The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 19

May 13, 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

Seattle Municipal Archives: Digital Document Libraries

The Seattle Municipal Archives has been a leader in putting important historical municipal documents online for well over a decade, and this digital document libraries collection is an important part of their work. These document libraries were conceived as a resource for teachers and students of Washington State history, and they contain primary source documents from key events in the Evergreen State's past. Visitors can make their way through document collections that include "The Great Seattle Fire of 1889", "Hoovervilles in Seattle", "Women in the Fire Department", and "Unemployment and the WPA in Seattle". Each collection contains a brief overview, the primary documents, and a bibliography. The documents are quite amazing, and they include letters from local officials, citizen petitions, and photographs. [KMG]

ESA: Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability [pdf]

The Ecological Society of America created the Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability (SEEDS) program in order "to diversify and advance the ecology profession through opportunities that stimulate and nurture the interest of underrepresented students." As such, the site is a fine resource for science educators and others, and it contains seven basic sections, which include "Research", "Newsletter", and "Opportunities". In the "Opportunities" area, interested parties can find listings of student opportunities (such as funding), lists of relevant partnerships, and their career fair. The "Research" area includes material on the students who work with SEEDS, along with materials about how to get involved with one of their research experiences. Finally, the site is rounded out by the "Programs" area, which includes materials on local SEEDS chapters and field trips. [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

The State of the News Media 2011 [pdf]

Every spring, the Pew Research Center's Project For Excellence in Journalism publishes their State of the News Media report. Their 2011 study includes a number of special reports on topics such as the use of mobile technology to get local news and the use of community news websites. Published on March 14, 2011, the report has some good news on the general state of the American news media, including the finding that cutbacks in newsrooms have eased considerably. On this page, visitors can browse through sections that include "Newspapers", "Online", "Cable", and "Local TV". Also, visitors can use the "Interactives" area to create their own customized report on various media outlets and organizations. This entire site is a good candidate for a type of required reading for students of 21st century newsgathering and analysis. [KMG]

Biderbost Basketry

The archeological site known as the Biderbost site was discovered in 1959 "after the Snoqualmie flooded, and revealed many basketry fragments, fishhooks, net weights, projectile points, adzes, chisels, choppers, scrapers, and knives. " This collection of basketry now resides at the University of Washington's Burke Museum in Seattle, and the excellent online site devoted to the collection examines "basketry objects more closely by looking at their origins on the Snoqualmie River, their excavation, weaving techniques, and the newest chapter in their lives as part of the archaeology collections at the Burke Museum." Visitors should begin by clicking on the Archaeology link at the top of the page; here they can learn more about the site and check out a short video where Dr. David Rice discusses the Biderbost Site. Visitors interested in the materials used for the baskets (which included spruce root, cherry bark and cedar) and the weaving techniques will find The "Basketry Technology" tab to be informative. Another short video can be found here, which provides the helpful explanations of a basketry expert to explain the process of analyzing the history of the basket, such as its uses and its quality. [KMG]

Australian National Herbarium

Visitors to this expansive website would be wise to check out the "About Us" section to learn the complete definition of what herbaria briefly: "collections of preserved plant and fungal specimens and their associated data...concerned primarily with scientific research and documenting the vast diversity of plant and fungal life." The "About Us" section also explains how specimens are used and stored and it is a nice prelude to the rest of the site. Visitors will learn that a properly stored plant specimen can last centuries, such as the specimens collected by Joseph Banks on Captain Cook's 1770 voyage to Australia that the Herbarium holds. Since the Herbarium is not open to the public, the digitization of the Herbarium collections is important, particularly for botanists. Those persons interested in "Photographs of Plants" will find them under the "Botanical Information" category. There, visitors can search for plants by "genus", "species" or "family". It is noted how much of the digitization of each collection is complete. Visitors unfamiliar with botanical names of plants can find photographs using a "common name" database. [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

RAND Corporation: Experts on Al Qaeda After Bin Laden

The Rand Corporation has been looking at the structure and activities of terrorist organizations since the early 1970s. Their work has examined these organizations, their motivations, recruitment and training methods, and why some are ultimately more successful than others. RAND has also done extensive examinations into al Qaeda, and with the recent death of Osama Bin Laden, numerous media groups and policy analysts have called on their experts to give testimony on related matters. This particular site brings together selected research, testimony, and commentary on these subjects and visitors are encouraged to scroll through the offerings here. Visitors can look at pieces that include "Could Bin Laden's Death Prompt a Cyber Attack?" and "Deradicalization Process Is Essential Part of Fighting Terrorism". Also, visitors should check out their "Researcher Spotlight" on the right-hand side of the page, their newsletters, and RSS feed. [KMG]

Windows to the Universe: Myths, Stories and Art

The Windows to the Universe website was created by the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA) and it is an exploration of all matters in "Earth and Space sciences and the historical and cultural ties between science, exploration, and the human experience. " The Culture section of their site is quite a find and allows visitors to browse their collection of myths, folk tales, and stories about the Earth and sky. The "Clouds in Art" link under the "Culture" tab, offers several fun activities related to clouds, including the "Clouds in Art Interactive". This is a fun way to learn about cloud types while looking at famous artworks, for example Pissarro painted cumulus clouds in "La Route de Louveciennes", Monet painted altocumulus clouds in the "Beach at Sainte-Adresse", and John Constable painted Cumulonimbus in his dramatic "Seascape Study with Rain Cloud". Visitors interested in writing a poem about the featured weather image should go to the "Poetry and Pictures" link. The winning poem for May 2011 is by a 67-year-old English woman, who wrote about a painting of the Lackawanna Valley in 1850s Pennsylvania which features stratus clouds and the staging area of a local railroad company. Finally, the site is rounded out by an archive of other poems composed for this section of 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

General Interest

Whittington Collection of Asian Ceramics

In 1987, Floyd and Carol Whittington donated over 200 pieces of Asian ceramics to Western Washington University. Their collection represents a wide range of styles and ceramic traditions from China, Thailand, Korea, and Vietnam. The Western Washington University Libraries Special Collections group digitized images of these items, and curious visitors can find them here. Visitors can search the items by geographic category or a descriptive term, such as stoneware or porcelain. Also, visitors are encouraged to browse through items by looking at thumbnail images. Those visiting the site for the first time should definitely look at the Bencharong footed dish from Thailand and the wonderful Chinese plate with grooved cavetto. The site is a ceramicist's holiday, and others with an interest in this art form will enjoy it as well. [KMG]

National Geographic Traveler

The staff at the National Geographic Traveler magazine knows a thing or two about travel, and their print magazine is full of thoughtful suggestions about where to go in Providence, how to wander around in Bangkok, and the lighthouses of Croatia. Sprinkled across the top of the web page, visitors will find topical areas, which include "Photo of the Week", "Intelligent Travel Blog", and "Newsletter". The "Intelligent Travel Blog" is a great place to start, and there are posts on an annual worm charming festival in the United Kingdom and the value of travel for school-age children. The "Photo of the Week" features dhow boats racing, the Singapore waterfront, and other visual gems. Also, visitors can check out their archives, sign up to receive their newsletter, and subscribe to the print edition of the magazine. [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

Atomic Testing Museum

Located on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), the Atomic Testing Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. The Museum brings together many aspects of atomic culture through interactive presentations, a short film, and a wide-ranging collection of ephemera from the Cold War period and before. First-time visitors can click on the "Enter The Museum" tab, and they will find several short films that provide an introduction to the museum's exhibits. Also, this section of the site has tabs that include "Atmospheric", "Geiger", "Polaroid", and "Radiation". These areas provide very basic snapshots of the museum's permanent exhibits. Moving along, the site also has an "Education" area with lesson plans and other materials for teachers. Finally, the site is rounded out by the "Exhibits & Events" area, which lists information about upcoming "atomic car shows", art installations, and guest speakers. [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

Drawings of David Hunter Strother

As the Civil War began, David Hunter Strother was perhaps the best known graphic artist in the United States. One of the nation's premier art journals described him as "one of the best draughtsman this country possesses" and many others hailed his work. Strother was born in Martinsburg, Virginia in 1816, and after studying painting he learned the craft of designing on wood for books and other periodicals. Over the coming decades, Strother became a regular contributor to Harper's Monthly, where he illustrated travelogues on New England, the Dismal Swamp, and a winter season in the South. After he passed away in 1888, his name and work might have faded with time. Fortunately, the West Virginia Libraries created this excellent collection of his work, which contains 730 illustrations and sketches created by Strother. Visitors will find revealing images of Americans at work, play, and war among their number, and the collection is definitely worth a repeat visit. [KMG]

Randy Barcel Collection

Set and costume designer Randy Barcel was born in Cuba, and he became well known for his unique designs for a range of Broadway and off-Broadway theatrical productions. Barcel also worked on designs for the opera and ballet, and he was also the first Hispanic nominated for a Tony Award. The University of Miami Libraries has a number of his oversized costume and set designs, costume plots, drawings and sketches, posters and postcards, videotapes and photographs. Staff members worked to digitize 90 items from the Barcel collection, and visitors can view those items right here. Visitors shouldn't miss the costume designs for the play "Rita and Bessie" and they can also just browse the items by data or document type. [KMG]

Global Voices

Former CNN Beijing and Tokyo Bureau Chief Rebecca MacKinnon and Africa expert Ethan Zuckerman started Global Voices while they were both fellows at Harvard. The website is a community of over 300 bloggers and translators from around the world whose aim is "to redress some of the inequities in media attention by leveraging the power of citizens media." The website has "featured stories" and "latest stories" on the homepage, as well as "Updates" and "Special Coverage", such as "Gabon Unrest 2011", "Nigeria Elections 2011", and the "Death of Osama Bin Laden". The site can also be searched by "Countries", "Topics" and "Contributors". The "Countries" link contains an extensive list of countries that visitors can peruse at their leisure. There is also a monthly archive that shows the number of posts for that country, and they date all the way back to August 2005. A look at Algeria allows visitors to read the post "Arab World: Tears Spilled on the Break Up of Sudan", which shows the reaction of Arab netizens on Twitter to South Sudan's Independence referendum. The tweets have been translated from the Arabic into English, which is particularly useful for those persons who do not speak Arabic. [KMG]

National Council on Patient Information and Education

Since 1982, the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) has been working to "Educate Before You Medicate". Over 3.5 billion prescriptions are dispensed yearly, yet easy to understand information about prescription drugs is hard to find. The NCPIE website provides information for consumers, special populations of consumers, and those health care workers who work with patients directly. The "Educational Resources" link has both free and pay publications. The free pamphlets, such as "Priorities & Approaches for Improving Prescription Medicine Use by Older Adults" and "Children and America's Other Drug Problem: Guidelines for Improving Prescription Medicine Use Among Children and Teenagers" can be downloaded, and even previewed before downloading. The pay pamphlets have to be ordered, and some of them are in both English and Spanish. The "For Medicine Users" section is dedicated to the issues that represent a majority of inquiries to NCPIE. This section includes links to resources on talking about prescriptions, information about specific medicines, use of non-prescription medicines, and much more. [KMG]

AMSER Science Reader Monthly: Apiculture

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 Apiculture and features the Science News article "Backup Bees", which was written by Susan Milius. The AMSER SRM provides an introduction to the article, which includes a brief explanation of colony collapse disorder; a look at the research on blue orchard bees by pollination biologist Gordon Wardell in California; and examines other "backup bee" options including houseflies and bluebottle flies. The AMSER SRM also provides links to several resources from within the AMSER collection, which will supplement the information and topics found within the article. Some of the AMSER resources include a series of lesson plans on pollinators from the Smithsonian, Cornell Universitys Hive and Honeybee collection, and an online text from the USDA on the pollination of cultivated crops. [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

Network Tools


Perhaps you'd like to share your books with others? Maybe you'd like to offer up your own opinions on books to an erudite audience? Both of these things can happen with Shelfari. The site allows members to build virtual bookshelves, discover new books, and also participate in online book groups. Visitors can sign up for a free account and get started right away. It's easy to see how students might also use this feature in a classroom setting, and Shelfari is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


Topicmarks is a rather intriguing web service that allows users to create interactive synopses from electronic documents in a matter of minutes. Visitors can upload texts to the site, and they will receive a shortened document in return. The program works by cutting up the full text into sentences, attaching meaning like synonyms and antonyms to each word in the sentence, and then by identifying triplets that are the basic facts expressed in the text. The site also has a FAQ section, and it is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

With food trucks on the rise, manufacturers stand to benefit

Food truck makers revived by gourmet food truck trend

Curves ahead on food truck road

Fledgling food-truck scene runs into potholes

Food Trucks: How to Navigate the Food-on-Wheels Frenzy

Masa Revolution

Food Carts Portland

Selling food from mobile conveyances is nothing new, and it has gone on for hundreds of years in a variety of guises. In the past few years, "foodies" have latched on to the notion of the designer and deluxe food truck as a type of urban totem. Many people enjoy the convenience and uniqueness of food trucks, and most municipalities are doing all they can to encourage their growth and success. One interesting wrinkle in all of this is that food truck manufacturers are going through a bit of an early 21st century renaissance. Times are good for companies like California Cart Builder, and chief executive Elma Eaton remarked, "At first it was mostly mom-and-pops. Then they started being ordered by universities, industrial food services, and franchise restaurants." The trucks are not cheap, new ones can cost up to $100,000. Many potential gourmet food truck owners are electing to just lease an existing vehicle, as they often come with all of the permits. After all that work, these gourmets-on-wheels need to find a suitable route or destination, as the competition in certain cities (such as Los Angeles) is getting quite intense. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a great piece from Sunday's Los Angeles Times about the food truck manufacturing world in Southern California. The second link leads to an article from Monday's Sacramento Bee about the world of food trucks in central California. Moving on, the third link will take visitors to an article from the Baltimore Sun about the difficulties some food trucks have finding prime real estate in Charm City. The fourth link will take interested parties to a review of the book "Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes from the Best Kitchens on Wheels" from the Village Voice's Lauren Shockley. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the documentary "Masa Revolution". The film is about the history of Mexican food trucks in Southern California, and visitors to the site will also find resources about the food truck movement. The final link will take users to a one-stop resource for information about the food cart scene in Portland.

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