The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 25

June 22, 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

Rand Corporation: Education and the Arts

One of the RAND Corporations broad portfolio of research areas is education and the arts. Their research in this area includes work on assessment and accountability, choice-based and standards-based school reform, vocational training, and the value of arts education and policy. The archive accessible here includes over 1200 reports, research briefs, periodicals, and commentary pieces. First-time visitors should check out the "Featured at RAND" area on the homepage, where they will find the latest research on topics as diverse as inclusionary zoning, transforming Indonesia's centralized education system, and the strategic value of African tribal art. The "Multimedia" area includes podcasts and video reports on freedom of expression in the Arab world, the importance of summer educational programs, and a presentation by Brian Stecher on how to cultivate thriving schools. Finally, visitors can also sign up to receive program updates via Twitter, RSS feeds, and newsletters. [KMG]

Earth Exploration Toolbook

Created by the folks at the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College, the Earth Exploration Toolbook (EET) was created "to support access to and effective use of scientific datasets and analysis tools by the educational community." The chapters of the Toolbook provide educators step-by-step instructions for using Earth system science datasets and scientific analysis tools. Visitors may wish to begin by exploring the "How can I use the EET?" section. After this, they can click on the "Chapters in the EET" area and start using one of the resources 43 chapters. Chapters include "Analyzing the Antarctic Ozone Hole," "Climate History from Deep Sea Sediments," and "Evidence for Plate Tectonics." Also, it is worth noting that the "Tools" area on the right-hand side of the page allows users to look for specific tools, such as online mapping, image analysis, and data portals. [KMG]

Elizabeth Barrett Browning Project

This rather remarkable project, based at the University of North Dakota, is a loving tribute to the works of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Directed by Dr. Sandra Donaldson, the project fills a gap in the scholarly literature surrounding Browning's works. In 2010, a five-volume print edition of these works was published, under the editorial direction of Dr. Donaldson. This site presents all the version of Brownings heavily revised poems that are difficult to represent in linear print format. These multiple interactive versions allow us to see online how Browning reworked her poems over time. Overall, this is quite an innovative and important resource. The poems made available here include "A Child Asleep, "Loved Once, and "The House of Clouds. Further along, visitors can explore the "Prose" area to view different iterations of works such as "The Book of Poets" and "American Poetry. [KMG]

The Physics Front

The Physics Front is a public service provided by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), with additional sponsorship from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Here, teachers can browse physics resources by topic (such as "conceptual physics" and "AP-Calculus"), learn about lesson plans via the "Lesson Plan Central" area, and check out the latest "Featured Resource. A simple search engine on the top of the homepage can be used to find items of particular interest, and the "Browse Collection" option provides an easy-to-use route to over eighty different subtopics, such as diffraction, statics of fluids, and atomic physics. Also, visitors can create a free membership registration, which allows them to rate materials, participate in discussions, and organize resources in a personal filing cabinet. Additionally, visitors can sign up in the "Get Involved" section to become a peer-reviewer or a forum moderator for the site. [KMG]

Black History in Wisconsin

African Americans have lived in Wisconsin since the mid-19th century, and their story is an important part of Wisconsin's history. This online collection from the Wisconsin Historical Society brings together documents that tell the story of the state's African American community. The materials here are divided into six sections, including "The Fur Trade Era, "The Later 19th Century, and "The Civil Rights Era. Each one of these sections contains a brief narrative essay that provides a bit of historical background. There are over 40 documents embedded within these sections, including items such as a poster advertising an abolitionist rally in Milwaukee and several articles about the 1923 tour of the Peters Chicago Union Giants, an African American baseball team that toured the state playing local teams. [KMG]

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is actually three museums: the Natural History Museum, the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, and the William S. Hart Museum. Visitors can learn about the ongoing work and research projects conducted by the dedicated staff members who work at these properties. A great place to start is the "Explore Exhibits" area. This section contains over two dozen areas, such as "Age of Mammals, "Spider Pavilion, and "California History. Moving on, the "Research Collections" contains information about their various research enterprises, along with free downloadable teaching materials that deal with entomology, anthropology, and mineral sciences. Finally, the site also contains information about visiting the museums and their online store. [KMG]

The University of Michigan Digital Humanities Series

The University of Michigan Digital Humanities Series is designed to "feature rigorous research that advances understanding of the nature and implications of the changing relationship between humanities and digital technologies." The website contains books, monographs, and a range of experimental formats that are made available at no charge. A great place to start is the "Our Books" area. Here visitors can read a range of titles, such as "Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics" and "Home Truths?: Video Production and Domestic Life. Potential authors can use the "For Authors" area to learn how to submit their own idea for a work that explores fundamental issues within the new media landscape, including inequality, identity, learning, public health, work, and sociability." Also, visitors can sign up to receive updates from the Digital Humanities Series via Twitter or RSS feed. [KMG]

U.S. Census Bureau: County Business and Demographics

The United States Census Bureau publishes hundreds of reports and statistical updates each year that are quite popular with public policy makers, researchers, and interested members of the public. This recent interactive map draws on data from the County Business Patterns program to highlight annual statistics for businesses with paid employees within the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The business statistics here are viewable on the national, state, and county levels. It is worth noting, however, that the data does not include statistics on self-employed businesses or employees of private households. Visitors can use the novel icons on the map to learn about the states that have the most auto repair stores, electronics shops, and gas stations. Visitors can then click on each icon to look at a more detailed map. Additionally, when visitors click on "Explore the Map" they can even create their own customized map that displays a wealth of data culled from recent surveys, such as the American Community Survey. [KMG]

General Interest

Commedia dell'Arte: The Masks of Antonio Fava

Born amidst the tremendously productive cultural backdrop of the Italian Renaissance, Commedia dell'Arte is an art form that continues to inspire theatrical groups around the world. In the city of Chicago, its spirit is still an integral part of the city's thriving improvisational comedy scene. It makes sense that Northwestern University would have a wonderful collection of masks created by Antonio Fava, the noted contemporary master of this art form. Visitors can click on the "Biography" tab to learn about Fava, and they will also want to peruse the "Commedia dell'Arte" section to learn more about how this art form was created by Carlo Goldoni. The collection was purchased with a grant from the estate of Dorothy Jean Adams, and this website presents photos and 3D molds that will allow a wider public to appreciate these masks. The "Masks" area is the signature aspect of the site, and it includes magnificent images of five masks, including those that represent the spirit of "pulcinella" (the chicken) and "pantaloon" (the foolish old man). [KMG]

Frank M. Hohenberger Photograph Collection

For 47 years, photographer and newspaperman Frank Hohenberger roamed around the highways and byways of Brown County, Indiana recording the life and times of this unique corner of the state. From time to time he also made forays into Kentucky, South Carolina, New England, Canada and Mexico. Once, he offered the memorable observation that "pictures speak the only language all mankind can understand." Visitors to this site created by Indiana University's Digital Library Program can browse the photos by date or by series. The series option is quite nice, as visitors can scan through his numerous trips. The "New England, 1950" series, for instance, features images of old bars, the waterfall at Kent House in Quebec, and hand-painted signs. It's a beautiful collection and one that may inspire photographers and others with an eye for capturing landscapes near and far. [KMG]

Seattle Art Museum: Australian Aboriginal Art

The fascinating world of Australian aboriginal art is captured in this digital collection from the Seattle Art Museum, a real find. Designed to complement an in situ exhibit, this collection brings together a number of works from the Kaplan & Levi Collection. Visitors will find that the materials here are divided into three primary areas: "Home, "Dream, and "Art. In the "Home" area, visitors can learn about the geographical regions where aboriginal peoples live. Moving on, visitors can click on the "Dream" area to learn about how the process of dreaming "encompasses the cosmologies and belief systems of Aboriginal societies." The "Art" section features an image gallery that contains works like Wati Kutjara's arresting "Two Men Story" and the elliptical shapes of Mitjili Napanangka Gibson's "Wilkinkarra. [KMG]

Knight Digital Media Center: Presentations and Webcasts

Based at the University of California-Berkeley, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is dedicated to supporting the practice of high-quality journalism in all of its manifestations. Over the years, the Knight Digital Media Center has created online tutorials, workshops, and other pedagogical tools to help journalists of all stripes. This rather fun and interesting section of the Media Center's website presents hundreds of different webcast presentations culled from their many presentations and talks. Visitors can scroll through the list of presentations that includes "Engage Audiences With Visual Storytelling, "The Changing World of Journalism, and "Finding Stories in the Social Stream. It's a tremendous resource that all journalists and others will want to bookmark for future reference. [KMG]

Illinois Digital Archives

Created in 2000, the Illinois Digital Archives (IDA) is a repository for the digital collection of the Illinois State Library and other libraries and cultural organizations from the Land of Lincoln. The collections are collected from Chicago, Deerfield, Dundee, Elgin and dozens of other communities. The diverse range of materials includes oral histories, complete manuscripts, posters, newspapers, and maps. First-time visitors may wish to start with the "Park Forest-An Illinois Planned Community" collection. Here they can learn about this unique planned community established outside of Chicago after World War II. Visitors can continue browsing the rest of the collections focus their gaze by using the "Advanced Search" option. [KMG]

The Higher Education Academy Engineering

Based in Britain, the Higher Education Academy (HEA) "supports a large network of learning and teaching practitioners involved in engineering and materials. This particular section of their impressive website brings together learning resources, best practices materials, and pedagogical studies designed to help persons who teach engineering. On the left-hand side of the page, visitors will find seven sections, including "Engineering Teaching Guides," "Engineering Events," and their "STEM Blog. In the "Engineering Teaching Guides" area, visitors will find several valuable guides, including "Approaches to the Teaching of Design, "Assessing Creativity in Design, and "Introduction to Learning and Teaching. The "STEM Blog" is a real gem because a variety of commentators give their opinions about new online interactive tools and teaching techniques related to the STEM fields. The site is rounded out by a link to the UK Centre for Materials Education and archived material from the main site. [KMG]

The Environmental Institute

The Environmental Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst encourages and supports collaboration across colleges and disciplines in environmental research and education." On the left-hand side of the page, visitors can learn about the different resources, which include "Environmental Analysis Laboratory, "TEI Environmental Lecture Series, "Conferences, and the "Water Resources Research Center. Visitors would do well to click on the "Water Resources Research Center" to learn about their work, publications, and current research projects. One particularly useful set of resources here is provided within the "WRRC Databases" area. They are two interactive databases: "Acid Rain Monitoring Project" and "Stormwater Technologies Clearinghouse. Policy makers and scientists will find both quite useful, and may wish to share them with friends and colleagues. The site is rounded out with information about their recent and upcoming conferences. [KMG]

Steve Jobs at the Smithsonian

The late Steve Jobs was quite an inventor and innovator, and this online collection from the Smithsonian pays tribute to his life and accomplishments. The materials here, culled from a range of sources, are divided into areas such as "Collections, "Virtual Exhibitions, "Podcasts, "Activities, and "Educator Resources. The "Podcasts" area is a great place to start, and it features Deborah Cohn, the commissioner of trademarks at the US Patent and Trademark Office talking about Jobs and his trademarks. Moving along, the "Activities" area features resources designed to inspire young inventors, including a downloadable notebook and a great vintage magazine article titled "Art to Zoo: Turning Dreams into Reality. Of course, there are several other resources here directly related to Jobs' life, including an excerpt from an oral history interview conducted with him in 1995. Finally, the "Articles" area brings together commentaries on Jobs from Matt Novak and Henry Adams. [KMG]

Network Tools


The inFocus feature is quite useful if you want to focus in on a particular feature of a website. Visitors can just type in any given website, and they will have the ability to create rectangles that highlight certain areas of interest. It's very easy to utilize and it is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

Abine Googlesharing

Many people like to browse anonymously, but this can be difficult with search services such as Google and others. The Abine company has created the GoogleSharing add-on to help people retain anonymity. GoogleSharing is a kind of proxy service that mixes the request of many different users together, so that Google is not capable of telling what is coming from whom. The current beta version of Googlesharing is only compatible with Firefox. [KMG]

In The News

Amidst global conflict and economic uncertainty, the Rio+20 meeting goes on

Rio Environment Meeting Focuses on 'Energy for All'

Rio+20 Summit Overshadowed by Global Economy

Major cities tackle climate change while Rio summit's outcome remains uncertain

Kazuhiko Takemoto: Rio 20: What Will Come Of It?

C40 Cities: Climate Leadership Group


This week, a large gathering of diplomats and activists are meeting in Rio de Janeiro to talk about how the Earth's growing population should address concerns about the planet's environment and resources. The summit is particularly noteworthy as it marks the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Earth Summit, which was also held in Rio. There are high hopes for the meeting, but some commentators remain skeptical given the very serious economic and political crises that are roiling counties around the world. A few notable individuals have declined to participate, including President Barack Obama, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain. The hope is that the representatives present at the conference may be able to tackle very large questions, such as protecting the world's forests and fisheries, and encouraging agriculture that is gentler on the land. Some people are heartened by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which represents 59 cities around the world, including Los Angeles and Bogota. At the conference in Rio, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will publicly announce that four dozen of the world's largest cities have taken steps to cut 248 million tons of greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a radio report from NPR about the international summit in Rio. The second link leads to an article from this Monday's New York Times about the difficulties involved with having such a summit at this particular moment. Moving on, the third link will take interested parties to a piece from this Tuesday's Washington Post which talks about the partnership created by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. The fourth link leads to a bit of commentary on the summit from Kazuhiko Takemoto, the senior advisor to the Japanese Minister of the Environment. The fifth link will take users to the homepage of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, where visitors can learn about their initiatives and current work. Finally, the last link will take users to the official homepage of the Rio+20 summit, complete with the agenda for the gathering and policy documents.

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