The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 12

March 25, 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

The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy & Public Service [pdf]

As a native son of Washington, it makes sense that Thomas S. Foley might have a policy institute named after him, particularly given his long track record of public service as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Based at Washington State University, the mission of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service is "to foster civic education, public service, and public policy research in a nonpartisan, cross-disciplinary setting." First-time visitors to the site can get acclimated to the material by checking out the latest report from the Foley Institute or watching one of the recent videos from the Institute, such as "Women in Public Service" and an interview with Bill Gates, Sr. On the left-hand of the homepage, visitors will find six additional thematic areas, including "Events", "Internships", "Foley Archives", and "Public Policy Research". Finally, the site also includes links to social media and a link where users can sign up to receive updates from the Institute. [KMG]

University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center [pdf]

Oranges and other citrus plants have been grown in Florida for well over a century, and there has always been a vital relationship between the universities in the state and the citrus industry. The University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) helps foster these valuable relationships, and they have a facility in Lake Alfred, Florida that includes 600 acres of groves, greenhouses, a fresh fruit packinghouse, and more than 40 laboratories. On their website, visitors can learn about their research into hurricane recovery, advanced citrus production, and plant cell physiology in the "Research" section. Over in the "Extension" area, visitors can learn about the diseases the affect citrus crops, read their free "Citrus Pest Management Guide", and also learn about various pesticides. The site also includes links for the media, along with their in-house "Citrus Leaves" newsletter. [KMG]

Aftermath Collection: Mapping race & politics in Central Arkansas, 1957 and beyond [pdf]

Most people are familiar with the famous 1957 Little Rock Central High School desegregation crisis, but some may be less familiar with what happened after the case was finished. Professor Jay Barth of Hendrix College researched the aftermath of this event, and he was particularly curious about the long-term geospatial ramifications that played out across Pulaski County in Arkansas and the rest of the country. Working with researcher Tony Davis and Chris Stewart, Professor Barth looked at a wide range of government records to see the changes in the racial makeup of the surrounding area, along with transformations in population density, political orientation, income levels, and crime. On this site, visitors can see clips from a lecture Professor Barth gave on this research, and also look a number of time-series maps that document these various transformations after 1957 to 2007. Visitors can browse these maps at their leisure, and they may also search across the entire collection for items of interest. [KMG]

Bowen Country Club Collection

One of the ambitions of service groups like Chicago's Hull House was to provide urban youth with an opportunity to get out and experience some clean fresh air. The Hull House on Chicago's Near West Side took children from the surrounding neighborhood out to the Joseph T. Bowen Country Club every year from 1912 until 1963. The Club was financed by social activist and philanthropist Louise deKoven Bowen, and was located on 72 hilly and forested acres near Waukegan, Illinois. Young people from the city would come out to the grounds in two-week shifts and take part in team sports contests, learn how to dance, and also take art lessons. This wonderful photo collection from the Special Collections Department of the University of Illinois at Chicago's library presents over 480 images of life at the club. Visitors to the site will find images of camp activities, the grounds, social life, and the broader milieu of the place. It's quite a find and one that will be of interest to persons with an interest in Chicago history and the history of outdoor recreation. [KMG]

Demos: Scheduling Hourly Workers [pdf]

In a world of just-in-time production and flexible scheduling, a number of scholars and policy analysts are beginning to examine these specific business practices. In March 2011, the Demos organization published a paper as part of their series with the magazine The American Prospect that looks into the world of what is called "workplace flexibility". The 22-page paper is by Nancy K. Cauthen, and it looks at how scheduling flexibility might actual be very problematic for low-wage workers. The paper posits that most low-wage workers would probably benefit from "more predictability and stability within fluid schedules", as they need more advance notice to plan for child care and transportation. The resulting schedule changes may in fact also cause "tremendous chaos and stress" for these workers' children as well. Visitors will find much to think about in this paper, including its concluding remarks, which offer a set of timely policy recommendations. [KMG]

Living Heritage

Living Heritage is a website that celebrates New Zealand heritage through the help of the schools and students of New Zealand. The "About Living Heritage" link states that the website is "an online bilingual initiative that enables New Zealand schools to develop and publish an online resource, based on a heritage treasure in their community." Visitors can also read about the five or so groups these stories "Benefit", including New Zealand and the World, in the About Living Heritage link. The "Schools' Stories" link takes visitors to 26 schools' websites produced since 2008, and an archive of 79 schools' websites produced before 2008. By browsing through the stories, visitors can learn about Paddy, the much-loved wandering Airedale who lived on Island Bay in Wellington in the 1930s. The story of Mitiaro High School in the Cook Islands describes how they learned how to build a canoe called a paiere. Finally, a group of Year 1 and 2 students at Russley School write about their discovery that a tree near their school is protected by the city council. [KMG]

Women Writers Project [Last reviewed in the Scout Report on April 2,1999]

The Women's Writers Project (WWP) at Brown University has been working on preserving and publishing early women's writing in English since 1988, and they have had an online presence since the late 1990s. Along with sponsoring an annual conference, they maintain this website, where visitors will find information about their digital publication schedule, their educational seminars, and other events. Scholars may wish to start their visit on the site by clicking on "Research and Publications" at the top of the homepage. In this section, visitors will find information about the WWP's published work, several online exhibits, a collection of early modern women's manuscripts, and course syllabi on women's writing. Visitors should be sure to check out the actual manuscript collection found here, which contains over 320 texts published between 1526 and 1850. Visitors should also be sure to check out the "WWO Lab" area, which is also found in the "Research and Publications" section. The Lab offers several intriguing visualizations that show the percentage of dramatic speeches according to the speaker's gender in two 17th century plays as well as another visualization that looks at the letter-writing networks at the heart of the "The History of Emily Montague" from 1769. [KMG]

General Interest

A.J. Russell Photographs of the Construction of the Union Pacific Railroad

Born in 1828 in Nunda, New York, Andrew J. Russell worked as a portrait and landscape painter as a young man. In 1862, he organized a local militia unit for service in the Civil War and he learned the craft of photography along the way. Several years later in 1868, he began a project to document the construction of the Union Pacific railroad during its long march to its meeting point with the Central Pacific in Promontory Point, Utah. Russell made three trips west in 1868 and 1869, and he made several hundred plate negatives as part of his extensive work. The Yale Collection of Western Americana has a great deal of his work, and this digital collection brings together a diverse set of these materials for consideration by the public. On the site, visitors can browse through these images, which include bridge construction photographs, shots of the surrounding landscapes, and men at work. [KMG]

The Aldo Leopold Foundation

Aldo Leopold was a professor, a student of nature, and an exquisite writer. His classic work "A Sand County Almanac" documented his time living close to (and observing) the land in Wisconsin, and it remains part of the canon of nature writing. The Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin works "to weave a land ethic into the fabric of our society", and it does its work from the Leopold Center, which was finished in 2007. First-time visitors will want to check out the "Aldo Leopold" section to learn more about the man and his times. Moving on, the "Programs" area offers information about their popular Woodland School, their work on issues surrounding land stewardship, and their Land Ethics Leaders initiative. Visitors can also use the search engine to find specific items of interest, and also they may wish to sign up for their free newsletter. [KMG]

Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels

When the firm of Van Cleef & Arpels opened on the Place Vendme in Paris in 1906, it was the beginning of a new era. Since that time their masterful work has been seen on the necks, arms, and ears of Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, and the Duchess of Windsor. This remarkable online exhibit tracing the history of this firm's work is made by possible by the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum in New York, with sponsorship from New York Magazine and several other organizations. Images of these fine baubles are divided into seven sections, including "Nature", "Exoticism", and "Fashion". Each section contains high-quality images of each item, along with a description of the item and its history. Visitors will not want to miss the video tours of the exhibit, which include interviews with several designers and exhibit specialists, including Patrick Jouin. [KMG]

World Allergy Organization

The World Allergy Organization (WAO) is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and it has a global reach that extends out to international congresses, forums, and conferences. The website offers information for visitors who are health professionals, caregivers, or allergy suffers. The "Education in Allergy" link on the menu allows visitors to access the "Allergic Diseases Resource Center", which can be read in English or Polish, and covers food, drug, and insect sting allergies, as well as asthma, skin, and other respiratory allergies. Visitors will find the information is divided up by "Professionals" or "Patients", and the Patients section offers an anatomical diagram which can be scrolled over to find the corresponding allergy. Once visitors have chosen an allergy to learn about and clicked on the highlighted area, there is a thorough, but easily readable, explanation offered on a new page. Visitors interested in receiving the e-newsletter WAO News and Notes, can sign up for it by clicking on the "Receive the E-letter" link at the top of any page. [KMG]

Women's History Month

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, and several other institutions have joined forces to create this very nice "one-stop" website for materials related to women's history. The site is an intoxicating and arresting blend of educational resources (such as lesson plans), multimedia features, photograph collections, and listings of events sponsored by participating institutions. Visitors can check out profiles that include "Women Breaking Musical Barriers" and "The Women of Four Wars", and then move on to the sections on the left-hand side of the homepage. Here they will find links to additional image collections, audio and video libraries, and a special "For Teachers" area. [KMG]

Mural Routes

Mural Routes is an organization dedicated to mural art which started in Toronto, Canada as a public art project in 1990. Its mission is to promote "wall art as a public art form for the general benefit of communities and artists." The Mural Routes website is considered to be the most comprehensive resource on murals on the web. Visitors will find a great interactive map of the murals across Canada on the "Mural Map of Canada" link, they will also find the route of "photographic ambassador" John Hands who has documented hundreds of outdoor murals across Canada. Visitors shouldn't miss the many murals located in Montreal, Quebec, especially "Diversitree", "Winter Haze" and "Rush of Fall". Many of the murals in Montreal emphasize its ethnic diversity and openness to newcomers. Mural Routes even gives visitors the opportunity to get their mural projects listed on the map, by clicking on the link, at the bottom of the page, next to the caricature of John Hands. Visitors interested in murals outside of Canada should click on the "International Murals" tab, to find links to murals in seven other countries, including Greece, Australia, and the United States. [KMG]

Faith & Form: Selected Calligraphy and Painting from Japanese Religious Traditions [Flash Player]

In this interactive exhibit, collectors Sylvan Barnet and William Burto take users by the virtual hand and guide them through Faith & Form, an exhibition at the Freer Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum. The exhibition is based on Japanese art collected by Barnet and Burto, who "have assembled one of the finest collections of Japanese religious art in the West." Once they have launched the interactive, visitors should be sure to listen to Barnet and Burto discuss the figures in the "Womb World mandala". This mandala is a hanging scroll from the 13th century, and the image automatically adjusts to zoom in on selected figures, such as horses, goats, and humans, all arranged around the central Buddha. The collectors' commentary for another piece in the show, a section of the Lotus Sutra, a beautiful piece of calligraphy adorned with gold leaf, advises viewers to admire the piece as if it were a single page of a first folio Shakespeare. [DS]

Network Tools


For people who work remotely and need to share documents quickly, Dropbox is a program worth a close look. This online service allows interested parties to sync files online and share these files easily by creating shared folders. Users can also control which parties have access to these files, and it can also be used via mobile devices. This version allows up to 2GB of free storage, and it is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

Earth Alerts 2011.1.70

As many people would like to track natural disasters around the world to look out for loved ones and to stay informed, this helpful application may be just the solution. Earth Alerts can be set up so that users can select the specific natural hazards they want information on, and they will then receive information from various live data feeds that will help them view the relevant data in reports, maps, and images. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

Michigan reconsiders subsidy programs for the film industry

Michigan's next big blow: The film industry

Hollywood on the dole: Draw the curtain on filmmaker subsidies

Senate approves $50M cap on NM film subsidies

Lights. Camera. Stop the film subsidies action.

Hollywood's disc problem: Video nasty

Michigan Movie Magazine

Amidst many programs designed to deal with the fiscal realities of tightening state budgets, some policymakers and legislators are reconsidering the practice of offering subsidies to film production companies. Recently, the state of Michigan has been contemplating abolishing their 42% tax credit for film production; effectively rolling back what are unlimited industry rebates to an annual cap of $25 million. Michigan's new governor, Rick Snyder, proposed the cut in his most recent budget proposal, and some have responded quite negatively to this proposal. A number of prominent local personages have spoken out against the cut, including best-selling author Mitch Albom, who pointed out in a committee hearing last week that the film and television business in the state grew from $2 million in $225 million in two years. Currently there are 43 studios with pending applications to film in Michigan, and the Michigan Film Office cannot approve them until a final decision is reached by the legislature, which may not come until late May. Nationwide, there is significant debate about the true long term benefits of such subsidies, and other states (such as New Mexico) are also considering gradually reducing or eliminating these tax benefits entirely. [KMG]

The first link will take interested parties to a piece from Fortune, which describes the proposed program to scale back subsidies for film production companies in the Wolverine State. The second link leads to a recent piece from The Economist which argues against providing subsidies to such endeavors. The third link will take visitors to an article from last week's Bloomberg Businessweek which reports on New Mexico's recent decision to cap film production studies. Moving on, the fourth link will take users to a Boston Globe editorial by Professor Peter Enrich in which he argues for an end to film production subsidies in Massachusetts. The fifth link leads to a piece from The Economist which talks about how the movie industry itself should focus more on digital distribution, rather than to continue to rely on their work renting film to cinema chains and shipping DVDs and such to retailers and the remaining rental outlets. The final link will take visitors to the online home of the Michigan Movie Magazine, which provides industry news about film productions and related matters in the state.

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