The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 37

September 17, 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

Creating Communities

Bringing documents and records together in a way that helps relate them to their real-world origins can be a difficult endeavor. The Denver Public Library was up to the challenge, and their Creating Communities website offers an excellent case study for other institutions that might address this task in the future. Website partners include the Institute of Museum and Library Studies (IMLS), the Colorado Historical Society, the city of Denver, and the University of Denver. The goal of the project is to allow researchers and others to "learn about the history, economy, demography, and institutions that existed and continue to thrive in their neighborhoods." Visitors to the site can browse though seven historic Denver neighborhoods, complete with linked maps from Google and information from other sources such as historic business directories and so on. Also, visitors can add their own remembrances via the "MyDenver" section of the site. The "Building Histories" section brings together building permits, city directories, assessor records, and photographs to make creating a building history much easier. Additionally, the site is also available in several other languages, including Spanish, Hungarian, and Arabic. [KMG]

The Sousa Archives and Center For American Music

Based at the University of Illinois Library and University Archives, the Sousa Archives and Center For American Music brings together a host of ephemeral records and artifacts that "document America's local and national music history and its diverse cultures." The heart of the collection is, not surprisingly, a massive archive of John Philip Sousa's personal papers and documents. In the "Research the Collections" area, visitors can browse through an alphabetical listing of the digitized materials, which include sheet music, newspaper clippings, and so on. Further on, the "Featured Acquisitions" area includes information about recently acquired materials, including an audio recording of "Stars and Stripes Forever" as performed in 1909 by the Sousa Band, under the baton of Herbert L. Clarke. Finally, the "Experience American Music" area includes a remarkable detailed performance timeline for Sousa and his band between 1892 and 1931. Additionally, the timeline also includes information about each featured performer. [KMG]

Cosmos and Culture

What can science do for us? Perhaps a better question is what can science not do for us? These are but a few questions posed by the NPR blog, "Cosmos and Culture". The contributors to the blog include a range of scientists, including a theoretical physicist, a biologist, and an astrophysicist. The goal of the blog is "to engage in a discussion with each otherand youabout how science has shaped culture and how culture has shaped science." Visitors should go ahead and read the daily post on the site, and they can also search through past blog posts and learn more about each contributor. Another way to get started here is by clicking on the "Most Popular" blog postings, which have included "How Rare is Life?" and "Hawking and God: An Intimate Relationship". Overall, it is a thoughtful and meaningful way to engage in a dialogue about some of the most crucial issues of our day, and it is well worth a look. [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

Never Lost: Polynesian Navigation [Flash Player]

So you are sailing around in the middle of the Pacific Ocean: What's next? Can you get your bearings? How will you get anywhere? These are all very crucial questions, and they are explored here via a fine interactive feature created by the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco. After a brief introduction, visitors will be asked to "embark" (you can follow along in Polynesian as well), and here they will learn how Polynesians used to navigate these far-flung islands in the Pacific. The materials on the site are divided into the following areas: "Origins", "Canoe", "Navigation", and "Voyage". The "Origins" area is the place to start, and here visitors can learn "What is Polynesia?" and listen to Polynesians talk about their home. In the "Canoe" area, visitors can interact with a canoe model by clicking on its various parts; learn about knot tying techniques; and the necessary provisions for such a journey. Moving on, the "Navigation" area features a primer on the basics of wayfinding and a slideshow that offers some insights into the voyage on the open ocean. [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

Jewish Archives Collection

The state of Washington has a sizeable Jewish community, and their roots can be traced back to the earliest settlers of the Northwest. This digital collection, from the University of Washington Libraries, highlights a small part of the photographs, documents, and materials held by the Washington State Jewish Archives. The Archives started in 1968, and this particular database was produced partially by funding from the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and other organizations. Here visitors can browse over 900 photographs which document many aspects of the Jewish experience across the state. The collection includes photographs of Jewish servicemen and women, commercial businesses, anniversary celebrations, and so on. Visitors can browse the images by subject heading, or they can also perform their own detailed search. [KMG]

Detroit Public Television's American Black Journal

American Black Journal (ABJ) first went on the air in 1968, and its focus was "to increase the availability and accessibility of media relating to African-American experiences in order to encourage greater involvement from Detroit citizens in working to resolve community problems." With funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities, Detroit Public Television and Michigan State University are working to digitize and preserve these programs, and visitors to this site can view the programs here. The site's homepage includes several sections, including "Themes", "Shows", and "Browse". It's fun to just browse around, and visitors can use the "Themes" section to look through shows on leadership in the black community, urban challenges, and religion and spiritual life. Each show is about 30 minutes long, and they all feature conversations with local leaders, historians, activists, and other individuals. The site is rounded out by the "For Educators" area which includes a variety of curriculum resources, including brief show segments and critical thinking questions. [KMG]

Lewis Hine Collection

Born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1874, Lewis Hine studied at the University of Chicago and went on to teach at the Ethical Culture School in New York City. While in New York Hine took up photography and documented school activities and immigrants arriving at Ellis Island. He also became interested in taking photographs that would document child labor, and his photographs were published in the social welfare magazine "Charities and the Commons". As part of this work, he travelled from Texas to Maine to take photos of children working on the street, mills, and farms. These documents were instrumental in providing reform groups with the visual evidence of the negative impact that work had on children. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County has digitized 4,735 of these photographs and placed them here for the general public. Visitors can browse around the images by state, or they can also perform their own detailed search. It is a moving and compelling collection, and one that warrants several return visits. [KMG]

General Interest

The Indiana Humanities Council: Food for Thought [pdf]

Local food culture is an interesting subject, and a number of state agencies are developing projects to encourage people to explore their culinary folkways. This website from The Indiana Humanities Council offers up a two-year celebration of "food and its role in our lives." The celebration includes writings about food from Hoosiers, helpful gardening suggestions, recipes, and online exhibits. First-time visitors may want to start by looking at the "Food News" area to learn about some of their recent initiatives, such as the "Feed a Hungry Hoosier" program. Moving on, the "Garden" area includes short pieces on new and innovative gardening techniques. The "Indiana Food" area features articles on "Food in Hoosier Literature and Poetry", "Indiana's Healthiest Foods", and entries from the Indiana State Fair storytelling contest. Finally, the site also features a "Recipes" area which includes instructions on whipping up petticoat tails, cupcakes, and molasses bread. [KMG]

Interborough Rapid Transit Company Subway Posters

When subways were introduced in the United States, transportation companies wanted to make sure that their riders knew about route changes, places of interest along the various routes, and system improvements. This digital collection from Princeton University has 385 posters issued by the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) Company of New York City from 1918 to 1932. The posters on the site are divided into four chronological sections, and visitors can zoom in and out on each item, and also search for items of interest. The posters have some rather curious titles, and they are written in a persuasive and eye-catching fashion. They include "Our 'Surplus' is NOT in Cash" and "Here's the City's Problem". The posters that advertise "Outings in New York" are a real treat, as they use creative language and typography to encourage riders to visit places like the Pelham Bay Park's playgrounds, Yankee Stadium, and the Polo Grounds. [KMG]

Guggenheim: Interact [Real Player, Flash Player]

Interacting with the Guggenheim museums' collections is a great experience, and if you can't make it to one of their physical locations, this is the next best thing. The site is replete with creative assemblages of video ("YouTube Play"), blogs ("The Take"), and electronic newsletter options. Visitors shouldn't miss the "Voices from the Archives" area. Here they can listen to recent podcasts and as well as events from the past, including a conversation with Kandinsky scholar Rose-Carol Washton Long from 1964. Perhaps the most interesting part of the site is the "Declarations" section. Here, the Guggenheim has invited a "wide range of artists, scholars, activists, businesspeople, and government leaders to contribute concise remarks on related topical themes." One of the recent queries was "How is the idea of progress part of your practice?", and the responses are quite revealing. Finally, visitors can also make their way through their scrolling Twitter feed, and they are also encouraged to use the social media connections on the site to stay up-to-date. [KMG]

PBS: Circus

The circus is back in town, and it's on PBS. This site is designed to complement a behind-the-scenes documentary that peers into the world of the Big Apple Circus. The site includes the sections "Circus Life", "In the Ring", "Big Apple Circus", and "About the Series". In "Circus Life" visitors can meet some of the veteran performers, learn about what they do in the circus, and discover how they came to their respective professions. "In the Ring" provides video clips of acts such as the Flying Trapeze, Chinese Vase juggling, and a Tightwire excursion. Linguists will appreciate the "Talking Circus" area, which includes a bit of discussion surrounding the argot of the circus milieu, and words like "banner", "ballyhoo", and "donkers" are all covered. There's even a discussion section on the site where visitors can share their own thoughts and experiences from the big top. [KMG]

Electronic Poetry Center [iTunes]

Created in 1995 by Loss Pequeo Glazier, the Electronic Poetry Center (EPC) serves as a "central gateway to resources in electronic poetry and poetics at the University of Buffalo, the University of Pennsylvania's PennSound, UBU web, and the Web at large." The EPC site makes a wide range of material dealing with digital and innovative poetry available to the general public. The homepage is quite easy to navigate, and visitors can look in on features like "2000 Years of Mayan Literature", "Emerging Language Practices", and a set of related recommended links. The link to "PennSound" is a real find, and here visitors can listen to poets read their latest works, courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing. Much of the material on the site is also available in Spanish. [KMG]

F&M Pennsylvania German Broadside Collection

Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania has quite a bit of material related to the German American experience. This digital collection brings together fine examples of printed broadsides designed and distributed among Germans across the Keystone State. Visitors are encouraged to search this collection by keyword, title, author, or subject. Currently, there are over 215 broadsides in the collection, and more will be added in the future. The items here include traditional house blessings, announcements about upcoming events, and business advertisements. Also, there is the option of creating an account so that certain items can be saved to a file and viewed later for convenience and easy access. [KMG]

Fulfilling a Prophecy: The Past and Present of the Lenape in Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania's Penn Museum, in collaboration with the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, presents this exhibition which reveals the little known story of the Lenape people who were thought to have left Pennsylvania by the beginning of the 19th century. Those who stayed in Pennsylvania concealed their Native American heritage, fearing persecution. A Lenape prophesy describes the Time of the Fourth Crow, a time when the Lenape will step up to become caretakers, stewards, and healers of the land which some believe might be the present day. This site features never before displayed objects owned by Lenape people, including corn husk dolls, jewelry, and musical instruments. Also included is the Treaty of Renewed Brotherhood, written in 2002, which many Lenape believe marks the beginning of the Time of the Fourth Crow. Visitors to both the exhibition and the website are invited to sign the Treaty of Renewed Brotherhood. [DS]

Maine Humanities Council [iTunes, pdf]

Formed as a private nonprofit organization, the Maine Humanities Council (MHC) "promotes strong communities and informed citizens by providing Mainers with opportunities to explore the power and pleasure of ideas." Their work is supported by volunteer board members, and their projects include programs to promote reading and writing, guest lectures around the state, and online newsletters and discussion groups. In the "Programs" area, visitors can learn about these programs, and educators can check out the resources created especially for them. The "Connections" area contains links to their thoughtful blog, their "Humanities on Demand" podcasts, and their periodic newsletter "Synapse", which deals with medicine and literature. The podcasts are quite fun, and they include "Franco-American Women's Words in Maine" and a talk by Professor Dianne Sadoff of Rutgers University on Middlemarch, by George Eliot. [KMG]

Network Tools

Google Chrome 6.0.472.59

Google's well-known web browser Chrome has received a number of significant upgrades over the past two years, and this latest version is worth a look. This version provides a stable upgrade from the beta version and features an auto-update feature and automatic translation of web pages. Also, the "Under the Hood" tab features a number of new privacy settings, and built-in plug-ins for Adobe Flash and the Chrome pdf reader. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.5, Windows XP and newer, and Linux. [KMG]

Earth Alerts 2010.2.4

Looking out for an earthquake? Concerned about a tsunami? All of these natural disasters and their ilk can be effectively monitored with this application. Earth Alerts draws on a variety of online resources to effectively track specific natural hazards around the globe, and users just need to pick the hazards and locations that are of prime interest. It's a rather interesting application, and it is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Controversial artist Damien Hirst experiences a setback (of sorts)

The art market: Hands up for Hirst

Damien Hirst in plagiarism row - does it really matter?

Art may yet imitate life with Lehman Brothers' auction (Free registration may be required)

Damien Hirst Online

Art + Auction


The worlds of art and commerce have been linked essentially forever, and despite some poignant criticisms of this relationship, it probably won't change anytime soon. One artist who has benefited immensely from this relationship (and a growing market for certain types of art) is Damien Hirst. Hirst is perhaps the most prominent member of the group known as "Young British Artists", and his career began to take off in the late 1990s. He has attracted significant controversy for some of his more prominent works, including his series of dead animals preserved in formaldehyde. More recently, Hirst has been attracting new attention for another reason: his dwindling auction sales. In 2008, Hirst broke new records when $270 million worth of his art was sold at auction. While that was quite the banner year, the market in Hirst's work has slowed down significantly, and so far this year the average auction price for one of his pieces has dropped to 2002 prices. Many in the art world remain confident there will be a rebound in the near future, and Hirst is currently working on a catalogue raisonn, which may help make the market for his works a bit more robust. [KMG]

The first link leads to a recent piece from The Economist about the primary and secondary markets for Hirst's works as of late. The second link will take users to a bit of commentary from The National's Ben East on the recent charges of plagiarism leveled against Hirst. Moving on, the third link will whisk users away to a piece from Financial News about an upcoming auction of works by Hirst that once adorned the offices of the now-defunct investment bank Lehman Brothers. The fourth link leads to the Artcyclopedia entry for Hirst. Here visitors can find online galleries of his work culled from different museums around the world. Those with a particular interest in the world of art auctions will enjoy the link to the Art + Auction site. Here they can learn about recent and upcoming auctions, and also read pieces of gossip from the art auction world. The final link leads to the online home of Sotheby's, the international auction house that deals in all thing luxury, including Hirst artworks, posh real estate, and opulent chaise lounges from the reign of Louis XIV.

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