The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 7

February 19, 2010

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

U.S. Government Accountability Office: High Risk [pdf]

The General Accounting Office (GAO) of the United States government works on reviewing and evaluating the expenditures and financial stability of thousands of different government programs. One of their special charges is to compile the High-Risk list, which "calls attention to the agencies and program areas that are high risk due to their vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement or are most in need of broad reform." The homepage contains several informational videos, featuring commentaries from different GAO employees, and a link to the GAO's "High Risk List". First-time visitors should definitely start with the "High Risks & Challenges" area of the site found on the menu near the top of the homepage. Here they can read over the biennial report which highlights some of the recommendations from the GAO. Visitors who are interested in the challenges faced by agencies like the State Department, the Labor Department, and others should click on the "Issues by Agency" area to read recent reports. [KMG]

Lehman Brothers Collection

In the late 1840s, Henry Lehman made the journey from Germany to Alabama, where he established a dry goods store. Several years later, he was joined by his two brothers and over the coming years the firm of Lehman Brothers would become a commodities broker buying and selling cotton for the planters in the area. They opened a New York office in 1858, and during the next century and a half they would become one of the world's most prominent financial firms. Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, but curious persons can still learn about their various dealings via this site. The Lehman Brothers Collection at Harvard University's Baker Library contains digitized records of their deal books from the 1920s to the 1980s. On the homepage, visitors can learn about the history of the firm, and also use the "Using the Deal Books" to learn how to decipher all of their transactions. The deal books can also be browsed by chronology, company, or industry. That's far from all, as the site also has extensive business records, which include executive records, financial documents, and correspondence. Taken as a whole, it's a tremendous resource for persons with an interest in business history and American history more generally. [KMG]

Afghanistan Digital Library

The goal of the Afghanistan Digital Library at New York University is "to retrieve and restore the first sixty years of Afghanistan's published cultural heritage." This period, from 1871 to 1930, is of great importance as the earliest publications from this time frame are very rare and decades of war have not helped the situation. A team of scholars working at the National Archives in Kabul and NYU has helped to digitize a number of these documents for inclusion in this digital library. The project is sponsored by NYU Libraries, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and The Reed Foundation. Currently, the archive contains over 380 books, and visitors can browse them at their leisure. There is a search feature, but as the transliteration part of the project is still in development, visitors might just want to look around at items they find compelling. The viewer application is quite user-friendly, and visitors can zoom in to examine various details of each work. [KMG]

Astronomy Media Player [iTunes]

From the planets to various interstellar bodies, learning about astronomy can be fun and engaging. One way to learn about such matters is via podcasts, and this website is committed to finding the best astronomy podcasts from various places around the world. Users can get started by looking at one the following sections: "General", "Observing", "Courses", "Your Questions", "Observations", and "Top Ten". Each section contains a host of current (and former) podcasts. Persons looking to find answers to specific astronomy queries will want to look over podcasts like "Ask an Astronomer" and "Brain Bites" in the "Your Questions" area. The "Observatories" area is equally delightful, and it contains links to podcasts such as "Gemini Observatory" and "W.M. Keck Observatory". Of course, the social media options on the site are quite good, and it's easy to reference such treasures on Facebook, Digg, and so on. [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

American Mathematical Society Books Online [pdf]

The American Mathematical Society (AMS) was founded in 1888 in order to further mathematical research and scholarship. Since that time, they have embarked on a number of outreach programs designed to educate the public about the importance of various mathematical endeavors. In the past several years, they have been developing the AMS Books Online website, and it's quite a resource. The works were all originally published by the AMS, and they can be browsed by author or subject. The subject headings include analysis, general interest, logic and foundations, and number theory. Users can download individual chapters from each book, and there are currently over thirty books available on the site. Visitors should make sure and check back, as there are plans to add books to the site periodically. [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

USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory: Maps and Graphics

The United States Geological Survey's website for the Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) has a host of graphics and maps for the professional volcano researcher or the amateur volcanologist. The maps and graphics are divided into four broad categories, and within each of those categories are dozens and dozens of maps and graphics. The categories include "Hazards, Features, Topics, and Types: Maps and Graphics", "Monitoring: Maps and Graphics", and "Volcano or Region: Maps and Graphics". Visitors should check out "Bachelor", which is in the "Volcano or Region" category, as there is an "Interactive Imagemap" of the Cascade Range Volcanoes. Clicking on any of the images of the volcanoes will reveal a beautiful, aerial photo of the volcano, along with a brief description of the history of the volcano. Additionally, there is a "Planning Your Visit" section that gives online and offline resources to look at before going to the actual volcano. [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

Neuroscience Information Framework [pdf]

This website is a neuroscience research tool sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services, and NIH Blueprint. The "NIF Tools" tab at the top of any page provides links to eight of the resource types that the network searches, with further explanation as to which databases are searched within those resource types. The "NIF Data Federation" link takes you to a list of the 40 databases that when searched, reveal what is called, the "hidden web", as the content is that not typically indexed by existing search engines. Importantly, for this complex and important website, there are "tutorials" available on the site in the top right hand corner. The "Webinars" section links to the most current webinar, as well as to the "Webinar Archive" from 2009. [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

Isaac Mayer Wise Digital Archive

Isaac Mayer Wise was a 19th century rabbi who was the driving force behind American Reform Judaism. The American Jewish Archive which is "committed to preserving a documentary heritage of the religious, organizational, economic, cultural, personal, social and family life of American Jewry", has the Wise Digital Archive on their website. Visitors can search many different types of documents, including "Correspondence", "Manuscripts", "Photographs", and "Contributions to Periodicals". An excellent place to start for those unfamiliar with Wise or Reform Judaism, is the "Timeline: Life of Isaac Mayer Wise", that can be found in the top left hand corner of the page. The "Correspondence" can be viewed by a date range, or by the person or congregation to whom Wise was writing. Visitors can easily comment on any of the items in the digital archive, including the photographs, simply by clicking on the "Discuss" button below the "View" button. [KMG]

General Interest

Harry Ransom Center: Making Movies

Movie buffs will love this online version of the Harry Ransom Center's museum exhibit called Making Movies. The emphasis of the exhibit is on the collaborative effort it takes to make a movie. On the site, there are almost 20 features to watch, listen to, revel in, and analyze. The Ransom Center has used its vast collection of "original scripts, storyboards, production photos, and call addition to screenplays," to bring to life the process of movie making. Visitors might want to start with "Watch a Video Preview of the Making Movies Exhibition", before they head to "Learn How the Composer Timed the Music for Duel in the Sun", "Learn More About How Film Studios Controlled Their Publicity", and "Discover How Theaters Used "Slack Night" to Attract Patrons". Visitors in the Central Texas area should check out the list of films, on the far right hand side of the page, all of which are being shown in the film series for the Center's exhibit. [KMG]

Iowa Folklife [pdf]

Iowa Folklife Volume 2 is a companion website to the website Iowa Folklife: Our People, Communities, and Traditions. Iowa Folklife Volume 2 does a wonderful job of allowing online visitors the opportunity to explore the "traditional music, foods, dance, rituals, and crafts of Iowa's diverse cultures." The areas explored here are found at the top of the page, and include "Blues", "Bosnian", "Danish", "Asian Indian", "Vietnamese Tet", "Lao", "Latino Music" and "First Nations Peoples". Visitors can click on any of the aforementioned links to be taken to a page that features a sample audio recording of traditional musical instruments, readings of poems, or songs. The menu on the page also has links to "Lesson Plans", "Resources", and "Traditional Artists". A map of the area which the traditional culture originated from, as well as photos of ceremonies, traditional dress, foods, homes, and the people, are all accompanied by paragraphs explaining the photos and the culture's history and area of concentration in Iowa. [KMG]

Podcasts: Freer and Sackler Galleries [iTunes]

The Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC house Asian Art, and are connected by an underground exhibition space. Charles Lang Freer was a Detroit railroad car manufacturer and Arthur M. Sackler was a research physician. There are two types of audio features in the "Podcasts" section of the website, First, visitors will find a brief description of "Radio Asia", which streams entire tracks from the Smithsonian Folkways collection of Asian music. Next, visitors will find the numerous and diverse podcasts available, which are divided up into the categories of "Concerts", "Storytelling", and "Curatorial Conversations". Additionally, most podcasts have the following links "See Photos of This Performance" and "Read More About This Performance". Some even have a link to related artwork from the Smithsonian collections. Visitors might enjoy the following titles from each one of the categories of podcasts: "Formosa Aboriginal Song and Dance Troupe" from "Concerts", "Silk Road Stories" from "Storytelling", and "Fashion and Identity from Ottoman Turkey to the Present" from "Curatorial Conversations". [KMG]

Future Agricultures [pdf]

The Future Agricultures group is a UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded consortium comprised of the Institute of Development Studies, Imperial College London, and Overseas Development Institute. The group is committed to examining the issues that surround agriculture and rural development across the world, with a particular focus on the developing world. Their work includes reports on water management in Ethiopia, a potential second "Green Revolution", and food security. The materials on their site are found in sections that include "News and Events", "Debates", and "Publications". The "Debates" area is a good one, as it includes thoughtful conversations on timely topics like pastoralism, the "Green Revolution" in Africa, and soil fertility. Scholars in the field will appreciate the "Publications" area, which includes policy briefs on poverty reduction in Kenya, coffee commercialization in Malawi, and rising food prices. Finally, visitors can also sign up to receive their RSS feed and provide feedback on their work. [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

NYCityMap [pdf]

Looking for a hospital in Bensonhurst? A senior center in Yorkville? Or maybe a library in Tribeca? Well, the NYCityMap is just the ticket. This interactive mapping tool is designed to provide the general public with access to information about various public facilities in the five boroughs, along with online property information, census data, and so on. First-time visitors might want to read over the user's guide here, as it talks about how to conduct an effective search and about the customizable features of the mapping application. On the homepage visitors can use the zoom buttons to move in on certain areas, and they can also download or print screen images. It's a very powerful tool, and one that will warrant several return visits. [KMG]

Global Compact [pdf] (Last reviewed in the Scout Report on February 24, 2000)

As more and more businesses grow socially conscious, there has been an interest in adapting business practices to align with certain desired goals. The United Nations Global Compact dovetails quite nicely with this trend, and it is a "strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption." A good place to start on the site is the "About Us" area, which contains information about the Global Compact and their leadership. Moving on, the 'Highlights" area on the homepage contains information about their various leadership summits, access to their monthly bulletin, and topical areas that deal with climate change and clean water initiatives. The "How to Participate" area contains information for various stakeholders, including those in civil society, academia, cities, and business leaders. Many of the materials on the site are available in different languages, including French, Spanish, Russian, German, and Arabic. [KMG]

Steam and Electric Locomotives of the New Haven Railroad

It's time to get on board the steam and electric locomotives of the New Haven Railroad, via the Fred Otto Makowsky collection of railroad history photographs. The collection was acquired by the University of Connecticut in 2000, and this digital collection contains 460 photographs. Mr. Makowsky was quite a railroad enthusiast, and he took thousands of photographs of these locomotives and such during the first part of the 20th century. He was extremely meticulous in describing where each photograph was taken, along with compiling basic locomotive information. Here visitors can view all of the digitized images, and they can perform a keyword search across the collection. Overall, the collection provides some fascinating images of this period in American industrial history, and railroad fans will be particularly delighted by it. [KMG]

Country Dog Gentlemen Travel to Extraordinary Worlds [Flash Player]

This interactive gallery designed for children of all ages was produced by the Education Department of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). In the interactive, the "Country Dog Gentlemen", characters first depicted in a 1972 painting of the same name by the late Bay Area artist Roy De Forest (1930-2007), lead explorations of paintings and sculpture by Frieda Kahlo, Jackson Pollack, and Sargent Johnson. Students can watch the dogs sniffing out the story of each work, or create their own art, in various activities inspired by the originals. For example, the activity based on Kahlo's portrait, Frieda and Diego Rivera, 1931, is to swap the clothing and pets in Kahlo's work. The questions the Country Dog Gentlemen ask about Sargent Johnson's sculpture Forever Free, 1933, could make a good Black History Month lesson. [DS]

Network Tools

Photobie 7.0

Editing and transforming photographs from an Arbor Day celebration (or any other holiday) has never been easier than with the Photobie application. The program allows visitors to create their own animations from still photographs, make pdf files from photographs, and also perform more common tasks, such as red-eye removal. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

Glary Utilities

If you're looking for a way to keep things clean on your computer, this latest version of Glary Utilities is a good program to consider. The application contains a registry cleaner, a government standard file-shredder to effectively delete data, and a tool management program. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7. [KMG]

In The News

Looking for new markets, professional baseball representatives pay a visit to China

Baseball in China: Striking Out

Yankees Take Baseball To Asia

Global appeal of basketball soars, with NBA leading way

International Baseball Federation [Flash Player]

Baseball notes for coaches and players

Spring Training Online

Professional and semiprofessional baseball teams have been making trips to Asia off and on for well over a century. With the tremendous successes of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in China, professional baseball representatives have stepped up their marketing and promotional efforts as of late. Recently, the New York Yankees took the Word Series trophy on a jaunt through Tokyo, Hong Kong, and other major cities in the Pacific Rim. As this part of the world is considered the next "growth frontier" in building out the sport's popularity, it seems quite natural that many baseball ambassadors will be spending more time there. Baseball may face a difficult climb in China, as the NBA has made significant inroads over the past decade via product licensing, television rights, and the formidable presence of Yao Ming, a native of Shanghai, who is currently playing for the Houston Rockets. There are other more tangible problems with rolling out a new generation of baseball fans and players in China as well. Baseball is arguably more difficult to learn than basketball, and it also requires additional equipment (batting helmets, gloves, bats, and so on) and a great deal more physical space. Enthusiasm remains high in some quarters, and New York Yankees team president Randy Levine was recently quoted as saying "We want to have kids wake up all over China dreaming of playing in Yankee Stadium." [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a piece from last week's Economist about the attempts to expand baseball's presence in China. The second link leads to a news article from the Wall Street Journal which talks about the New York Yankees' trip through Asia. Moving on, the third link is to a news article from this Sunday's Dallas Morning News which talks about the substantial presence of the NBA throughout the world. The fourth link leads to the homepage of the International Baseball Federation (IBF). Here visitors can learn about baseball teams all over the world, read the IBF newsletter, and also check out video clips from international contests. The fifth link leads to the 1916 favorite, "Baseball Notes for Coaches and Players", authored by Professor Elmer Berry. The final link will take die-hard fans (and everyone else) to the Spring Training 2010 Online site. It's not too late to plan a trip to Florida or Arizona to catch some spring baseball, and this site has all the details, schedules, and information about tickets.

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