The Scout Report
September 14, 2012 -- Volume 18, Number 37
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsored by University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries
The Little Red Schoolhouse writing course for graduate students and advanced undergraduates has been a staple offering at the University of Chicago for decades. Over the years, Lawrence McEnerney (Director of the University of Chicago Writing Program) and the late Professor Joseph M. Williams worked together to craft this fine guide to college writing. The guide was created with first and second year students at the University of Chicago in mind, but it can be used effectively with a wide range of students who wish to write clearly and concisely. The guide is divided into five sections, including "Some crucial differences between high school and college writing," "Preparing to write and drafting the paper," and "Revising the introduction and conclusion." An important section here is: "But what if you get stuck? A good solution and terrible solution," which discusses, among other things, how to avoid plagiarism. Throughout this work, the advice is sage, lucid, and well-intentioned. It is an indispensable resource for any and all persons who wish to succeed in becoming better writers in college. [KMG]
The focus of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Center for Astronomy Education is simple, yet important: it is "dedicated to the professional development of introductory astronomy instructors." To that end, this website provides articles from guest bloggers, educational materials, and an array of high-quality resources. On the homepage, visitors can view sections that include Teaching Strategies, Publications, and Seeing the Universe. The Teaching Strategies area includes guest posts from college level astronomy instructors, while the archive includes posts focused on classroom assessment, curriculum, and goals. Moving on, the Seeing the Universe area includes an archive of images that can be used in the astronomy classroom. One of the best overall resources in the Teaching Strategies section is "You Don't Have to Do it from Scratch," which teaches instructors how to use conventional PowerPoint lectures more effectively. Finally, visitors can connect with the Center via Facebook and other social media sites. [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 atˇhttp://amser.org.
William Shakespeare was happy to write about blood, bile, melancholy, and phlegm at length. During his time, balances of these four humors were thought to affect physical and mental health, along with defining individual personalities. These humors bred the emotions of anger, grief, hope, and fear, all of which can be found in Shakespeare's works in varying intensities. This digital exhibit from the U.S. National Library of Medicine explores the portrayal of the humors in Shakespeare's work by looking at plays such as Hamlet and the Merchant of Venice. Using materials from the Folger Shakespeare Library, the site examines the temperaments of several classic Shakespeare characters like Katherine Minola of "The Taming of the Shrew" and the melancholy Ophelia of "Hamlet." The site also includes educational materials, such as the "Changing Explanations in Mind-Body Medicine" module created by Professor Ted Brown of the University of Rochester and lesson plans for middle or high school classes. [KMG]
Jay "Ding" Darling was a wildlife enthusiast who was perhaps better known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoons. Today, a National Wildlife Refuge in Florida bears his name and this fine digital collection pays tribute to his time as a Beloit College student. During his student years, Darling created illustrations for the student yearbook (the Codex) and newspapers like the Des Moines Register. The online collection has 78 items, including letters, cartoons, draft drawings, and so on. One of the most interesting items here is a letter written by Darling in 1959 that recounts the time he met Joseph Stalin. Also, his illustrations for the 1899 Codex are truly delightful. They include a creative illustration of the baseball team's schedule and a rather humorous illustration of the "college graveyard," complete with tombstones for past events, such as the junior prom. [KMG]
Under the direction of Monk Rowe, Hamilton College has built an amazing collection of interviews with jazz musicians, arrangers, writers, and critics. The college started collecting all of these interviews back in 1995, and since that time they have interviewed over 300 people. First-time visitors will note that each interview includes an audio file of the conversation, a photograph of the interviewee, and a transcript. A good place to start is the library website, available under Access to Interviews. On the library website, users can browse a Topics dropdown menu, which includes acoustic guitarists, composers, jazz banjo, and dozens of others. Some of the highlights here include conversations with Nat Adderley, Junior Mance, and legendary vibraphonist Terry Gibbs. [KMG]
Back in 2003, the North Carolina History and Fiction Digital Library was started and the first year was quite a success. The project began with the digitizing of 200 texts pertaining to the history of 29 eastern North Carolina counties. Over the past few years, in partnership with the Historic Hope Foundation, Tobacco Farm Life Museum, the Country Doctor Museum, and members of ECU's College of Education, the Digital Library has greatly expanded its collection. Today the project is known as the Eastern North Carolina Digital Library and visitors with an interest in the region will find much to enjoy here. The materials can be browsed by title, author, subject, county, artifacts, maps, or by the classroom heading. This last option is crucial, as it includes lesson plans and activities. The Podcasts area is a real treat, as it features conversations about objects from the Hope Plantation and the Country Doctor Museum. In the documents area, visitors would do well to start their journey by reading "An Account of the Cape Fear Country, 1731" which is a dramatic and descriptive narrative for the ages. [KMG]
This website is part of a novel collaboration between the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Minnesota Historical Society, funded in part by Minnesota's Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment. The American Indian items contained here were amassed by Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple and his first and second wives, Cornelia and Evangeline. After Evangeline died in 1930, many of the artifacts were obtained by a Minneapolis antiques dealer, by the Minnesota Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and in 1996, the Minnesota Historical Society. Visitors can take a look through these items, which are located in four sections: Material Culture, People, Places, and Voices. The interface for the site is visually appealing, and clicking on any of these sections will reveal dozens of images, complete with provenance information and further details. The People section is quite revealing, as it contains portraits of American Indians like Taopi and Wakinyanwaste. The Voices area is a real treat, featuring feedback from visitors on the objects here, along with commentary from artists whose art appears in the collection. [KMG]
During World War II, the United States government crafted hundreds of different posters to promote military service, the conservation of natural resources, and so on. The Northwestern University Libraries has collected and digitized 338 of these posters for close consideration by the curious public. The majority of the items here were issued between 1941 and 1945, and they can be searched by keyword, issuing agency, description, and artist. First-time visitors may do well to look over the two excellent posters created by the celebrated artist Ben Shahn. Both of these posters capture the drama and the difficulty of this age and they are representative of his fine work. This a remarkable collection and one that will be of great use to art historians and those with a passion for American history. [KMG]
The story of Loyola University in Chicago can be told via its alumni, its campus, and of course, its many well-known academic programs. But what of the stories that can be found within the pages of the University's many yearbooks? Today such large volumes might seem a bit passÇ, but for decades they contained the stories, aspirations, and accomplishments of the student body. This digitization project, undertaken by the Loyola University Archives and the CARLI Book Digitization Program, contains several different types of class yearbooks. "The Loyolan" was the official yearbook of the university, "Towers" was the College of Commerce's yearbook, "Dentos" served as the yearbook of record for the School of Dentistry, and the School of Medicine broke form by changing its yearbook title from year to year. Visitors can scan through each document at their leisure, so it's fun to pick a random volume and just starting exploring. Finally, there are also some Miscellaneous Volumes, such as copies of the Loyola University Magazine from the years 1901 to 1921. [KMG]
Guess what: On the National Atlas website you can find and make thousands of maps. It's just as interesting as it sounds to let these maps "tell their own stories." This work began as part of an effort to create a new national atlas back in 1997, and since that time it has grown exponentially to include participatory mapping, fact sheets, and much more. Its "father" atlas was created in 1970 and was priced at $100. First-time visitors should use the various sections (Biology, Boundaries, and so on) to learn about the different layers of map data that can be viewed via this digital atlas. Moving on, the Dynamic Maps area includes dozens of maps such as Volcanoes, Vegetation Growth, and Wildlife Mortality. After that, visitors should move on to Map Maker to create their own maps using dozens of thematic map layers contained within topical areas such as geology, history, and government. Half a dozen visits wouldn't do this site justice and it's a valuable resource for geographers, policy-makers, and those in private industry. [KMG]
Learning to navigate the treacherous shoals of the chemistry laboratory is tricky business. Fortunately, interested parties can use this fine online course from MIT's OpenCourseWare to become more familiar with such matters. The course consists of "intensive practical training in basic chemistry lab techniques" and the site includes a host of instructional videos. The manual and materials for this course were prepared by Dr. Katherine J. Franze and Dr. Kevin M. Shea in collaboration with a number of their colleagues. Visitors can make their way through the syllabus, course calendar, labs, and the study materials. In the Study Materials area, visitors will find ten videos, including "Using a Balance," "Melting Point Determination," and "Thin-Layer Chromatography." Students of chemistry and educators will find this site most useful and will wish to share it widely with others. [KMG]
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) traces the history of childhood through products designed for - and art objects about - children since 1900. Follow the button wheel clockwise to progress through the decades. Some notable examples are a group of Prairie School objects including a 1902 high chair designed by William Drummond, and one of the most well-known Frank Lloyd Wright icons, the stained glass window from the Avery Coonley Playhouse. Chicago is highlighted as influential in the playground movement with an image of a swing set from 1905, in a city park. A smiling Walt Disney stands next to an aerial view of Disneyland near the beginning of the "Power Play," 1960s to 1990s section of the exhibition. A little later on the timeline, see Jake & Dinos Chapman's "Unhappy Meal III," presented without curatorial commentary, related to an advertisement for Nutricia, an enriched powdered milk supplement, dated 1927-28. [DS]
Why are there so many flame retardants surrounding American babies? It's an important question as these potentially toxic chemicals are present in just about every common household item. The Chicago Tribute and its research team set out to look into this situation and the results of the investigation can be found on this site. The report is divided into four parts which include video clips, industry documents, and other related items. The parts include "Torching the Truth" and "'Our fire service friends'" among others. First-time visitors might do well to watch the video titled "The truth about flame retardants" for some rather troubling news about the presence of flame retardants in items such as breast-feeding pillows and couches. The site also includes an Updates area which includes news pieces from the Tribune and other media outlets. [KMG]
The University of Houston has increased its digital offerings in recent years to allow visitors to make their way through everything from home retail pamphlets from the 1920s to copper plate engravings from Theodor de Bry's "Grandes Voyages." This particular collection offers users access to 80 different menus from the 1850s and 1860s. The menus are taken from establishments that were located all over the country, such as the American Hotel in Buffalo and the Allyn House in Hartford. It's quite a revelation to learn that on March 5, 1859, the patrons at the Allyn House would have had access to over 35 menu options, including oyster fritters and halibut. Culinary historians and gastronomy types will have a field day with these menus, which might inspire a rather elaborate repast. [KMG]
This extension for Firefox allows visitors to cut down on their battery usage, which can be quite useful. Background Tabs suspends actions in background tabs until they become active again and it is quite easy to use. This version is compatible with computers running Firefox 6.0. [KMG]
If you've ever wondered what color a whisper might be, this delightful interactive book is for you. Created by the folks at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, "Color Uncovered" is a unique volume complete with articles, illusions, and videos that explore the art, physics, and psychology of color. Also, the book has some color activities that just require an iPad and basic items such as a drop of water and a piece of paper. This book is compatible with all iPads running iOS 4.3 and newer. [KMG]
The Science of Conducting: Von Karajan was right
Profiles: Alessandro D'Ausilio
Herbert von Karajan: Rehearsal of Schumann's 4th Symphony
Teaching the art of conducting an orchestra
Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
What is a "good" conductor? Is it someone who can keep the woodwinds in line? Perhaps it means someone who has strong control of the second violins? To an outsider, it may all seem quite subjective. And of course, those people who have been in an orchestra may have an entirely different take on the matter. However, an Italian researcher from the Italian Institute of Technology may have hit upon something as part of a new research project dealing with this subject. Alessandro D'Ausilio and his colleagues watched two conductors lead five excerpts from Mozart's Symphony Number 40 played by eight violinists from the CittÖ di Ferrara orchestra. The researchers attached infra-red reflectors to the tips of the violinists' bows and conductors' batons. In this way, Dr. D'Ausilio and his colleagues could follow the movements of both bows and batons. Drawing on the observations of expert musicians who evaluated the performances, they determined that the more dictatorial conductor was able to elicit a much stronger performance from the musicians. More work must be done, but these initial findings are quite intriguing. [KMG]
The first link will take visitors to a link from The Economist which provides an overview of this recent study. The second link will whisk users away to a profile of Dr. D'Ausilio, which provides information on his research and publications. Moving along, the third link will lead interested parties to the homepage of the Karajan Centrum. Here visitors can learn about the life and times of Herbert Von Karajan, one of the most celebrated conductors of the 20th century. The fourth link leads to an excerpt of Karajan leading the Vienna Philharmonic through a rehearsal of Schumann's Fourth Symphony. The fifth link will take users to a segment from Minnesota Public Radio which profiles a program in which young professionals learn about conducting an orchestra. The final link leads to a wonderful website which introduces people to "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" composed by Benjamin Britten.
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The Scout Report (ISSN 1092-3861) is published weekly by Internet Scout
Internet Scout Team Max Grinnell Editor Carmen Montopoli Managing Editor Edward Almasy Director Rachael Bower Director Noah Yasskin Outreach Coordinator Andrea Coffin Metadata Specialist Autumn Hall-Tun Internet Cataloger Sara Cummins Internet Cataloger Tim Baumgard Web Developer Corey Halpin Web Developer Zev Weiss Technical Specialist Michael Seaholm Technical Specialist Jonathan Cain Technical Specialist Matt Linson Administrative Support Debra Shapiro Contributor
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