The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 28

July 16, 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

Southern Spaces

Exploring the American South is a splendid idea, and this online journal is a great way to think about the "real and imagined places" of this unique cultural region. Southern Spaces is a peer-reviewed Internet journal and forum that "provides open access to essays, interviews and performances, events and conferences, gateways, timescapes, and annotated links about real and imagined spaces and places of the U.S. South." Their work is supported by the Robert W. Woodruff Library of Emory University, and visitors will want to browse around the site more than once. First-time visitors may wish to start by looking at interactive features like "Negotiating Gender Lines: Women's Movement across Atlanta Mosques" and "The Other Side of Paradise: Glimpsing Slavery in the University's Utopian Landscapes". The site also includes information about the journal's editorial board and a set of thematically organized weblinks. [KMG]

Minerva: The International Review of Ancient Art & Archaeology

As the goddess of poetry, wisdom, crafts and so on, Minerva would seem to be a good fit for an international review of ancient art & archaeology. On this site, visitors can read articles from recent issues, learn about receiving print copies of the publication, and book reviews. Visitors can read recent pieces that talk about patrimony issues involving cultural relics and the discovery of an ochre processing plant in South Africa.
Moving on, visitors can also look over the "News & Events" section of the site and click on the "Archive" area to read selected pieces from past issues dating back to 2007. Near the bottom of the homepage, visitors can also look through some "Special focus" features, including one rather noteworthy feature that deals with the looting of the National Museum of Iraq. [KMG]

The Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, Inc. [pdf]

Based in Port Townsend, Washington, the purpose of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute is to "make cities and towns throughout the world walkable, bicycle and transit friendly, livable, sustainable, socially engaging and welcoming places by improving their built form." Their approach is "corner by corner, block by block" and to learn more about how walkability and livability are defined, visitors should check out the "Definitions" link. In the "Walkability" section of the "Definitions" link visitors will find that an easy way to gauge the walkability of a block, corridor or neighborhood is by counting the number of people who are walking, hanging out, or enjoying the space. The "Video" link will take visitors directly to a 90-minute video about walkability, sustainabililty and healthy communities. The video was produced by Simon Fraser University's City program, along with a few other associations. [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

J. Leon Helguera Collection of Colombiana

Housed at Vanderbilt University's Jean and Alexander Heard Library, the J. Len Helguera Collection of Colombiana is a fascinating archive of materials related to 19th-century Colombian history and culture. The materials are grouped into three separate categories: broadsides, pamphlets, and programs. The documents can also be searched by date, type, or subject, and the files are available in a number of formats. While the documents are only available in Spanish, the items do offer a wide range of commentary on religious life, education, slavery, political life, and so on. The site also offers a "Featured Document" on the homepage, and there's also information on other recent additions to the archive. [KMG]

Dashboard: Indianapolis Museum of Art [Flash Player]

Many art museums have online exhibits, but the Indianapolis Museum of Art has facts about their holdings online as well. This is far from a dry subject, as their Dashboard interface brings together information about their endowment, their works of art on loan, and their energy consumption. The Dashboard is meant to "measure various aspects of the Museum's performance," and as such it is of interest to the general public and of particular interest to museum studies specialists. Visitors can click on the "Departments" area to view certain statistics on areas like art, nature, attendance, and financial. Visitors are also encouraged to look through statistics from the past several years as a means of comparison. One fun feature is the "Museum Admissions" tab, which provides a profile of where visitors are visiting from, organized by zip code. [KMG]

National Endowment for Financial Education

The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) is dedicated "to improving the financial well-being of all Americans." Their website is a veritable cornucopia of resources around this very subject, including help for high school students, consumers, and educators. A good place to start is the "Help for Consumers" area. Here visitors can use the "Smart About Money" resources to get practical advice about getting out of debt and budgeting. This section also contains the NEFE News, which includes their bimonthly newsletter reports and feature articles on teaching children good money management habits and managing credit scores. Moving on, the site also contains links to other NEFE sites, such as "Smart About Money", "" and "My Retirement Paycheck". [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

Restore the Gulf [pdf]

As many people are concerned about the long term health of the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding area, this website is quite timely. Created by the federal government, serves to provide the public with information on the response to the Deepwater BP oil spill, along with news updates, and links to other governmental partners. The materials on the site are contained within four different sections, including "News", "Assistance", and "The Response". The "Assistance" area contains information about claims and appeals, how to stay safe in and around the area, and also about how to volunteer with relief efforts. Moving on, "The Response" section offers information on state and local resources, a detailed response timeline from day 1 to the present, and links to a customizable interactive map with near real-time information. The site is rounded by a link where visitors can submit their own suggestions regarding the cleanup. [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

Link TV

Link TV was created in 1999 and it is dedicated to "providing global perspectives on news, events and culture." It is, as its homepage says, "television without borders", and visitors to the site can watch topical documentaries, listen to world music, and check out their podcast series. In the "Watch" area, the site profiles some of the more recent offerings, which include everything from Middle East news digests, a Taarab music festival from Morocco, and a documentary on child rights. Along the bottom of the homepage, visitors can look over the archives of series like "Made in Taiwan" and "World Music Videos". The site is quite media rich, and visitors can also sign up to receive updates via Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. Finally, visitors can use the "Get Involved" area to learn more about how they can continue the conversations around some of these programs in other venues. [KMG]

NYPL Digital Gallery: Photographs of General Motors Cars and Trucks, 1902-1938

You don't have to be a car fanatic to find this online collection tremendously interesting. Over the decades, the General Motors Corporation donated a number of photographs and related materials to the New York Public Library. The staff members at the Library mounted them in albums, and recently they digitized theses albums for use by the web-browsing public. All told, the collection includes over 750 images from public relations materials from 1902 to 1938. The items here include press releases for different models, line drawings, and black and white photographs. Among the highlights here are some excellent photographs of old DeSotos, Plymouths, and Oldsmobiles. For fans of the history of technology, automobiles, and other related subjects, this website will be one to pass along to friends and others. [KMG]


Relaunched in 2003, the JBooks website is designed as a place where people can share information about books of Jewish interest. On their website, visitors can look through reviews of Jewish books written by authors, journalists, and critics. Users can also read profiles of notable authors and check out interviews with quite a range of writers. In the "From Our Pages" section on the homepage, visitors can read pieces that include "Reading the rebel rabbi" and Robert Pinsky's musings on the life of the biblical David. Also, there's information about children's books here, and a special set of video profiles. Finally, the "Secular Culture & Ideas" area features videos and essays on topics like Passover, Jewish cooking, and Yiddish theater in Europe. [KMG]

Race to the End of the Earth

The American Museum of Natural History, along with French and Canadian museums, have produced an exhibit about the two separate 1800 mile journeys of Norwegian Roald Amundsen and Brit Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole. The web exhibit has many different multimedia features, including an "Interactive Map", along with "Other Interactives" that includes a picture of Captain Robert Scott's rather luxurious hut that contains a leather briefcase containing the works of Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes. The Norwegians Under the Ice interactive shows them in their ice shelters, and one ice shelter even included a sauna. Each of the interactives have blue dots on objects in the photos that, when clicked, show the object in detail. The "Gallery" link has photos featuring, among other things, "equipment", "wildlife", "landscapes" and "points of interest". The "wildlife" gallery has many photos of different penguin species, but the most stunning photos are number 33 (a jellyfish under the Ross Sea ice) and number 52, which provides an aerial view of four killer whales. [KMG]

Better Government Association [pdf]

Founded in Illinois in 1923 to fight Al Capone's "ironclad grip on Chicago City Hall", the Better Government Association (BGA) is a non-partisan Chicago-based watchdog group with the mission to "combat waste, fraud and corruption in city, county, suburban and state government." The "Government Payroll Database" section midway down the homepage, allows visitors to check out the paychecks of Illinois public officials. The "Investigations" link allows visitors to read about all the investigations that the BGA is involved in, such as Chicago Public School employees who violate the rules in order to get their children free lunches or the aging locks in Cook County Jail that allow inmates to fight each other when their doors open with little or no effort. [KMG]

Endangered Languages of Indigenous Peoples of Siberia [pdf]

At least 30 languages of the Siberian region are considered endangered, and UNESCO is hoping to preserve, anchor, and develop them. The "Roundtable" link in the menu near the top of the page, allows visitors to read a few sentences by the contributors to the roundtable, on three thematic blocks. Visitors can click on "text" at the end of the paragraph to read the whole discussion, and view a picture of the contributor. "Thematic Block II" is particularly interesting, and concerns the "Experience and problems of teaching endangered languages in universities in Russia", and offers such contributor discussions as "Languages of numerically small peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Far East in the dynamics of linguistic education environment change". The "Instruments" link gives visitors a glimpse into what a linguist in the field might find useful to do their work. The sections of instruments include "software", "fonts (UNICODE)" and "voice recording". In the "software" section, there are "electronic dictionaries", "programs for managing keyboard layout" and "programs for input and manipulation of linguistic data". [KMG]

Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collection of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg

Most people may not know that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have major collections of Normal Rockwell's various artworks. Recently, they both agreed to loan some of these pieces to the Smithsonian American Art Museum for a major retrospective. This online exhibit provides access to some of these remarkable images, which include early illustrations from Life magazine. Here visitors can make their way through several dozen of these images, and some of the highlights include an image of an energetic Boy Scout from 1972 and an oil painting of a World War II Flying Fortress pilot in the bedroom where he grew up. Visitors can also click on each image to zoom in on various details. [KMG]

Design Museum London

The Design Museum in London "concentrates on temporary exhibitions that cover the range of its interests, from graphic design and furniture to fashion, industrial design and architecture." On their site the museum provides several web versions of current exhibitions which include a few views of the works in each show. For example, click on Sustainable Futures to see five pioneering designs, such as Christopher Raeburn's parachute parka, or Edible Estate, a project by Fritz Haeg. The web exhibits also include an exhibition blog and a podcast. However, it is the Design Library at the Design Museum that provides the richest resources for online seekers: choose from a list of close to 200 individual designers, firms, or movements, to be taken to a resource page that provides examples, biographical timeline, and links to further information. It is also possible to search the Library's collection by keywords. [DS]

Network Tools


If you're looking for a creative and novel way to create meaningful presentations, Prezi is well worth a look. Prezi uses a whiteboard style visual interface, rather than the more traditional slide format. Visitors can incorporate videos, photographs, charts, and so on quickly and easily. It's easy to use the program for business presentations, educational activities, and so on. First-time visitors should view the introductory video, check out some popular Prezis by clicking on the "Explore" tab, and then sign up for their own Prezi account. This version of Prezi is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


With Evernote you don't have to worry about bring your physical notes and reminders to different places, as they will always be available. This application stores everything on to an account on the Web, and visitors can use the tool to upload snapshots and grab whiteboards in meetings. The application can be used on mobile phones and desktop computers, which is a nice touch. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP and Vista and Mac OS X 10.5.7 and higher. [KMG]

In The News

Dropping Three Letters, An Institution Changes Its Name

Y.M.C.A. Is Downsizing to a Single Letter [Free registration may be required]

YMCA name change draws mixed reactions from North Texans

YMCA trims name in move to spell out diverse presence

A Brand New Day: The YMCA Unveils New Brand Strategy to Further Community Impact

Memories of 'the Black Y' Provoke Smiles and Tears [Free registration may be required]

What is the YMCA?

To many people, the YMCA is a community institution, providing exercise opportunities, a place to stay, and perhaps a bit of conversation along the way. In a move designed to make its broad mission a bit clearer to the general public, the YMCA announced this week that it would henceforth be known formally as "the Y". The organization went through a rigorous two-year process to review the perception of the Y throughout the United States, and they determined that most people already refer to the organization by this abbreviated name. Most people seem to welcome the change, though others took exception to the dropping of the letter "C", which stands for "Christian". On a somewhat related note, the legendary disco group The Village People said in a formal press statement that their iconic and pervasive party standard "Y.M.C.A" would remain unchanged. [KMG]

The first link leads to an article about the YMCA's name change along with some other brands making the same move, courtesy of this Monday's New York Times. The second link will take interested parties to an article from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that reports about the local reaction to the name change. Moving on, the third article is from this Tuesday's Toledo Blade, and it talks about how the Y in Toledo is handling the name change. The fourth link leads to the official press release from the Y which talks about the reason for the name change, along with offering some details on their mission. The fifth link leads to a very moving portrait from the New York Times about a celebrated (and long gone) Y which served the African American community in Evanston, Illinois. The final link leads to the complete text of the 1922 work "What is the Y.M.C.A.?" penned by Paul Super, the then secretary of the personnel bureau of the International Committee of the Young Men's Christian Associations.

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