The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 26

July 1, 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

Social Networking Sites and Our Lives

This report from the Pew Internet &American Life Project takes a critical look into the social impact of widespread use of social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter. Written by Keith Hampton, Lauren Sessions Goulet, Lee Rainie, and Kristen Purcell, this 85-page report was published in June 2011. Visitors can download the report or read it online; the materials here also include the survey questions, along with information about the authors methodology. The report is divided into five parts, including an introduction and a chapter titled "Who are social networking site users?" There are a number of interesting findings here, including the observation that the number of people using social networking sites has nearly doubled since 2008 and their population has gotten significantly older during that time. The report is well written and full of insights that will be of use to media specialists, sociologists, and those with an interest in how technology affects human interaction. [KMG]


If you don't know about Kansans like Oliver Brown, Elisha Scott, Esther Brown, Clarina Nichols, and Susanna Salter, the Kansapedia site is a great place to start your journey through the state's distinguished past. Created by the Kansas Historical Society, this online encyclopedia of Kansas history allows users to browse the state's past by people, place, theme, and race and ethnicity. First-time visitors may want to look over the "Featured article" on the homepage, and also check out the "This month in Kansas history" feature. Currently, Kansapedia has almost 900 articles, and visitors can search the articles, or use the homepage's "random article" feature to read about subjects that include the Kansa Village in Shawnee County, Battle Flags of Kansas, or George Washington Carver. The site also offers access to the "Kansas Memory" area, which includes over 150,000 images of photos, artifacts, and other documents. [KMG]

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps: New Hampshire

Wandering around Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1892 may be impossible unless a time machine is finally invented; until then, there is this remarkable digital collection from Dartmouth College. As part of their Dartmouth Digital Library Initiatives, this collection brings together Sanborn Fire Insurance maps from the Granite State's many towns and cities. The maps date from the 1880s to the 1940s and they provide excellent documentation of the built environment in these towns and cities during this time. Visitors can zoom in on the maps to look at building footprints, infrastructure improvements, road widths, and so on. The site also contains a link to an online checklist of maps created by the Sanborn Map Company and bibliographic records of books that use these maps as key primary documents in historical research. [KMG]

Technology Student Association

The Technology Student Association (TSA) is dedicated exclusively to the needs of students interested in technology. The TSA is supported by educators, parents, business leaders, and others who believe in the importance of a technologically literate society. TSA members also gain awareness skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through interactive activities that include classroom experiences and national conferences. On their website, visitors can learn about these conferences (via the "Competitions" tab), and also learn about other upcoming events. The "For Students" tab contains links to the official TSA online newsletter, student scholarships, and information about following a STEM career path. The "For Adults" area contains some of the same materials, along with toolkits & resources that support science and engineering learning. [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

New Communication Technologies

The University of Wisconsin Digital Collections initiative is well regarded for their masterful online offerings, and this gem fits nicely into that corpus. This extensive annotated bibliography covers scholarship on the history and influence of new communication technologies. To clarify, the term "new" is used in a historical sense, so this bibliography contains over 3,200 titles linked by 11,000 key terms. Some of the communication technologies covered here include radio, telegrams, a range of sound recordings, and telephones. First-time visitors may want to use the "About the Collection" to learn a bit more about the breadth and depth of this resource. Professor Stephen Vaughan is responsible for this ambitious project, and visitors to this section can read an extended essay on his own work and methodology here as well. Visitors can search the collection by keyword or they can also use the "guided search" option to focus in on specific items using a more specific set of terms and parameters. [KMG]

Urban Forest Hurricane Recovery

The University of Florida Extension devotes a portion of its website to Urban Forest Hurricane Recovery, which allows visitors to read a publication or view a PowerPoint presentation on the subject of cleaning up trees after a hurricane and preventing future hurricane damage to the urban forest. The first chapter on safety precautions in this presentation cautions that most injuries after natural disasters occur during clean up. In addition to the fourteen chapters that cover everything from "Restoring Trees after a Hurricane" to "Selecting Coastal Plain Species for Wind Resistance" to "Developing an Urban Forest Management Plan for Hurricane-Prone Communities", the website also has other related links on the left-hand side menu. Some of these links include "Disaster Preparedness and Recovery" and "Promoting Turf Recovery Following a Hurricane". Overall, the site is a fine resource for those persons in the field of public health, disaster recovery, and public policy. [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

Computer Science Teachers Association

The website for the Computer Science Teachers Association is sprinkled with computer science word play, but their mission remains quite serious: "The Computer Science Teachers Association is a membership organization that supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines." For instance, visitors can read an article under "Big News!" on the homepage titled "Why is K-12 CS Education Fading as Digital Economy Grows?" which highlights how much K-12 education in the US has fallen behind in terms of teaching computer science. The article states that "roughly two-thirds the country have few computer science education standards for secondary school education, and most states treat high school computer science courses as simply an elective." Visitors can download the full report for free, which includes state-by-state standards report cards. The "Get Connected!" section of the website can be found on the menu on the left-hand side of any page, and it provides visitors with links to podcasts, videos, their newsletter and blog. [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

Glass Works

This website is about glass and glass-making in Canada and it is presented by the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The site teaches visitors about natural glass, Canadian glass, practical glass, industrial glass, and inspirational glass. Before delving into the different ways glass is used in society, the website provides a thorough answer to the question "What is glass?" It is a mixture of sand, soda, and lime which is heated to extremely high temperatures, then cooled. Visitors will learn the benefits of glass, such as the fact that it is recyclable, inexpensive to produce from common materials, non-corrosive, and it also possesses the ability to be rolled, molded, blown, or cast. The "Making Glass" link shows visitors images of a glassworks furnace, an early 1900s automatic bottle-blowing machine, and a recipe for 2,000 pounds of amber-colored glass from the Dominion Glass Company. The "Practical Glass" link has photos of several objects such as a canning jar, goblet, flytrap, all of which are quite beautiful. [KMG]

National Academy of Engineering: WTOP Radio Series Archive

Working with WTOP Radio and Federal News Radio, the National Academy of Engineering has created hundreds of radio features that highlight engineering innovations and stories that add technical context to issues in the news. Visitors to the site will note that they can search through the programs by year or theme. The themes here include "Environment", "Sports", and "Chemical Engineering". Some of the more recent programs include features on the future of the invisibility cloak, remote truck inspection, and a "sleep shirt", which could soon be advanced enough to provide data only previously available in a sleep lab. Additionally, visitors can sign up to receive their weekly installments via podcast. [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

Science: KQED

KQED produces public television shows, radio programs, online and educational materials in the Northern California area. Here visitors will find their section dedicated to science, and it is quite a trove of materials. Visitors may want to start by watching the featured video "Science on the SPOT: Lup√ the Mammoth Comes to Life" where they can learn more about the Columbian Mammoth that roamed the Bay Area during the Ice Age. After this, visitors can read the latest from KQEDs Climate Watch Blog, which is an in-depth blog that looks at "Government & Business", "Power", "The Science" and "Water" in order to offer a multi-perspectival analysis of the climate changes that face California. One particularly noteworthy feature the blog offers is an interactive map of California's reservoirs, so that visitors can see where the state's biggest polluters are located. Their Community Science Blog is also worth a visit; here visitors can read about Sea Lions, Supercomputers, and hackers. [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

University of Iowa Hospitals Health Topics

Created by staff members at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the materials on this website include articles and patient guides that cover health topics such as colon cancer, burn care, ear health, and eating disorders. The page is part of their larger health library site, and visitors can scroll through the topic list here, which includes over two dozen headings. One rather nice section is the "Healthy Recipes" area, which features breakfast recipes for items like buckwheat pancakes and banana nut bread. Visitors also shouldn't forget to look at the "Sports Medicine" area where they will find answers to commonly asked questions about torn ankle ligaments and ACL problems. [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

Office of the Secretary of State: Rhode Island State Library

Far more than a collection of basic government documents, the Rhode Island State Library website is a nice resource for anyone seeking to learn more about the Ocean State. The materials here are divided into three main sections: "Research Tools", "Publications", and "Everything RI". In "Research Tools", users will find executive orders issued by the governor, annual reports, as well as state regulations and rules. Moving on, the "Publications" area contains some colorful historical documents, including the Rhode Island Royal Charter of 1663 and the state constitution. Finally, the "Everything RI" area contains documents that narrate the state's history, such as "State Symbols", "Famous Rhode Islanders", "Rhode Island Landmarks", and "City & Town Incorporation Dates". Just for reference, some of the notable persons from the Ocean State include George M. Cohan, Anne Hutchinson, and baseball legend Nap Lajoie. [KMG]

National Association for Olmsted Parks

Established in 1980, the National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) is a coalition of various design and preservation professionals concerned with the legacy of landscape work left by noted landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. and his colleagues. On their website, visitors can learn about Olmsted's primary works via a master list of design projects by his firm and some profiles of some of his most prominent work, including Central Park and the landscape at the Biltmore Estate. Scholars will want to look through the "Research" area for resources that include a set of suggested links and an extensive bibliography. Visitors will also want to look at the "News and Publications" area for more details about the NAOP's work and their newsletter. [KMG]

Paris: Life & Luxury

You can travel to 18th century Paris via this Getty Museum exhibition, that "brings together a wide variety of objects from candlesticks and firedogs, to furniture and clocks, dressing gowns and jewelry, musical instruments and games all from elite society in Paris, the fashion and cultural epicenter of Europe at the time." An interactive feature of the website allows visitors to explore the objects that might be found in a gentleman's study, such as an inkstand and paperweights, or a globe, and learn more about their owner, Gabriel Bernard de Rieux. This gentleman lived from 1687-1745, part of a wealthy banking family and member of the Parlement de Paris. A slideshow, "Morning, noon, and night in an 18th-century Parisian household" uses artifacts to illustrate the schedule in a well-to-do Parisian household, from la toilette to bedtime. [DS]

Network Tools

What if you could have a conference call that called you? Such a thing is now possible courtesy of Apparently one of the co-founders of was never on time for meetings and conferences, so this handy website was created to solve the problem. Visitors just need to register online, put a meeting in their Google Calendar, and the conference will call them at the appointed hour and minute. It's quite easy to use and it's compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


Would you like to develop an iPhone or Android application? If so, it just got much easier with the Buzztouch content management system. Visitors don't need to know any coding, and after creating a Buzztouch account they can get started building their own application. Visitors should look over the "How Buzztouch Works" area to get acclimated to the program and they should also check out the "FAQ" section. This version is compatible with all operating systems and users will need to have access to an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone to test their application's functionality. [KMG]

In The News

Is California still the Golden State?

The California Dream is fizzling out

The Rise of the Third Coast: The Gulf's Region's Ascendancy in U.S.

California homicides decline to lowest rate in 45 years

Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West

Public Policy Institute of California

Online Archive of California

California is known as the Golden State for a host of reasons. Native Americans who lived in the state found a bounty of fish, pleasant climates, and a rather hospitable way of life. Europeans arriving from Spain, Britain, and Russia found much to enjoy here as well in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the middle of the 19th century, the proverbial and literal "gold in them hills" brought prospectors from all corners of the globe who dreamed of making a vast fortune. The 20th century saw a feverish period of land speculation, the explosive growth of Southern California, and glittering dreamscapes promoted by real estate developers and movie moguls alike. Today, things are much different, as the state continues to attract fewer new residents every year, and taxes continue to be quite onerous for middle-income families. During the 2000s, the state did continue to grow by about 10% in terms of population, but this was meager compared with growth rates of 53% in the 1950s. Speaking on this recent transformation, Professor Dowell Myers noted, "If things go really bad in the Midwest, Southern California could be a beacon of hope. But in general, immigration has slowed down now and is not likely to turn upward." The director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, William Deverell, offered another perspective recently, "The hold California has on people has been every bit as much psychological as actual-but people are leaving. It can be very, very difficult here." [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to an excellent piece on the current state of California from CNN's series "Defining America". It contains first-hand experiences from current residents, along with comments from public policy experts and others. The second link leads visitors to a bit of commentary from Joel Kotkin on the rise of the Gulf Region in and around Texas and Louisiana, and its potential effect on California's future prospects. Moving on, the third link will take interested parties to a bit more positive piece from the Washington Examiner which discusses the continued decline in California's homicide rate. The fourth link leads to the homepage of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. Here visitors can learn about their work on examining and analyzing the state of California and its relationship with nearby states and regions. The fifth link will whisk users away to the homepage of the Public Policy Institute of California. Here visitors will find podcasts, working papers and other items that discuss housing, public finance, social policy, and water issues in the Golden State. Finally, the last link leads to the very comprehensive Online Archive of California, which contains links to hundreds of digital collections that document the state's history and culture.

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