The Scout Report
May 10, 2013 -- Volume 19, Number 19
A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Darlington Digital Library
NOVA's Physics Blog
17th-19th Century British Religious, Political, and Legal Tracts
Discovery Education: Teacher Resources
USDA: 2012 Census of Agriculture
Stanford University Linear Accelerator: Videos
The Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land
Liturgy and Life Artifacts Collection
Making the Invisible Visible: Conservation and Islamic Art
U.S. Army Center of Military History
Open Yale Courses
Centenary of the First World War, 1914-1918
Guardian Culture Podcast
Iowa Digital Library: University Communication and Marketing Photographs
Historic Images of Wellesley College
As cities continue their economic resurgence, those in the South seem to be doing particularly well
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The Darlington Digital Library was created from the first major collection of books, manuscripts, and maps donated to the University of Pittsburgh. The lion's share of the credit for this collection goes to the attorney William M. Darlington, who was born in Pittsburgh in 1815. During his long life, Darlington collected items like John James Audubon's "Birds of America" and hundreds of lithographs, broadsides, and other items. The collection eventually found its way to the university in 1925, and this collection contains over 3,000 items from its holdings. Visitors can scan through the major sections here via the Atlases, Books, Broadsides, and Images areas. The Atlases area includes five gems, including the Novus Orbis Regio, which features North and South America as Simon Gyrnaeus imagined them in 1532. The Broadsides area is a real treat, containing a proclamation by President George Washington declaring February 19, 1795 as a "Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer." Finally, users can use the search engine to look for items of particular interest. [KMG]
The Virginia Memory initiative is part of the online presence of the Library of Virginia and it represents a magnificent effort to bring together thousands of documents that tell the story of this very unique place. The sections of the site include Digital Collections, Reading Rooms, Exhibitions, and the Online Classroom. First-time visitors may wish to start with the This Day in Virginia History section. Here they can learn about key moments in the state's history via primary documents tied to each calendar date, such as May 6, 1776, when the House of Burgesses met for the last time. The Exhibitions area contains interactive exhibits like You Have No Right: Law & Justice in Virginia. There are over two dozen past exhibits to look over on the site as well. The Digital Collections area is quite a remarkable one, featuring over 50 exhibits, including the 1939 World's Fair Photograph Collection, Revolutionary War Virginia State Pensions, and the tremendous Richmond Esthetic Survey/Historic Building Survey. To complement these materials, the Online Classrooms area contains an educator's guide, a document-based activity titled "Shaping the Constitution," and other resources. [KMG]
NOVA's Physics Blog is billed as "the physics of nothing, everything, and all the things in between." This "Nature of Reality" blog promises "a space that welcomes big ideas about space, time, and the universe." The posts here include graphics, animations, and other visually compelling materials. Visitors can scroll down on the right side of the page to look over Recent Posts, Recent Comments, and the contributors to the blog. It's a diverse group, including mathematician James Stein and physicist Frank Wilczek. Recent posts include "Why is the Higgs So Light?" and "Scientific Approaches to the Fine-Tuning Problem." Each entry concludes with the Go Deeper area, which features the editor's picks for further reading. [KMG]
The University of Missouri Digital Library has a range of digital collections covering much of the fine Show Me State, along with other regions of the United States and the globe. This particular collection brings together key documents that tell the story of British religious, legal, and political history from the 1600s to the 1800s. Visitors can browse at their leisure or perform complex searches across the entire collection. It is impressive indeed, as it contains over 20,000 items that were purchased by the university beginning in 1943. Many of these documents were published anonymously, due to their possibly inflammatory and controversial subject matter. It's fun to just look around, as visitors can find items like the 1642 pamphlet "What kinds of Parliament will please the King" and 1643's "A Second Complaint: being an honest letter to a doubtfull friend, about the rifling of the twentieth part of his estate." [KMG]
The wide world of science comes alive with these great interactive teacher resources created by the team at Discovery Education. The hope is that these activities will help "foster deeper engagement and opportunities for students to take charge of their own learning with high quality, engaging, relevant tools." The materials here are divided into several areas, including Grades 9-12 and Grades 6-8. Each of these areas contains free resources in the core subjects of science, English, social studies, and math. Specifically, they include lesson plans and "Brain Boosters," which pose math puzzles and practical science problems. Farther along, visitors can also investigate the "Science of Everyday Life," which allows visitors the opportunity to learn about household technology via videos, scientist interviews, and other activities. [KMG]
The Census of Agriculture is the leading source of facts and figures about American agriculture. It is conducted every five years, and contains a tremendous amount of data, including information on the market value of products, production expenses, and crop cycles. The bright and well-designed website contains a Popular Topics area where visitors can find historical agricultural census data, read through an FAQ, and look up state and county agricultural profiles. The Factsheets area is a great place for journalists and the general public. The subsections include Geographic, Farm Numbers, Practices, and Production. The Demographic area includes wonderful fact sheets on women farmers, Hispanic farmers, and so on. Also, visitors can use the Find Data By section to look up materials by historical census year, state and county, or ZIP code. [KMG]
The Stanford University Linear Accelerator was opened in 1962, and since then it has produced and trained a veritable cornucopia of internationally known research scientists and six Nobel prize winners. It also happens to have its own fine YouTube channel, which brings together a wide range of research lectures, symposia, and public discussions. Some of the recent offerings here include "A Blueprint for New Fuel Cell Catalysts," "Quantum Lightswitch: A New Direction in Ultrafast Electronics," and "Supernova Shock Waves: Powerhouses of the Galaxy." The Backstory videos are quite fun, as they feature interviews with various physicists about their work, which is always fascinating. On the right side of the site, visitors can look over thematic collections, such as Favorite Videos, SLAC Science Shorts, and Quantum Bits. [KMG]
The Digital Archaeological of the Holy Land (DAAHL) is an "international project that brings together experts in information technology including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the archaeology of the Holy Land." The remarkable thing about this site is that utilizes Google Maps and vast arrays of archaeological data points to create unique, multi-layered maps that are both informational and rather fun. Visitors shouldn't miss the How can I use the DAAHL website? area, as it provides some nuts-and-bolts information on the operating principles behind the site. A good place to start is the Empires area, which allows visitors to look at map layers that track dig sites through the Persian empire to the time of the Ottomans. It's neat to see the empires shrink and grow over time, transformations that are available to visitors in animated form. Visitors can use the Archaeological Periods section to examine various sites and objects from the Paleolithic to the late Ottoman era. Finally, the site contains complete information about the project's research partners and organizations. [KMG]
The talented staff members at the Boston College University Libraries have created a veritable bevy of wonderful digital collections. They cover topics like the urban infrastructure of Boston to this one on the vast brocade of liturgical objects. Here visitors can make their way through over 1,100 images related to the Catholic faith, including decorative pins, robes, candlesticks, and other items. Items in the collection can be viewed via the Digitool Viewer (which is automatically embedded), and users can zoom in and out to get a closer look at each item. New users shouldn't miss the "Apparition at Knock" pin or the decorative "Angel holy water fonts." Some of the more curious items here include automobile crucifixes. [KMG]
This small exhibition from the Metropolitan Museum of Art illustrates the process of conserving ancient artifacts with 21st century technology. Also showcased are interesting discoveries that came to light as the Museum's curatorial staff prepared materials for reopening the New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia. For example, an 8-minute video documents "the ambitious three-year conservation program" for a sixteenth-century Emperor's Carpet from Safavid Iran. Although acquired in 1941, the carpet was so fragile that it had only been displayed in public twice in sixty years. After conservation, it can be displayed at the Museum on a regular basis. In another video, "Revealing the Original," Jean-Francois de Laperouse, conservator in the Department of Objects Conservation, discusses ethical considerations conservators face when restoring objects in the Museum's collections.
The U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH) is a directorate within the office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. It provides a vast range of services designed to support the historical research efforts of different sections and organizations within the Army. First-time visitors may wish to start at the Medal of Honor area, which provides some detailed information about this most celebrated award, along with its recipients. The Force Structure and Unit History Branch area provides information about the various units and divisions within the Army, including those that no longer exist. The Army Museum System area provides detailed information about the various museums around the United States that cover the vast military history of the different states. The Artwork & Images area contains hundreds of artistic images that include dramatic paintings of key military excursions, along with thematic photographic collections like Army Libraries Through the Years and Buffalo Soldiers on the Eve of World War II. Visitors shouldn't leave without looking over the The Green Books series. This series covers all aspects of the Army's involvement in World War II; titles include "The War in the Pacific," "The Middle East Theater," and "The Technical Services." [KMG]
The Open Yale Courses website provides entry to a wealth of materials from selected Yale College courses to anyone with a penchant for learning. The courses here span the full range of liberal arts disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, and physical and biological sciences. Interested parties can click on over to the Courses area. Currently there are over two dozen courses here, including "Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner" and "Freshman Organic Chemistry I." Within each course, visitors can find the syllabus, suggested reading, assignments, and in some cases, tests and quizzes. It's a remarkable resource for independent learners, and it's one that is worth bookmarking for return visits. [KMG]
The Australian War Memorial is commemorating the centenary of the First World War by engaging in a sophisticated and nuanced redevelopment of its First World War galleries and related exhibits. Users of this site will get a great peek into these new galleries, along with access to the Memorial's YouTube video channels and blogs. Visitors should click on over to the ANZAC Voices to learn about the experiences of different soldiers who were engaged in this Great War, including Lieutenant John Raws and Private Reginald Donkin. The First World War Research area is a great place to learn about doing family history research, check out a summary of the First World War, or look at the Australians at War area. This contains additional military history overviews, and links to This Month in Australian Military History. Finally, visitors shouldn't miss the Centenary Board, which features answers to the question "What does the centenary of the First World War mean to you?" [KMG]
If you're not a culture vulture already, you may become one just by dipping into even one of the audio offerings here at the Guardian Culture podcast site. They have dozens of wonderful conversations covering the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the creation of digital public space, and the Royal Opera House. First-time visitors should look at the Days in the Life at the Guardian, which offers "unique soundscapes from historic editions of the Guardian." The Everyday Moments podcasts feature "audio dramas for private performance." For example, "Everyday Moments 1" offers up a "playlet designed to be listened to in the early hours of the morning, in bed with a hot drink." [KMG]
In these modern times, every university and college generates thousands of photographs documenting a wide range of cultural, educational, and social activities. The University of Iowa has produced an amazing array of dramatic and pensive images over the past few years and this digital archive brings many of them together in one archive. Visitors can browse the collection via several dozen topical headings, including Admissions, Campus, and Government Relations. The viewbook photographs are quite arresting, as they profile portraits of prominent people, ranging from basketball players to employees of different units on campus. As a whole, it's a fine portrait of a Big Ten university of great repute. [KMG]
The digital initiative projects at Wellesley College include digitized version of music by Edward MacDowell, manuscripts from the Middle Ages, and dorm life at this august institution. This particular collection brings together over 2,600 images that tell the story of the campus, its students, faculty, and buildings from 1875 to the present day. There isn't a finding aid per se for the collection, but visitors can use the What, Where, Who, and When headings to get started. First-time visitors might start with the Hoop Rolling area of the What section, as it offers a fine portrait of a time-honored tradition at Wellesley. The Where area offers a portrait of the bucolic surroundings of the campus, along with some fine images of the Academic Quadrangle. [KMG]
Are you a pollster? Would you like to be one? PollCode makes all of this quite simple. With this handy application, visitors can type in a poll question and up to 30 possible answers. Visitors can customize the poll with their own colors, font, and settings. After visitors have completed their poll, they can use the HTML code provided here to share their poll with others via social media networks and the like. This version of Poll Code is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
Who's out there in the world of social media? It can be hard to sort out what topics are of the utmost importance without the right tools. WhoTalking allows visitors to type in a topic to see what's trending on Twitter, Facebook, and so on. The novel thing here is that visitors can type in the topic in any language to see the latest results. After entering a word or phrase, visitors can look over the most recent 25 results from ten different social media networks. This application is compatible with all operating systems. [KMG]
The Economic Performance of Cities
America's Best Performing Cities
2012 Best Performing Cities
Urban world: Mapping the Economic Power of Cities
How Should Suburbs Help Their Central Cities?
Unlocking Growth in Cities
Based on recent data, it seems that things are on the mend for most conurbations in the United States, particularly those in the southern reaches of the nation. An article from last week's The Economist noted that the GDP growth of a number of large cities such as San Jose and Austin grew from 14 to 19 percent from 2007 to 2011. Other northern cities cannot boast such gains, and some policy types attribute this to a general preference for warmer climes and the migration of talented folks (particularly baby boomers) to these sunnier locales. There are, of course, other factors at play here. The oil industry's boom in Texas and Louisiana has attracted billions in new investment dollars, and the tech industry continues to be quite robust in and around major California population centers like San Jose. It may be hard in a very real sense to underestimate the drawing power of generally pleasant climates, as much as it sounds like environmental determinism. [KMG]
The first link will take users to the aforementioned piece from The Economist on the economic performance of cities in the southern United States. The second link will whisk users away to a recent piece by Richard Florida on the economic productivity of cities in different regions in the United States. Moving along, the third link will take interested parties to the report on the "Best Performing Cities 2012," courtesy of the Milken Institute. The fourth link will take visitors to a rather sage report from the McKinsey & Company consulting firm titled "Urban World: Mapping the Economic Power of Cities." The fifth link leads to a thoughtful report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that addresses how suburban areas might best assist their nearby central cities. The last link leads to a report which offers a bit of international perspective, as it comes out of the British government's program on cities.
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