The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 39

October 1, 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

The Cosmos in Miniature: The Remarkable Star Map of Simeon De Witt

Simeon De Witt's star map has a long and curious history dating all the way back to its completion in 1780. De Witt was a surveyor for George Washington and the Continental Army, and this highly detailed map shows the stars visible from his post in New Jersey. De Witt later said that his work and the time he spent outside watching the stars gave him an appreciation of "the ever shifting scenery of the skies and all the gorgeous drapery of heaven." This exhibit from the National Museum of American History allows visitors to wander across the map, and explore its historical context through sections like "European Astrolabes". On the site, visitors can also learn a bit more about De Witt's assignments during the war, the history of star maps, and how astronomy in America flourished after the Revolution was over. [KMG]

Carnegie Institution for Science: Multimedia Content [Real Player, iTunes]

What's the future of high yield crops? How is it possible that whiter clouds could mean wetter land? These are two of the many interesting questions explored on the Carnegie Institution for Science's Multimedia website. Here visitors will find video and audio files that tell the story of recent research projects and outreach efforts from various corners of the world and outer space. The materials are arranged chronologically, and they can be explored via iTunes and YouTube as well. Recent items profiled here include tropical forests, stem cells, metallic glass, and the history of silver. The materials here date back to May 2008, and there are also "Features" which include conversations with their staff scientists on mineral evolution and earthquake research. [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

Mathematical Association of America Writing Awards [pdf]

The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Journal Writing Awards honor the best mathematical writing from their various journals, and they also serve as a repository of great instructional resources for mathematics educators. The awards here include The Carl B. Allendoerfer Awards, the Trevor Evans Awards, and The Lester R. Ford Awards. Visitors can browse through all of the past winners, or they may also view the winning pieces by name. Most visitors may wish to use the subject listing as well, and topics like "Discrete mathematics" and "Analysis" are featured prominently. The archive is easy to use, and visitors will want to tell others working in this field about this resource, as it is one that can be used in a number of different settings and skill levels. [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

Electronic New Jersey

Electronic New Jersey was started in 1997, and since then they have worked with partners at the New Jersey State Archives and the New Jersey Historical Society to create interactive and engaging learning materials for teachers and students. The materials here are intended primarily for use by high school and university students, and they include sections on Paul Robeson, the Cold War, and social protests of the 1960s and 1970s. Each section includes a brief historical overview, along with a "Time Capsule" that asks students to choose materials from the digital archive here, and then create their own "mini-exhibit". The other documents included in each section range from oral histories to historic maps, and they really do a nice job of offering an entry point for close examination of each topic. [KMG]

North Carolina Cooperative Extension [pdf]

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension is based at NC State University and NC A&T State University, along with offering field locations in all 100 counties in the Tarheel State as well as the Cherokee Reservation. Their website is full of helpful fact sheets, research papers, and educational resources that address everything from field crops to community development. Along the left-hand side of the homepage, visitors will find a topical list of categories covered here, including direct links to the county centers and other state partner organizations. First-time visitors should also look at the "Featured Content" area. Here they will get the flavor of the site through materials titled "Flood and Disaster Preparedness in North Carolina" and "Stink Bugs Like Your House Too". [KMG]

Hoover Daily Report

The Hoover Institution at Stanford University is known for its many research projects, conferences, working papers, and distinguished fellows. Over the past several years, they have been tweaking various sections of their website, and the Daily Report provides ample evidence of this transformation. The Daily Report offers a "one-stop" online destination for interested parties to look at op-ed and commentary pieces by Hoover Fellows, blog posts, interviews, and related articles and quotes about the Hoover Institution and their associates. Users can browse the materials here by date, topic, or author, and they may also sign up here to receive the Daily Report by email. The site also is quite rich in social media and Web 2.0 features. [KMG]

The Warner Map Collection at the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library

Based at the University of Alabama Libraries, the Warner Map Collection was a gift from the estate of Mildred Westervelt Warner, who passed away in 1974. Warner was an inveterate collector of antiquarian maps, and her collection ranges from 16th-century maps of the "New World" to an 1831 map of Alabama and Georgia. On the website, users can learn more about the Warner collection, and then peruse the fifteen different sections here. The sections include geographic regions ("The Caribbean") and cartographers, such as "Maps by Blaeu". There are only two maps in the collection by Blaeu, but they are both worth a look, as they are both interesting renderings of America in the 17th century. It's worth nothing that all of the maps also have high-resolution versions available, which makes it quite easy to examine each item in scrupulous detail. [KMG]

Lafayette Park: First Amendment Rights on the President's Doorstep

1n 1917, a group of women began a protest in front of the White House. The women were members of the National Woman's Party (NWP), and each day they came from their headquarters on Lafayette Square to demand that President Woodrow Wilson help them get all American women the right to vote. They continued their protests even after the United States entered World War I, and they remained resolute in the face of increasing adversity. Their story is the focus of this Teaching with Historic Places Lesson plan, and it is designed to be used in a range of educational settings. The National Park Service created the plan, and it contains primary source materials that include newspaper articles, photographs from the protests, and maps of the areas around the White House and Lafayette Park. Additionally, the site contains a "Putting it Together: Activities" section with thoughtful activities that teachers can us as they see fit. [KMG]

General Interest

Shared History: Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas

The relationship between towns and their higher education institutions is an intriguing one, and it can swing from hearty togetherness to outright antagonism. The relationship between the University of Arkansas and its hometown of Fayetteville has generally been a pleasant one, and this digital collection offers up 500 photographs of both "town" and "gown". The collection is party of their "Shared History" collection, and the money for the project was donated by the Happy Hollow Foundation. The photographs here include the town square, the Washington-Willow Historic District, and notable University of Arkansas buildings, including Razorback Stadium. Visitors can search the image collection, or they can browse a few selected topics, including "Churches", "Students", and "Old Main". [KMG]

U.S. Census: Facts for Features & Special Editions [pdf]

The U.S. Census produces hundreds of reports used by government agencies and the private sector each year, and their work also includes general interest material for the public and journalists. Perhaps their most valuable product is this area of their website, which brings together interesting (and fun) facts about America. Every week or so, they release a new fact sheet which includes information about topics like the Fourth of July, Hispanic Heritage Month, Halloween, and Labor Day. Visitors can look back at previous fact sheets, which date back to 2005. A number of the sheets are also available in Spanish, and users are welcome to share these materials with others who might have a penchant for such facts. [KMG]

Historic Sheet Music

If you're looking for compelling sheet music from decades gone by, this website from the University of Oregon Libraries is just the ticket. Initially created to showcase sheet music from the Oregon Music Collection, their digitization work continues apace, and there are already over 650 pieces of sheet music available here. Visitors to the site can browse the collection by title, composer, or topic. Perhaps the most unique items here are those pieces composed by Oregonian women, such as Amy Beach, Marion Bauer, and Liza Lehmann. Not surprisingly, the collection is also strong in the area of Western Americana, as attested to by songs like "Broncho Buster", "Oh you round up, let 'er buck", and "The Gray Haired Pioneer". [KMG]

Great Migrations: National Geographic

Animals of all shapes and sizes migrate, and this National Geographic website explores the story of a few notable migrations across the planet. Designed to complement their new television series of the same name, this site provides video clips from the programs, along with interactive profiles of the migrations, and behind-the-scenes footage. Visitors can also check out the "Meet the Filmmakers" section to learn about the production crew members and their work. The highlight of the site is the "3D Migration Globe" area. Here visitors can click on an animal of their choosing and watch its migration pattern unfold on a globe. The animals include an army ant, an African elephant, and the red crab. The site continues to add new materials, so it will be worth checking back in now and then to see what they have added. [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

NOAA's Office of Coast Survey [pdf]

In 1807, President Thomas Jefferson established the Survey of the Coast in order to support safe transportation through the United States' waters. Today, the Office of Coast Survey is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Ocean Service. Their mission is to ensure "safe, efficient and environmentally sound marine transportation that brings an uninterrupted flow of people and goods into and out of our nation's ports." As part of this work the Office prepares seafloor and harbor maps (which are available on this site), along with providing information about wrecks and obstructions within bodies of water and their surrounding areas. Visitors can use the "Survey & Wrecks" section to learn about such matters, and they may also wish to use the "Education" area. Here they will find lesson plans that teach students about surveying and charting, along with providing short videos, like "The Surveyors: Charting America's Course". Finally, the "Research & Development" area provides information on how their modeling programs work and data portals to information about tides and currents and real-time coastal data maps. [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

State of Delaware-Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs

Delaware is a state rich in history and tradition, and this website provides curious parties and individuals with a smattering of resources on the Blue Hen State. On the homepage, visitors can make their way through eight sections, including "Museums", "Exhibits", "Education", and "Multimedia". First up, the "Museums" area provides information on current exhibits on display at the state's historic properties, along with a collection of selected items. Visitors looking for a more interactive and immersive experience will want to click on the "Multimedia" area, where they will find videos of the Old State House and 360 degree panorama views of the Delaware Archaeology Museum and the John Dickinson Plantation. Finally, the site is rounded out with its fine "Education" section. Here visitors can view online educational resource materials, including a guide to Native American projectile points and links to The Heritage Education Network. [KMG]

'As Far As Possible from Forgetfulness': The Trinity College Historical Society

The roots of the Trinity College Historical Society (TCHS) can be traced back to 1892, when Professor Stephen B. Weeks decided to enhance the College's library by collecting a wide range of material on Southern history. The intent was "to rescue from forgetfulness the names and deeds of our first settlers." This website, presented by the Duke University Libraries, allows visitors to learn about the Society's work, history, and collections via a digital archive and a series of thematic explorations. Visitors can glance over the "Leaders of TCHS" to learn about Weeks and his colleagues, and then click on sections like "History in the Home" and "Miscellany" to learn about the items collected over the years by the TCHS. Additionally, visitors can use the "What's in Your Exhibit?" area to share what they would save for posterity. [KMG]

Network Tools


Started in 2005, Edublogs has grown to include almost 60,000 blogs started by people all over the world. The Edublogs site can be used by anyone to create blogs with education content, and most school filters will allow their software to run correctly. The site includes a video introduction on how to get started, and teachers will appreciate that Edublogs includes discussion tools, video embedding, and social media options. Visitors can customize their blog by using over 100 different themes to give each one the personal touch. EduBlogs is compatible with all operating systems, and their site also includes a FAQ section and training guides. [KMG]


Designed by Kalid Azad, the Instacalc Online Calculator offers an elegant solution to those who need a variety of calculations and conversions done simultaneously. With Instacalc, visitors just need to type in a calculation or operation and the answer will appear. The application also includes some programming tools and advanced math functionality, and the application can be embedded or linked, depending on the user's preference. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

As privatization of libraries continues, some grow concerned

As L.S.S.I. Takes Over Libraries, Patron's Can't Keep Quiet [Free registration may be required]

San Joaquin County to consider privatizing libraries

Should public libraries be put in private hands?

Library Systems & Services

Carnegie Libraries: The Future Made Bright

Boston Athenaeum

Public-private partnerships in cities are nothing new, and many cities and political units have had experiences with partial or complete privatization of various services over the years. A recent wrinkle in this process is raising eyebrows across the country, as a number of public libraries in cities with struggling economies have been taken over by the Library Systems & Services (LSSI) company. Recently, the company was approached with and accepted an offer to run the libraries in the city of Santa Clarita, California for $4 million, a city that is relatively healthy economically. The company claims that they are able to reign in costs, and in an interview with the New York Times, their chief executive, Frank A. Pezzanite, noted, "A lot of libraries are atrocious. Their policies are all about job security. That is why the profession is nervous about us." Obviously, there are many people who are incensed by Pezzanite's comments and his approach to management, and a number of library employees are quite upset about the terms of the company's contract. Others believe that libraries are a public service that is too important to be handed over to a private, profit-driven company. It remains to be seen whether this trend will continue, but for now the number of libraries managed by LSSI constitute the country's fifth-largest library system. [KMG]

The first link will take users to an article from this Monday's New York Times about this recent library privatization in California. The second link leads to a recent piece in the Lodi News-Sentinel about the proposed privatization of libraries in San Joaquin County. Moving on, the third link leads to a conversation about the privatization of public libraries recently featured on Southern California Public Radio. The fourth link whisks users away to the homepage of LSSI. The fifth link leads to a lovely set of educational resources about the Carnegie libraries in the United States, courtesy of the National Park Service's Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans program. The final link leads to the homepage of the Boston Athenaeum, which is a different type of membership library entirely, founded in 1807.

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