The Scout Report -- Volume 18, Number 30

July 27, 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

National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program

The National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) is "the primary source of funds for the production of geologic maps in the United States." The NCGMP was created by the National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992 and its work includes producing surficial and bedrock geologic map coverage for the entire country. The program has partnered with a range of educational institutions, and this site provides access to many of the fruits of this partnership, along with educational materials. The place to start here is the What's a Geologic Map? area. Here visitors can read a helpful article on this subject, authored by David R. Soller of the U.S. Geological Survey. Moving on, visitors can click on the National Geologic Map Database link. The database contains over 88,000 maps, along with a lexicon of geologic names, and material on the NCGMP's upcoming mapping initiatives. Those persons with an interest in the organization of the NCGMP should look at the Program Components area. Finally, the Products-Standards area contains basic information on the technical standards and expectations for the mapping work. [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

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Based in Berlin, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) was established in 1994 as a research institute administered by the Max Planck Society. The researchers at the MPIWG ask questions that include "How did the fundamental scientific concepts (e.g. number, force, heredity, probability and practices (e.g. experiment, proof, classification) develop in specific historical contexts?" The materials on this site are divided into five primary sections, which include Resources, Staff, and Research. Visitors should click on over to the Resources area to get started with their exploration of the site. Here they will find resources that include Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative and the wonderful Machine Drawings 1200-1650 archive. This particular archive contains over 1,800 machine drawings that record the history of technical innovation and ingenuity. In the Research area, visitors will find information about ongoing investigations in fields that like Ideals and Practices of Rationality, Experimental Systems and Spaces of Knowledge, and Art and Knowledge in Pre-Modern Europe. The site is rounded out by the Staff area where interested parties can learn about scholars in residence at the Institute. [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 Middle East Water Collection

The subject of water is of increasing global importance, and access to water will continue to be a divisive issue in the coming years. This fascinating collection from the Oregon State University Libraries brings together approximately 9,000 items on political, socio-economic, demographic, and legal issues of water in the Middle East. The collection was started by Thomas Naff, professor emeritus of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. The primary goal of this online collection is "to gain a better perspective on how water issues thread through and across many disciplines of thought - irrespective of borders or boundaries, cultures or historical differences." On the site, visitors will find they can search the materials by region or country, basins, or a drop-down menu of subject headings, which include finance, industry, and hydrology. Interested parties who plan on returning to the site can create a collection of their favorite items, and they can also use the Help area to get assistance on using the collection. [KMG]

CDC Features: Data & Statistics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes reams of data every day of the year, and this website is a nice place to find germane information quickly with relatively little fuss. At the top of the page, visitors can view press releases that digest recent findings on depression, cancer deaths, the norovirus illness, and brain injury. These reports date back to June 2007, and include summary statistics, along with a narrative description of the findings for each topic. The descriptions are written in non-technical language that can be utilized by journalists, students, and those working in the field of public health. Some of the more recent features include Top 10 Cancers Among Men, Lung Cancer, Obesity Rates, and Painkiller Overdoses. Overall, this is a great resource and one that visitors can keep tabs on via the CDC's social media, which includes a RSS or Twitter feed. [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

Salk Institute: Videos

The Salk Institute was founded in 1960 by the late Jonas Salk and to this day researchers there investigate cancer, aging, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and infectious diseases. The Institute's media and press relations team is actively involved with publicizing various works and accomplishments, to which end this site allows public access to videos created at the Institute. The videos here are divided into seven sections, including Diabetes and Metabolism, Plant Biology, and AIDS. Each of these sections includes videos that feature researchers and others talking about everything from new insights into cell aging to how the common cold virus might be used to target and disrupt cancer cells. Perhaps the most remarkable section here is titled Institute Videos. This section includes videos on the relationship between art and science, along with profiles of the glassworks of Dale Chihuly that reside at the Institute. [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

CTE Resource Center: Nanotechnology

The CTE Resource Center is a public service created by the state of Virginia to support "career and technical and occupational-technical preparation programs by providing resources for curriculum development and program design." The Center's broad website provides a number of topical sections that deal with subjects such as biology, green technology, cooperative education, and cyberethics. The nanotechnology area in particular provides several dozen resources that deal with this rapidly growing field of technology. The materials here are divided into three areas: Careers in Nanotechnology, Classroom Resources, and Basic Concepts, Research, and Applications. The Classroom Resources section contains a range of useful items, from the 27-minute film "When Things Get Small" (about the quest to create the smallest magnet ever known) to a set of classroom materials on nanotechnology from the University of Wisconsin. Moving on, the Careers in Nanotechnology is quite useful as well, as it features online job centers dedicated to the field and links to the National Nanotechnology Initiative's Workforce and Training 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

British Library: Podcasts

The British Library has raised the bar for thoughtful and wonderful podcasts with this trove of conversations about exhibits, history, science, and other topics. First-time visitors will note that the podcasts are divided into four sections, which include Social Science Events and Talks, discussions and interviews. It's a good idea to start with the last section listed here, where visitors can listen to talks on the American presidential election system, the Gospel of St. Cuthbert, and the sonnets of William Shakespeare. The Science Events area is quite a find as well, as the musings here cover "What's in a Name: Taxonomy in Crisis?" and "Stem Cells: A Panacea for our Future?" Moving along, visitors can learn about the different sections of the library by taking a listen to the podcasts in the Audio Guides area. Finally, visitors can sign up to learn about new podcasts via their RSS feed. [KMG]

General Interest

Sakura: Cherry Blossoms as Living Symbols of Friendship

In 1912, the city of Tokyo made a wonderful gift to the citizens of Washington, D.C. when they sent along 3,000 cherry trees. Every spring since, these sakura (cherry blossoms) have enlivened the area around the Tidal Basin: the National Cherry Blossom Festival draws more than one million visitors each year from all corners of the globe. This fine digital collection from the Library of Congress tells the story of these landmark trees and offers insight into the historical significance of cherry blossoms in Japan. Visitors can start by clicking on the Themes area to look over original paintings, postcards, and other documents related to topics such as Watercolors of the Original Sakura and Sakura: Cherry Blossoms in Japanese Cultural History. One very moving item here is an editorial cartoon by Herbert Block which depicts President Franklin D. Roosevelt tending to withering olive branches as fragile symbols of peace while the cherry trees blossom in the background. Also, visitors can click on the Exhibition Items area to view a chart of all the items included on the site. [KMG]

Center for Research Libraries

Located on Chicago's South Side, the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is an international consortium of university, college, and independent research libraries. The CRL was founded in 1949, and since then it has expanded its work to include digital preservation and access projects. Visitors with an interest in the world of information sciences can click on the Archiving & Preservation area to learn about the CRL's scholarly work on digital archives and ongoing projects. The Collections area gives visitors access to groups of documents about a variety of topics like colonial-era newspapers in Africa, the activities of the Brazilian government, and pamphlets and periodicals from the French Revolution of 1848. Scholars will find the Topic Guides area very useful as well. These guides survey types of source materials in broad collection areas, including African studies, human rights, anthropology, and two dozen other areas. Finally, visitors can sign up to follow the CRL on Twitter and a range of other social media outlets. [KMG]

American Dental Education Association

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) has over 19,000 members, including students, faculty, staff, and administrators from across the United States and Canada. One of the Association's stated goals is to foster "interconnected community experiences that enable members to meet their individual goals while leveraging their collective strength." This website offers a great deal of interconnectivity, as those seeking to join the dental profession can learn about scholarship opportunities, accredited dentistry schools, and professional development. In the Dental Education Pathways area, visitors can read guides like "ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools" and "ADEA Opportunities for Minorities in United States Dental Schools." Further along is the Policy and Advocacy area, where visitors can learn about the current shortages in dental healthcare professionals and the group's special interest in dental education outreach. The site is rounded out by the Publications area, which contains some members-only publications, along with the open-access YouTube For Dental Students area. These videos profile dental students by asking them to respond to questions such as "What made you decide to go into dentistry?" and "How was your path to dental school unique?" [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

West Texas Digital Archives

The West Texas Digital Archives were created by the staff at the Abilene Library Consortium with the kind support of the Dodge Jones Foundation and the Dian Graves Owen Foundation. The materials here come from a range of institutions, including the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum, the Howard Payne University Library, and the Abilene Public Library. On the homepage, visitors can click on the Libraries area to browse each individual collection as they see fit. The Abilene Public Library has contributed some real gems, including oral histories of the city, city directories, and cemetery records. Educators will enjoy the Teacher's Curriculum area, as it includes teacher worksheets and classroom activities that incorporate persuasive writing lessons and interactive discussions. Visitor can use the Browse tab here to look over the entire repository and they can also browse by author, title, or subject. Finally, visitors can create their own accounts so they can save items of note for future consideration. [KMG]

Forgotten Chapters of Boston's Literary History

People may know about Longfellow and Poe, but do they know about the ongoing literary feud between these two sons of New England? They will after perusing this marvelous digital exhibit from the Boston Public Library and the Massachusetts Historical Society, which explores some of the "forgotten chapters" of the Hub's literary history. Designed to complement an in situ exhibit, this collection contains six thematic sections, along with an audio introduction and an interactive map of said literary history. The sections include "The Poet Buried on Boston Common," "Buried Treasure and Turkeys," and "The First Seasons of the Federal Street Theatre." The "Poet" area is quite a find, as it profiles the work of Charles Sprague, a Boston poet of the 19th century who is little-remembered today. The "Buried Treasure" area features rediscovered literary pieces (and some that should have stayed hidden) from the literary magazines published in Boston between 1790 and 1860. One the unearthed gems is "A Winter Walk," which was originally published under the nom de plume Anonymous, but which was later revealed to have been penned by Henry David Thoreau. Lastly, the section titled "Longfellow's Serenity and Poe's Prediction" takes on the literary brouhaha that existed between Longfellow and Poe in the 1830s and 1840s. [KMG]

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum is housed in a gorgeous building designed by noted architect I.M. Pei. For those who can't make it to Boston to visit, the associated website is full of relevant information about President Kennedy's life, speeches, presidency, and legacy. This section of the site is dedicated to seven interesting interactive exhibits, including "We Choose The Moon," "The President's Desk," and "White House Diary." In "The President's Desk," visitors can explore Kennedy's work space. This exhibit includes items from his travels, like the famous coconut he carved after his ship, the PT-109, was attacked off the Solomon Islands. The "We Choose The Moon" area contains archival photos and footage describing how President Kennedy helped lead the quest to land a manned spacecraft on the moon. The "White House Diary" takes visitors on an interactive tour through each day of the Kennedy precedency, highlighting the speeches, meetings, conferences, and other activities that commanded his time in office. [KMG]

"I shall ever be your dearest love": John Keats and Fanny Brawne

When the poet John Keats met Fanny Brawne, he was quite taken by her. They met in 1818, and in a letter to his brother George that autumn he remarked that she was "beautiful and elegant, graceful, silly, fashionable and strange." This collection, from the Keats Collection at Harvard University, brings together items that illuminate their courtship, including a number of Keats's love letters to Brawne. The Introduction area is a good place to start, since it provides a nice introduction to Keats and Brawne. The other sections here (such as 1818 through 1819) document their budding affection through autograph letters, silhouettes, photographs, and a lock of Brawne's hair. Perhaps the most moving section here is the Love Made Public area. Here visitors will find correspondence and materials related to the discovery of their love by other parties, told through letters and other documents. It's quite a story and one that will fascinate anyone with an interest in affairs of the heart. [KMG]

Network Tools

XaoS 3.5

To experience the world of fractals is quite a treat. This wonderful application allows visitors the opportunity to explore fractals by continuously zooming in and out around their various forms and manifestations. XaoS can display a wide range of fractal types, including Mandelbrot, Phoenix, and many more. The site includes a number of tutorials, complete with information about how the program can be used in classroom settings. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

PDF Maker

It can be a bit onerous to create pdf files, but this helpful online tool makes this process easy. Visitors can insert their existing document online here and customize it as they see fit. The tool includes features that allows users to modify the page orientation, the margins, fonts, embedded links, and so on. It's a very helpful addition for those looking to create these files and it is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]

In The News

As the Summer Olympics begin in London, there is some well-founded anxiety about the long-term benefits of hosting such a grand venture

Business and the Olympics: Victors and spoils

London Olympics: Are organizers not willing to pay for play?,0,4734546.story

Why The Olympics Aren't Good For Us, And How They Can Be

BBC Sport: Olympics

London 2012

Opening Ceremony of 1948 London Olympics

This Friday, the Olympics will return to London for the first time since 1948, and the entire world will be watching. This major sporting event itself will be closely watched by the usual suspects (sports media, pundits, and the like), but urban studies types will be most interested in watching after the fact to see how the infrastructure improvements created for the Olympics hold up over time. A number of commentators, including the folks at The Economist, have been intrigued by the business aspects of the Games. In an article in this week's edition, they reported that the British government's budget for the games is around $14.5 billion. In addition, the International Olympic Committee has raised $4.87 billion in broadcast fees for the Olympic cycle that includes the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. They also noted that there is an interesting hierarchy of sponsors. And what of the broad benefits that might accrue to the host country? The findings are mixed: Victor Matheson of the College of the Holy Cross noted that organizers of big sporting events tend to overestimate the benefits and underestimate the costs. Illustrating this point, noted academics Bent Flyvbjerg and Allison Stewart of Oxford University recently released a working paper noting that every Olympiad since 1960 has gone over budget. This may increase anxiety for the average Briton. [KMG]

The first link leads to The Economist article which offers a cost-benefit analysis of hosting the London Summer Olympics. The second link will take users to a piece from the Los Angeles Times about the pay scale for major pop music acts that will be appearing at the Games. Moving along, the third link will whisk visitors to a nice editorial piece by Mark Perryman on how the Olympics could be improved the next go-round. The fourth link will lead interested parties to the BBC's site dedicated to coverage of the Summer Olympics. The fifth link will take guests to the official London Summer Olympics, complete with detailed schedule, venue information, and video clips. The last link leads to a wonderful newsreel of the opening ceremonies of the 1948 Olympic Games, which were also held in London.

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