The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 45

November 12, 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 Rising Burden of Government Debt [Flash Player]

The Brookings Institution sponsors a wide range of work on the global economy, and this recent paper and analysis by Eswar Prasad and Mengjie Ding looks at the rising burden of government debt across the world. Released in November 2010, the piece uses international financial data and national GDP figures to look at the increase in government indebtedness from 2007 to 2010. During this period, the ratio of world debt to world GDP rose from 44 percent to 59 percent, and it is estimated that this ratio will reach 65 percent in 2015. So-called "advanced economies" (AEs) account for the bulk of the increase in global public debt since the start of this recent economic crisis and downturn. In the calculations of the two authors, things may get worse before they get better, as they note that "AEs as a group are experiencing little population growth. Second they are facing rapidly aging populations. Third their economies are likely to register slow growthfourth, entitlement spending on health care and pensions is likely to explode due to unfavorable demographics." Visitors can read the entire article here, and also look at the associated tables and illustrative figures. [KMG]

California Healthcare Foundation: Center for Health Reporting [pdf]

Health care journalism is a rapidly growing field, and the California HealthCare Foundations Center for Health Reporting is a new venture of note in this area. The Center is based out of the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and is funded by the California HealthCare Foundation. The focus of their work is to partner with news organizations across the state "to explore questions about the quality and costs of health care and about Californian's ability to access it." Recently, they have worked on projects documenting the diabetes epidemic in California's farming communities, the impact of forest fires and firefighting techniques on health, and the exodus of local primary doctors. On their homepage, visitors can read about their "Projects", read some of their recent reports, and also check out the "Fast Facts" area. Also, their blog is a pleasant find, and it contains links to some of the aforementioned reports along with commentary on pressing health issues facing Californians. [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

Fertility of American Women

The U.S. Census Bureau prepares numerous papers each year, and they are an important source of information for public policy analysts, geographers, economists, and civic leaders. These reports are based on the biannual Current Population Surveys (CPS) conducted across the country. The reports here date back to 1994, and they look at fertility rates among American women in the noninstitutionalized population. Each report contains a detailed analysis of these biannual trends, along with historical tables and notes of the methodologies used in each report. Also, visitors will note that there are also supplemental fertility tables that break the data down into smaller segments such as "Fertility Indicators for Women in Their Thirties" and "Women 15 to 44 Years Old Who Had a Child in the Last Year and Their Percentage in the Labor Force". [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

Brooker Collection at Boston College

A number of years back, the Boston College Law Library received a tremendous gift from Robert E. Brooker, III. Over many decades, Brooker had assembled some 2500 documents and manuscripts that tell the story of land use and legal systems in Boston and the New England area from 1716 to 1930. These documents include deeds of lands, contracts for goods and services, wills, letters, and estate inventories. Visitors to this collection can view all of these documents, and legal historians, geographers, and historians of New England will have a field day with the offerings here. One particularly note-worthy item is item #1013, which is a beautiful deed signed in October 1738 by Isaac Harris. It is the oldest deed in the collection, and it includes a transcript for those who don't want to squint while looking at the screen. Of course, visitors can also search through all of the items, and they are encouraged to use the viewing tools as well. [KMG]

Web Archiving Service

The California Digital Library has developed a unique online service called the "web archiving service" which allows librarians and scholars to have access to web content from critical sites that have been captured and preserved over the past few years. The publicly archived documents can be browsed or searched courtesy of a helpful search engine. The archives currently available include those that deal with the 2007 Southern California wildfires, the 2010 Winter Olympics, and the world of International Development Organizations. Visitors can also build their own archives of websites and documents. The "Information for" box on the far right hand side of the homepage gives a link for "WAS Curators", which provides a multitude of documents and videos for new curators to aid them in building their archive. Moving along, users will find that some of the documents include "Collection Planning", "Rights Management", and "WAS Administration Features". The videos explain some of the curator features available, such as how to "Display and Analyze Capture Results" and "Evaluating Sites for Capture". [KMG]

The International Dunhuang Project [Last reviewed in the October 16, 1998]

The International Dunhuang Project is an enormous online undertaking, with collaboration between more than a dozen institutions committed to making important artifacts and documents about the heritage of the Silk Road available to all. For those visitors unfamiliar with the exact location of the Silk Road, a map can be found in the right hand corner of the "About IDP" link. The vast quantities of material from the Silk Road are located in collections and are scattered around the world due to archeological expeditions from different countries, beginning in the 19th century. The "Collections" link consists of British, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Russian collections, as well as other smaller collections, such as in Sweden and Finland, under "Other Collections". Visitors interested in teaching about the Silk Road will find that the "Education" link has a "Teach" section that offers lots of wonderful exercises for those who "wish to explore the culture, languages, religions and creativity of the Silk Road." Some of the lessons include "Cultural Dialogue on the Silk Road: A Mini Gallery" and "Medicine on the Silk Road". [KMG]

Cultural Shock [pdf]

The Demos organization in London is a think-tank that produces compelling reports on everything from public space to government spending. This report from October 2010 is by Samuel Jones, and he explores the relationship between the British government and culture and sport. His basic question is: "Why should the state get involved in culture, and if it should, how?" The 154-page report is divided into sections such as "Society and the cultural realm", "Taking the cultural pulse of a nation", and "Evidence of Potential". It's an interesting read, and the paper argues that "cultural policy must focus on the equitable distribution of individuals' cultural capabilities, indicating that this will require thinking anew about what form the structures take, and how they are run."

General Interest

Branch Rickey Collection

Noted baseball legend Branch Rickey started out his life in southern Ohio, where he grew up and later attended Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. Later on, he would sign Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers and changed the tenor and face of major league baseball in the United States forever. Rickey had a 65-year relationship with his alma mater, and this digital collection explores that relationship through images and text. The collection includes newspaper clippings from Rickey's time at the university, along with shots of the campus from the early 20th century, and documents from the church he attended as a young man. Visitors can browse the collection by subject, title or author, and they can also sign up to create their own archive of items for browsing at a later date. [KMG]

NPR: The Picture Show

National Public Radio's "The Picture Show" photo blog is a great way to avoid culling through the thousands of less interesting and engaging photographs on the web. With a dedicated team of professionals, this blog brings together different posts that profile various sets of photographs that cover 19th century war in Afghanistan, visual memories of WWII, unpublished photographs of JFK's presidential campaign, and abandoned buildings on the islands in Boston Harbor. Visitors can search through previous posts, use social media features to share the photo features with friends, and also sign up to receive new materials via their RSS feed. There's quite a nice mix of material here, and visitors can also comment on the photos and recommend the collection to friends and others. [KMG]

Panorama: Prehistoric Cave Art of Niaux

Hidden away in the mountainside near the Ariege River in France, a series of mysterious and intriguing images are spread out among the rock walls of tunnels, overhangs, and vast caverns. Curious visitors who want to examine this surreal underground landscape can check out this fascinating feature from National Geographic, which is made up of 100 individual photographs. The people known as the Magdalenian made the art works here 13-14,000 years ago, and they include depictions of bison, ibex, and deer. Visitors can use the scroll and control features to wander around the images and to zoom in and out as they wish. The site also includes sections titled "Walking into the Stone Age" and "Finding Pictures and Meaning in Rock Art" which provide some contextual background of these remarkable works. [KMG]

Barbara Ann Conlogue Collection of Eleanor Steber Photographs, circa 1935-1977

Soprano Eleanor Steber was born in West Virginia in 1916; she made her premiere with the Metropolitan Opera in 1940 and stayed with that venerable organization until 1963. She was the first Vanessa in Samuel Barber's opera of that name, and she also commissioned his work, Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Steber later taught at Juilliard and the New England Conservatory, and she passed away in 1990. The University of Buffalo Libraries has created this digital archive of publicity photographs of Steber, along with a number of informal photographs of her throughout her career. All told, the collection includes 373 images, and visitors can search the collection by keyword or by just browsing around. Visitors shouldn't miss a delightful photograph of Steber after a Philadelphia Orchestra Concert or her annual Christmas cards. [KMG]

The Conner Prairie Museum Textile Collection

The Textile Collection at Indiana University Purdue University Indiana (IUPUI) was founded by the Lilly family, of Eli Lilly pharmaceutical fame. The digitized items here offer a great way to learn about an oft-ignored area of the art world. Visitors will find the introduction to the collection to be brief, but informative. It explains the multiple reasons behind the decrease in creation of textiles at home, mainly the mechanization of cotton production and the advent of the sewing machine, but goes on to say that quilting is the "only legacy that has endured in the American conscious" and "is truly a continuing heritage for this century." Visitors can type "crazy quilt" in the "keyword search" box to see a quilt with an array of beautiful decorative stitches to hold the multi-colored pieces together. Some of the other types of items that are in the collection are samplers and coverlets. Visitors interested in seeing some samplers, pieces made by young girls to practice their skills, can simply click on "Browse this Collection" to see a number of good examples of this work. [KMG]

National Museum of Natural History: Arctic Studies Center [Flash Player, QuickTime, Real Player]

The Arctic Studies Center at the Smithsonian Institute was established in 1988, and the staff members there "study northern peoples, exploring history, archaeology, social change and human lifeways across the circumpolar world." The website has several online exhibitions about the different tribes of the circumpolar world, lists of "Resources", and "Publications" information. The Resources link offers "Teacher's Resources" a "Glossary", a "Map of the Arctic", and "Arctic FAQs" that answer questions about what those in the Arctic eat, what Eskimos play with, and how the Inuit bury their dead. Visitors interested in the topic of museums returning artifacts to their places of origin should check out the "Repatriation" link, which addresses the Smithsonian's efforts to collaborate with several tribes about the future of Native American objects that the Smithsonian holds. Images of some of the objects discussed at a teleconference in 1995 are shown in the link, and comments by some tribe members about repatriation are also included. [KMG]

London Lives

"London Lives: Crime, Poverty and Social Policy in the Metropolis" is a project with the goal of "assessing the role of plebeians in the evolution of social practices in the modern metropolis." In other words, the website aims to make accessible the records of non-elite individuals in order to show how those users of particular social institutionscharities, the penal system, and othersshaped their development. Visitors can choose "Browse Documents" to see the types of documents available, such as "Parish Archives", "Criminal Records", and "Coroners' Records". The "City of London Coroners" records from the 1780s include an inquest into a suspicious death, with no less than a dozen interviews with people who knew the man who died, and one of whom attested to him being "a little touched in the head". The "Additional Datasets" link contains 16 other datasets, including one of boys recruited to serve at sea for the Marine Society. [KMG]

Network Tools


If you have a mounting pile of things to get done, you may want to check out the TeuxDeux application. This browser-based application allows visitors to create a weekly overview, a "someday" bucket, edit existing tasks, and also sync up with their mobile phones. Visitors to the site can view an introductory video and also look at their list of recently added features. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


Mendeley is a research management tool for the desktop and the web, and it's an easy way to organize, share, and discover new and compelling research papers. Mendeley helps users automatically generate bibliographies, import papers from other research software, and also access papers of note from anywhere online. The program is fully integrated with use with Microsoft Word, Open Office, and other related tools like Zotero, and Endnote. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Amidst casinos and fine fishing, a new museum opens in Mississippi

Biloxi Bets Gehry-Designed Museum Can Compete With Casinos

On Gulf Coast, a ceramics museum that's unafraid of hurricanes

Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art

Identifying George Ohr Pottery

History of Biloxi


For the past eighteen years, gambling has been legal in the state of Mississippi. During that time, the Magnolia State has worked with private companies to create 29 different casino destinations, and many of them have some rather unique features. Utilizing legalized gambling establishments as a local economic development strategy remains controversial, and the town of Biloxi is trying to turn a corner by adding a rather intriguing new museum to their mix of activities. This Monday, the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art opened in Biloxi, and it was in large part due to the contributions of gambling companies and a certain local persistence that casinos and art museums can peacefully coexist. The museum was supposed to open in the fall of 2005, but Hurricane Katrina had other plans, and the Frank Gehry-designed structure had to wait another five years to finally open. Visitors to the museum will find the decorative and fanciful work of George Ohr, who was described as the "mad potter of Biloxi". Ohr was a noted ceramicist from the area, and many think of him as an early modernist. All told, the museum will cost around $45 million, and despite Gehry's "starchitect" status, some remain skeptical that such an institution will become popular in an area currently distinguished by excellent fishing and massive casinos. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a New York Times article from this Tuesday on the new museum down in Biloxi. The second link leads to another piece from the Los Angeles Times which talks about the art in the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art. Moving along, the third link leads to the official homepage of the museum, and visitors can learn about the building's architecture and the exhibits here. The fourth link leads to a fun guide that will help interested parties identify the work of the late George Ohr and his "mad pottery". The fifth link leads to a brief narrative history of Biloxi, courtesy of historian Edmond Boudreaux, Jr. The last link will whisk users away to the homepage of Beauvoir, which was the home of Jefferson Davis, another local landmark of note in town.

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