The Scout Report -- Volume 17, Number 49

December 9, 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

Torn in Two: 150th Anniversary of the Civil War

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, the Boston Public Library has created this new exhibition, "Torn in Two: 150th Anniversary of the Civil War". The in situ exhibit concludes at the end of December 2011, however the interactive features on their site will continue to be available beyond that date. Visitors can get started by following the "Take the Virtual Tour" link. Here visitors will hear a plaintive song, accompanied by period images and maps. After this brief introduction, visitors can click on the "People" tab to learn about citizens such as Stephen Hill, a Confederate soldier, and Elizabeth Farnsworth, a Civil War nurse. Moving along, the "Places" section offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the "state" of each state in the US during the Civil War. Finally, the "Timeline" offers an interactive chronology of key events (illustrated with maps, photographs, and other documents) before, during, and after the Civil War. Finally, the site also includes resources for teachers, including lesson plans and curriculum guides. [KMG]

Anatomy and Physiology Learning Modules

The College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota has created this interactive and engaging set of resources designed to help college students learn about anatomy and physiology. Along with the learning modules, visitors can also take part in the rather fun "Anatomy Bowl". Here visitors can take on topics like biochemistry, the heart, and the reproductive system in a format that is quite similar to a certain popular television game show. Moving along, there's the "Self Test" section. Here visitors can take quizzes of varying lengths designed to test their knowledge of fifteen different subjects, including the endocrine system and the lymphatic system. The site also contains a "Timed Tests" area and a more comprehensive "Quiz Bowl" which allows visitors the opportunity to answer seventeen questions across a myriad of topics. [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

Bioscience in the 21st Century

This interdisciplinary survey course was created by Lehigh University with a grant provided by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The topics covered by this course include infectious diseases, cancer, genome-based medicine, stem cells, and bioinformatics. On the site, visitors can read about the background of this project and also check out the course syllabus. Moving on, visitors can click on the "Class Resources" area to view pdf version of the PowerPoint slides offered by the guest speakers during the latest iteration of the course. Visitors won't want to miss the "Videos" area. Here they can view all of the lectures from the course, which include discussions like "Information Processing in the Nervous System" and "Stem Cells: An Introduction". Overall, the site is a great resource for undergraduates studying this material and anyone else with a penchant for such matters. [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

Stem Up

Stem Up is a pilot program to aid the disadvantaged youth of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. The intent of the program was to integrate STEM career pathways into schools and local communities. Visitors will find the K-12 Students tab near the top of the page to be filled with almost two dozen links for all levels of student learning about science and technology. Some of the sites include "Arrick Robotics", for 9-12 graders, "Extreme Science", for all ages, and "Fun Engineering" for kids aged 10-14. The "Boyle Heights" link is a great resource for residents of the LA neighborhood, as well as informative for those visitors unfamiliar with it. There is full contact information for the city and state representatives of the neighborhood, the Police Activities League, and a live theatre that performs outreach through theatre, and classical plays. The "Parents" link also provides a number of science and technology links that parents and kids can visit together. [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

Office of Science Education - LifeWorks

The Office of Science Education has created a website entitled LifeWorks, which provides interactive health and medical science career exploration for middle and high school students. There are multiple ways to look at the different careers in health and medicine via the browse tool on the homepage. Visitors can view an alphabetical list, see what education is required for a job, check out the median salary, and peruse jobs by interest area. The "Career Finder" tool allows visitors to explore careers based on their interests and skills. The Success Stories that are featured on the homepage highlight a career chosen by a real person, and also provide the transcript of an interview. Some of the questions answered in the interview address what a typical workday involves, why these individuals chose the career they did, and what their career goals are. [KMG]

DNA Replication Fork

Understanding the world of DNA replication can be a tricky business, but this helpful site created by the department of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University makes the whole process quite interesting. The animations here are quite remarkable and visitors can use the four primary sections, which include "Replication Fork" and "Trombone Model" to review the associated processes that are involved with DNA replication. Users have the option to pause the animations at any time and they can also "rewind" and "fast-forward". Each animation is complete with labels and brief descriptions of what's going on at each stage. For a more detailed exploration, visitors can roll over the top section of the site to learn more about the role of the helicase, the sliding clamp, and the DNA primase. [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

NOVA: Journey of the Butterflies

Every year, monarch butterflies migrate 2000 miles to a sanctuary in the highlands of Mexico. How do they do it? It's a terrific story, and it is the focus of this recent documentary created by the team at NOVA. To get the butterflies perspective, the filmmakers used a helicopter, ultralight, and hot-air balloon to capture some aerial views along the route. On this website, visitors can view the documentary in its entirety. The site includes a section where filmmaker Nick de Pencier describes all of the work involved with following these creatures as they travelled from Canada to Mexico. The site is rounded out by a selection of links on the left-hand side of the page and suggestions for those who'd like to read more about this migration. [KMG]

Biography of an Experiment [pdf]

What is the life story of a scientific experiment? What is involved with such an undertaking? These are important questions, and they are being actively explored by undergraduates and faculty at Haverford College. This website brings together excerpts of original and influential manuscripts in the natural sciences, complete with annotations by undergraduates who have spent a semester "critically evaluating the work and assessing the authors' own perspectives." Currently, there are over a dozen documents here, including "The Invention of the Dye-sensitized Solar Cell" and "Protein folding and amyloidosis". Visitors can look at students' comments on each piece and also read short biographical profiles of each young scholar. This site may very well inspire similar initiatives at other institutions and it's inspiring to see the work of scientists as they engage in a conversation with established researchers. [KMG]

General Interest

Joplin Historical Postcards;c=joplinic

The rise of Joplin, Missouri can largely be told in four words: lead and zinc ore. The city grew quickly as it became the world's premier supplier of these two minerals. The city is also known for its place as a byway along Route 66, its immaculately landscaped parks, and various recreation areas. This collection from the University of Missouri's Digital Library brings together over 500 postcards which document the city's past. Visitors will find images of the town's Carnegie Library, the town's various mines, the USO Club, and Missouri Southern State College. Taken as a whole, the collection offers wonderful insights into the growth and history of this Missouri town. [KMG]

The Baltimore Museum of Art

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) is one of the major cultural institutions in the Charm City, and their collection includes African art, European prints, and a range of sculptures from all over the world. The site contains detailed information on their upcoming and past exhibits, and visitors looking for a bit of background on the BMA may wish to start with the "Interact" section. Here they can read the director's blog, download podcasts, and watch their YouTube channel, which includes even highlights and the "Walk-Around Warhol" auditions. Additionally, the BMA's site contains a "Collection" section. Users can wander through the areas here, including "Ancient Americas" and "Contemporary" to peruse a sampling of the items held by the BMA. The site is rounded out by the "eNews" area, which allows visitors to sign up to receive new information about the BMA's programs, exhibits, and special events. [KMG]

Forgotten Detroit

Created and curated by David Kohrman, the Forgotten Detroit website provides the generally curious with a broad range of photographs that document the magnificent structures that are a key part of Detroit's urban fabric. Korham has a master's degree in historic preservation, and his keen eye is reflected in his documentation of the dozens of buildings profiled here. The photographs here are divided into building types, including "Hotels", "Theaters", and "Office Buildings". The "Hotels" section is particularly brilliant, as it includes information about the hotel managers, artifacts, and in many cases, a "virtual stay". The "virtual stay" area allows visitors to enter the mind of a typical traveler coming to the hotel during its hey-day, and it's a fascinating way to approach the subject. Visitors should not miss the "Misc. Ruins" area, as it includes some very dramatic photographs of the long-abandoned Michigan Central railroad station. [KMG]

Johnstown Area Heritage Association

This site features a cornucopia of materials on Johnstown, Pennsylvania, its history, and culture. Several museums constitute the Johnstown Area Heritage Association, and they include the Johnstown Flood Museum, Heritage Discovery Center/Johnstown Children's Museum, and Wagner-Ritter House and Garden. Visitors should definitely check out the link on the Flood Museum, which documents the infamous flood that devastated Johnstown in 1889. The thorough description of the flood includes photos and descriptions of the "Oklahoma House", a type of temporary pre-fab house that was erected by the government to house those who lost their homes to the flood. Visitors will also find interesting the story behind the rebuilding of the library that was swept away in the flood, as the man who funded the new library was the same person responsible for the dam that broke and caused the flood. [KMG]

Shakespeare in the Parlor

Shakespeare's works were quite popular within the United States from the time of the early colonies, but the first illustrated version of the bard's works did not appear until the 1840s. Between 1844 and 1847 Gulian C. Verplanck's "Shakespeare Plays" was published, complete with elaborate illustrations. This digital collection from the American Antiquarian Society brings together a range of illustrations of Shakespeare's works from a literary annual and gift books in the nineteenth century. The materials here are divided into different themes, including "Imagining the Man", "Comedies", "Women", and "Re-using Shakespeare". Visitors can click through each theme to learn about these various illustrations, which include depictions of Miranda, Juliet, and scenes from The Merry Wives. The exhibit is rounded out by a bibliography and an "About" area. [KMG]

Oz Collection

The world of Oz is a big place, and this particular digital collection from the University of Minnesota pays homage to some of its many characters, stories, and more. The materials here were collected by Laura Jane Musser, and they include annual meeting program notes from the International Wizard of Oz club, sheet music from Oz-related productions, catalogs, and coloring books. The digitized materials also include a number of famous books from the Oz series, such as "The Marvelous Land of Oz" and "The Land of Oz". Visitors can use a finding aid to make their way through the materials, and if they are interested in doing research with these materials they can learn more about making a visit to the collections. [KMG]

Healthy Sleep

Who doesn't love a good night's sleep? The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard and WGBH have collaborated to produce the Healthy Sleep website to help "illuminate the relevance of sleep, explain the underlying science of sleep, and, most importantly, provide practical information for getting the sleep you need." Visitors interested in getting the sleep they need will find the many videos and interactive features here well worth their time. Under the "Why Sleep Matters" link, visitors will find an interactive timeline entitled "Historical and Cultural Perspectives of Sleep". The "Consequences of Insufficient Sleep" gives visitors the choice of several short videos to watch, including those that address the consequences of driving while drowsy, the link between disease risk and poor sleep, and the public safety and performance issues that arise due to insufficient sleep. The "Getting the Sleep You Need" link has many tips for visitors on how to approach poor sleep habits, including when to seek treatment. [KMG]

Luminous: The Art of Asia [Flash Player]

This website accompanying an exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) allows visitors to explore selected works of the Art of Asia in detail. For example, after clicking on "Explore the Art" on the homepage, visitors can view a 3-minute video that explores the museums conservators work with Seated Guanyin, a Chinese wooden sculpture from the Song period (960-1279) that had been both painted and gilded by prior owners. Another shorter video shows kids reacting to Crows, a pair of six-paneled Japanese screens, Edo Period 1615 - 1868. There are several videos abut Gate, a specially commissioned piece by Do Ho Suh, a contemporary Korean artist. Gate recreates a gate into the artist's father's house, augmented with projected images based on other works in the museum's collections. In the videos, watch Gate being installed, observe the animated imagery, museum goers reactions, and hear curators discuss the piece. [DS]

Network Tools


The tagline of BuzzData is that it "lets you share your data in a smarter, easier way." BuzzData is a social platform that allows users to share a range of data with other interested parties in a way that is intuitive and easy to use. After signing up, visitors can upload their data to a dedicated home page, and attach visualizations, articles, and other documents that offer context to their work and information. Also, visitors can invite collaborators over to their site and track changes over time. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


At times, finding a place for distraction-free writing (especially when online) can be almost impossible. Pillarbox provides that place, and it is a fullscreen text editor. Features include a live word count, typewriter scrolling, and it also has a customizable feature. It is designed for use with operating systems with Google Chrome installed. [KMG]

In The News

The Connect America Fund hopes to give rural Americans broadband access, bridging the "digital divide".

Sweet land of subsidy

Rural broadband access could be key to economic development

New Research Shows Digital Divide Still Persists in the U.S.

Exploring the Digital Nation-Computer and Internet Use at Home [pdf]

Connecting America

A Brief History of the Rural Electric and Telephone Programs

Tishomingo County in Mississippi and Aroostook County in Maine share a similar problem: Both places have little or no access to reliable broadband networks. On the surface, this might seem to be a rather minor concern. However, many policymakers and politicians agree with local administrators and citizens, that increased access to broadband networks will increase rural areas ability to compete for new businesses, such as call centers. Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released details of an order that would direct $4.5 billion a year into the newly created Connect America Fund (CAF). The hope is that the work of the CAF will give 7 million rural Americans access to reliable high-speed Internet connections over the next six years. Bridging the "digital divide" may be a difficult proposition, and there are reasons to believe that it may not be the best use such funds. In 2006, the Government Accountability Office expressed concerned that spotty data might undermine the usefulness of rural-broadband subsidies. Another issue is that some of these communities may already be served by existing wireless 3G networks, which means that they are not technically "underserved". [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a recent piece from The Economist about the proposed expansion of broadband service in the United States. The second link leads to an article from this Tuesday's Wisconsin Business about the importance of broadband Internet access throughout rural Wisconsin. Moving along, the third link will whisk users away to a compelling article from The Nonprofit Quarterly about the persistence of a digital divide in the United States. The fourth link will take users to an excellent report from the United States Department of Commerce about the world of broadband connectivity in the United States. The fifth link leads to a nice report from the FCC about their initiative on "Connecting America", complete with maps and an executive summary. Finally, the last link will take interested parties to a 62-page report on the history of the Rural Electric and Telephone programs in the US.

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