The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 23

June 8, 2012

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

Writing at Colorado State University

The Colorado State University has a rather wonderful set of online resources designed to help people become better writers. Most of these materials are offered right here on the Writing at Colorado State University website, where visitors will find ten different thematic guides. These guides deal primarily with writing in engineering, and they include Communicating as a Civil Engineer, Engineering Proposals, and Environmental Policy Statements. On the right-hand side of the homepage, visitors will find sections like Writing Processes and Writing Documents. These areas have more detailed areas like Starting to Write, Revising & Editing, and Publishing. Taken as a whole, these sections offer a broad range of specific guides to becoming a better writer. Finally, the site contains links to other relevant sites from university and college writing centers. [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: Venom: Nature's Killer

Venom is a powerful substance used by many creatures on this planet, but how does it work? What purpose does it serve? The good folks at NOVA have crafted this fine documentary on venom in order to "track down and capture the world's most venomous animals." Visitors to the site can watch the program in its entirety, read a complete transcript of the program, and also learn more about the participants. The distinguished members of the team include Bryan Fry of the University of Melbourne, Greta Binford of Lewis & Clark College, and Zoltan Takacs of the University of Chicago. The program takes visitors around the world as the participants attempt to gain insights into the world of venom, and viewers will not fail to be amazed by their discoveries. The site also includes twelve different related links, including additional video clips on leeches, lizards, and the very timely Making Vaccines. [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

Teachers' Domain: Earth System, Structure, and Processes

Started in 2002 by WGBH, the Teachers' Domain website brings together over 1000 free media resources from a range of public television programs such as Design Squad and Frontline. Here visitors will find both video and audio segments, Flash interactives, images, lesson plans, and student-oriented activities. This particular set of materials deals with the earth sciences, and includes over 280 different items. Each resource features details on the media type, grade level, and a brief synopsis. Some of the resources include a video about the pH of water in an abandoned coal mine, rain gardens in Kentucky, and aquatic insects. Additionally, visitors can choose to look through different subcategories, like Energy in the Earth System, Natural Resources, The Rock Cycle, and Surface Processes. [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

Federal Reserve Education

The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States, and there are twelve Federal Reserve districts that range from Hawaii to Maine. This website was created by the Federal Reserve to provide high-quality educational resources about economics, personal finance, public policy and other subjects to students and the general public. First-time visitors can peruse some of the videos on the homepage, find their Reserve district via an interactive map, and also learn about the history of colonial money. Educators can use the Find Resources area to look for items of note, and they can search by keyword, title, grade, topic, or document type. Some of the most compelling material can be found in the Games & Simulations area. Here visitors will find an economic literacy test and a fun game called "Show Business: The Economics of Entertainment." The site is rounded out by the Public Resources area, which includes links to material on public tours, economic indicators and other materials on the day-to-day activities of the Federal Reserve. [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

Ohio State University College of Pharmacy Teaching Resources

The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy Teaching Resources site is designed for those persons working to educate pharmacy students. Some of the materials are specific to the academic programs at the College, but many of them are meant to be used across a range of educational settings. Many of these materials can be found in the Tools for Teaching section on the right-hand side of the homepage. Visitors shouldn't miss the "How to Write Better Tests: A Handbook for Improving Test Construction Skills" document. Created by Lucy C. Jacobs, this helpful article contains detailed advice for crafting meaningful tests, with suggestions on test format, essay items, and multiple choice items. Users shouldn't miss the direct link to the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching, which includes essays by faculty members (under the Read area), along with additional resources such as a document on crafting an effective teaching portfolio. [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

The Astronomy Center

This rather fine website is a must-visit for anyone involved in teaching college-level astronomy. The Astronomy Center is sponsored by the American Astronomical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the National Science Foundation, among other distinguished organizations. Visitors can get started by looking over the Recent Additions area, which in the past has included features on the phases of the moon, interactive activities related to fossil stars, and a telescope primer for educators. Moving on, visitors can use the Browse By Topic area to find specific materials on 13 subjects, including galaxies, the solar system, and the Milky Way. Also, visitors can browse by document type, where the headings include Simulations, Projects, and Labs. The Cosmic Time and Distance area is a real delight, as it includes activities that will challenge students to explore the concepts of parallax and aberration of light as they apply to astronomy. [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

Arizona Regional Image Archive

Based at the University of Arizona, the Arizona Regional Image Archive is an "interdisciplinary resource system for digital image and map data for the Sonoran desert region, including the U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico." It is a tremendous resource for geographers, ecologists, planners, and others with a vested interest in the region. First-time visitors to the site will note that the homepage has a News area about recently added items, along with a collection of documents contributed by institutions like the Arizona Remote Sensing Center and the Southwest Watershed Research Center. On the left-hand side of the page, visitors will find an array of satellite images, aerial photos from the 1990s to the present day, and digital elevation models. The site also includes excellent digital topographic maps at a variety of scales. Visitors who plan on making return visits to the site will probably want to sign up for a free user account, as it will allow them to save data sets and materials for future access. [KMG]

University of Connecticut Student Yearbook, 1915-1990

In 1915, the students at the Connecticut Agricultural College produced the first official student annual to commemorate the activities of the class of 1915. This annual has been produced continuously since that time, documenting "the growth, development, expansion and history of the University of Connecticut." Visitors to this site can browse through the various iterations of the Yearbook from 1915 to 1990. While visitors can't search the full-text versions of the yearbooks, they can look through each volume in its entirety. Those who are just arriving at the site may wish to look at the volume from 1959. This particular volume is notable for its cover art and for its coverage of student life, campus buildings, and athletics. It's worth noting that print copies and reproductions of images from these volumes are available from the Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Overall, these yearbooks offer a rather interesting portrait of one aspect of life in the Nutmeg State in the 20th century. [KMG]

General Interest

Leeson's History of Montana, 1735-1885

One can imagine that carrying around Leeson's "History of Montana" would be quite an undertaking. This 1,367 page reference book takes a sprawling and welcome look at the history of Montana via its Indian history, wars, trading posts, mining activities, and churches from 1735 to 1885. The work is a magisterial look back at this history, and it was scanned with the assistance of several staff members at the University of Montana's Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library. Visitors can graze around at their leisure, and dipping in and out of this work is quite fun. For starters, new visitors may wish to look at the chapters "Gold and Silver Mining" and "The Secret Tribunal of Montana." The tribunal in question was "as necessary in the early days of Montana's settlement, as are the legal tribunals of to-day, far less expensive, more just, more efficacious, and better adapted to draw forth all the manliness of good citizens, as well as to detect and punish the viciousness of bad ones." It's quite a tale, and it is the stuff of the Old West, without a doubt. [KMG]

The Symphony of Science

Created by John D. Boswell, the Symphony of Science is a musical project created "to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form." The project was inspired by the legendary PBS series Cosmos, created by physicist Carl Sagan. The music here brings together spoken word, remixes, original electronic music, and 15 full-length music videos. Visitors can watch the videos, read (or sing) along with the lyrics, and might do well to start with "The World of Dinosaurs" and "Onward to the Edge." After this, visitors should definitely check out some of the remixes as well. The site also includes a forum where interested parties can chime in on their favorite videos and ask questions of other fans. Finally, those who are so moved can sign up to receive notifications when new videos are added to the site. [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

George Washington Carver Digital Collection

George Washington Carver was many things to many people: at various points in his life he was a scholar, teacher, inventor, and student. From humble roots in southwestern Missouri, Carver went on to wear many hats. This fine digital collection from the Iowa State University brings together over 200 photographs, letters, and other items held in the ISU archives. The majority of the correspondence here is between Carver and his mentor, Dr. Louis Pammel, and their words cover a wide variety of topics, including peanuts, scientific experimentation, and so on. There are many wonderful photos of Carver, including his graduation photo from 1893, taken the year before he formally graduated from the Iowa Agricultural College. Visitors who might be less familiar with the contours of Carver life may also wish to read the narrative essay on his life by Toby Fishbein. [KMG]

Driving Through Time: The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

A leisurely drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway may not be a luxury everyone has time for, so why not take a look at this digital version? It's a worthy surrogate crafted by the good folks at the University of North Carolina Libraries, along with help from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and other partners. The Parkway was conceived during the Great Depression and finished in 1987 and winds its way through 17 counties in North Carolina. This remarkable digital travelogue allows users to experience the history and geography of the celebrated roadway. The categories of the website include Explore, Overlooks, and Education. Visitors can start with the Explore area to look through items by date, location, or subject. There are photographs, maps, remembrances, and other images strewn throughout the time period between the 1880s to the present day. The Overlooks area is a dream, as visitors can read thematic, evocative essays on the various vista points. Visitors shouldn't miss the essays on Asheville and Grandfather Mountain, as they are both gems. [KMG]

Bill's Design Talks

After taking the helm at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York in 2010, Bill Moggridge decided to create a series of talks featuring leading designers from around the world. Appropriately, this ongoing series is called "Bill's Design Talks," and visitors to this site have a front row seat to these wonderful conversations. Currently, there are over 20 talks available on the website. The talks are all compelling, but first-time visitors may wish to start with the conversation with David Owne titled "Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability." The wonderful thing about these talks is that they all feature Q&A sessions with audience members and the production values are quite good. Another talk that is worth a look is the one with YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, as it has a number of insights and thoughtful commentaries. [KMG]

National Preservation Institute

The National Preservation Institute (NPI) "offers continuing education and professional training for those involved in the management, preservation, and stewardship of cultural heritage." The NPI website is a treasure trove of material for people interested in such matters, along with information on scholarships, online resources, and the Institute's upcoming seminars. The Resources area includes a set of useful links to Internet resources and a very nice set of tools for cultural resource managers. These tools include technical documents designed to be used in the formal transfer of historic properties, along with key documents about the National Environmental Policy Act. In the Scholarships area, visitors can learn about scholarships offered by the NPI and the National Endowment for the Arts dealing with historic preservation. Additionally, visitors can sign up for the NPI mailing list and learn more about seminars on cultural and natural resources management. [KMG]

Binary Visions: 19th-Century Woven Coverlets from the Collection of Historic Huguenot Street

This rather marvelous collection explores the world of historic coverlets via a set of photographs and related documents that tell the stories of these fascinating items of material culture. The collection was made possible as part of a collaboration between the Dorsky Museum in New York and Historic Huguenot Street. The materials here are divided into five areas, including Historical Background, Installation Photographs, Types of Coverlets, and Carpet Weaving. The Historical Background area is a great place to start, as it includes five documents that tell about the history of these unique woven bed coverings and the techniques used to create them. Moving on, visitors shouldn't miss the Types of Coverlets area, where they can learn about the various patterns and techniques used to create geometric, figured, and float work patterns. Finally, the Historical Documents area includes inventories of coverlets held by prominent persons in the Hudson Valley area during the early 19th century. [KMG]

Network Tools


Personal cloud services are growing rapidly and they can be quite useful. However, they open up various security concerns and people can be a bit wary of using them. The DataLocker suite of products is free, and it can encrypt and store secure files in any local file system or cloud storage system, including Dropbox. First-time visitors can check out a tutorial on this website to decide whether they wish to download the application. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]


Perhaps you are reading along with some text and you'd like to know the meaning of an unfamiliar word. You may not want to switch over to another webpage to look up the word, and this is where DefinePlug comes in handy. DefinePlug incorporates word definitions from, allowing visitors to click on a word and see its definition. This version is compatible with all computers running the Google Chrome browser. [KMG]

In The News

Remains of Shakespeare-associated Curtain Theatre found in London

Early theater of Shakespeare is unearthed in London

Does the rediscovery of Shakespeare's Curtain theatre matter? Absolutely.

Developers plan 'performance space' near remains of Shakespeare's Curtain Theatre

Curtain up on Shakespeare's lost theatre

Shakespeare's Globe virtual tour

Shakespeare Online

Shakespeare is renowned for his iconic Globe Theatre, which staged some of the most beloved plays in the English language. But he started his career at the more modest Curtain Theatre, which opened in 1577. Shakespeare's company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, performed at the Curtain from 1597 to 1599. There, they likely debuted Romeo and Juliet and Henry V, among other plays which would become classics. The theatre itself is immortalized as "this wooden O" in a line from Henry V. After 1627, however, record of the Curtain fades, and its exact location remained a mystery until just a few days ago, when archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology stumbled upon it while working on a nearby project. More will be revealed as the team continues its excavations of this Shoreditch, London relic, perhaps even details of what the spectators ate, drank, and wore to the plays. It's an intriguing find, offering a window into a past that many still love to imagine and relive through Shakespeare's own words. [CM]

The first link will take visitors to the New York Times' "Arts Beat" blog, which features a short overview of the find, as well as the history of the Curtain. The second link builds upon this by reminding readers why rediscovery of this theatre matters, even when we have such rich data on other theatres of the time. The third article discusses the plans of Plough Yard Development, which owns the site, to leverage the discovery to revitalize the area. A fourth article, from Current Archaeology, describes the find in greater detail, including the fascinating note that the outer yard was paved with sheep knucklebones. On the Shakespeare's Globe virtual tour site, visitors will be able to explore the reconstruction of the Globe for a better idea of what theatres of the time would have looked like. Finally, Shakespeare Online provides an array of resources, from featured quotes and a word of the week to a series of articles on various aspects of the Bard's work and history. In addition, Shakespeare's works are available in full, along with study guides for and commentary on some selections.

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