The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 9

March 4, 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

EPA: Cleaning Up Our Land, Water and Air [pdf]

The Environmental Protection Agency has been cleaning up the nation's land, water and air for four decades, and there's still much work to be done. This homepage provides information about cleanups around the country, what citizens can do to help, and the EPA's long-term stewardship programs. On the homepage, visitors can use a clickable map to learn about cleanup information by EPA region or program. Moving on, visitors can also read about available cleanup grants and funding opportunities in different communities. The site also contains a glossary of EPA terms, and helpful cleanup publications, such as newsletters, "FedFacs" newsletters, and waste management documents that cover Native American reservations. The site is rounded out by an "Other Publications" area that covers brownfields and the latest work on Superfund sites. [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

Chronic Poverty Research Centre

The Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC) is an international organization made up of partnerships with universities and research organizations all working to "stimulate national and international debate; deepen understanding of the causes of chronic poverty; and provide research, analysis and policy guidance." The CPRC's website has more than 400 publications that visitors can download. There are "Working Papers Series" for India, Bangladesh and West Africa, which address everything from child laborers, spatial inequality in social progress, and technological change in food production. There are also "Policy Briefs" and "Journal Articles" visitors can download. The "Toolbox" is an excellent and unique resource for researchers, donor agencies, and students to learn how to use a mix of methodological approaches to better reflect the multi-dimensionality and complexity of poverty. Visitors will find such areas of guidance as "Designing Research", "Collecting Data", "Dissemination", and "Impact Assessment" that can aid in producing relevant and rigorous research. [KMG]

Automobile in American Life and Society

Over the past century or so, the automobile has transformed the American experience in ways that are hard to fully comprehend. This website from the University of Michigan at Dearborn brings together commentary from scholars on the automobile's impact in the areas of environment, design, labor, gender, and race. These commentaries are written by leaders in their fields, including Stephen Meyer, Virginia Scharff, Margaret Walsh, and Thomas Sugrue. The essays are illustrated with archival materials from the collections of The Henry Ford and supplemented with resources such as discussion questions and writing assignments for students and teachers. Additionally, the site includes transcripts of a number of oral histories of automotive designers taken by The Henry Ford in the 1980s. [KMG]

Central Connecticut State University: Digital Collections

The rich range of materials here at the Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) Digital Collections page means that parties will want to make several return visits to the site. Currently, the site contains six different thematic collections. The first is "CCSU Student Publications", which includes literary publications, student newspapers, and a selection of yearbooks from the 1940s to the present. Moving on, the "GLBTQ Archives" area includes videotaped interviews with people at CCSU who are part of the Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgendered, and Queer (GLBTQ) community, including alumni. Legal scholars and others will enjoy the "O'Neill Archives Oral Histories" area in particular. Here they will find oral histories and commentaries regarding the seminal Lemon Law legislation, which was designed to protect consumers from fraud and abuse by auto manufacturers. The site is rounded out by the "Polish American Pamphlets", which include many ephemeral anniversary booklets, programs of concerts, and testimonials. [KMG]

Pew Research Center: Labor Unions Seen as Good for Workers, Not U.S. Competitiveness [pdf]

The Pew Research Center for the People & The Press group released this 18-page report on February 17, 2011. The material for the report on the public's perception of unions was gathered during between February 2-7, and in the poll (which surveyed 1385 adults), it was discovered that there was little or no difference regarding opinions about private and public sector unions. Interestingly, the favorability rating for labor unions overall remains at the lowest level in a quarter century with 45% of those polled expressing a positive view of these institutions. This survey also notes that there has been little change since the mid-1990s in public support for labor unions in dispute with businesses. Interested parties should definitely read the entire report, which also contains a number of detailed charts and tables that present other findings from this work. [KMG]

USC Shoah Foundation Institute [Real Player]

The goal of the University of Southern California's Shoah Foundation Institute is "to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry-and the suffering they cause-through the educational use of the Institute's visual history testimonies." On their homepage, visitors can watch testimonies from Holocaust survivors and others, along with learning more about their "Featured Resources". These resources include the Education Portal, which brings together lesson plans for teaching about the Holocaust and guidelines for using primary documents in the classroom. Scholars and others will appreciate the "Scholarship & Research" area which includes information on upcoming conferences, research stipends offered through the Institute, and events. Also, it is worth noting that the site also has many resources in other languages, including German, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, and Russian. [KMG]

With access to well over 70 million documents, is quite the historical treasure trove. Footnote has partnerships with The National Archives, the Library of Congress, and other institutions. The whole endeavor started in 1999 (when it was known as iArchives), and today the site features interactive historical timelines, facts, and thematic collections. Visitors should just go ahead and type a term into their search engine to see what shows up, and if they have a temporal bent they can explore by historical era. The site also includes "Footnote Pages". Here visitors can use over 80 million pages of US government data to learn about local history, family history, or just about anything else. Also, visitors can use the site to browse pages created by other users. [KMG]

American Association for State and Local History

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) began in 1940, when the Conference of State and Local History disbanded and a new organization was created. The AASLH is headquartered in Nashville, TN, and provides services, leadership and innovative programs to history organizations large and small. The "National Initiatives" tab at the top of this website contains a link to the "Traveling Exhibits Clearinghouse" which will be of interest to visitors who work in history organizations. The Clearinghouse aims to "give the field of state and local history an easy online resource to advertise and search for traveling exhibits." Also in the National Incentives tab is a link to "Research" on enduring issues in the field of state and local history, such as the cultivation of world cultural heritage, government funding of museums, and the civic mission of schools. Visitors interested in learning about the behind-the-scenes of the Civil War 150 must check out the "Civil War Sesquicentennial" link, under the same tab as the Research link. Also, there are podcasts and a list of websites or contacts for the states involved in the commemoration. [KMG]

General Interest

From Crossroads to Capital: The Founding and Early History of Raleigh, NC

Today Raleigh, North Carolina is a bustling metropolis, full of financial firms and activity. 250 years ago, the situation was quite different, as the area was essentially a forest of oak and hickory trees located near the Wake Cross Roads and the tavern of one Isaac Hunter. This fun collection from the State Library and State Archives of North Carolina gives interested parties access to digital copies of original documents, maps, books, and images that illuminate the first fifty years of the community's history. Visitors can search the collection at their leisure, browse through the items, and also look through other resources that include a timeline of Raleigh's early history. A couple of documents that should not be missed include a centennial address from 1892 that talks bout the early history of Raleigh and a plan of Raleigh drawn up in 1792. [KMG]


The American Studies department at the University of Virginia has a great online exhibit on vaudeville. Visitors will enjoy the vaudevillian flavor of the homepage with its flashing text, sign print look, and old-fashioned language. For those visitors unfamiliar with the history and allure of vaudeville, they should click on "Read" on the homepage for thorough history, along with photographs of theaters and a show poster. The "Hypertexts!" link takes visitors to articles written by famous viewers, journalists, and performers of vaudeville, such as Edward Albee and William Dean Howells. Those visitors who wish to do more than read about vaudeville should definitely click on the "Movies!" link to see such original short films from the early 1900s as "Watch a Wake Turned Wild!" and "See Foxy Grandpa Cut Loose on the Banjo!". Visitors who prefer just to listen to their vaudeville should click on "Sounds!" to hear "songs, sketches and recitations." There is banjo strumming in "Hickory Bill", accordion playing in "New York Blues", and dialect comedy in "Hebrew Vaudeville". [KMG]


According to their upbeat and cheerful-looking website, SparkAction is for children, youth, and change. SparkAction is managed by the Forum for Youth Investment, which is a "nonprofit, nonpartisan, 'action tank' dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are ready for college, work, and life." This website is loaded with expert ideas on how people can advocate for local children, programs that fund children's welfare programs across the country, and programs that help kids by helping mothers and fathers be better parents. Visitors should definitely visit the "Action Center" and check out the "intro video" to learn how to use advocacy to achieve policy change for children and youth. Nine ways to begin advocating are given as links in the Action Center, including "Find Elected Officials", "Find Local Media" and "Track Legislation and Votes". The "Feature Stories" section of the menu has links to "Success Stories & Profiles of Action" and "Youth Voices", which visitors will find are searchable by organization or filtered by issue. Some of the most recent stories include "Citizen Lobbyists Learn How Pros Influence, Persuade Lawmakers" and "United Way Worldwide Convenes Experts to Discuss Mentoring". [KMG]

National Geographic Video: Animals, Travel, Kids

The "Video" section of the wonderful National Geographic website has so much to offer visitors. Many of the videos are just several minutes long, such as the two minute and twelve second video taken of an Australian sea lion attacking and eating an octopus, with a "Crittercam" that is attached to the sea lion. The videos are divided into six categories, including "Adventure", "Animals", "Environment", "Kids", "Movies", and "Music Videos". Within each of the categories, there are at least half a dozen subcategories, so visitors have a constant supply of videos, with new videos added frequently. The homepage of the Video section has "Featured Videos", and presently includes a very timely four minute segment entitled "Egypt Antiquities Damaged, At Risk During Unrest" about the damage that looters had done to artifacts at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The "Movies" category contains mainly clips or previews from films, and visitors should check out the four clips from the movie "God Grew Tired of Us", about former child soldiers of Africa. [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

ICA: Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford, originator of the Open Studio, currently has a solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston. This exhibition website includes a short slideshow of eight of Bradford's works, audio commentary on about a dozen pieces (some also in the slideshow), an artist bio, and a video, "Mark Bradford: Paper" from the PBS series, Art21. Perhaps the most fun part of the website is the link to, a 4-part web feature on Bradford, created at the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University. This web feature invites visitors to take a closer look at the artist, his studio, his processes, and his materials. [DS]

Apps for Development: World Bank

The World Bank is stepping up to the new media plate by asking concerned app developers to bring out their innovative software applications that "move us a step closer toward solving some of the world's most pressing problems." On the site, visitors can look over all of the apps that have been submitted as part of this initiative, and they are all quite interesting. They include "Food Factor", which gives users a quick visual reference of global food security, and "Forecasting the MDGs", which lets users learn which countries are likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goals established by the World Bank. Visitors can view all of the submissions and sort them out by topic, region of the world and title. [KMG]

American Routes [iTunes]

From Acadian folksongs to the sea songs of the coastal Carolinas, the American Routes radio program brings together all of the fine American musical traditions in one delightful two-hour block each and every week. The program is hosted by Nick Spitzer, and it has received sponsorship from Tulane University and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Some of the guests who have appeared on the program include Abbey Lincoln, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, and Dave Brubeck. First-time visitors to the site can sign up for their email updates or just jump right in by listening to the current edition of the show. The archive dates back to 1999, and visitors can listen to the complete shows, if they wish to do so. Additionally, visitors can also use the Facebook or Twitter links offered here. [KMG]

Tulane Special Collections: Carnival Exhibit

From 1870 to 1930, the world of the New Orleans Carnival was a colorful and opulent cornucopia of fantastic processions and amazing tableau balls. This appropriately colorful and remarkable digital collection from Tulane University's Special Collections department presents a selection of the ball invitations, dance cards, admit cards, exotic costumes, and elaborate floats that drew on a range of themes from history. The materials here are drawn from the extensive Carnival collection preserved by the Tulane Manuscripts Department, and they are divided into three sections, including "Costume Designs" and "Invitations". The "Invitations" area is a good place to start, and it includes materials from the Mistick Krewe of Comus. The float designs are just as remarkable and they bring together mythical birds, elaborate flower arrangements, as well as temples, tombs, palaces, and pleasure gardens. [KMG]

Network Tools


Music can be social, and this particular online "social" music-sharing platform fulfills that exact promise. Visitors can use this program to export a copy of their iTunes library so that they can have access to it anywhere. The site includes a tour of the program's features and a simple form to fill out. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.3 and newer or Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Space Tourism becomes reality and gives researchers more time in outer space

Space Tourism May Mean One Giant Leap For Researchers [Free registration may be required]

Scientists get tickets to ride with space tourists

Space tourism poised to blast off

Oz firms develop first beer that can be consumer in space

Virgin Galactic

From the Earth to the Moon; and Round the Moon by Jules Verne

Space tourism might have seemed like sheer folly a few decades ago, but it may finally become a reality, albeit for a select wealthy few. Sir Richard Branson, the renegade billionaire, is making this possible via his Virgin Galactic corporation, and there are several other companies involved in similar efforts. An interesting wrinkle is that scientists from NASA and other organizations may be involved as well. These short rides into outer space will cost around $200,000, an expensive ride for most individuals, but this would be far less than the average cost to get an astronaut into space courtesy of NASA. Essentially, this might allow scientists to take more experiments into space at a lower cost, and much more frequently. Experiments that have been tentatively planned include one that looks at how soil and rocks resembling those that cover asteroids behave and another one that looks at the effectiveness of a biomedical harness to measure heartbeat and blood pressure. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a New York Times article from this Monday about the world of space tourism. The second link will lead interested parties to a news article from New Scientist about the Southwest Research Institute, which is one of the groups that has already purchased flights into outer space. Moving along, the third link will lead an article by Rob Lovitt that includes a video interview with Sir Richard Branson about the Virgin Spaceship. The fourth link whisks users away to a piece which explores the new beer suitable for consumption in outer space created by the Four Pines Brewing Company and Saber Astronautics in Australia. The fifth link leads to the Virgin Galactic website, where visitors can learn more about the company and their future space flights. Finally, the last link leads to one of the classic early tales of (speculative) space exploration by Jules Verne.

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