The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 4

January 28, 2011

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

Science360: Chemistry

Have you ever wondered about the chemistry of a cheeseburger? Well you are in luck because that is one of the subjects covered on the topical and delightful "Chemistry" section of the popular Science360 website. As it states on the site, "everything you hear, see, taste, smell and touch involves chemistry and chemicals", and here visitors can watch videos and learn about the molecular structure of water, the science behind glass blowing, and how a curious mud-like mixture is being used to soak up oil spills and insulate homes. Currently, there are about fifteen videos on the site, and visitors can sign up via a host of social media (Twitter, Facebook, and so on), to stay abreast of new additions to the site. Teachers will find that this material can be integrated into the classroom quite easily, and everyone else will just enjoy wandering through these offerings. [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

Digital Sanborn Maps of Milwaukee 1894 and 1910
It might be hard to wander around Milwaukee in 1910, unless you have a friend with a functioning time machine. Well, such a journey through time and space is almost possible with this fine collection from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Library. The collection brings together the Sanborn Fire Maps from 1894 and 1910, and these documents are excellent historical resources for academics, geographers, urban planners, and those with a love of the built environment. Each map contains copious details on the construction materials of dwellings, sidewalk widths, and elevator locations. This collection is quite a pip, as it allows users to use Google Maps to wander around the city at their leisure, picking out details along the way. Visitors can use the "Browse" button to look through different sections of these maps, or they can just search for certain terms and locations. [KMG]

The United States and Pakistan's Quest for the Bomb [pdf]

The National Security Archive at The George Washington University is dedicated to providing key diplomatic documents that describe the world of political relationships and other key areas of government relations between the United States and other nations. This electronic briefing book released in December 2010 takes a look at the attempts by the Carter administration to roll back Pakistan's nuclear program in the late 1970s. These recently declassified U.S. government documents shed light on the "critical period when Washington discovered that Pakistan, a Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty hold-out, had acquired key elements of a nuclear weapons capability." This collection contains 40 documents that highlight some of the behind-the-scenes negotiating that went on from 1978 to 1980. There's a brief synopsis of each document, and a fine introduction that provides some good context on this series of communiqus and related exchanges. [KMG]

GrantCraft [pdf]

GrantCraft was originally started in October 2001 as a small collection of case studies and examples, and it was designed to be used as orientation material for new program officers at the Ford Foundation. Over the past decade, the site has grown significantly, and it offers videos, workshops, guides, and other tools to help grantmakers across the spectrum. On the homepage, visitors can start by looking over the "Guides" area to learn more about the challenges facing grantmakers today. Moving along, the "What We're Reading" area features some of their favorite resources from "the field and beyond". The bottom of the homepage features "Videos", such as information from the State Fiscal Analyses Initiative and nuts-and-bolts programs like "Building a Network". Finally, visitors can also sign up for free updates and they also shouldn't miss the "New to Grantmaking?" area. [KMG]

Constitution Daily

Everyone could use a bit of the Constitution added to their daily lives, and this website more than delivers on its promise to deliver "smart conversation about the Constitution". Constitution Daily is an experimental blog edited by the National Constitution Center (NCC) in Philadelphia, and commentary here can include conversations about student privacy rights, the Second Amendment, and the activities of Congress. Visitors can click on the "Issues" section to dive into topic areas that include civility and privacy. After looking at each topic area, visitors can look at an interactive timeline that arranges comments, posts, and discussion on the subject. The site also contains some nice polls, and information about upcoming events at the NCC. [KMG]

National Digital Stewardship Alliance

Started as an initiative of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) is a "collaborative effort among government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and businesses to preserve a distributed national digital collection for the benefit of citizens now and in the future." Some of the NSDA founding members include the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the California Digital Library, and the Maine State Archives. Interested parties can read up on the NSDA's work here, view a complete list of member institutions, and learn about their working groups. On the left-hand side of the page, visitors can view some of their video presentations, listen to their podcasts, and also learn more about personal archiving. [KMG]

The Constitution Project [pdf]

Recently, The Constitution Project (TCP) started the bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment. The purpose of TCP is to "bring the American people a comprehensive understanding of what is known and what may still be unknown about the past and current treatment of detainees by the U.S. government, as part of the counterterrorism policies of the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations." Visitors to their site can learn about their efforts to shed light on these various activities, and it is a good idea to take a quick look over their "Headline News" area to get started. Users should not miss the report "Principles for Government Data Mining", which can be found near the bottom of the homepage. This section is dedicated to looking into the threats to civil liberties posed by government data mining programs and recommends a series of reforms. Along with reading the report here, users can watch a webcast that features a panel of experts discussing the report's findings and future directions. [KMG]

New Prairie Press

The New Prairie Press (NPP) was founded at the Kansas State University Libraries in 2007. Created as an open access publishing venture, they focus their work on journals in the humanities, social sciences, and arts. Currently, they publish several journals that include The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication and the Online Journal of Rural Research & Policy. They also provide editorial support to journals such as The Lion and the Unicorn, which is published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Visitors to the site can read issues from all five of their main journals, and they can also register to receive updates and create lists of their favorite articles. Additionally, users can search all of the journals at one time with the "Journal Content" search engine. [KMG]

General Interest

Vivian Maier: Her Discovered Work

Often the true legacy of an artist goes unappreciated until after they pass away, and the case of artist Vivian Maier is a rather intriguing story. Maier lived in Chicago, and from the 1950s to the 1990s, she took well over 100,000 photographs of the city landscape and its denizens. Just after her death in 2009, John Maloof found her collection of negatives at a furniture and antiques auction. The collection is enormous and he is currently in the process of archiving these works and placing some of them on this website. The site features some of the photos from her time wandering the streets of Chicago, and there are amazing photos of homeless men eating sandwiches, elegantly dressed women waiting for a bus, and of course the "L". [KMG]

Felix de la Concha's Portraits in Conversation

Known for his multidimensional portraits, Felix de la Concha conducted many interviews with the people he portrayed in his artwork. He is also known for his collaborations with his wife, University of Iowa professor Ana Merino. On this site, created by the Iowa Digital Library, users can peruse 50 interviews from his career. Featured on the site "are Spanish-language interviews with some of the leading cultural figures in Spain, as well as English-language interviews recorded in the U.S., including writers at The University of Iowa's International Writing Program." Visitors are welcome to browse all of the interviews, or they can search by language and other terms. Of course, visitors can also view each portrait and also learn a bit more about this project on the site. [KMG]

World Bank: Open Development [pdf]

The World Bank strives to make information about its activities and projects widely accessible, and the Open Development webpage is designed to help with that aspect of their work. Here, visitors can check out various "open" features, including their "Open Data" initiative and their "Open Solutions" area. The "Open Solutions" area includes various apps that help interested parties use the World Bank's data via their various handheld devices. Moving on, the "Blogs" area includes posts on related subjects, with titles like "Improving Public Health with Open Data" and "Taking Stock of the Role of Statistics in Economic Development". Visitors are also encouraged to offer their feedback on the site, and they can also sign up to join their Twitter feed. [KMG]

Dairy and the US Congress

The dairy industry has been a key part of Vermont's economy for well over a century, and as such milk pricing, government subsidies, and oleomargarine are hotly debated topics throughout the Green Mountain State. This digital collection from the University of Vermont Libraries brings together documents that tell the legislative history of such matters. George D. Aiken collected the documents, and all told there are 38 different pieces in the archive. Many interesting items are available here, including a letter to the National Milk Producers Federation and items dealing with the proposed importation of cows from Canada. Overall, it's quite a collection, and one that will be of interest to policy scholars, agriculturalists, and others with a penchant for Vermont or dairy history. [KMG]

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension [pdf]

With a mix of agricultural tips, camping suggestions, and canning advice, the University of Georgia's Cooperative Extension site serves up a cornucopia of materials designed to serve the diverse needs of the state's residents. The homepage has three primary sections, including "Agriculture & Natural Resources", "Family & Consumer Sciences", and "4-H & Youth Development". Each of these sections is distinguished by cooperative agent information, email newsletters, and fact sheets. Also on the homepage is the "Hot List", which offers quick links to the UGA's Master Gardener's program, resources for educators, and agricultural forecasts. The "Current News & Events" area is a true delight, and headlines like "Helping Haiti" and "People, mice head indoors for winter" will inform and draw visitors in for more. [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

A Song for the Horse Nation

This website accompanies an exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) George Gustav Heye Center in New York City, and presents "the epic story of the horse's influence on American Indian tribes from the 1600s to the present." Divided into five thematic sections, the exhibition draws on the riches of NMAI, using both historical objects, such as drawings, hoof ornaments, beaded bags, hide robes, and paintings, as well as new pieces by contemporary Native artists. For example, in the "Native Arts & the Horse", 18401900 section, visitors can see images of bridles, saddles and saddle blankets, and other clothing, along with photos of these being used and worn. The section "The Horse Nation Lives On" includes works by contemporary Native American artists, such as a painting by Jim Yellowhawk (Cheyenne River Lakota, b. 1958), Lakota Horse Mask, 2008, and beaded rawhide bags made by Jackie Bread (Piikuni, b. 1960) in 2009. [DS]

PBS Arts: Between the Folds: Eric Joisel, 1956-2010

Artist Eric Joisel began his career as a formally trained sculptor working outside Paris. In his 20s, he decided to start anew with mere sheets of paper. Soon he began a life-long quest to become a master of origami, and over the next three decades he crafted African masks, barbarians, musicians, and animals out of this material. Joisel passed away at the age of 53 in 2010, but fortunately his life was celebrated in the documentary "Between the Folds". This website from PBS Arts offers a sampling of his remarkable constructions and several clips from the film. Visitors might do well to start by watching the clips "Paper as a Medium" and "Finding Inspiration in Books". There are also ten samples of his work here, each one accompanied by an explanation. [KMG]

State of Siege: Mississippi Whites and the Civil Rights Movement

American RadioWorks is always looking for compelling topics to explore, and this recent radio documentary looks into the role that certain groups of white people played in combating the civil rights movement in Mississippi. Here visitors can listen to the complete program, or take a look at some of the separate sections, which include "The March Backward" and "The Citizens' Council". The program includes interviews and commentary from a wide range of persons, and there is particularly good coverage of one well-known race riot at the University of Mississippi and the Citizens' Council, whose goal was to maintain white supremacy. The site is rounded out by a selection of links and resources and social media buttons designed to allow users to share the program with others. [KMG]

Network Tools


Simple and straightforward in its design, SurveyMonkey is quite a valuable for anyone looking to make an online survey. Utilizing the free version here, visitors can create short surveys that use a number of question types and formats. Also, users can collect some basic data on respondents and save it for later use and consultation. This version is compatible with computers running all operating systems. [KMG]


For those people who like to tweet, the TweetDeck application is quite a find. With this application, users can truly "tweet like a pro", as they will be able to customize their Twitter experience by creating groups, saved searches, and automatic updates. It is billed as "air traffic for Twitter", and that's a fairly apt description of this powerful tool. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

Hotel made out of trash draws a crowd in Madrid

Madrid hotel is just rubbish

BBC News-Hotel made entirely from rubbish opens in Madrid

Madrid's Beach Garbage Hotel Constructed to Protest World's Dirty Oceans

'Garbage Warrior' Turns Trash Into Green-Built Houses

International Tourism Trade Fair

Ocean Conservancy: International Coastal Cleanup

Some travel books will refer to hotel as "run-down" or "rough around the edges", but would any guide be so bold as to say a particular hostelry is "rubbish"? Those might be fighting words for some, except perhaps for the Beach Garbage Hotel in Madrid. The aptly named hotel is constructed out of garbage picked up from beaches all across Europe, and it drew quite a crowd curious to learn more about this unusual structure. The idea for the Beach Garbage Hotel was created by German artist Ha Schult, who wished to draw attention to the tremendous problems created by the widespread ocean dumping of refuse and other materials. The hotel was temporarily placed in the city center of Madrid to coincide with the International Tourism Trade Fair held this past week. Schult found all of the materials for this five-room hotel on beaches, flea markets, and landfills. The hotel has since been removed from the site, but Schult has plans to construct other eye-catching properties in similar high-profile locales. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a piece from the Irish Times about this unusual hotel. The second link leads to a nice video from the BBC which takes the curious around the house, and also includes a few words from Ha Schult. Moving on, the third link leads to some nice photos of the property, courtesy of the Huffington Post. The fourth link leads to a story from the Gaiam website about Michael Reynolds, the "garbage warrior" who uses discarded items to construct houses. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the International Tourism Trade Fair. Finally, the last link will take users to the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup page, complete with information their initiative to clean up marine debris.

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