enjoy. The band or individual playing the song is also listed. The "Video" section offers a series of enjoyable one- to two-minute film clips, all from a 1994 video called "Fiddler's Grove: A Celebration of Old-Time Music". [KMG]

Pittsburgh and Beyond: The Experience of the Jewish Community

Although this website seems at first glance to present oral histories collected from a very specific community, in a very specific location, at the very specific time - the Jewish community in Pittsburgh PA, interviewed between 1968 and 2001 - a quick perusal reveals that interviewees discussed people and topics on a national and even international scale. For example, Sophie Masloff, who became Pittsburgh's first female mayor in 1988, talked about President Jimmy Carter when she was interviewed in 1987. Other more widely known figures mentioned have a Pittsburgh connection, such as Jonas Salk, whose years at the University of Pittsburgh are discussed in the oral history of Dr. Julius Youngner, recorded in 1992. The Archives Service Center at the University of Pittsburgh has digitized all 516 oral histories collected by volunteers from the Pittsburgh section of the NCJW (National Council of Jewish Women). Sound quality is not perfect for all the interviews, and full transcripts are not provided - but there are good summaries (abstracts), that indicate where on a tape a topic or name was mentioned. Indexes have been created for Interview (person interviewed); Name (person mentioned); Geographic; and Subject. Terms from all these indexes can be either browsed alphabetically, or searched. [DS]

Network Tools

Google SketchUp 7.1

Want to draw a house? It can happen with Google SketchUp. The 3D modeling program offers users the ability to use basic shapes in order to create a number of different objects, including buildings and other structures. One particularly nice feature of the program is that visitors can also add textures to simulate wood, concrete, and grass. After that, users can also see their models in Google Earth, if they so desire. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP or Vista and Macs running OS X 10.4 and newer. [KMG]

Ozum 5.05

A number of newsreaders offer elaborate interfaces that can be confusing and disorienting to a neophyte entering the fray of such applications. Ozum 5.05 offers a bit of clarity in this regard, and it includes a "wizard" that will help new users find the feeds they want to include. Visitors can also use the tabbed panes and icons to set up new projects and filters for article searches. Also, the program includes a built-in image viewer. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 95 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Chicago hot-dog stand controversy continues as activists get involved in the debate

Slaw and Order: Hot-Dog Stand in Chicago Triggers a Frank Debate

Burger Billionaires and Felony Franks

Prison Puns Annoy Neighbors of Felony Franks

Vienna Beef: History of the Chicago Hot Dog

National Hot Dog & Sausage Council [Quick Time]

How To Make Chicago Hot Dogs

A tempest in a seeded bun has been brewing in Chicago's West Side for the past few months, and the fray now includes a Catholic priest, hot-dog fans, and a local alderman. The controversy is regarding "Felony Franks", a compact hot-dog stand run by one James Andrews. Mr. Andrews believes that people deserve a second chance and that providing felons with stable jobs is a way to prevent homelessness. Andrews is known in Chicagoland for employing ex-convicts at his primary business, which is a paper goods supply company. His new venture, Felony Franks, features items like the Misdemeanor Weiner and the Chain Gang Chili Dog, and it also employs persons with a criminal record. It's also worth mentioning that the stand's slogan is, "Food so good it's criminal." While some neighborhood residents are glad to see any new business open up in the somewhat distressed community, others see the stand's image as patently offensive and at a community meeting, activist and Catholic priest Rev. Michael Pfleger referred to Andrews as "a pimp". But not everyone agrees with Father Pfleger, as former felon and Felony Franks employee Kevin Jones commented, "Working here allows me to provide for myself and my family." Andrews remains steadfast in his business operations, and he has mentioned that he has already received over 1000 job applications from former felons. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a timely news article on this encased meat controversy from the Wall Street Journal. The second link leads to a piece from this Tuesday's Examiner, by John Foley. In the piece, Foley suggests that Andrews should be "commended for a job well done." Moving on, the third link leads to an audio report from WBUR in Boston on the imbroglio. The fourth link leads to a concise history of the legendary Chicago hot dog, complete with information on how to construct a model dog in true Windy City fashion. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. Here visitors can view some hot dog statistics, and listen to a performance of "Hot Dog City" by the group Buster's Dream. Finally, visitors will want to check out the sixth link, as it features a video primer on how to make a Chicago-style hot dog. [KMG]

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