The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 43

October 28, 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

Documenting the American South: Oral Histories

Telling the history of the American South is a complex process, and this wonderful collection from the University of North Carolina's Southern Oral History Program is an attempt to tell part of that story. This particular website brings together almost 500 oral history interviews collected over a period of many decades, and it has been made possible in part with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The collection has six primary themes, including "Charlotte", "Civil Rights", "Southern Politics", and "Piedmont Industrialization". On the homepage, visitors can read a brief summary of each theme, and after looking over each description they can browse around at their leisure or perform a keyword search across the interviews. Visitors shouldn't miss the "Piedmont Industrialization" area, as it provides some remarkable insights into the transformation from traditional industrial production (such as mill work) to agribusiness and financial services in the 20th century. [KMG]

Secrets of the Sequence

If you are looking to get in on the ground floor of the DNA sequencing that occurs in a high-tech laboratory, this video series is a fine place to start. Produced with help from a variety of sponsors, such as the National Academies and Pfizer, this site from Virginia Commonwealth University brings together 50 of the best videos from the public television series "Secrets of the Sequence" to "assist teachers in the application of genetic research across the biology curriculum." Each of the videos is 8-10 minutes long, and they are divided into topical areas that include anatomy, bioethics, and DNA. Visitors can download each video, or just stream them directly from the site. Finally, the site also includes a number of helpful educational worksheets and guides for teachers. [KMG]

To find more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Assessment in Math and Science: What's the Point?

Why do we elect to assess students at various points in their educational journey? Students frequently ask, "Will this be on the test?" and "Is this going to count?", and they have a right to know. This provocative and thoughtful series from the Annenberg Media group was designed to help a range of groups and people learn how "teachers deal with common issues and discover ways to use assessment to improve teaching and learning." This eight part series was originally produced by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Massachusetts Corporation for Educational Telecommunications. Visitors to the site can watch all eight parts via this site, and the installments here include "You WILL Be Tested on This!: Standardized Testing" and "When I Was in School: Implementing Assessment Reform". [KMG]

Point-of-Care Diagnostics for the Developing World

The University of Washington's "UWTV" website is an archive of talks by visitors to the University as well as professors, librarians, and others who have a formal association with the institution. The talks cover a myriad of topics from urban planning to zoology, and this specific talk looks into the world of health care provisioning in the developing world. The talk is by Professor Paul Yager of the bioengineering department at the UW, and he offers information and findings about a new technology for manipulating small volumes of fluids. This technology will help health care professionals as they work to create a small portable and inexpensive system for detecting pathogens far from any centralized laboratory. It's an engaging hour-long talk, and one that will be of interest to persons in the health care and public health fields. [KMG]

To find more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

ACDI/VOCA - Resources

The ACDI/VOCA organization represents the 1997 merger of an agricultural cooperative and cooperative assistance organization comprised of overseas volunteers. Their website states that their distinguishing characteristics are their "commitment to its overseas beneficiaries, wise stewardship of development resources and a knowledgeable, experienced, diverse and effective team." Visitors will find that the "Resources" tab has links to numerous types of resources, including a fact sheet, posters, a quarterly journal (called World Report), an e-newsletter entitled Global Connections and videos. A subscription to the ACDI/VOCA YouTube channel is available to visitors on the homepage. There are at least three dozen videos, some in Spanish, Portuguese and Swahili. The videos cover topics such as coffee production, sugar, and beekeeping. Also found in the "Resources" are the "Success Stories" link is fun for visitors to look over and it includes stories on a Ghanaian agriculture group that is attracting a significant bank loan and a Vietnamese group that is taking advantage of cocoa farming. [KMG]

To find more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Pathways to Science

The Pathways to Science website was created by the Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP) which is a non-profit organization created "to design and implement strategies to increase access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and careers for diverse underrepresented groups." Visitors to the site will note that the homepage contains resources for educators and students who are looking for undergraduate summer research opportunities, graduate fellowships, and postdoctoral positions. The main sections on the site include "Students", "Programs", and "Faculty". The "Students" area provides opportunities to receive specific updates on new programs and research opportunities as they are added to the site. The "Programs" area lets visitors search over 1500 programs across a range of disciplines. Finally, the "Faculty" area gives faculty the opportunity to post information about their affiliated programs, news items, and event notices. [KMG]

The Blues

Noted bluesman Willie Dixon once said, "The blues are the roots; everything else is the fruits". Wise words indeed, and the quote informs the spirit of Martin Scorsese's PBS documentary series "The Blues". This interactive website provides users with some great material about this seven part series, which features segments by Clint Eastwood, Wim Wenders, and of course, Mr. Scorsese. On the site, visitors can watch previews of each segment and learn more about the artists profiled in each one. In "The Songs & the Artists" area, visitors can read musician biographies and even check out the accompanying radio series which was released in conjunction with the documentary. Those who like to travel should click on the "Blues Road Trip" area. Here they will have the opportunity to take a musical journey from the Deep South to Memphis, St. Louis, and Chicago via song, photographs, and maps. The site is rounded out by the "Blues Classroom" area, which is designed for educators. Interested parties can view lesson plans, look over a blues glossary, and read several background essays. [KMG]

General Interest

Energy Map

One doesn't have to look far to find social entrepreneurs working on a range of projects, including crowdsourcing new technological innovation and creating web-based tools to improve the delivery of public services. The Energy Map initiative was designed to pioneer methods to bring affordable renewable energy to the 1.5 billion people around the world that don't have access to these resources. The project was started by the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University and the Ayllu Initiative. The materials on the site include the energy map, and sections that include "Technologies" and "Business Models". First-time visitors should check out the introductory video on the homepage that will help them learn how to use and interpret the map. The map gives users the ability to track and locate where different energy projects are underway and they can also use the map to see where the energy needs are most dire. Moving along, the "Technologies" area gives a bit of background about the new and interesting energy sources that may be most effective in providing energy access in the developing world. Finally, the "Business Models" area provides a rigorous look at different aspects of those businesses involved in these enterprises, such as affordability, financing, and scaling. [KMG]

Molecular Medicine Webcasts

Over the past few years, the Molecular Medicine Program at the University of Washington has featured a wide range of speakers at their seminars, public lectures, and special courses. Fortunately for the general public, many of these programs were recorded, and they are available right here. Visitors will find over twenty different talks on their website, and others will continue to be added in the future. There's no search engine here, but visitors can scroll through to find talks that might interest them. Some of the more compelling offerings here include lectures like "The Brain, Electrical Signaling and Epilepsy", "Malaria: Hot Times for a Bad Disease", and "Obesity: The Plague of the 21st Century". [KMG]

To find more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Labor Archives of Washington State

Recently the Special Collections Division of the University of Washington Libraries collaborated with the Harry Bridge Center for Labor Studies to create this rather special digital collection of materials related to Pacific Northwest labor history. It's an impressive endeavor, and visitors can make their way through five topical areas here. The areas include "The I.W.W. in the Pacific Northwest" and "Labor and the New Deal". Each area features a brief introductory essay with embedded links to primary sources relevant to each topic, such as historic photographs, documents, pamphlets, and so on. The website could be effectively used in a labor history course, and it is also does a great job of making much of this material accessible to a wider audience. A search engine and a list of additional resources round out the site. [KMG]

Digital Collections: Amherst College

The Amherst College Library has created this trove of five different digital collections which tell (respectively) the history of a noted labor lawyer, coeducation at Amherst, campus athletics, college catalogues, and songs of Amherst. The first collection contains selected files from the papers of Jerry Cohen, class of 1963. Cohen was the general counsel of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) and personal attorney of Cesar Chavez. In this section, visitors can look over some UFW case summaries and other interesting documents. The next collection here contains chronologies, articles, newspaper clippings, and committee reports which tell the story of coeducation on the Amherst College campus from 1870 to 1998. Moving on, "A Glance at Amherst Athletics" is a 42-page document which offers a history of athletic endeavors on campus from one Walter L. Tower, class of 1893. Finally, the site is rounded out by the Amherst College Annual Catalogues from 1822-1900, and a rather fun college songbook from 1926. [KMG]

Center for Science & Technology Policy Research [pdf]

The Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR) was created in 2001 and their goal is "to improve how science and technology policies address societal needs, through research, education and service." Part of this goal is accomplished via their well-designed site, which features policy papers, news updates, and highlights from recent conferences and seminars sponsored under their direction. Visitors can click on the "CSTPR Multimedia Gallery", found on the left hand side of the homepage, to view presentations such as "Environmental Human Rights" and "Loving Science to Death: Problems at the Intersection of Science and Policy". Moving on, visitors shouldn't miss their newsletter, "Ogmius". Each edition contains highlights of recent research, news about Center events, and policy commentary. Scholars won't want to miss the "Publications" area, which features information about recently published books by Center affiliates and listings of their work in professional journals. [KMG]

USC Digital Collections: WPA Maps

In the 1930s and 1940s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) worked on thousands of public works projects from Pasadena to Portland, Maine. During this productive period, new roads were built, parks were renovated, and stories were collected from around the country. Many maps were also created as part of the WPA's work, and this tremendous collection from the USC Digital Collections offers an excellent record of this ambitious project. There are 345 maps currently available in this collection, and they document land use from all across the city during this period. Each map has a detailed description of its contents, along with buttons that make it easy to email or print each map. Urban historians and geographers will be delighted to explore this collection, and it is quite a find. [KMG]

University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections: University of Miami Archives

The University of Miami Archives contains over 500,000 photographs, negatives, and slides that document the University's growth from the 1920s to the present day. Staff members at the University of Miami Libraries have been working over the past several years to digitize a sizeable part of the collection, and the fruits of their labor reside here. The visual images are divided into ten sections, including "Events", "Service Organizations", "Athletics", and "Students". The "Buildings & Grounds" area should not be missed, as it contains over 2,300 exterior and interior photographs of the campus grounds, along with some splendid aerial views. Taken as a whole, the collection offers an engaging and compelling look at the institution and at college life more generally in the 20th century. [KMG]

Network Tools


Are you looking for a way to keep all of your business records managed in one place? If so, you might want to try the helpful Box application, as it is a rather elegant solution for such matters. Visitors to the site can sign up to receive 5GB of web-storage, mobile application access, and so on. The features of the application include online workspaces where users can share information with colleagues or outside clients. Visitors will also have the opportunity to post comments and track file versions, along with having the ability to assign and manage tasks. This version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux. [KMG]


Who's checking out your Twitter feed? And how often are you being retweeted? These answers and much more are provided for users who take the time to look over Twtrland. Visitors can type in their Twitter handle on this site and within a minute or two they can learn about their most commonly used words or phrases, top followers, replies, photos, and various check-ins. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

As Halloween approaches, Salem prepares

Halloween 2011: The Bewitching Past and Present of Salem, Massachusetts

Mystery and irony in America's 'witch city', Salem

Zombies v. witches: Who will win battle between bad and evil?

My View: Coming to peace with Salem's "Witch City' moniker

Essex National Heritage Area

Salem Maritime National Historic Site: Walking Tours [pdf]

For most of the year, Salem, Massachusetts is a fairly tranquil town located 10 miles or so north of Boston. Salem has been on the map for over 460 years, and as you might expect, the town celebrates many historical and cultural events including the towns role as a major shipping port in the 17th century and Nathaniel Hawthorne, who lived and worked there for years. However, for most casual visitors the town's history can be summed up in one word: witches. This witchy reputation stems from the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, and those seeking to look into intolerance, freedom of speech, religious identity, and a myriad of other topics often make a pilgrimage to Salem. In addition, the Halloween holiday has become more popular among adults, many of whom elect to attend elaborate parties and various celebrations, including those in Salem. This year, city officials are predicting over 100,000 visitors on Halloween night. This large amount of visitors makes for some serious logistical challenges, as the city must rely on nearby municipalities to help out with various policing duties and such. In the past, celebrations have remained largely peaceful, and the majority of those celebrants find a way to share both their costumes and their goodwill with fellow Halloweeners. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a piece from Katy Dutile in the International Business Times about her recent visit to Salem. The second link leads to a very nice piece by Bob Ecker of the Napa Valley Register based on his recent travels to the "Witch City". Moving along, the third link will take interested parties to a fun piece from the Daily Mail about a recent playful "feud" between a group of witches and zombies in two competing attractions in Salem. The fourth link will take interested parties to a nice piece by Kristina Stevick about her own experience dealing with the "Witch City" nickname. She has good Salem credentials, as she teaches theater in the city and has been a featured performer in some of the witch trial re-enactments over the past two decades. The fifth link will take users to the homepage of the Essex National Heritage Area, where visitors can learn more about the historic locations and destinations throughout this extremely diverse area north of Boston. The final link leads to some most excellent walking tours of Salem history, provided courtesy of the National Park Service.

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