The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 38

September 24, 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

Regional History Project: UC-Santa Cruz

Based at UC-Santa Cruz, the Regional History Project "has been documenting the history of the Central Coast of California and the institutional history of UC-Santa Cruz since 1963." On their site, visitors can read and listen to some of the hundreds of interviews they have conducted over the past five decades. The interviews are divided into thematic sections, including "Out in the Redwoods", "Agricultural History", and "Santa Cruz History". The "Out in the Redwoods" area features interviews about the gay and lesbian experience in Santa Cruz from the 1960s to the present. The "Agricultural History" area is quite nice as well, and it features interviews with farmers and farm workers on artichoke growing, apple farming, and labor organizing. Finally, the "Santa Cruz History" offers a potpourri of interviews with local residents about ranch life in and around Santa Cruz, blacksmithing in the area, and the musical scene. [KMG]

History: The Colonial Williamsburg Official History Site

Colonial Williamsburg has been a popular destination for American history buffs for eight decades, and they continue to impress with their fine website dedicated to providing biographies, essays, and articles on "the everyday life of extraordinary Americans." Visitors can read biographies of people who inhabited colonial-era Williamsburg, listen to their fife and drums corps, and tour the town. One area that is definitely worth a look is the "Gardens" section of the site. Here visitors can learn about the landscape restoration work on the site, the history of the gardens, and read the gardener's blog. Further along, the "Clothing" area includes narrative descriptions of men's clothing, women's clothing, and African American clothing during colonial times. Also, visitors can dress a colonial person from head to toe in the interactive adventure, "Dressing the Part". The site is rounded out by a "Conferences, Forums, and Workshops" area that includes information about their scholarly activities and upcoming forums. [KMG]

Bracero History Archive

Started in 1942, the Bracero Program brought millions of Mexican guest workers to the United States, and over the next two decades, more than 4 million Mexicans came to work in the country. This fine public history resource from the Center for History and New Media at Georgetown University brings together oral histories and artifacts pertaining to the program. Visitors can read the "About" section to learn more about the program and its legacy and then move on to browse the documents. The document archive can be searched in its entirety, or users can also move through areas that include "Images", "Documents", and "Oral Histories". Educators will want to look over the "Teaching" area, as it features three different learning activities which draw on the archive's documents. Also, the "Resources" area includes a video tutorial on how to use the archive effectively and several interview questions for those who might know some former Bracero workers. [KMG]

Illinois State Museum: Audio-Video Barn

If you want to explore the world of agriculture in Illinois, you should make a beeline for this interesting and thoughtful website. The Audio-Video Barn is a collaborative project designed by the Illinois State Museum, working in partnership with other local institutions and with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project is a logical outgrowth of the Museum's "longstanding interest in human interactions with the natural world." So step right into the "barn" and listen to oral history interviews from the 1950s to the 1990s, locate interviews from a state-wide map, or look over the "User's Guide" for navigation tips. Visitors shouldn't miss the "Sit-Down Interviews" area, as they can just scan through photos and select an interviewee who looks interesting. To get started, visitors should check out some of the "Stories from the Barn", such as "My Father the Great Reader" and "Making Rails". [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

Caroline Bartlett Crane: Everyman's House

Early in the 20th century, social activist Caroline Bartlett Crane had an intriguing idea: Why not build an efficient home plan for the common man and woman? She acted on this idea, and her design was the national winner of Herbert Hoover's Better Homes of America campaign in 1924. The house was built in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and it remains a private home today. This digital collection from the Western Michigan University Archives presents a compelling mix of letters, photographs, blueprints, and other materials related to this unique undertaking. First-time visitors can start with the "Biography" area, and then proceed on to the "Complete Access" area. Here they will find photographs of the "Everyman's House", blueprints, an original copyright assignment for the house design, and a letter of congratulations from Hoover to Crane. [KMG]

New York Sea Grant [pdf]

The National Sea Grant program was established in 1966, and a few years later, the state of New York sponsored the program's first outpost. Currently, the New York Sea Grant (NYSG) is a cooperative program of the State University of New York (SUNY) and Cornell University. On the homepage, visitors can look over sections that include "Extension", "Research", "Education", "Publications", and "Theme Areas". The "Theme Areas" is a good place to start, as it features topical material on coastal processes and hazards, fisheries, and aquatic invasive species. Their helpful publication "Currents" is also worth a look, and it contains materials on grant opportunities, research materials, fact sheets, and public awareness programs. Moving on, the "Related Sites" area contains links to "Hot Topics" (topical news items related to the sea and such) and affiliated organizations. [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

The Rise of Apps Culture [pdf]

"Apps" (which is short-hand for "applications") designed for use on cell phones have been growing in popularity over the past several years. They can be used to buy airplane tickets, check travel times, look up the definition of a word, track calories, play solitaire, and so much more. This report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project looks at how adults are using these apps, and how their use might change over time. Released in September 2010, the 46-page report is based on a national sample of 1917 cell-phone using adults. The report notes that while 35% of adults have cell phones with apps, only two-thirds of those who have apps actually use them. [KMG]

Three Proposed Initiatives for Improving Mobility, Quality of Life, and Economic Growth in the West Bank [pdf]

What might be one way to improve life in the West Bank? Most people might not immediately think of a new infrastructure corridor, but the RAND Corporation thinks that might be part of the solution. The RAND Corporation has been working with the Palestinian Authority (PA) to encourage economic development in the region, while also advancing the U.S. policy agenda in the Middle East. This 20-page paper offers a few practical suggestions based on five years of consultations between RAND and the PA. Their suggestions include creating a regional transit system for the West Bank, the creation of several new urban districts, and a design of the first national physical plan for Palestine. The bulk of the report consists of artistic renderings of these new environments, along with a general overview of this plan. [KMG]

General Interest

Digital UMass

The University of Massachusetts, Amherst has created the Digital UMass website in order to document the history of their campus, and their predecessor institutions, which include the Massachusetts Agricultural College. Currently, this digital archive contains an oral history of the institution's administrators, reflections on student life, and materials related to women's experiences at the school. Visitors to the site will notice the diverse holdings here, which include annual reports from 1864 to 1932, the archives of the "College Monthly" (an early student newspaper), and transcripts and audio files of oral histories with female students who attended the school in the 1920s and 1930s. That's far from all, as visitors can also look at student handbooks, faculty papers, and several student research papers, such as "Undergraduate Women and the Post-War College: The University of Massachusetts". [KMG]

The Center for Cartoon Studies

Based in White River Junction, Vermont, The Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) offers courses and degree programs centered "on the creation and dissemination of comics, graphic novels and other manifestations of the visual narrative." Visitors to their website can learn about these formal academic programs, check out their engaging blog, and learn about recent work from students, alumni, and faculty members. Also, visitors should look at their "Events" calendar, read about the "Visiting Artist", and their Flickr photos, which document the Center's activities. Moving on, users will also want to check out the "Schulz Library", as it provides information about this resource, along with offering a link to a separate blog. The website also includes an additional set of links to books published by the Center, and that's also worth a look. [KMG]

New Perspectives: The Cleveland Museum of Art [Flash Player]

The Cleveland Museum of Art is known for its diverse collections, and visitors can get a sense of their holdings courtesy of this section of their website. The site highlights a wide range of art pieces from the museum, and visitors are presented with a set of squares that contain works including a statue from ancient Crete, a stool from Cameroon, and a Faberg egg. After clicking on each item, visitors can watch a short video, and also learn a bit more in the process. Some of these items are not currently on display, so it's a real treat to get to see them here. Finally, visitors can also sign up to create their own online profile in order to stay connected with the museum, and to learn when new works are added to this site. [KMG]

Fort Ticonderoga

Located in upstate New York, Fort Ticonderoga was originally built by the French in the 1750s. Over the next 30 years, the fort saw a number of "visitors", including Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold, General John Burgoyne, and other military types. The fort fell out of use in the 1780s, and while it was a type of tourist destination during the 19th century, it was not restored as a more viable destination until the early 20th century. Here on this site, visitors can learn about the fort, its history, and about the various seasonal events that take place on the grounds. In the "History" area, visitors can learn about the fort's transformation over the past three centuries, and also learn about their scholarly collections. Moving on, the site also features a few rousing performances by their fife & drums corps, along with a video section with several highlights from the fort's interior. [KMG]

Dartmouth Jewish Sound Archive

This tremendous archive at Dartmouth College grew out of a private collection assembled and digitally restored by Professor Alex Hartov. The Jewish Sound Archive Database and website were developed as a collaborative effort between Professor Lewis Glinert and Professor Hartov and several additional colleagues at Dartmouth. Currently, the collection has over 20,000 tracks available for online listening, and visitors should start by just using the "Browse" feature here. There's Jewish comedy ("Stories Our Jewish Mothers Forgot to Tell Us"), classical music, Jewish religious music, and much more. Also, users can perform a detailed search across the entire database. Visitors can also sign in to save their song selections for future listening, and they will definitely want to stop by this site numerous times. [KMG]

The Red Brush

Created as part of Washington University's Digital Gateway initiative, The Red Brush project is a collection of texts in Chinese from a wide range of writings from Imperial China, by and about women writers. The materials here are available in both Chinese and English, and the project was designed to complete a narrative anthology entitled "Red Brush: Women Writers of Imperial China". The site makes the original Chinese version of over 500 poems available, along with English language translations. Visitors can use the advanced search feature here, or they can also just browse around at their leisure. The materials are divided into sixteen sections, and some of the highlights include "The full elder brother" by Ban Zhao and "The color of the water" by Hai Yin. [KMG]

National Design Triennial

This superb design gathering and exhibit asks the question: "Why design now?" A good question indeed, and the basic idea is that "designers around the world are answering this question by creating products, prototypes, buildings, landscapes, messages, and more that address social and environmental challenges." This project is the fourth installation in the National Design Triennial exhibition series launched by Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in 2000. Visitors can explore the objects here by theme (including "Energy" and "Communication"), or they can click on one of the images on the site. There are some rather intriguing projects here, such as the MIT CityCar, the Carabanchel Social Housing project, and "Greensulate". "Greensulate" is an organic, fire-retardant board made from mycelium, the "roots" of a mushroom, and other natural byproducts. It is designed to be an affordable and environmentally friendly replacement for expanded polystyrene, and it can be used in structural insulating panels. This is really just the tip of the iceberg, and this site will be of great interest to designers, planners, environmentalists, and others. [KMG]

Network Tools

PRTG Network Monitor

This application is designed for users who wish to keep tabs of their entire network with ease and efficiency. With this application, users can take advantage of traffic and usage monitoring, packet sniffing, and concise reporting. The web-based interface for the application makes configuring the network devices and sensors quite simple. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer. [KMG]

Free Video Catcher 1.2

Visitors with an interest in capturing videos and other materials from the Internet will find this application most useful. Free Video Catcher 1.2 can be configured to capture only audio from a video file, and it can be used with popular sites such as YouTube, Google Videos, and many others. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Nine years later, Oprah Winfrey and Jonathan Franzen meet again

Oprah Winfrey and Jonathan Franzen make up over Freedom

Franzen On The Book, The Backlash, His Background

A touch of Franzenfreude

Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner Speak Out On Franzen Feud

Publishers Weekly

Arts & Letters Daily

Nine years ago, literary darling Jonathan Franzen and cultural tastemaker Oprah Winfrey had a rather public moment that was widely seen as a clash between high and middlebrow sensibilities. That year, Oprah was set to have Franzen's "The Corrections" as her next book club pick. In an interview, Franzen commented that her previous choices for the club had been "schmaltzy, one-dimensional" novels. Franzen was immediately disinvited from appearing on Oprah's show, and the media rumor mill was in a frenzy for a time. It appears that Franzen and Winfrey have patched things up, as she has picked his latest novel, "Freedom", as her final book club selection. The book has already been selling quite well, and the official endorsement from Oprah will no doubt drive sales numbers up. Alongside this announcement comes recent criticism from several well-known authors (including Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner) who argue that much of the mainstream literary world summarily ignores popular fiction, instead focusing much of their attention on works by "high-art" authors such as Franzen. [KMG]

The first link will take users to a piece from last week's Guardian about Oprah's recent book club selection. The second link leads to an interview with Franzen from NPR's Fresh Air radio show. Moving on, the third link leads users to a thoughtful piece by the Guardian's Katha Pollitt about gender literary politics and other relevant matters. The fourth link takes visitors to a conversation with Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult about what role gender plays in literary criticism and the importance of popular fiction in our culture. The fifth link whisks users away to the homepage of Publishers Weekly, which is a great source of information about the publishing world. The final link leads to Arts & Letters Daily, which is a round up of interesting online materials related to the humanities offered up as a public service by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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