The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 15

April 15, 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

Physics for the 21st Century

The Annenberg Media organization has created this wonderful new resource for physics teachers, students, and anyone else who would care to learn more about dark matter, string theory, and other "big topics in modern physics". Produced by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Science Media group along with the Harvard University Department of Physics, this 11-part course features 22 case studies of researchers from leading research labs and universities who are working on exciting new projects in their respective fields. The site includes program descriptions, along with direct links to the full episodes. The series website also contains transcripts of each program, along with teacher's guides, glossary, and several interactive features. All in all, this is a tremendous resource, and one that is worth sharing. [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

Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South

In the late 1920s, architectural photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston began a privately funded project to document the historic Chatham estate and Old Falmouth, Virginia. After the initial success of this project, she received funding from the Carnegie Corporation to document notable buildings and landscapes throughout the American South. The Corporation required that the negatives be deposited with the Library of Congress, and after her passing in 1952, they also received 20,000 additional images. Currently over 7,100 of Johnston's images can be viewed on this site, and visitors can perform detailed keyword searches, or they can just wander around at their leisure. Users can also look through the "image sampler" to see a few highlights. The site also contains a list of related online collections, a selected bibliography, and information about how the collection was digitized. [KMG]

Three Percent

Launched in the summer of 2007, the Three Percent website is designed to be a "destination for readers, editors, and translators interested in finding out about modern and contemporary international literature." The "three percent" in question refers to the fact that only 3% of all books published in the United States are works in translation. The site includes translations and reviews by students at the University of Rochester, and there are also a number of prominent guest reviewers and commentators. On their homepage, visitors can check out their "Recent Reviews" area, and then look over their "Upcoming Translations Events". Also, the site contains links to their RSS feeds and copies of their in-house newsletter. Visitors can also receive additional information and inspiration via the "Reading the World" podcast and their extensive lists of related weblogs, literary journals, and publishers. [KMG]

AMSER Science Reader Monthly: Plant Biology

Every month Scouts sister site AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Education Repository, publishes their Science Reader Monthly (AMSER SRM). The AMSER SRM provides STEM educators with a useful online collection of information about a particular topic related to applied math and science, by combining freely available articles from popular periodicals with curriculum, learning objects, and websites found within the AMSER portal. Like all the resources and tools within AMSER, the AMSER Science Reader Monthly is free to use and can be used in a variety of educational settings. This months AMSER SRM discusses the topics of Plant Biology and Chemical Ecology using an article by Alison Abbott from Nature Magazine. After a brief introduction to the article, which includes an examination of the chemical language of plants, the research conducted by Ian Baldwin over the past two decades, and the challenging research environment of chemical ecology, the AMSER SRM then provides links to several resources from within the AMSER collection. The AMSER resources are provided to supplement the information and topics found within the article and include a field guide to the co-evolution of plants and pollinators, a plant evolution timeline, and an introduction to plant pathology. [CMH]

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

Air Force Historical Research Agency

Started in World War II in Washington, D.C., the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) has the largest collection of US military aviation documents, with more than 70,000,000 pages all told within their holdings. Since 1949, it has been housed at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, and is open to the general public, military students, researchers, and scholars. Visitors will find some interesting reading under the Studies tab, which includes "Numbered USAF Historical Studies", some of which are designated Secret, and others Unclassified. Also interesting are the "Short Studies on Recent Operations" available in PDF, and including such topics as "Weather in Air Campaigns, 1990-2003" and "The U.S. Air Force Response to Hurricane Katrina". Nearby, under "Other Studies", visitors will find "A Study of Females on Minuteman/Peacekeeper Crews, 31 January 1985" and "Chronology: 100 Years of Flight". [KMG]

Celebrating New Mexico Statehood

New Mexico is celebrating its 100th anniversary of statehood in 2012, and this website brings together materials from partner institutions about its history and culture. The institutions include the Albuquerque Museum, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and the Hubbard Museum of the American West. The materials include photographs, maps, oral histories, and timelines. The "For Teachers" area includes lesson plans that incorporate the material on the site to help teach students about New Mexico history and the struggle for statehood. Another great feature of the site are the topical sections at the bottom of the homepage, which are represented by icons for "Architecture", "Business", "Music", "Agriculture" and more. The "Music" area is a pip, and it includes well over 2,500 music-related items, including church choir photographs, sheet music, and images of well-known (and little known) New Mexican musicians. [KMG]

American Experience: Panama Canal

The Panama Canal was quite an undertaking of labor and engineering, and by the time it was completed on August 15th, 1914 the project had been underway (in some form) for well over two decades. Along the way, over 55,000 workers had been involved, 5,000 people had died during the project's duration, and over 350 million dollars had been spent. This riveting documentary looks at the history of this project, and visitors can watch the entire program here. The extra features provided here are real treats, and they can be found on the left-hand side of the page. Here visitors will find an interactive map of the Panama Canal region, along with a timeline, and an interview with the program's producer, Amanda Pollak. Also, the site includes articles on yellow fever, the workers, and the chief engineers of the Canal. Primary resources such as part of the canal record of 1907, suggestions for further reading, and teacher resources round out the site. [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

Oral Histories: Emergency Refugee Shelter at Fort Ontario (Safe Haven)

In August 1944, almost one thousand refugees from Europe were moved to an internment camp at Fort Ontario in New York to await the outcome of World War II. Their time in Oswego was an emotional one, and they were finally given their total freedom in January 1946 when the war refugee center released them. Decades later, Professor Lawrence Baron of St. Lawrence University interviewed a number of those former refugees as part of a three-part radio series in conjunction with WRVO, a local NPR affiliate. In 2004 and 2005, a group of SUNY-Oswego students digitized these interviews from their original audiocassettes, and they are now available right here for the web-browsing public. Visitors can listen to the interviews in their entirety, though it is worth noting that some of the recordings stop abruptly. The interviewees include Joseph Smart, who was the director of the center from 1944 to 1945 and a host of others, such as teachers at the center and former residents. [KMG]

General Interest

AmericanRadioWorks: Power and Smoke: A Nation Built on Coal

The United States gets over half of its electricity from burning coal, and this tremendously important resource remains one of the nation's greatest assets. However, it is not an asset without problems, as the burning of coal has brought with it tremendous levels of air pollution and other problems. This latest radio documentary from the American RadioWorks group was produced by Catherine Winter, and it explores various aspects of coal production in the United States. The program also offers some historical perspective on the subject. The program can be listened to in its entirety here, or visitors can also download it for their own use. Along the way, visitors will hear from environmental history professor Joel Tarr, museum director Anne Madarasz, and smog museum director Don Pavelko. [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

Maryland Department of Planning [pdf]

A state planning website might not sound like the most fascinating site out there, but the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) proves all doubters wrong. The site is replete with interesting planning documents, information on sustainable communities in the Old Line State, and general information for other planners across the United States. On their homepage, visitors can learn about their work in the area of "smart growth", which includes providing publications and fact sheets on the costs of sprawl, public school construction, and transportation planning. Also on the homepage is the "Planning Issues in the News" section, which contains press releases on Maryland's demographics, urban planning, along with international and local planning news from the Baltimore Sun and Planetizen. Finally the site also includes a link to the "PlanMaryland" site and the data center which will be of particular interest to planning professionals and policy folks. [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

Fashion Design & Merchandising Resources Online

For fashion design students, it may be hard to determine which online resources will be the most useful as they prepare for a career in the field. The librarians at Kent State University's fashion library have created a tremendous resource for those individuals, and the results of their hard work can be found here. Here visitors will find a topical list of annotated resources organized into a dozen areas, including "Careers", "Dictionaries & Glossaries", and "New York". Next to each area, visitors can learn when the section was updated, and they can also use a search engine to look for specific topics. After taking advantage of these resources, visitors may also wish to learn a bit more about the fashion library and their various projects. [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

Stories to Watch: Narratives in Medieval Manuscripts [Flash Player]

How did artists tell stories in the Middle Ages? Many of them chose to create elaborate visual images, replete with tales of adventure, intrigue, and religiosity, while others chose to do so via the creation of illuminated manuscripts. This fine online exhibit from the Getty Museum tells the story of the methods used to create these beautiful and intricate items. Visitors to the site can listen to Getty curators talk about a depiction of the biblical heroine Judith beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes and also view an interactive edition of a personal prayer book. The exhibit also explores themes that include physical action, the use of dialogue, and sequential events. The details in each work are exquisite and it is interesting to see how the artists imagined each of these various moments. [KMG]

Museum of Glass

The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington maintains a well crafted website for their spectacular museum. Founded in part by the famous glass artist Dale Chihuly, a Tacoma native, this museum highlights glass artists from the Pacific Northwest. Visitors won't want to miss any of the breathtaking online exhibits on this website, but one of the most spectacular is the "Chihuly Bridge of Glass" under the "Exhibitions & Collections" tab, in the "Outdoor Art" link. The slideshow of five photos shows a 500-foot pedestrian bridge that connects the Museum to downtown Tacoma. The bridge is composed of three distinct sections, one of which allows visitors to "experience a seemingly underwater world of glass shapes and forms a few feet above their heads." Also found under the "Exhibitions & Collections" tab, in the "Current Exhibitions" link, visitors will enjoy a multimedia treatment of the work "Glimmering Gone". Visitors can listen to poems by university students inspired by the exhibit, watch a "Residency" video of the artist who created the work, and view a video tour of the catalog for the exhibit. [KMG]

American Orchid Society - Orchid Information

The aim of the American Orchid Society (AOS) is to "extend the knowledge, production, use, perpetuation and appreciation of orchids of any kind and in any manner." With that in mind, the American Orchid Society website has a link devoted to a large amount of complimentary "Orchid Information", as well as a few sections that are limited to members only. Visitors just beginning to become interested in orchids will find "Orchid Basics" extremely helpful, with its Q&A format, as well as the opportunity to subscribe to their free beginners newsletter and access to the newsletters archive. Back on the homepage, the "Video Library" of more than a dozen professional videos is a very helpful and reassuring tool for helping spot and remedy orchid issues, such as "Root Loss", "Recognizing Mite Damage", and "When To Repot". The "Monthly Checklist" link explains how to care for different types of orchids throughout the year, and is very handy for those who might have a lot on their mind, or have a lot of orchids in their care. [KMG]

The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota

The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs contains thousands of fossilized mammoths, and was discovered by chance in 1974 while excavating for a housing development in South Dakota. Their website offers visitors a 360-degree virtual tour of the unique museum that was built over the site of the now dry sinkhole, along with views of excavations that are still in progress. The "Paleontology" tab informs visitors not only about the woolly and Columbian mammoths that drowned in the sinkhole, but other animals as well. The "Mammoth Site Vertebrate List" link shows a slew of other animals, such as camels, shrub oxen, and the giant short-faced bear that lived throughout the Great Plains of South Dakota. A PDF of the 85 species of flora and fauna recovered at The Mammoth Site, as of January 2008, is also available in the same link. Visitors should also check out the "Research" tab to learn about current and ongoing research at the site. [KMG]

Guitar Heroes

This exhibition from the Metropolitan Museum of Art draws on the Museum's rich collection of musical instruments, to connect three Italian-American craftsmen: John D'Angelico, James D'Aquisto, and John Monteleone - with the long history of building stringed instruments (lutherie) in Italy, dating back to the sixteenth century. The Guitar Heroes exhibit website includes a section for each of the three guitar makers, along with sections on masterpieces of northern Italy, and "From Naples to New York". The site also provides an interview section with videos from notable guitar players who play these gentlemen's instruments, such as jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, and rock musicians Mark Knopfler and Steve Miller. After viewing a few videos, visitors may want to go back to the homepage to view "Performances" from a few of the interviewees. Objects in the Exhibition include selected pieces from the Museum's collection including a 16th century Lute and John Monteleone's Archtop Guitar, "Teardrop", 2008. [DS]

Network Tools


What if you're on the road for work and you need to grab key sites, bookmarks, and other things? Fear no more, as Symbaloo can help you out with this and so much more. Symbaloo helps users keep a matrix of their favorite sites available at all times, and users can customize their matrix to prioritize certain sites by category. Visitors will need to sign up for a free account, and it is also available in a range of languages. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


TeacherTube is a professionally vetted site that allows educators to share informative videos with others around the world. The essential interface resembles that of YouTube, and visitors can search for videos by keyword, or they can also look for audio-only resources or helpful documents. Visitors can find a wide variety here including a teacher rapping about perimeters, discussion of the Lenape tribe, and a talk with Benjamin Franklin. This particular resource is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

The United States celebrates National Library Week

NPR: The Future of Libraries In the E-Book Age

ALA Report: Poor Middle, High School Libraries Suffer the Most Budget Cuts

Closing most Cobb libraries not realistic

ALA: 2011 State of America's Libraries Report [pdf]

The Most Criticized Books! A Handy List From Your Library

@Your Library

It's National Library Week, and libraries around the United States have much to celebrate. More and more patrons are coming in to their area libraries to check out e-books, read the newspapers, search for jobs online, and to take advantage of unique programs, such as special presentations and concerts. Flush times indeed, but along with rising patronage, public libraries are also facing major cutbacks in terms of funding. This week, the American Library Association (ALA) released its annual "State of America's Libraries" report, and there were a number of troubling signs within its pages. Perhaps the most troubling revelation was that middle and high school libraries in high poverty areas of the US suffered average spending cuts on information resources and collection size of 25.5 percent. The report also noted that total library staff hours declined across the United States, but there was an average increase of 0.8 hours per week among certified school librarians. While most observers tend to agree that libraries will continue to serve as important community gathering centers in the future, it remains to be seen what will be contained within their walls 10 or 20 years in the future. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a recent piece of reporting from National Public Radio (NPR) about the future of libraries, with specific reference to the growing popularity of e-books. The second link leads to a piece from the School Library Journal about the budgets cuts among libraries in high poverty areas. Moving on, the third link will whisk users away to an opinion piece by writer Margaret Johnson-Hodge about the importance of libraries in Cobb County, Georgia. The fourth link leads to the full text of the 2011 State of America's Libraries Report from the ALA. The fifth link leads to a report from NPR on the most frequently challenged books of 2010. This list includes titles such as "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley and "Crank" by Ellen Hopkins. Finally, the last link leads to the homepage of the Campaign for America's Libraries, which provides information on local libraries, recommended books and music, and information on their mission and work.

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