The Scout Report
March 15, 2013 -- Volume 19, Number 11
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research and Education
The Smart Grid For Institutions of Higher Education And The Students They Serve
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum
Understanding Disorders at the Cellular Level
Microbe Library: Visual Media Briefs Collection
Bacterial Identification Virtual Lab
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Invasive Species
Robert Venn Carr Jr. Collection
Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives
Kenneth S. Goldstein Audio Recordings
Words Like Sapphires: 100 Years of Hebraica at the Library of Congress
The University of Florida Book of Insect Records
The Getty Conservation Institute: PDF publications
North Bay Historic Preservation Digital Collection
In the News
The peer-to-peer business model continues to attract attention and consumer interest
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Research and Education
How can higher education institutions bring more students into the world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)? This thoughtful research paper from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) attempts to answer that very question. It was funded as part of the National Science Foundation's Diversity and Law Project and authored by a team that includes Arthur L. Coleman and Katherine E. Lipper. The 105-page report contains four primary sections and five appendices. The sections include "Enhancing Connectivity: Key Components of Maximized Collaborative Success" and "Structuring Operations and Responding to Users." The paper offers some concrete suggestions for creating meaningful pathways to success and adopts a running comparison between the electrical Smart Grid and the Smart Grid for institutions of higher education and the students they serve. [KMG]
Access Excellence provides a range of helpful resources for science educators, including lesson plans, interactive quizzes, and a variety of games. The project was launched in 1993 and joined up with the National Health Museum (NHM) in 1999. First-time visitors should click on over to the Resource Center area. Here they can peruse the animation collections, which include materials from the "Cells Alive" website and helpful biology animations from the DNA Learning Center. The Health Headquarters is another standout resource. Here visitors can make their way through the NHM's monthly "Health Focus" feature, which provides teachers and others with carefully reviewed Internet resources related to health programs. Additionally, the site contains the Activities Exchange, featuring sections like The Mystery Spot, which offers up a number of online scientific mysteries developed specially for classroom use. [KMG]
The Genes to Cognition website addresses the world of modern neuroscience through lectures, fact sheets, papers, and other materials that cover depression, autism, bipolar disorder, and a range of other disorders. This particular resource is a video of a conversation with Dr. Daniel Pine on the different approaches to understanding disorders. More specifically, Pine speaks about how researchers are looking into how we might understand neurological disorders on the cellular level. Along with this conversation, the site also has links to several other related lectures. At the bottom of the page, visitors can view an interactive 3D model of the brain, complete with 29 structures that can be rotated for detailed viewing. [KMG]
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has a vast online Microbe Library that provides access to educational resources and activities for educators seeking to edify their students about everything from the germ theory of disease to laboratory techniques. This particular corner of the Library site features a host of visual media briefs. These briefs feature slides accompanied by brief introductory essays, descriptions of methodology, and discussions of the various conditions and procedures associated with each exploration. All told, there are over 40 visual media briefs here, including "Cultivation Media for Bacteria," Metagenomic Soil DNA Analysis," and "Soil Fungi." [KMG]
Created by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Virtual Bacterial Identification Lab provides interested parties with a great way to learn about the science and techniques used to identify different types of bacteria based on their DNA sequences. Visitors can enter the lab and get started by preparing samples from a patient, copying the desired pieces of the DNA, and then sequencing and analyzing the DNA. The entire experience is quite interactive: visitors can record their observations in the Notebook area and also learn about the various samples, which were obtained from stool, lymph nodes, urine, and blood. Finally, there's the Reference area, which contains a glossary of terms, a list of tools in the lab, and an encyclopedia of selected bacteria and other pathogens. [KMG]
This high-quality collection is provided courtesy of NASA's Johnson Space Center, and it contains over 9,000 images. Visitors can get started by looking over the FAQ area, which provides answers to questions like "Where can I et prints and high-resolution scans of this imagery?" and "What is a 'fuzzy match?'" After this, visitors can perform a full-text search across all of the items, or use the Browse area. This last section allows visitors to look around by mission, equipment, or station location. Visitors with any level of interest in space technology or other related fields will find this resource fascinating. [KMG]
The basic definition of an invasive species is "one that is not native to an ecosystem and which causes, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental health or harm to human health." The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is quite concerned with such species, as their primary responsibility is "the conservation of the nation's fish, wildlife, and plants." The materials here are divided into seven sections, including News and Resources, Laws and Regulations, and What You Can Do. This last section is a great resource for the general public, as it contains information on helping to prevent the spread of invasive plants, fact sheets on aquariums, and so on. Scholars and others will appreciate the Laws and Regulations area, which features the complete text of key laws and executive orders dealing with invasive species and their management. [KMG]
The Robert Venn Carr Jr. Collection at the University of Maine's Museum of Art is particularly strong in paintings, prints, and other 2D items. The Museum was established in 1946 and all told it contains over 6,000 items. Visitors to this site can browse around by style or by a list of artists. Each item contains information about its materials, the year of creation, and its dimensions. The style list is quite inclusive, containing pieces that represent Pop Art, Realism in art, Abstract Expressionism, and Cubism. Also, visitors can use the keyword search to look around by theme, idea, material, or any other word or concept that strikes their fancy. [KMG]
The town of Columbus, Indiana is well-known for its internationally-renowned collection of buildings designed by celebrated architects. This online archive from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis brings together plans, site designs, and other renderings of these and other buildings. There are over 400 items in the collection, which visitors can browse by title, subject, or description. First-time visitors will want to start by looking at the plans for the Arvin Company Headquarters before moving on to take a look at the ambitious plans for the renovation of the Mill Race Park. It's worth noting that the entire collection can be searched by keyword, and there's also a link to additional architectural resources. [KMG]
The Lewis Walpole Library at Yale contains a myriad of materials, the majority of which are English caricatures and political satirical prints from the 17th to 19th centuries. The artists of these cheeky works include Woodward, Hogarth, Cruikshank, Bunbury, and Newton. The collection includes items from Walpole's personal library, such as the "Cries of London," trade cards, invitations, and bookplates. Theater lovers will appreciate the volumes of playbills from theaters in Bath and Exeter. One of the more recent additions is the scrapbook of drawings which belonged to Richard Bull, which features watercolors of insects, reptiles, and fish. [KMG]
This remarkable collection consists of over 850 audio reels recorded primarily by Dr. Kenneth S. Goldstein. He was a folklorist, record producer, and teacher who happened to also find time to serve as chairman of the department of folklore and folklife at the University of Pennsylvania. These audio tapes include interviews with musicians and storytellers, recitations of folktales from Newfoundland and Labrador, Pennsylvania, and Scotland. First-time visitors might do well to look over the English Language Folktale reels and then move on to perform their own detailed search across the entire archive. Visitors can also elect to receive updates on the collection via their RSS feed. [KMG]
In 1912, Jacob H. Schiff gave almost 10,000 books and pamphlets to the Library of Congress. It was a prodigious collection of Hebrew and Yiddish materials, and since then the Library has added over 190,000 works to this existing collection. This digital celebration complements an ongoing in situ exhibit at the Library, and it has a nice sampling of items from the Library's holdings. After checking out the About area, visitors can click on over to the Themes section to get started. Here visitors can make their way through The People of the Book, Gates of Prayer, Holy Land, and Beauty in Holiness. This last area is particularly noteworthy, as it features a beautiful version of the book of Esther executed by Israeli artist Avener Moriah and a gorgeous modern Passover Haggadah by Asher Kalderon. [KMG]
If you want to peer into Chicago's past, block-by-block, you should definitely give the Chicago Ancestors website a look. The site is a project of the Newberry Library and its goal is "to help genealogists and local historians discover and share historical information about Chicago." The funding for the project came from the Illinois State Library, which used funds provided by the Institute for Museum and Library Studies. First-time visitors can complete a free registration form, which will give them full access to the site. Once registered, they can contribute their own stories, photos, and comments. Any visitor is welcome to type an address or intersection into the search form. Each search can return documents from over 12 different sources and visitors can click through to view these ephemeral items associated with the address or location. Finally, the Tools area includes a listing of Special Topics, along with Chicago City Directories and address conversion tools. [KMG]
Everyone knows about the Guinness Book of World Records. But does everyone know about the Book of Insect Records? Based at the University of Florida and maintained and edited by Thomas J. Walker, the work "names insect champions and documents their achievements." The book is divided into chapters, so visitors can use the Table of Contents to get started on their journeys. In total, there are 40 chapters, including Most Tolerant of Cold, Shortest Generation Time, and Smallest Eggs. Each chapter can be downloaded for easy access and there's ample documentation for each record. This work could be used in any number of general biology or entomology courses and it is quite a find. [KMG]
The Getty Conservation Institute generates a variety of thoughtful publications on its work every year. Many of these publications have found their way to this website and their bounty is seemingly endless. There are over 45 publications available, including "Cellulose Nitrate in Conservation," "Chaco Culture National Historical Park," "Conservation of Ancient Sites on the Silk Road," and "Economics and Heritage Conservation." Historic preservation experts, art historians, conservationists, and others will find much to wonder at here. Visitors should also share this resource with others, as the high quality of these works means that others will be glad to learn of their existence. [KMG]
The North Bay Historic Preservation Digital Collection is just one of the online offerings from the Sonoma State University Library. It's a fascinating collection, bringing together photographs and planning documents related to buildings and landscapes in and around this historically rich area. The photographs were taken by students enrolled in the institution's historic preservation program in the 1970s. A good place to start is by taking a look at the photos of the historic Stone House, which is the oldest building in Lake County. Visitors can also search the entire archive by keyword or look over the technical reports like the "Sonoma County General Plan for Historic Preservation." As a whole, it's a great way to learn about the rich cultural and architectural landscape of the area. [KMG]
Artia is a software for project management that can be used in a variety of settings. First-time visitors can use the Tour feature to learn about all of the applications of the program, which include document sharing, real-time chatting, and multiple project overlays. Because it is hosted online, this version is compatible with all operating systems and browsers. [KMG]
Sulia is a subject-based social network that connects users to the top social sources on pertinent subjects that are of great interest. The network uses a combination of network managers and algorithms to identify the best sources on everything from anteaters to zoology. Visitors can use the drop-down menus to set up their preferences and Favorites with the simple and effective user interface. This version is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
In the News
Peer-to-peer rental: The rise of the sharing economy
Share Everything: Why the Way We Consume Has Changed Forever
Sharing Economy Provides Extra Cash and Creative Expression
SXSW coverage: How can Houston help the sharing economy?
Value from nothing-the sharing economy
Would you like to rent a surfboard? Perhaps you could go for a luxe parking space in a prime location for a day or two? Traditional ways of purchasing these goods and services have been around for decades, but the world of peer-to-peer rental could be a game-changer in terms of how people and businesses connect with each other for such transactions. One particularly notable business in this arena is the Airbnb website, which allows users to purchase overnight stays in rooms rented out by private individuals. This intriguing business model is made possible by technology and it seems to work well for items that are generally expensive to buy and are owned by a range of people who do not use them on a consistent basis. Speaking about this recent trend, author Rachel Botsman noted that this peer-to-peer rental market is worth around $26 billion. It has also acquired another nickname: "collaborative consumption." It is worth noting that owners of these various goods and services can find value in their underutilized assets, and a recent article in The Economist speculates that companies may be able to use this model to rent out spare offices, copy machines, and other pieces of equipment. [KMG]
The first link will take visitors to an article on the rise of the sharing economy, courtesy of The Economist. Moving along, the second link will take curious visitors to a fine piece from the Atlantic Cities' Emily Badger on how this model work for a start-up kitchen in Washington, D.C. Moving on, the third link will whisk users away to a piece from the Forbes website about a talk at SXSW about the sharing economy from Airbnb cofounder Nate Blecharczyk. The fourth link will take visitors to a piece from the Houston Business Journal about how businesses and partners in Houston might become more involved in the sharing economy. The fifth link will take visitors to a thoughtful post from the "Flip the Media" site's Patrick Doherty about the sharing economy. Finally, the last link will take visitors to the Airbnb website. Here interested parties can learn a bit about how the business works and maybe even find a deal of their own.
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