The Scout Report -- Volume 16, Number 48

December 3, 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

Rag Linen

Rag Linen is an online museum and educational archive named after the early newspaper printing process: "Before 1870, most newspapers were printed on heavy-duty paper made by pulping linen rags, often from clothes or ship sails." This printing process has allowed these papers to survive through the centuries in remarkably fine condition. Todd Andrlik is the creator of this fine site, and with the historic newspapers offered here "you'll travel back in time to read reports from the Late Middle Ages, the European Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment." A great place to start here is the "Rag Linen Museum" area. Here visitors will find digital exhibits on the French & Indian War, King Philip's War, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Each exhibit contains pages from original newspapers, along with brief explanations of each historical event. After that, visitors can click on over to the "Education" section, which features a brief narrative history of newspapers, a visual tour of the beginning of newspapers, and a piece on how to determine the value of various newspapers. Also, the "Bibliography" section is a great source of information for "further reading", and it includes seminal works that deal with the history of the printing press, newspapers, and American history. Visitors who enjoy the site will want to sign up for their email alerts, RSS feed, and other social media options. [KMG]

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver was a man who wore many hats, including those of a teacher, student, researcher, and scholar. During his lifetime, his research yielded 325 products from peanuts and over 100 products from sweet potatoes. Carver's work contributed to rural economic development in countless ways, and he remains an intriguing and compelling figure decades after his passing. This digital collection from the Special Collections Department at the Iowa State University Library brings together images of Dr. Carver, along with letters and other correspondence between Carver and his colleagues at the university. The collection contains over 200 items, and visitors can browse through the items as they see fit, or perform a more detailed item search. Items here include transcripts of conversations with researchers at the Tuskegee Institute, formal faculty photographs, and handwritten letters. [KMG]

NOVA Online: Teachers [Last reviewed in the Scout Report on May 27, 1998]

The Scout Report hasn't wandered over to the NOVA Online: Teachers site for a number of years, and it has expanded greatly as of late. Visitors to the site will immediately notice the "Watch, Interact, Explore" section, which allows interested parties to access short video clips and interactive features culled from NOVA program webpages. The materials here are all tied to state educational standards, and visitors can browse the subject headings, which include anthropology, forensic science, and space science. The "Technology" area has some great features in particular, including "Inside a Solar Cell" and a bit titled "Killer Microbe", where visitors learn how biotechnology is used to analyze the evolution of a harmless bacterium into a highly drug-resistant one. Finally, visitors can also sign up for their weekly email bulletin. [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

Hawaii War Records Depository Home

Life in Hawaii after World War II was documented in part due to a joint resolution passed by the Hawaii Territorial Legislature which stated that the University of Hawaii would be the official depository of material related to Hawaii's part in this global conflict. Over a five-year period, individuals and agencies donated personal accounts, reports, photographs, scrapbooks, newspapers, and maps to the collection. Parts of the collection have been digitized, and visitors can look through those revealing items here. The sections here include "Veterans' Essays", "Japanese American Veterans Timeline", and "Digitized Photographs". The "Veterans' Essays" is a good place to start, and visitors shouldn't miss the "Digitized Photographs", which contains hundreds of images related to life on the islands during the period. The site also contains links to other World War II collections online and contact information. [KMG]

60 Ways RAND Has Made a Difference    

Created in 1948 as the Research and Development Corporation (RAND), this organization is financed by the U.S. government and a range of other private entities. Their work has included hundreds of research reports and briefs on health care policy, national security, technology, and civil and criminal justice. This interesting website provides access to "Sixty Ways RAND Has Made a Difference", which talks about sixty ways in which the organization has transformed different sectors of human life around the United States and the world. The sixty items are presented via a pop-up screen, and visitors can scroll through them at their leisure. Each item contains a brief description of the activity, along with links to select publications dealing with each item or research topic. These accomplishments include "Building the Analytical Foundation for the U.S. All-Volunteer Force" and "Inventing the Foundation of the Internet". It is an interesting retrospective of RAND and U.S. Policies. [KMG]

NAACP: A Century in the Fight For Freedom

The Library of Congress has an online exhibit of 70 items regarding the history of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and their ultimate goal is to have over 150 items online here. There are several ways for visitors to learn about the history of the NAACP from this website. The slideshow on the homepage has half a dozen or so slides that comprise the themes of the exhibit, such as "The New Negro Movement", "The Civil Rights Era", and a "Renewal of the Struggle". Clicking on "Learn more" of any of the brief descriptions that accompany the photos in the slideshow will take visitors to an expanded explanation, as well as give them the opportunity to see all the items for that theme. With a video introduction by actor Laurence Fishburne, the "Interactive Timeline" highlights events and people that influenced the founding of the NAACP in 1909. Upon entering the timeline, visitors will see a map of milestones, which they can click on for a description of the event, and to see the impact of the event on a map below the map of milestones. [KMG]

Avian Influenza and Wild Birds in Africa: Ecology & Monitoring [pdf]

In order to control and understand the spread of Avian Influenza in Africa, Cirad, a French organization that addresses international agricultural and development issues has created a website full of great features. There is a section on "Satellite Tracking", a "Surveillance Program", and a "Monitoring Program". Visitors can just click on the pictures next to the descriptions to go directly to the link. The Satellite Tracking feature allows visitors to follow the water birds, including four wild duck species, with an interactive Google map or JPG maps. The "Material/Method" link under Satellite Tracking gives a thorough explanation, along with photos, of the solar-powered satellite platform transmitting transmitters fitted on the four duck species. Visitors will find the Monitoring Program offers information about the "need of understanding the role of avifauna and domestic poultry in the transmission and the maintenance of the [Avian Influenza] virus. " Overall, this is a site that is well done and visually compelling in its layout and design. [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

Wei-Wen Yu Center for Cold-Formed Steel Structures [pdf]

Established at the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1990, the Center for Cold-Formed Steel Structures (CCFSS) was funded with an initial grant from the American Iron and Steel Institute. The Center was renamed in 2000 for its founding director, Dr. Wei-Wen Yu, and today the Center continues to "provide an integrated approach for handling research, teaching, engineering education, technical services, and professional activity." On their homepage, visitors will find five main sections, including "Resources", "Publications", and "Calendar". In the "Publications" section, users can look through past issues of their newsletter, table of contents from their proceedings from 1971 to 2002, and their technical bulletins from 1999 to the present. Moving on, the "Resources" contains a database of the Center's books, and equally importantly, a listing of relevant professional association websites. Finally, visitors can also sign up for email updates from the CCFSS and look over their upcoming conference events. [KMG]

General Interest

Abstract Expressionist New York [Flash Player]

This exhibition from MoMA maps the artistic and cultural impact of the Abstract Expressionists onto the geography of New York City. The sites introduction points out that it was these artists who "catapulted New York City to the center of the international art world during the 1950s." MoMA's collection was also profoundly affected by Abstract Expressionism, since the museum began acquiring works by these artists in the 1940s. The exhibition website showcases seven Abstract Expressionist masterpieces, by Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston, Mark Rothko, and Ad Reinhardt. The homepage background is a map (that links to a larger map with more locations) with clickable, numbered, Abstract Expressionist hangouts. For example, click on #9 and youll find the Waldorf Cafeteria on Sixth Avenue off Eighth Street, where the artists used to congregate and sit for hours over cups of coffee until the management ran them off and they began to frequent other establishments, such as #11 on the map, the Cedar Street Tavern. To enhance the experience even further for those readers in New York or heading there for a visit, there is the deluxe AbExNY Visitor Package that includes admission, exhibition catalogue, and voucher to eat at a MoMA caf. There is even an AbExNY iPhone app, so you can walk around NYC with the exhibition in your pocket. [DS]

History: Las Vegas [Flash Player]

Las Vegas (or "The Meadows" in Spanish) is a curious place, and it is not much of a stretch to say that it was transformed from a sleepy railroad town into a ring-a-ding swinging town in just a few decades during the 20th century. The Las Vegas Sun has gone above and beyond the call of duty by crafting a site that presents a multimedia-rich experience that narrates the history of this rather unique American city. Visitors should start their journey here by watching one or all eleven parts of their "Boomtown" video on the history of the town. Then visitors may want to take a look at the interactive map of the "Strip", which tells the fortunes of casinos and other buildings, past, present, and future, which have graced this notable region of mega-structures amidst the desert. After that, visitors should look at the "12 Voices from the Past" area. Voices like casino owner Benny Binion and former Nevada governor Mike O'Callaghan are featured here, and it's a great trip back through the city's varied past. [KMG]

Drew Pearson's Washington Merry-Go-Round [pdf]

The name Drew Pearson might not be well known today to most people, but from the early 1930s until 1969, he wrote the highly influential (and controversial) syndicated column, "Washington Merry-Go-Round". The column served a muck-racking function for the highest levels of government in the United States. During his long tenure, Pearson wrote on the subject of unscrupulous public officials and became known for his flair for the dramatic. During his long career, Pearson also wrote ten books, including "U.S.A.: Second Class Power?" This excellent collection from American University brings together many of his columns from 1932 to 1969, along with a biography of Pearson and a bibliography of related works. Visitors should feel free to dive right in, and they can also browse by titles and dates. [KMG]

Lafayette College Archives Photograph Collection

Keeping track of the history of a college campus can be a challenge, and the good folks at the Lafayette College Libraries have done a fine job of that via this photograph collection. In 2006, the Special Collections & College Archives division began digitizing some of their holdings with support from the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission. The site brings together images of faculty, social dances, AIDS Memorial Quilts made on campus, ROTC images, campus buildings, and their fabled "All College Day" celebration. The photographs date back to 1858, and visitors with a keen interest in the physical planning and layout of the campus will find a host of images that tell this story of institutional transformation. [KMG]

National Music Museum

Located on the campus of the University of South Dakota at Vermillion, the National Music Museum (NMM) was founded in 1973. The institution exists primarily to serve as a research institution for musicologists and others, and their collection includes more than 15,000 American, European, and non-Western instruments. These items include two rare 18th century grand pianos, a group of more than 500 instruments made by the legendary C.G. Conn Company of Elkhart, Indiana, and a clutch of early Italian stringed instruments crafted by Andrea Guarneri and Antonio Stradivari. Visitors to the site can dive right in with the "Virtual Tours" area, and then look through their calendar of events, which might just spark a trip to South Dakota for some listening pleasure. Moving on, the "Collections" area includes a brief checklist of some of the musical instruments held by the NMM, complete with small images and brief descriptions. [KMG]

Operation Deep Storm: New Zealand Antarctic Veterans Association

This website is a way for New Zealand veterans to get recognition for their service in the Antarctic. Visitors won't want to miss the website's "Image Library" of photos categorized by decade, ships, wildlife, and a miscellaneous heading. The "Seals" subcategory under wildlife shows two adorable pictures of a Weddell seal pup, along with several pictures of different types of penguins, under the subcategory of that same name. The "Antarctic Timeline" is especially helpful to those visitors who are unfamiliar with the exploration of the Antarctic. It starts at 200 million years B.C., and goes up to September of 2009. Some of the entries are quite intriguing, and the highlights include listings of babies born in Antarctica, the establishment of scenic flights over the continent, and the abnormal melting and movement of glaciers. The site is rounded out by a tribute to the late Sir Edmund Hillary, who was a patron of the Association. [KMG]

Windham Textile & History Museum & Visitors Center

The website of the Mill Museum of Connecticut states that it "preserves and interprets the history of textiles, textile arts and the textile industry, with special emphasis on the experiences of the craftspeople, industrial workers, manufacturers, inventors, designers, and consumers." The Museum has permanent and temporary exhibits online, which consist primarily of photos. The "Temporary Exhibits" link will take visitors to several slideshows of "Past Exhibits". Visitors should not miss the "Treasures" past exhibit, with its gorgeous quilts and weavings. There is a weaving with the faces and dates of the presidents of the U.S. up to the mid 1800s, as well as a gorgeous crazy quilt that features appliqued stars and a moon in the middle of it. The "Permanent Exhibits" has a number of photos of mills, inside and out, as well as a PDF exhibit catalog, entitled "Sewing Revolution: The Machine that Changed the World". It features pictures and machine details of more than 75 antique sewing machines from the museum's collection. [KMG]

National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs [pdf]

The National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs (NACCTEP) website and organization is committed to providing better training for those future teachers who spend time at community colleges. Visitors should definitely check out the "Resources" section on the menu near the top of the page. The "Legislative Updates" link provides a host of links to government and education sites, from such organizations as U.S. Department of Education, Alliance for Excellent Education, and the National Science Teachers Association. The "Hot Topics" link "gives a sampling of publications and websites that address key teacher education-related HOT TOPICS". Finally, the "10 Myths and Realities" link has a downloadable brochure called "10 Myths About Community College Teacher Education Programs" for visitors. What are some of the myths the brochure addresses? They include the adequacy of technology that community colleges have, transferability of teacher preparation programs at community colleges to four-year schools, and the rigorousness of community college teacher preparation programs. [KMG]

Network Tools


Basic geometry calculations can be tricky to some, and this handy application is quite useful in such matters. CircleCalc is a high precision calculator of many stripes, and visitors can use the program to perform hundreds of calculations quickly. Visitors can use the application to save entries, reorder numbers, and also take advantage of scientific notation. This version is available as an app for the iPhone and iPad. [KMG]

Scribe 3.5

Scholars young and old will appreciate the latest version of Scribe, which is a cross-platform note-taking program designed especially with historians in mind. Scribe allows users to manage research notes, quotes, thoughts, ruminations, and digital images. Users can also use Scribe to assemble, print, and export bibliographies. Additionally, visitors can find and highlight a particular word within a note or article. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

U.S. House approves historic settlement in case involving African American farmers and Native Americans

U.S. House Approves Black-Farmer, Indian Settlements

A small slice of justice

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Final Passage of the Claims Settlement Act

Black farmers: justice delayed

Postcard from the first annual Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference

National Black Farmers Association

After years of wrangling, heated public discussion, and debate, the U.S. House of Representatives approved $4.6 billion to settle discrimination claims filed by African American farmers and Native Americans who had not received land-use royalties. The suit was quite complex, and the initial lawsuit was filed in 1997 by African American farmers who alleged that racial discrimination was a pervasive part of U.S. Department of Agriculture lending programs. In a separate action, a group of 300,000 Native Americans claimed that land royalties were withheld from them in a series of actions dating back to 1887. The approval of these funds had been held up for sometime, and the legislative roadblocks were removed when various lawmakers proposed to alleviate the entire cost of this settlement through spending cuts and generating new revenue elsewhere. Besides providing for different payments to individuals, the settlement will also finance construction of water systems that will serve Native American reservations in New Mexico, Montana, and Arizona. [KMG]

The first link will take readers to a piece from this Tuesday's Business Week about the recent settlement. The second link leads to an editorial from this Monday's Washington Post about the settlement. Moving on, the third link will take users to an official statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the passage of the settlement act. The fourth link will take interested parties to a piece from The Economist which provides a bit more background on the suit filed by African American farmers. Visitors interested in another perspective on a related subject will enjoy the fifth link. Here they will find Natasha Bowens' commentary on the first annual Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference in New York City, and it's a witty and insightful read. Finally, the last link leads to the homepage of the National Black Farmers Association.

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