November 7, 2003

Celebrating 100 Years of Flight
December 17, 2003 marks the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' historic achievement, and to commemorate the event the American Society of Mechanical Engineers has developed this site. Several notable stories of flight are documented, including the Enola Gay, the Concorde, and the Boeing 767-80, which was "the prototype for most jet transports." Teacher resources and news articles related to the centennial of flight are available. An archive of paper airplane models is also included to give children and adults something to do in their spare time. 

The Joy of Soup

As the weather here in the northern hemisphere begins to get a bit chilly and the sun bids farewell around 5 p.m., many people will begin to adjust their menus by including more soups as part of their daily fare. Those persons looking for fun new ways to prepare soup should definitely take a look at The Joy Of Soup website. The creator of the site, Sue Pleydee, has assembled a rather impressive collection of soup recipes. Many of them are organized under the Plogs section (a word created by eliding soup and blog. This section includes such soups as buttermilk, ham and tomato, and asparagus and escarole. The Let's Eat Out section features recipes taken from various restaurants and another area entitled The Joy of Cookbooks features Pleydee's musings on such classic cookbooks as In the Kitchen with Miss Piggy and The Crisco Family Cookbook. 

The Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection
The Digital Library Program at Indiana University (IU), with funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, presents this digital version of 14,500 color slides taken by amateur photographer Charles Cushman between 1938 and 1969. Cushman, an IU alum who graduated in 1917, left the University his entire collection of photographs, along with a set of notebooks, in which he recorded descriptions of the thousands of images he shot. Cushman's photographs provide wonderful documentation of the first half of the 20th century, from a girl with pigtails jumping rope on a sidewalk in Indiana, to Chicago architecture, to over 100 pictures of Istanbul, Turkey. Subject headings were added to Cushman's descriptions by image catalogers, providing the basis for the searching and browsing capabilities of the digital version. Currently, users can browse by date, location, subject, and genre, as well as viewing page images of Cushman's notebooks. In December 2003, search enhancements will be released, such as the ability to broaden or narrow a search using related terms, and browsing based on the structure of the subject heading sources.
People have been meeting in informal groups to discuss works of literature for hundreds of years, and in recent years reading groups have continued to increase in general popularity. This website, designed by a team of avid readers, provides a host of helpful resource materials for those seeking to start and maintain an effective reading group. Launched in January 2001, the site now includes over 1220 reading group guides, thematically and alphabetically organized, and filled with helpful discussion questions, along with links to websites with additional background material. Another section provides detailed advice on starting a reading group and making informed decisions about how to pick a piece to read. Not surprisingly, this section also contains a nice list of books about reading groups as well. Existing reading groups may want to sign up to be interviewed by the online staff, or just choose to browse those who have already the good, the bad, and the ugly truths about the reading group experiences.

The Stonehenge Project
The mystical and enigmatic stone formations located England and known collectively as Stonehenge is the most substantial reminder of the ingenuity of prehistoric civilization in this region of the world. Regrettably, in recent decades the site has seen the intrusion of major roads and a general degradation of the surrounding environment. By 1993, the situation grew so dire that the setting of this important cultural landscape was referred to as a "national disgrace" by the United Kingdom's House of Commons Public Accounts Committee. Fortunately, a plan to restore the dignity of this site was developed by the English Heritage foundation and the British government, and this site provides the full details on this ongoing project. Visitors to the site can learn about the project and read about the landscape restoration project that is already underway. The Documents area is quite strong, as visitors can read a summary of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site Management Plan and read environmental reports produced by Britain's Highways Agency. 

October 31, 2003

Political Theory Daily Review
Developed and maintained by Alfred Perez, a PhD student at the New School for Social Research in New York City, this site is designed to be "a central space on the Web for the study of philosophy and politics." The homepage is laid out in three columns of text, separated into three sections: Newsroom, Town Square, and Ivory Tower. The Newsroom area contains a host of hyperlinks to recent developments around the world, including pieces of how blogs are transforming presidential politics and agricultural reform in Venezuela. The Town Square area includes links to germane newspaper and periodical articles, and on a recent visit included links to articles dealing with student activism on college campuses and a review of Paul Krugman's new book, The Great Unraveling. Not surprisingly, the Ivory Tower area contains links to recent academic pieces on political theory, and includes reflections on the recent passing of Edward Said and a work on the "military-entertainment complex." The site is rounded out by a page devoted to links dealing with political think-tanks and related organizations.

The Internet Movie Database
Last reviewed in the May 6, 1994 edition of The Scout Report, the Internet Movie Database has grown by leaps and bounds in the past nine years. Containing literally millions of pieces of information, users looking for information from films such as Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight to more contemporary fare can merely enter the title of the movie into the IMDB search engine and a complete record will be returned. Along with basic information about each film, users can often read comments from other users, full cast and crew details, lists of awards and nominations for each film, a plot summary, trivia about the film, and filming locations. Of course, this process can be repeated for actors, directors, and cinematographers for those seeking information about persons in the film industry. From the rather detailed homepage, users can also learn which films are due to be released shortly in theaters, and which films are due out on DVD and VHS. Another fun feature is the IMDb top 250 Films, as determined by users ratings and comments. Of course, users also can browse the ignominious IMDb bottom 100 Films for a look at those films that generally did not receive "two thumbs up" upon their initial release.

Scrapbooking 101
While creating scrapbooks has long been a favorite pastime and hobby, interest in this form of self-expression has picked up in recent years. Designed by LeNae Gerig, this website offers some introductory materials on how to get started with the creative process involved in making a scrapbook. The site is divided into five primary areas, including general information about terms related to scrapbooks (such as buffered paper and sheet protectors), supplies needed to create a scrapbook, the use of photographs in scrapbooks, basic techniques, and uses of patterned paper. The supplies area is a good place to begin, as it lists the importance and use of some basic supplies such as various adhesive materials, sheet protectors, and journaling tools. The techniques section offers some helpful hints on how to create a layout for a scrapbook, journaling, and the creative touch afforded by vellum paper. Overall, the site will pique the interest of those hoping to learn some basics about scrapbooking, and may inspire a new collection of personal and family memories. 

Places Online
The practice and discipline of geography has always had an intimate preoccupation with places and how human societies modify and shape them in accordance with their own interests. In keeping with that tradition, the Association of American Geographers has created the Places Online website to provide interested parties with access to the "world's very best place-based websites." The criteria for inclusion on the website is that worthy sites must provide original quality content, contain a substantive geographic content, and employ interesting and user-friendly formats. Visitors may begin to look for sites by clicking on an interactive map of the world, browsing by region, or in some cases, by continent. Coverage over most of the globe is quite good, with additional material to come on countries that are currently not featured on any available place-based websites. Additionally, visitors may elect to search the contents of the site by keyword or exact phrase. 

October 24, 2003

The Digital Michelangelo Project
In an effort to create and archive three dimensional computer representations of some of history's most important cultural artifacts, researchers from Stanford University and the University of Washington have employed laser rangefinder technologies to scan items and preserve them digitally. The project has mainly focused on some of Michelangelo's sculptures, including the famous David statue, but has also "scanned 1,163 fragments of the Forma Urbis Romae, a giant marble map of ancient Rome." Visitors to the project's homepage can download the ScanView software, which lets users virtually fly around the models of the statues. Research papers about the technologies used in the project and the algorithms developed by its members are also available. 

The Electric Ben Franklin
With a number of new biographies out about the life of the truly prolific Benjamin Franklin, it is clear that he remains very much in the public eye over two hundred years since his passing in 1790. This fine site, developed by the Independence Hall Association, brings together a number of interactive and visually stimulating features that will be particularly appreciated by young persons getting acquainted with his life and work. A timeline offers some important dates in Franklin's life, and close at hand is a complete version of his much celebrated autobiography. The section titled Franklin and his Electric Kite recounts one of his most famous experiments, along with including Franklin's first-hand account of how he constructed the kite. A virtual tour of the court where Franklin's house once stood is also available, along with the underground museum that stands beneath the court.

Today in Literature
With stories about Oscar Wilde and his mother, tales of Elmore Leonard, and P.G. Wodehouse, the Today In Literature Web site will be of great interest and delight to literary aficionados everywhere. From the main page, visitors can read the story of the day, which relates an interesting tale or event of literary import from the historical past. Visitors can also read about stories that recently appeared on the site, and browse through a list of writers as well. Clicking on the names of any of the writers will bring up a number of stories about the selected author, although free registration is required to read the entire piece. Visitors may also want to sign up for the free email newsletter (which can be received daily or weekly), which includes the story of the day, along with a daily literary quote, and a list of relevant events of importance that occurred on that date.
The federal government has thousands of grant programs, and navigating the numerous Web sites administered by the various grant-making agencies and departments can be difficult at times. Stepping into that breach is, which serves as an electronic storefront for federally-administered grant programs. From the homepage, visitors may want to begin by browsing through a list of grant topics, which range from housing to the humanities. Clicking on each topic will lead to another list detailing which federal agencies provide (or may provide) grant monies within each area. Visitors looking for greater search capabilities will want to move to the grants synopsis search area, which allows for customizable searches for quick access to the relevant grants and application documents. Equally helpful is the federal grant notification service that allows individuals to be notified when new grant announcements are released by various agencies. Through this notification service visitors may also register to receive all notices from selected agencies, funding categories, eligibility groups, or funding opportunity number.

National Congress of American Indians
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was organized in an effort "to inform the public and the federal government on tribal self-government, treaty rights, and a broad range of federal policy issues affecting tribal governments." As the NCAI is the primary group lobbying on behalf of Native American groups in the United States, the Web site contains information about related legislative efforts in the Congress and the House of Representatives, along with information about NCAI membership. The Issues section contains a number of helpful documents generated by the NCAI that detail areas of prime concern, which include community development, governance, human resources, and natural resources. The site also includes information about member nations within the NCAI, along with contact information for tribal leaders and links to member nation websites.





October 17, 2003 

Illustrated Shakespeare, 1826 - 1919
For illustrations of puckish glee, turn to this digital collection from the University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries, which includes selections from twelve works by and about William Shakespeare (and a few other British playwrights), originally published in places ranging from Philadelphia to Leipzig, dating 1826 - 1919. The books chosen for this digital collection are heavily illustrated versions of Shakespeare. While some text is available, such as picture captions, title pages, bits of dialogue, and synopses of plays -- all of which is fully searchable -- the collection is really designed to enable users to flip to the pictures. For example, a 5 volume set, The spirit of the plays of Shakspeaire [sic], drawn and engraved by Frank Howard, 1833, consists of a series plates for each play, with some explanatory text. The dramatic souvenir: Being literary and graphical illustrations of Shakespeare and other celebrated English dramatists, published by Charles Tilt, also 1833, has about two pages per play: a synopsis, and several pictures.

Standing as a testament to the wide ranging contributions of the Jewish people to world culture and history, this Web site contains the complete contents of the massive 12-volume Jewish Encyclopedia, originally published between 1901-1906 by the Funk & Wagnall's Company. Conceived and funded by the Kopelman Foundation, this compilation is the only free encyclopedia of Judaica available on the Internet. While the encyclopedia obviously does not include such topics as the creation of the state of Israel or the Holocaust, it is a rather fascinating collection that recalls an interesting period in scholarship, and is a helpful historical document. Visitors can browse by the encyclopedia by letter, along with viewing a transcription of each entry and any accompanying images included with each entry. Those who might be interested in helping compile an updated version of the encyclopedia are also invited to join the mailing list.

Vietnam: Journeys of Mind, Body & Spirit
Oriented around the theme of journeys, this online exhibit explores the various journeys that both the nation and people of Vietnam has undergone over the past few millennia, in particular the transition from French colonial control through the conflict with the United States, and the movement to a free-market economy over the past decade.
Curated by Laurel Kendall (and hosted by the American Museum of Natural History), the exhibit begins with Journeys Through Time and Space, where visitors can read some introductory remarks about the country, such as the various ethnic groups in the country, its geography, and history. The other sections (which are interspersed with photographs and illustrations) deal with death rites, the importance of various deities, and the transformation of the economy in the country. The site also features several fine video clips, including a 4-minute video of the rite that marks the passage of a young Vietnamese boy into manhood. 

October 10, 2003
Working together to establish an internet presence, is the brainchild of the Project of Excellence in Journalism and the Committee of Concerned Journalists. The Web site effectively serves as a portal and utility for persons interested in journalism, and contains a catalog of tools, techniques and ideas, empirical research, job links, and numerous other helpful materials for the general public, practicing journalists, and journalism students. Visitors can move to any of the site's sections from the homepage, and they will most certainly want to peruse the new quarterly online newsletter that is available. The site also features a number of research reports for the general public, dealing with such topics as Jessica Lynch: Media Myth-Making in the Iraq War, Quality and the Bottom Line and Does Ownership Matter in Local Television News. Overall, the site is a good resource for persons interested in print and television journalism, and will be of specific interest to those studying journalism.

Ancient World Mapping Center
Located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Ancient World Mapping Center is funded by the UNC College of Arts and Sciences and the American Philological Association. The Center is primarily designed to promote the usage of cartography and geographic information science within the field of ancient studies. The Center's main web page begins with a host of recent news events related to ongoing research dealing with the ancient world from various fields, including geography, archaeology, and history. Equally helpful is the New Sites and Finds area, which gathers together new and useful sites dedicated to investigating various aspects of the ancient world. Of course there is also the map room area where visitors can download any one of a number of detailed maps (many of which have been created by the staff at the Center) of the ancient world. Some of these maps include those of Byzantine Constantinople, Ptolemaic Egypt, and several of ancient Greece. 

Classics Unveiled
Classics Unveiled was developed by Neil Jenkins, Sumair Mirza and Jason Tang as a way to teach the web-browsing public about the various aspects of the ancient world, ranging from the massive world of Greek and Roman mythology, Roman history, Roman culture, and the Latin language and its pervasive influence on English. The site is divided into four primary areas, and visitors may opt to browse through any of them and their accompanying features, which include primary extended essays and informative games and quizzes. In Rome Exposed for example, users will learn about Roman residences, entertainment, attire, cuisine, and several other aspects of Roman culture and mores. In MythNET visitors can learn about the twelve Olympian gods, read about the Trojan War, and explore genealogical charts that trace the various relationships between the pantheon of Rome and Greece. 

Online Poetry Classroom
Poetry is one of the oldest forms of human expression, and can be found in almost every part of the world, manifesting itself to express every type of emotion, whether it be hope, sadness, or exuberance. This persuasive and helpful Web site was developed by the Academy of American Poets in order to provide both professional development for high school English teachers and a virtual teaching community that offers free access to poetry resources, including poems and classroom-tested curricula. The curriculum section includes 17 teaching plans, along with a teacher forum area where colleagues can share ideas about what works (and what doesn't) in terms of teaching poetry. A section titled What to Teach includes lists of poems that are ideal to teach to students, and a number of fine themed online exhibits that address movements such as the Harlem Renaissance, the Modernist poets, and the general development of American poetry in the 20th century.

October 3, 2003

The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers
On May 13, 1900, Wilbur Wright composed a letter that would later prove to be one of the most important in the history of science, and certainly within the development of the quest of humans to achieve flight. This letter to Octave Chanute (a wealthy businessman and engineer) began thusly: "For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man." This legendary piece of correspondence, along with 49,000 other digital images, has been placed online in this rather incredible archive, presented as part of the American Memory collection from the Library of Congress. The documents available here for consideration span the years 1881 to 1952 and include the glass-late negative of the famous First Flight at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903. For those who would like to examine a smattering of the collection, there are several thematic presentations here as well, such as a Wilber and Orville Wright timeline, a thematic set of documents and commentaries titled Photography and the Wright Brothers and the Wright family tree. 

Astronomy Daily.Com offers real time astronomical data tailored to the viewer's location and time zone. The personalized front page presents a chart of tonight's sky. Diagrams allow users to view the planets in their orbits. Educators and students can find images of today's moon and its phase on the calendar, plus data dealing with its current position and its physical and orbital characteristics. Phil Harrington, a supervisor at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, provides two monthly articles; the first assesses a phenomenon in the sky that can be observed with binoculars and the second discusses a phenomenon in the Deep Sky. Viewers can also participate in many discussion forums with other interested astronomers. Although users are required to register in order to view the customized site, no personal identification is requested. 

Center for Jewish History
Designed as a partnership between five major institutions of Jewish scholarship, history and art (including the American Jewish Historical Society, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, and the American Sephardi Federation), the Center has combined holdings of approximately 100-million archival documents, artifacts, paintings, and textiles. From the organization's homepage, visitors can learn about the mission of the center, how to conduct genealogical research using their holdings, and browse a calendar of the many events and conferences held at the Center's headquarters in Manhattan. One of the online highlights is the fine archive of audio and video clips and interviews available in the Events at the Center area. Here visitors can listen to the proceedings of an international conference on anti-Semitism in the West held in May 2003, and view interviews with Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Shimon Peres. Also, visitors may elect to sign up to receive the Center's email newsletter. 

Drawing from Life: Caricatures and Cartoons From The American Art / Portrait Gallery Library Collection
Drawing on the extensive holdings of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, this online exhibit presents a sample of the rather diverse set of cartoon and caricature books in their holdings. Beginning with an introductory essay by Kent C. Boese, the exhibit continues on with biographies of the artists whose work is featured in the exhibit (such as Charles Dana Gibson and William Allen Rogers). Visitors can proceed to view featured books, cartoons and caricatures. The individual cartoons and caricatures can also be browsed via a drop-down subject menu with topics ranging from adultery to World War I. Visitors will want to be sure to take a look at the images from the Mutt and Jeff comic strip by Harry Conway "Bud" Fisher and Charles Dana Gibson's Gibson Girl. The exhibit concludes with a bibliography of related works and suggestions for further reading.

September 26, 2003 Author Interviews
A number of publishing houses and well-regarded independent booksellers have placed author interviews on their respective Web sites, but this particular one from the massive Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon may be one of the most intriguing online collections available. Containing over 50 interviews, the authors profiled here include Ann Patchett, David Halberstam, Paul Theroux, Susan Orlean, and Deepak Chopra. Several of the interviews are particularly interesting, including the one conducted with Erik Larson (author of The White City, a tale that intertwines different stories about late 19th century Chicago together) and one with Michael Chabon, the author who won the Pulitzer Prize for the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Finally, visitors have the opportunity to take a look at related publications from Powell's, such as a compilation of lengthy interviews with 22 different authors. 

Ancient Manuscripts from the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu
Founded 900 years ago, the city of Timbuktu (located in what is now the country of Mali) was a center of major commercial importance and a place where many Islamic scholars received their education. This exhibit, developed by the Library of Congress (with the use of manuscripts from the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library and the Library of Cheick Zayni Baye of Boujbeha) explores some of the many important literary traditions and scholarship developed during this period of scholarly effervescence. Here visitors can browse over 30 primary documents, including texts designed to train scholars in the field of astronomy and the nature of Islamic mysticism. The exhibit is rounded out by several maps, such as a map from 1743 that shows the region in and around Timbuktu.

Ludwig Van Beethoven
Developed by Ingrid Schwaegermann, this Web site is offered as a homage to one of the most beloved classical composers, Ludwig Van Beethoven. Far from just offering a smattering of platitudes on Beethoven, the site is divided into a biographical section, a picture gallery, an area dedicated to offering musician's comments on Beethoven's legacy, and a most splendid section that details the stories behind many of his works. The Creation Histories section is particularly enjoyable as visitors can learn about how Beethoven crafted each of his symphonies, where they were first performed, and how they were initially received. The biography pages are also detailed, beginning with a discussion of Beethoven's family life, continuing into his time as court apprentice, and moving on to his time in Bonn and Vienna. Additionally, the section dedicated to musicians' musings on Beethoven is quite lovely, with a piece by E.T.A. Hoffmann on Beethoven's instrumental music, and the late Yeduhi Menuhin's reflections on performing Beethoven's music. Not surprisingly, the contents of the site are also available in German.

September 19, 2003

Cultural Policy & The Arts: National Data Archive
Funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and located at Princeton University, the Cultural Policy & the Arts National Data Archive (CPANDA) is the world's first interactive digital archive of policy-relevant data on the arts and cultural policy in the United States. Through its work, CPANDA seeks to "guide researchers to sources of high quality information about arts & cultural policy issues, contribute new knowledge to the academic field of arts and cultural policy studies, and promote open and equitable access to archived data." The site itself is divided into four primary sections: the Data Archive, Quick Facts, Research Guides, and Other Resources. The data archive consists of machine-readable files that contain numeric data that will be helpful to those concerned with arts and cultural policy. One recent addition in this area is the data set from the 1998 survey of cultural programs for adults in public libraries in the United States. The Quick Facts section contains answers to such basic questions as How many artists are there? and How many people participate in arts and cultural activities?. The Research Guides section contains a series of guides highlighting data on arts and cultural policy issues. Finally, the Other Resources section contains a number of links to other outside resources such as academic centers, nonprofit organizations, external data sources, working papers, and online journals. 
South African Government Online
Over the past few years, more and more national governments have aggressively sought to establish a highly visible presence on the Internet. South Africa's official government site combines pertinent information about elected officials with important documents and general information about the country. From the homepage, visitors can learn about the current president, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, and browse through an archive of his speeches and press releases. Also on the homepage are sections that explain South Africa's provincial and local units of governance, along with providing some basic information about the country taken from the most recent edition of the South Africa Yearbook. Those interested in international policy affairs will want to be certain to browse through the Key Issues section of the site as it contains materials on various national initiatives and programs, such as the country's partnership against HIV and AIDS, its recent growth and development summit, and its partnerships with other African nations.
The British Museum COMPASS
To help visitors find treasures in its vast holdings, the British Museum presents COMPASS, which is based on a database of around 5000 objects selected from the Museum's collections. Simple keyword searches work well in COMPASS, and searches can be limited to a particular index. Who? searches for a particular person, What? searches for particular objects, How? for processes and materials, and Where/When? for geography and date. COMPASS automatically adds the word and between words, just like Google. Object pages include detailed information, written for the average museum go-er, with links into an online glossary, although we were unable to discover why a search on sextant returned astrolabes (consulting another dictionary revealed that the astrolabe was an nautical instrument used prior to the sextant). There are also guided tours, on a huge list of subjects from 100 Views of Mount Fuji to the Wetwang Chariot Burial, with Chinese Jade, several Egypt tours, and over 45 Highlights of the British Museum in between. Another great way to approach COMPASS is to try the Galleries search (found on the search page) where selecting any one of about 35 gallery names displays all the objects in that room.
Founded in 1992 by a diverse group of leaders (including former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford), Project Vote Smart is a "citizen's organization dedicated to serving all Americans with accurate and unbiased information for electoral decision-making." PVS is a non-profit independent organization that is funded through private donations and grants from various foundations, including the Carnegie, Ford, and Revson Foundations. From their site, the general public can find out a great deal of information about local, state, and national government officials and political candidates, including their voting records and which legislation they have sponsored in the past. The information about candidates and elected officials is divided into five basic categories, including issue positions, campaign finances, voting records, and performance evaluations. Most recently, PVS has created a special section devoted to providing the most current and comprehensive information on 2004 presidential candidates. 


September 12, 2003

A great combination of art and science, the Orca Live Web site provides live Webcam viewing of Orca whales off Hanson Island, in the Johnstone Strait between Vancouver Island and British Columbia. Founded by Dr. Paul Spong, the Orca Lab on Hanson Island and underwater video cameras and microphones at Cracroft Point, monitor the whales' voices and movements 24 hours a day, covering an approximately 20 km. (12.5 mi) area around Hanson Island. If there is not too much happening on the live camera, the site offers archived video highlights from 2000 and 2002. To orient yourself, the Visit Hanson Island section allows you to zoom in and find the location of Hanson Island on Earth (an html version for those with slower connection is also provided). Also at the site, subscribe to a newsletter announcing the best times for live viewing, chat with other orca watchers, or simply open a window for peaceful underwater viewing, accompanied by the sounds of water, birds, and whales

Association of American Colleges and Universities

Founded in 1915 by college presidents, the Association of American Colleges and Universities is "the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality and public standing of undergraduate liberal education." The Association currently has over 850 accredited member institutions, which include research universities, masters institutions, and traditional liberal arts colleges. The Association sponsors a multitude of conferences and a number of timely publications, and there is a great deal of material about both to be found on their site. Visitors that may be unfamiliar with the nature of the Association may do well to first examine the About AAC&U section of the site to learn more about its mission, strategic plan, partnerships, and board of directors. The Publications section is also quite valuable, as visitors can read selected articles from two major quarterly publications published by the Association, "Liberal Education" and "Peer Review." Visitors will also want to take a look at the Association's major initiatives, which include Liberal Arts Colleges and Global Learning, Journey Towards Democracy, and Integrative Learning: Opportunities to Connect. 

Two on Grammar, Style and Diction
The American Heritage Book of English Usage
Webgrammar's Free Tips

This first Web site takes visitors to the American Heritage Book of English Usage, which is a guide to current problems and debates in English language usage that will be valuable for native and non-native speakers alike. The work may be searched by keyword, or users may elect to browse through its 10 chapters. The subjects covered by the various chapters include gender, science terms, e-mail, word choice, and style. The second site, developed by Judy Vorfeld, is a good online writing guide that covers such topics as common writing mistakes, style questions, and the usage of idioms. Visitors also have the option to sign up to receive Vorfeld's monthly text e-zine, which contains answers to questions about grammar, various pieces of trivia, and feedback from other subscribers. [KMG]





September 5, 2003

How Everyday Things Are Made
It is difficult for many individuals to fathom the exacting and complex processes used to manufacture an airplane, car, or even candy. Stepping in to help explain how many everyday things are made is this fine Web site developed by the Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing at Stanford University and design 4x, a company that develops online courses on manufacturing topics. The site begins with a brief introductory video clip orienting new visitors to the materials available on the site, and on how best to navigate the site's features. Dozens of products are covered here, including airplanes, motorcycles, cars, jelly beans, chocolate, glass bottles, crayons, and golf clubs. Additionally, the site also contains information on various careers in manufacturing, along with a list of books on the field of manufacturing. Another helpful aspect of the site is the Think About It feature, where visitors are asked to offer their comments on how they think a certain process works, along with reading the previous comments of other visitors.

The National Security Archive, Nixon Tapes: Secret Recordings from the Nixon White House on Luis Echeverria and Much Much More
Released in August 2003 by the National Security Archive as part of its Electronic Briefing Book series, this compilation offers primary documents and audio selections dealing with the relationship between President Richard Nixon and the former president of Mexico, Luis Echeverria Alvarez. While normally the public would not be privy to the contents of their discussions (held in June 1972), hidden microphones that had been planted by Secret Service technicians in 1971 were recording the conversations between these two world leaders in their entirety. Interestingly enough, the two presidents only occasionally discussed the most-frequently debated issues between the two nations (such as drugs or trade), but rather mused back and forth about geopolitics for much of the time. All in all, the site includes 32 transcripts, and around a dozen audio excerpts from the conversations.

A Practical Guide to GPS - UTM
Don Bartlett, in association with National Resources Canada, has developed an educational instruction manual addressing many key elements of GPS units. First he describes the basic features a buyer should consider when purchasing a handheld unit. Bartlett then discusses in detail the limitations and the accuracies of the readings collected by a GPS unit. Users can learn how GPS systems work and how the readings correspond to map coordinates. The site also discusses many features of a GPS unit such as storing points of interest (waypoints) and tracking routes. Because of the difficulty many people have in understanding UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator grid), Bartlett explains in detail the coordinate system. This site is extremely beneficial for "hikers, fishermen, hunters and all persons who wish to traverse the wilderness in the full knowledge of where they are, where they have been and where they wish to go.

The Stars and Stripes: The American Soldiers' Newspaper of World War I, 1918-1919
The Stars and Stripes was a newspaper written by troops (and for the troops) serving in the American Expeditionary Force of the United States Army during the United States' involvement in World War I. The newspaper's existence was endorsed by official order of General John J. Pershing, who wanted the publication to strengthen the moral of the troops and to promote unity within the American forces. The paper ran from February 1918 to June 1919, and by the time it ceased publication, it had a readership of over 500,000. As part of the American Memory series of online collections, the Library of Congress has created this Web site containing a complete digitized and searchable run of the Stars and Stripes for the general Web-browsing public. Users may elect to browse the issues by date, or to search the entire collection of papers. Additionally, the site features an in-depth look at the paper, including a detailed discussion of the noted editorial staff that ran the paper, along with a complete roster of the paper's employees. 

World Heritage Tour
The purpose of the World Heritage Tour site is to offer greater exposure to the truly diverse set of cultural heritage sites designated by UNESCO around the world. While there are over 750 cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List, only 52 sites are currently covered on the site. The site itself features over 250 virtual reality movies from 52 sites, ranging from the Philippines to Egypt. Visitors can browse a list of sites currently covered, with each list noting how many virtual reality movies are available, along with providing the UNESCO identification number assigned to each site. From the site's homepage visitors can sign up to be notified when new movies become available, contact staff members, and read a paper about the World Heritage Tour.


August 29 2003

National Postal Museum: The Art of the Stamp
The Art of the Stamp online exhibit presented by the National Postal Museum is designed to complement the exhibit on display at the Museum itself in Washington, DC. The online exhibit begins with a brief description of how subjects and themes for postage are suggested, and then continues to discuss the timeline for developing a stamp, which often can take two years or longer. The main material on the site is divided into various categories, such as American History, Stamps with a Story, and Love. For each stamp, visitors can learn about the artist who created each design, along with information about the first day of issue. The Stamps with a Story section is rather engaging, containing stories about the creation of the Bugs Bunny stamp (visitors can take a look at some of the more irreverent designs considered) and of course the famous Elvis Presley stamp, which was first issued on January 8, 1993.

Indian Parliament
With one of the largest parliamentary bodies in the world, it is not surprising that the Web site for the Indian Parliament contains a staggering amount of information about its operations, its members, bills, budget proposals, and other important governmental proceedings. Visitors will want to begin by browsing through the section on the president of India (currently this is Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam) to learn about his recent statements and speeches, along with information about the beautiful presidential palace and the exquisite Mughal Garden. The other sections of the site are also compelling, and include areas devoted to the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People), where guests can read recent debates (some of which are only available in Hindi), and learn about the members of each body. Additionally, there is a frequently asked questions area that answers some basic queries about the organization and history of the Parliament.

Ben Jonson
Buried in Westminster Abbey (under a plain slab adorned with the words, Rare Ben Jonson), Ben Jonson was one of England's most renowned playwrights during the 17th century. A contemporary of Shakespeare, Jonson was born in 1572, educated at the Westminster School, and as a young man joined the theatrical company of Philip Henslowe in London. Shortly after joining the company, Jonson's second play, Every Man in His Humour, was performed in 1598 at the Globe, with a cast that included William Shakespeare. Ever the quick wit and satirist, Jonson's reputation was firmly secured by the comedies he wrote between 1605 and 1614, which included The Alchemist and Bartholomew Fair. This site, provided by the Luminarium, contains most of Jonsons' plays and lyric poetry, a brief biography (with hypertext links), additional Web resources, and a number of critical essays on Jonson's body of work. Visitors will want to make sure to read Jonson's homage to William Shakespeare, titled "To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare."

The Norman Rockwell Museum
With a style that is immediately recognizable, Norman Rockwell was America's foremost illustrator throughout the 20th century, working for the Saturday Evening Post for over forty years, and then for Look magazine. Located in Rockwell's longtime home of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the Norman Rockwell Museum was founded in 1969 with the assistance of Norman Rockwell and his wife, Molly Rockwell. The museum itself includes over 500 works by Rockwell, along with the Rockwell Archives, which contain over 100,000 items. The Web site provides basic information about visiting the museum and its collections, along with a nice selection of pictures by Rockwell. Visitors to the site will want to take a look at the Eye Opener section of the site, as it features some of his most famous works, including The Gossips, Family Doctor, The Four Freedoms, and The Problem We All Live With.

Subterranean Rome - Roma sotterranea
Presented by the Roma sotterranea association, a group of urban speleologists (also known as urban archaeologists), allow you to explore the Last Frontier" underneath Rome. Any large, long-inhabited city such as Rome always has some underground structures like catacombs, sewers, and aqueducts. In addition, in part the result of quarrying to obtain building materials and in part due to the growth of the city, hypogeums or underground chambers have formed under Rome. While some areas of the Roma sotterranea Web site are for members only, the Underground site's list includes entries on about 30 points of interest under Rome. Each entry includes a lengthy description, pictures, information on the hours open and if special permission is needed to visit, and a reservation form for booking a guided tour. Also at the Web site are maps of ancient and modern Rome, information about the organization and how to join, and a chat area for communicating with urban speleologists worldwide.

Psychology Free Online Medical Advice
First released on July 1, 2003, this online service provides answers to hundreds of questions about lifestyle issues such as post-traumatic stress syndrome, child guidance, obesity, and eating disorders. The project is funded by the EU, and the questions are answered in full by a team of psychological and psychiatric experts from a number of European countries. Visitors can elect to send in their own question directly to an expert, or read through a list of previously answered questions organized around topics ranging from psychotherapy to depression. Additionally, users may take part in a number of ongoing forums where they can discuss their issues anonymously, and seek advice from experts. Finally, the homepage features a list of recent discussions that are currently in progress, and questions that have recently been answered. Appropriately enough, the site is also available in Greek, German, and Swedish.

The Ibsen Centre
The Centre for Ibsen Studies was begun in 1992 at the University of Oslo, largely to serve as a place for scholars and students to gain access (and work on) projects related to Henrik Ibsen, one of the most celebrated playwrights of modern drama. The site contains a good deal of basic information about the activities of the Centre, along with upcoming conferences dealing with Ibsen, and forthcoming and recently released publications originating from the Centre. The site offers a searchable Ibsen bibliography, and access to manuscripts and papers written by Ibsen himself (all of which are, understandably, in Norwegian). Persons interested in finding out more about Ibsen should head to the Ibsen links area, which contains a fine selection of thematically organized links to online materials, including electronic texts, exhibitions, concordances, and critical essays and commentaries. Overall, this site is a good introduction to the breadth and scope of Ibsen's works, and the worthwhile agenda of the Ibsen Centre in Oslo. 

Great Lakes Maritime History Project
Drawing on the fine collections of several local and regional institutions (including the Wisconsin State Historical Society and the Milwaukee Public Library), this online archive of historical photographs serves as a visual record of Wisconsin maritime history, set on the waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Maritime commerce began during the days of the French and Native American trappers, but gained significant momentum after the conclusion of the War of 1812. Over the past two hundred years, the two lakes have seen a number of passenger vessels and large bulk freighters ply their waters. The site contains hundreds of photographs, and visitors may elect to search the entire collection of keywords, or browse through a list of predefined image collections such as barges, cargo ships, and shipwrecks. Each photograph is returned along with an image record that gives a brief description of the subject, the holding institution, and the place and time the photograph or image was generated or taken.

August 22 2003

Nuremberg Trials Project: A Digital Document Collection
Any project to document the long and complex history of the Nuremberg Trials (held between 1945 and 1949) would have to be extremely ambitious, and this site provided by the Harvard Law School Library certainly fits that description. The Harvard Law School Library has approximately 120,000 Nuremberg documents, and this project (when it is fully completed in 10 years) will contain 82,000 documents and 650,000 pages of material. The work is being funded by a generous grant from the Kenneth & Evelyn Lipper Foundation, and currently visitors can search 3800 documents from the Medical Case, as it is often referred to. This case (USA vs. Karl Brandt, et al.) was prosecuted in 1946-47 against 23 doctors accused of organizing and participating in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Various types of documents are included in these collections, including evidence files, trial transcripts, and various visual material. The Web site is rounded out by a Who's Who of the Nuremberg Trials, and a list of additional resources related to the Nuremberg Trials.

AskERIC: Education Information with the Personal Touch
AskERIC is a "personalized Internet-based service providing education information to teachers, librarians, counselors, administrators, parents, and anyone interested in education throughout the United States and the world." Quite comprehensive in its overall scope, AskERIC began in 1992 as a project of the Educational Resources Information Center, and is now a component of the Information Institute of Syracuse at Syracuse University. Currently, AskERIC consists of a question and answer service (where education questions submitted by users are submitted to a specialist in the field), a resource collection, a question archive, and over 200 lesson plans submitted from teachers across the United States. The resource section is particularly useful, as the AskERIC information specialists have compiled over 3000 internet-based resources on educational issues ranging from peer education programs to classroom management. This impressive Web site will be extremely valuable to a number of interested parties in the field of education, including administrators, teachers, and policy makers. 

John Stuart Mill Links
Considered one of the most important philosophers of the 19th century, John Stuart Mill was born in 1806 to one James Mill, part-time philosopher and economist, and full-time official in the East India Company. Educated by both his father and the philosopher Jeremy Bentham, Mill learned Greek by age three, Latin shortly thereafter, and was a competent logician by age 12. After suffering a mental breakdown at the age of 20, Mill decided he would commit himself to persuading the general public of the need for a scientific and rational approach to understanding social, political, and economic change. Mill penned some of the most powerful statements on the behalf of utilitarianism during his life, including one of his most enduring works, Utilitarianism. This Web site (offered in numerous different languages) is a compilation of links to works by and about Mill, including full-text versions of such works as On Liberty, Principles of Political Economy, and his Autobiography. Equally compelling are the works about Mill also to be found here, most notably Isaiah Berlin's 1959 article, John Stuart Mill and the Ends of Life.

Forgotten NY
Like many urban areas throughout the world, New York has experienced numerous transformations during its storied past, with certain elements of the built environment existing as mere palimpsests amidst more modern surroundings. Kevin Walsh, a lifelong New Yorker, has fashioned this fun and informative tribute to the various elements of the city's compelling past. The sections featured on the site pay homage to street scenes from the past, subways and trains (honing in on such elements as outdated signs and closed stations), cemeteries, and alleys. One rather notable section is called "You'd never believe you're in NYC," and offers profiles of the more pastoral parts of New York, such as Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and the Queens County Farm Museum, which is the last operating farm within the city limits. For people planning a visit to New York, there is also a section where visitors can learn about Walsh's highly interactive tours, which highlight some of New York's most unusual and overlooked locales.

Started in 1996, the EarthCam company was one of the first corporations to begin delivering services designed to assist those persons seeking to set up the necessary infrastructure to send live images across the globe. This free site is a helpful way to take a peek at literally thousands of places (including some rather unusual ones) around the world. Visitors will want to begin by exploring some of the fun cameras set up by the EarthCam group in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Seattle, Dublin, and Las Vegas. Also featured on the Web site's home page are the Top Ten Cam Sites, which feature the most popular Web cams from around the world. There is a search engine provided on the site, or visitors may elect to peruse the available cams by theme, such as those focused on weather, schools, beaches, or businesses. Overall, the site is quite entertaining, and more than a bit addictive.

August 15, 2003

History of the FBI
Founded in 1908 by Attorney General Charles Bonaparte, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has served the people and government of the United States for close to a century. Interestingly enough, many of the first FBI agents were in fact former Secret Service Employees appointed by Bonaparte. Provided and maintained by staff members at the FBI, this site provides brief essays about the different periods of the organization's history, ranging from the so-called "Lawless" years from 1921 to 1933 to the rise of international crime in the 1980s. The essays address a wide array of topics ranging from the long career of J. Edgar Hoover as the head of the FBI, the creation of the "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" list, and combating domestic Communist activity in post-World War II America. The site is rounded out by transcriptions of relevant historic documents dealing with the organization's early history, such as Attorney General Bonaparte's request for a detective force within the Department of Justice.

Extra Ordinary Every Day: The Bauhaus at the Busch-Reisinger
Led by Walter Gropius and his fellow design collaborators, the Bauhaus was one of the most important and influential design schools of the twentieth century, extending its influence throughout much of Europe and the United States. Within the Bauhaus there was also a strong interest in designing objects for everyday life and utility. Drawing on the collection of the Busch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard, this online exhibit "highlights the alternatively individual and collective aspects of creativity at the Bauhaus, and asks the visitor to consider what other connections might emerge amongst these objects." The exhibit itself explores five primary categories of objects produced by members of the Bauhaus, including lamps, chairs, homes, stages, and automobiles. Particularly fascinating is the automobile section, where visitors can view the drawings by Herbert Bayer and the angular abstractions of Paul Klee.

Moving Here: 200 Years of Migration To England
Though it can truly be said that during the nineteenth and most of the twentieth centuries that "the sun never set on the British Empire," the story of those who came to Britain from various far-flung corners of the Commonwealth is sometimes overlooked. This lovely archive of documents, images, and first-hand narratives celebrates and explores why people came to Britain, along with looking at the current experiences of these various groups today. Culled from over 30 local, national, and regional museums and libraries around Britain, the site primarily looks at the Caribbean, Irish, Jewish and South Asian communities. First-time visitors will want to begin by looking at the migration histories area, which contains detailed portraits of these communities, illuminated by first-hand accounts, digitized primary documents, and sound clips. Without a doubt, the most moving part of the site is the stories section, where fellow travelers have submitted their own personal migration stories, accompanied in many cases by family photographs and other visual materials.


August 8, 2003

The power of the spoken word, especially when well-delivered and articulated, is immense; and this archive of speeches and rhetoric, developed and maintained by Michael E. Eidenmuller, (an assistant professor of communications at the University of Texas at Tyler) is an excellent way to delve into this subject. The core of the site is a truly comprehensive online speech bank that contains over 5000 speeches (in a host of formats), along with other recorded media events. The links in the speech bank are arranged alphabetically by first name and are checked for errors at least once every two weeks. One particularly compelling feature of the site is an area devoted to the rhetoric of 9/11, which contains over 150 active links to speeches dealing with the events on and around that date. Here visitors can listen to a 1998 interview with Osama Bin Laden or listen to President Bush's address to the United States on that tragic day. Overall, this site will be both useful to students and teachers alike, along with the Web-browsing public.

William James
Raised in a highly educated household (his father was a Swedenborgian theologian), William James is rightly considered one of the most important American philosophers of the 19th century. James began his studies in art and geology as a young man before he received a medical degree from Harvard, where he later taught for thirty-five years. Today he is best known for his elaborations on pragmatism, along with works on psychology, religion, and truth. Developed by Frank Pajares, a professor of education at Emory University, this site contains writings by and an extended biographical essay on James, and links to other internet resources for those interested in learning more about his life and work. Finally, the site also contains critical interpretations and examinations of his various philosophical writings and musings.

Asian Historical Architecture: A Photographic Survey
Edited by a number of professors and graduate students from Columbia, Yale, and the University of Virginia, this site offers thousands of photographic images of Asia's diverse architectural heritage. In total, the site contains over 6450 photos of 457 sites across seventeen countries. The geographical parameters of the site are limited to areas heavily influenced by Buddhism, Confucianism, or Hinduism. From the site's homepage, visitors can click on any one of the seventeen countries covered here, and look for various items of interest. One rather novel feature is that there are numerous clickable maps of large urban areas, which visitors can use to locate specific landscapes or other aspects of the built environment. Several highlights of the site's photographic images include those locales in Afghanistan, such as the Citadel of Heart (built on the foundations of a fort built by Alexander the Great) and the Minaret of Jam, which stands in the remote Hari Rud river valley.

Household Products Database
The Household Products Database is a new offering from the National Institute of Health and the National Library of Medicine that contains information on over 4,000 consumer brands, allowing consumers to research products based on chemical ingredients. The database "helps answer questions such as: What are the chemical ingredients and their percentage in specific brands? Which products contain specific chemical ingredients? Who manufactures a specific brand? How do I contact this manufacturer? What are the acute and chronic effects of chemical ingredients in a specific brand? What other information is available about chemicals in the toxicology-related databases of the National Library of Medicine?" Users can browse or search the well-designed database by products, ingredients, or Material Safety Data Sheets to easily locate the desired information.

Columbia Journalism Review: Who Owns What
Created and maintained by Aaron Moore, a professor of sports media at Ithaca College, this Web page documents which publications (and other ancillary businesses) are owned and controlled by various media conglomerates around the United States. Some of the media conglomerates covered by this rather revealing site include such newer upstarts in the media business such as Clear Channel Communications (which owns hundreds of radio stations around the United States), and a few of the more venerable media moguls, including the Hearst Corporation and the Tribune Company. Along with listing the holdings of these various corporations, the site includes a number of articles from the Columbia Journalism Review that deal with media ownership. One rather fascinating article addresses the life and career of Dean Singleton, CEO of the privately held MediaNews Group, which is the seventh-largest newspaper company in the U.S.

Science, Art, and Technology [QuickTime]
This fine exhibit and pedagogical tool was developed by the Art Institute of Chicago in order assist science teachers in their efforts to explore the relationship between science and art in a museum setting. Supported by a grant from the Polk Brothers Foundation, the various sections of the site reveal "how the scientific method is applied to the making, conserving, and exhibiting of art." The online exhibit is divided into six primary sections, including Perception, Light, and Color, Art and Astronomy, and Conservation: Light in the Making and Viewing of Art. Within each section, there are a number of lovely features, including self-contained units that include short video selections that illustrate the general themes of each module, along with providing a transcript of the lecture. Educators will also find the lesson plans section particularly useful, as it contains plans that deal with topics such as the connection between pigment and light colors and the effects of acid rain on stone sculpture.

The Healthy Refrigerator
In recent years, Americans have grown more concerned about their health. The Healthy Refrigerator site is a good way for users to learn about how to eat healthier and improve their cholesterol at the same time. The site is divided into four separate sections, including The Healthy Fridge, Good Nutrition, Heart of the Matter, and Just for Kids. The Healthy Fridge area is a good place to start, as it contains a "top 10" list of ways to maintain a refrigerator with healthy food options, along with introducing the "Refrigerator Makeover" program, where various celebrities (such as Mike Ditka) agree to have their refrigerators "made over" to incorporate healthier foods. The Heart of the Matter section is also a valuable area, as it contains a place where users can calculate their risk for heart disease and learn more facts about heart disease.

California Sheet Music Project
With oversight provided by Professor Mary Kay Duggan of the University of California at Berkeley, the California Sheet Music Project provides online access to some 2000 pieces of sheet music published in California between 1852 and 1900. The project was funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, and also contains interesting ephemera ranging from a music publisher's catalog from 1872, advertisements, and photographs. The entire database may be searched or browsed by image subject (from the frontispiece of each composition) or by the subject addressed by each piece of music. Some of the songs included in the archive deal with beggars ("Just One Penny to Buy Bread," babies ("Baby's Asleep"), and politicians ("Horace Greeley's Grand March"). Finally the site also has several musical performances of pieces from the collection for the listening pleasure of those compelled to visit this interesting tribute to the sheet music of the Golden State.


August 1, 2003

Historical Research in Europe: A Guide to Archives and Libraries
Long known for their fine online digital projects and initiatives, the University of Wisconsin Digital Content Group has developed this Web site to assist researchers seeking to use European libraries and archives. With a focus on Western Europe, the prime function of the interactive database is "to unite both Web-based and printed resources which provide information about European libraries and archives." The project itself is supported by a grant from the US Department of Education and the University of Wisconsin General Library System. The database can be searched by keyword or subject headings, which include Science, Audio-Video, Church Archives, and Foreign Relations. Within these subjects, individual records are returned that include the title, subject, creator, and in many cases, an URL. Without a doubt, this database will be a great research tool for those persons traveling to Europe to perform research in a host of disciplinary traditions.

Art of the First World War
While many of the literary accomplishments that arose out of the trauma and desolation wrought by the experiences of World War I remain at the forefront of literary and philosophical explorations, the paintings from this period are at times overlooked. This thoughtful exhibit, supported by UNESCO (working in tandem with partner museums throughout Europe) brings to the Web approximately 110 paintings from 54 painters. The exhibit begins with an introductory essay by art historian and exhibition curator Philippe Dagen. Visitors can elect to continue through the exhibit thematically through areas devoted to the declaration of war, the use of artillery, the battlefield, and suffering. Some of the works profiled here including William Roberts' "The First German Gas Attack at Ypres" (which gives dramatic representation to the use of toxic gases by the German artillery) and Felix Vallotton's "Le plateau de Bolante", which depicts the war-swept landscape of the Artois region of France.

Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden
Britain has at times been referred to as "a nation of gardeners," so the Web browsing public should not be taken unawares to read that the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden in London has developed a Web site that is both pleasing to the eye and rather informative as well. For those planning a visit to London, there is information about the hours and operation of the garden itself, along with details about the various scientific work conducted there on a regular basis. The Habitats section offers a brief overview (along with some nice photos) of each of the major regions represented in the Garden's grounds. Those covered here include the chalk downland, lowland heath, oak woodland, and that most British of environments, the hedgerow. Perhaps the most entertaining section of the site is the interactive area, where visitors can listen to bats flying over the garden, peruse a gallery of lovely images, and examine a pictorial record of the garden during the year 2000.

Vatican Museums
With some of the most exquisite frescoes in Europe, the Vatican created this Web site that highlights some of their remarkable holdings, many of which are situated within the various rooms of the Apostolic Palace. As many travelers may be unable to wait in the seemingly endless lines that are a hallmark of visiting the Vatican, the site offers a nice overview of some of the works that have been commissioned by different popes over the past five hundred years. In the "Vatican Museums Online" section, visitors can browse through the various rooms, including the Sistine Chapel, the Ethnological Missionary Museum, and the Gregorian Egyptian Museum. Visitors may also take a virtual tour of each room, aided by a Java interface that includes a zoom and scroll feature. Additionally, a highlights section features 30 works of great importance within the Vatican, among them the works of Raphael, Botticelli, and Michelangelo.



July 25, 2003

The Library of Congress Federal Research Division: Country Studies
The Federal Research Division (FRD) provides customized research and analytical services on foreign and domestic topics to United States Government and District of Columbia agencies. This Web site "presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world and examines the interrelationships of those systems and the ways they are shaped by cultural factors." The online books can be searched or browsed by particular country and include everything from a country profile, history, and physical environment description to economy, government, and national security information. Perhaps the most unique part of the site is an attempt to include only lesser known areas, making the conglomeration a good source of uncommon knowledge.

The Dickens Project
Found in 1981, the Dickens Project at the University of California-Santa Cruz, promotes the study and enjoyment of the life and work of Charles Dickens. With a research focus on both Dickens and the Victorian age, the Project disseminates research results through a combination of publications, institutes and its annual conference -- The Dickens Universe. The 2003 conference, held this weekend, will focus on the The Old Curiosity Shop. Links to overviews of prior conferences are available from the project's well organized Web site. Also provided are a succinct list of appropriate links, information on Dickens-related organizations, and media and text materials suitable for integrating Dickens into the classroom.

Archivos Virtuales: Papers of Latino and Latin American Artists
Based on the published guide to the Archives of American Art manuscript collections, "The Papers of Latino and Latin American Artists," this site offers a variety of documentation on Latino and Latin American artists. There are brief descriptions of over 150 collections in the Collections Guide, as well as 16 Finding Aids (lengthier descriptions of the manuscript collections, prepared by archivists, including biographies and organizational histories of the creators of the records). There are also oral histories, many with transcripts. The search function permits searching across all collection descriptions, finding aids, and oral histories. For users who simply want to look at materials, limit the search to Digital images/Documents to see pictures of both artists and their work -- such as a view of Frida Kahlo in her studio with The Two Fridas, ca. 1943.

Aesopís Fables Online Collection
"Nearly as old as the Olympics, bigger than Dinosaur, older than the Titanic, more complex than Pokemon and more of them than Beanie Babies are Aesopís Fables," explains Web site creator John R. Long, who offers free access to over 655 Fables with more on the way. The Fables are listed by title and by moral of the story -- many include illustrations and over a dozen are available as audio narrations. The site also provides links to lesson plans, including those submitted by site visitors. Unsure where to start in this extensive online library? Long provides an excellent subset 86 Fables "selected for their ease of reading and concise moral understanding."

Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association
There are people out there who would eagerly take a great pair of wool-blend socks and sturdy boots over Italian leather shoes any day. These are the people who carefully examine their calendar each winter, tallying and re-tallying their days off from work en route to finding ways to combine them with paid holidays. All so that they can have just one more day "on the trail." These are the people who are a bit reclusive and despondent once back at work -- a bit naked without a good skim of body odor and sweat and sheepish about their freshly starched clothes. If you are one of these, or aspire to be one, then the exceptionally informative Web site of the ALDHA will be of great interest. Included on the site are links to the Trail Grapevine which includes news from the trail, information on work trips to help build or maintain sections of the trail, a link to join ALDHA, and a section on the upcoming Gathering -- the annual meeting of the ALDHA to be held at Dartmouth College in October this year. This information, along with lots more, is accessible easily by clicking on the little white blazes, emblematic of the trail itself. Have a great time hiking along this very well organized site.

July 18, 2003

By the Way Online
Road Age Media produces content for the heritage travel industry, focusing on back roads and main streets. Their fun and informative publication, By the Way Magazine, finds the "gems of the back roads" across America. Their colorful Web site offers the current issue as well as archived features and reports. The Features section on the site offers video reports of various interesting topics such as vintage diners on the move. The latest report follows Minella's Main Line Diner as it leaves its birthplace in Wayne, PA. Check out the gift shop to purchase back issues of the print edition, post card booklets, and a Diner Finder guide. Whether you are looking to discover gems of the backroads in your own hometown or planning a trip across America, this site and magazine are well worth stopping at along the way.

Tate Gallery: Turner Online
This Web site is devoted to Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 - 1851), one of Britain's most famous, and somewhat controversial, artists. Turner displayed his first oil painting at the Royal Academy at the age of 21, and he remained actively involved at the Academy for the rest of his life. The site provides a brief biography of the artist as well as a timeline in which Turner's accomplishments are placed in the context of other political and cultural events. Since Turner's art was somewhat controversial this site also includes feedback from other artists and writers, such as Constable, Ruskin, and Matisse. Finally, the Web site includes Focus Sheets for teachers who take their students to Tate, the location of the national collections of British Art and international modern art.

Simple Steps to Better Dental Health
Simple Steps to Better Dental Health is a joint project of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and the health insurance company, Aetna. The site serves as "an independent consumer dental portal," offering loads of nicely presented Web pages on just about anything youíd ever want to know about dental health. The content falls into three main sections: Prevent Problems, Understanding Conditions, and Explore Treatments. The site is bursting with interactive tools and easy-to-understand diagrams, and also includes a section just for kids. From head and neck anatomy to cosmetic dentistry to your basic cavity, this Web site is a fantastically comprehensive resource that would be worth bookmarking for future reference.
The Book Report Network "is a group of websites founded in 1996 that share thoughtful book reviews, compelling features, in-depth author profiles and interviews, excerpts of the hottest new releases, literary games and contests, and more with readers every week.", which is part of a network described as "THE place online for teens to talk about their fave books --- and find the hippest new titles!" Visitors to the site will find book reviews and highlights, newsletters, author spotlights, book club information, reading guides for teens, and much more. The quality abundance of material provided on the site is in-depth enough for the hard-core bookworm and fun and inviting enough for the occasional teen reader who's looking for a summer read.


July 11, 2003

Humans have had a fascination with genealogy and the record of familial ties for thousands of years, and one need only look at the fastidious nature of dynastic record-keeping in ancient Egypt or the genealogies recounted in the Bible for ample evidence of this phenomenon. For the beginning researcher, or the more advanced genealogist, Genealogy will be a welcome addition to the numerous sites dealing with researching family history, both online and in archives. The site is divided into several broad sections, including Getting Started, Family History, and Research Tools. Along the left side of the siteís home page are a number of additional themed areas, such as a surname search engine, Team Roots (which contains free research tools), and an area dedicated to explaining genealogy to young people. The Getting Started section may have some of the most helpful material on the site, as it addresses the nature of beginning a new family genealogy project, along with providing some information about how best to use resources such as the United States census and newspapers.

Ballparks of Baseball
In some ways, nothing says summer in the United States like sitting outside in a ballpark and watching nine innings of Americaís favorite sport. This loving tribute to the venues (past, current, and future) that have housed various professional baseball teams is a great way to learn about some of the most hallowed (and most reviled) ballparks around the country. The Features section of the site has some fun material, including updated news about ballparks (such as Citizens Bank Park, which is now under construction in Philadelphia), webcams, seating charts, and attendance figures. Within that same section, visitors can chime in and rate their experiences at the different ballparks around the country. For those looking for a trip down memory lane, look no further than the Past section, which is devoted to ballparks that are no longer in existence. Here visitors can read brief profiles and look at photographs of such legendary parks as old Shibe Park, and ones that have recently gone to their eternal reward, like the Kingdome in Seattle.


National Trust for Historic Preservation
Chartered by the United States Congress over fifty years ago, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit organization which was formed in order "to encourage public participation in the preservation of sites, buildings, and objects significant in American history." Since that time, the National Trust has worked to preserve a host of structures that have some importance to American culture and history, along with providing stewardship to 21 sites (including the home and studio of Frank Lloyd Wright) under their immediate direction. From the home page, visitors can learn about assistance programs available from the National Trust for preserving local Main Streets or structures, along with learning about the various sites administered by the Trust. Perhaps the most helpful section of the site is the area devoted to articles from the Trustís monthly publication, Preservation. Here visitors can learn about ongoing preservation issues and read selected issues from the current issue and the online archives.

Pathfinders & Passageways: The Exploration of Canada
From the first ancestors of the Paleo-Indian peoples who crossed the Bering land bridge to the northward explorations of Roald Amundsen many millennia later, many have sought to explore and map the modern-day country of Canada. This fine online exhibit from the National Library of Canada (available in French and English) tells the story of these travelers and explorers through maps and essays that contain a number of helpful hyperlinks. Not surprisingly, the site is divided chronologically, with areas that address the prominent explorers from each era, along with shorter background profiles about germane topics, such as medical risks faced by these hardy individuals and their methods of transportation. Of course, no discussion of these explorers would be complete without providing material on the development and technology involved with the creation of meaningful and accurate maps. In this regard, there is a four-part essay that addresses the history of mapmaking and map production. Overall, this site offers a nice overview of the exploration of the country over its long history.

June 27, 2003

USGS West Nile Virus Maps
Given the increased concern over contagious diseases and viruses spread by various host animals and insects (such as the West Nile virus), these maps provided by the USGS are both helpful in their pragmatic applications, and for those studying the spatial distribution of the West Nile virus. The Web site begins with a brief background essay on the history of the virus, how the virus is transmitted, and the symptoms that may be evident by those who have become infected. The maps track which states have tested various carriers (such as birds, humans, and mosquitoes) for West Nile virus, and where these tests have turned up positive results. The Web site is updated frequently, and where available, also contains links to state and county public health agencies.

The Wise Guide
The federal government and the Library of Congress, in particular, maintain and develop hundreds of Web sites. For the user, navigating this online labyrinth can be rather daunting. Thankfully, the Library of Congress has partnered with the Ad Council to create the "Wise Guide," which is refreshed monthly (much like a magazine or periodical), and offers links to "the best of the Library's online materials." Currently, the site has eight archived issues of the Wise Guide and the most current edition as well. In the most recent edition (June 2003), visitors can follow links to materials dealing with Father's Day, John Philip Sousa (and the recent reconstruction of his "Library of Congress March"), and an amusing collection of dance instruction manuals from 1490 to 1920. This helpful online compendium will be a great boon to those looking to keep up to date about some of the most useful online materials available from a number of federal government sponsored sites. 

Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph Of Flemish Manuscript Painting
Manuscript Painting In Europe
Visitors to the Web version of this Getty Museum exhibition may well have an advantage over on-site visitors. While the physical exhibition features more than 130 illuminated books produced in Flanders between 1470 and 1560, viewers at the Web site have a chance to get much closer to twenty selected manuscripts, using the Zoom & Explore functions provided. Click a thumbnail to investigate a single page, zooming, panning, "pushing" the image around with the mouse, and linking to audio and additional information. For example, Alexander takes the hand of Roxanne, from the Book of the Deeds of Alexander the Great, ca. 1468-70, shows Alexander choosing his future wife from thirty virgins assembled at a banquet. Although Alexander lived over a century before the book was created, the people depicted are dressed in the height of Renaissance fashion, and links provide more information on their clothing, hats, and hair styles.

Colonial Williamsburg [Macromedia Flash Player]
In 1926, at the urging of the Revered Dr. D.A.R. Goodwin, John D. Rockefeller Jr. began a complex and elaborate restoration project in the quiet town of Williamsburg that sought to preserve a few of the more important Revolutionary War-era buildings around the town. The project became increasingly ambitious, and eventually grew to encompass around 85 percent of the town's area from the 18th century. Today, Colonial Williamsburg is the world's largest living history museum, and is noted for its ability to incorporate and interpret diverse perspectives on America's colonial period. Those persons unable to visit Colonial Williamsburg in person may want to first peruse the "Explore & Learn" section of the site, where they can learn about the different social and ethnic groups that inhabited the town (such as African-American slaves and colonial children), and see the various buildings within the community. The archaeology section of the site is particularly compelling, as visitors can learn about the many ongoing projects underway, and younger users can learn about the practice of archaeology through various games, quizzes, and puzzles. Additionally, users can read selected articles from the organization's popular history magazine, "Colonial Williamsburg," dating back to 1992.

Medieval Writing [Macromedia Flash Reader]
Developed and maintained by Dr. Dianne Tillotson, this site is a good location to begin learning about handwriting and manuscript production in the Middle Ages. Needless to say, the art and science of deciphering these manuscripts is terribly time-consuming and complicated. The site is divided into approximately thirteen sections, and first-time visitors would do well to read the "What is paleography?" essay first, in order to learn about this elaborate decoding process. The other sections of the site describe (through words, illustrations, and photographs) the life of a scribe during the Middle Ages, the tools utilized to produce the manuscripts, and the various forms that manuscripts took during this historical era. One rather delightful aspect of the site are the paleography exercises where visitors can try their hand at deciphering various passages from medieval manuscripts, including Dante's Inferno and the Book of Hours. 

June 20, 2003

Old Bailey Proceedings Online
Formally known as the Central Criminal Court of London, the Old Bailey is arguably the world's most well-known criminal court. Serving the Commonwealth since the 17th century, the Old Bailey has seen hundreds of thousands of trials for every offense imaginable, along with serving as the setting for many important trials of the famous and infamous. Designed as a collaboration between the University of Sheffield and the University of Hertfordshire, this ambitious project aims to create a fully searchable digitized collection of the Old Bailey's entire proceedings from 1674 to 1834. Currently, visitors can browse through 22,000 trials, from December 1714 to December 1759. The Web site indicates that the entire proceedings should be online by spring of 2004, so interested persons should continue to check back frequently. From the main page, visitors can search the proceedings (and elect to read a transcription of each trial or view the original document), read about the nature of the proceedings, and read some engaging background essays on crime and punishment through the court's history.

The Robert Louis Stevenson Web Site
Perhaps best known for his novels "Treasure Island" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," Robert Louis Stevenson receives a fine tribute on this site, which serves both as a compendium of links, and as a nice resource for primary documents and writings by, and about, this notable 19th century writer. Created and maintained by Richard Drury, a graduate of the University of Manchester and a professor at the Universita di Bergamo, the site contains a number of thematic sections that address Stevenson's life, available online electronic editions of his works, and extended bibliographies. Visitors unfamiliar with the life of this rather fascinating man may want to start by reading one of the online essays about his life, or by diving right into one of the electronic editions of his works. Of particular interest to Stevenson scholars and aficionados will be the "Critical Reception" area of the site that explores the ways in which his work has been received over the past century or so.

The Brooklyn Museum of Art
Brooklyn Expedition
Those of us who are not New Yorkers probably associate the Brooklyn Museum (BMA) with modern art from the controversial exhibition, SENSATION: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection, October 1999-January 2000. But the museum's permanent collection includes Egyptian, Greek and Roman, and Ancient Middle Eastern Art; American and European paintings and sculpture from the 14th century to the present; as well as decorative arts, prints, costumes and textiles, and photography. The BMA Web site provides overviews and selected images from these collections, descriptions of current and upcoming shows, and research resources, such as the Learning Center, a multimedia center for students, teachers, and families providing art books, exhibition catalogues, and computers with internet access for art research (available by appointment), and the BMA Libraries and Archives. Much of the information on the BMA Web site is helpful for planning in-person visits to the museum. But there is also one entirely online resource, the Brooklyn Expedition, a kids' access point to explore Brooklyn via collections at the BMA, Brooklyn Children's Museum, and the Brooklyn Public Library.
Provided as a public service by ASPCA, this colorful Web site is designed to serve as a source of information about pets and other animals for young people. The site is divided into several main areas, including a pet care guide, "Real Issues," a section on humane education, and "Ask Azula" -- where young people can write in with their questions about animals, and Azula will respond accordingly. Many of the questions (and their answers) are archived here, including such queries as "What animal has the biggest ears?" and "Are white tigers rare?" The pet care guide is well designed, as visitors can learn about how to best care for their friendly animal companions. The humane education area provides age-appropriate material on alternatives to dissection, information about animal-safe science projects, and a children's bibliography that highlights books dealing with animals in some fashion.

National Park System: American Battlefield Protection Program
Working under the aegis of the National Park Service's Heritage Preservation program, the goals of the American Battlefield Protection Program are "to protect battlefields and sites associated with armed conflicts that influenced the course of our history" and "to raise awareness of the importance of preserving battlefields." To that end, the NPS developed this site which collects a host of information about historically significant battlefields ranging from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War. Persons looking to learn more about ongoing and current developments in the field will want to be sure to read the group's publication, "Battlefield News," which is available here for the years 1998 to 2002. As might be expected, the online publications area is quite strong. Here visitors can read publications that tell about the importance of protecting these sites, along with various studies that have detailed the existing conditions of battlegrounds such as those in the Shenandoah Valley. 

Performing Arts in America, 1875-1923
Developed with the financial assistance from the NEA, this wonderful collection created by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, looks at the exuberant and dynamic world of the performing arts from the Gilded Age to the Roaring Twenties. The main element of this site is a searchable database of approximately 16,000 objects culled from the archival materials within the library's holdings. The printed ephemera contained within the database includes sheet music, newspaper clippings, photographs of theater and dance performances, and publicity posters. Visitors to the site can also elect to browse through the collection by selecting a number of formats, including books, moving images, or drawings. Included on the site are a number of brief introductions to the various collections, such as those dealing with music, theatrical productions, and dance. Overall, this is a very fine resource for those hoping to explore this fruitful period of American performing arts culture. 


June 13, 2003

Music Theory Online: A Journal of Criticism, Commentary, Research, and Scholarship
In the past few years more academic journals have been moving online, and some have been established to be solely available via the Internet. Edited by Thomas Koozin (a professor of music theory at the University of Houston), Music Theory Online has been online since 1993. Each issue usually contains several full-length scholarly articles, commentaries on previous works, and other like correspondence. At the site, visitors can read the contents of the entire journal, as well as every issue published since its inception. Along with a chronological list of journal contents, the site has an author and dissertation index. For parties interested in submitting material to the journal, there is a complete list of guidelines for contributors. Visitors can also elect to receive each issue of the journal electronically, along with the option to subscribe to a discussion forum, mto-talk. The site is rounded out by an assortment of links to other online music journals.

National Center for Education Statistics: The Condition of Education 2003
Organized and researched by John Wirt, Susan Choy, Stephen Provasnik, Patrick Rooney, Anindita Sen, and Richard Tobin at the National Center for Education Statistics, this annual report (whose production and publication is required by federal law) offers a broad and thorough inquiry into the current state of education in the United States. Drawing a number of massive data sets, the 327-page report released in June 2003 begins with a nine-page synopsis of the findings offered by Valena Plisko, the Associate Commissioner of the Department of Education. Of particular interest in the synopsis is a discussion of this year's special analysis, which examines childrens' reading achievement and classroom experiences in kindergarten and the first grade, with "a focus on the school, classroom, and home factors associated with the likelihood of children becoming good readers." This synopsis also offers overviews of the other large sections of the report, including discussions of learner outcomes, societal support for learning, and contexts of postsecondary education. Overall, this report will be of great value to educators and those working in education policy implementation and development around the United States.

National Park Service Data Information
The National Park Service Data and Information Web site contains several helpful links for data related to the Parks. The Data Clearinghouse link has national and regional data sets such as civil war and land status data, local and regional historic and scenic trails data sets, and information on the Virgin Islands in a well designed and easily browseable format. The Interactive Map Center allows visitors to explore the National Parks using interactive interfaces, while other links explain the National Park Service's standards and specifications, and how to use metadata correctly with other data. The unique and limited scope of the data makes the site a good example of how the Web is increasingly becoming an excellent source for hard-to-find free information.

Arlington National Cemetery Homepage [Real One Player]
Despite the overly loud version of the Irish ditty, Kathleen Mavourneen, which greets visitors to this homepage, this site is an important resource of information about the Arlington National Cemetery. Developed and maintained by Michael Patterson (the son of a former United States Army officer), the site contains dozens of links to a number of thematic sections, including those that offer a detailed history of the grounds, and several nice sections on the various memorials located within Arlington. One particularly nice document available here is a 1929 history of the cemetery written by Enoch Aquila Chase. Other historical documents of note are also located on the site, including stereographic photographs of Arlington Cemetery and a National Geographic article on the Cemetery from 1928. The site also includes several nice audio selections from various persons buried on the grounds, including Robert F. Kennedy's remarks about the late Martin Luther King Jr.

Jazz Roots: Early Jazz History
Focusing primarily on the first thirty years of jazz, this site offers a nice introduction to the development of the idiom, along with information about the various musicians and composers who contributed to this truly American art form. This site was developed as a labor of love by Tom Morgan, a radio producer and host of a well-regarded jazz show in New Orleans. Visitors unacquainted with the history of jazz may do well to read over the overview essay, which contains hyperlinks to various seminal performers and composers during the genre's early period. The Early Jazz Musicians section is a compendium of Web sites that discuss hundreds of performers, ranging from Henry (Red) Allen to Fats Waller. The pictures section of the site contains a number of scanned sheet music covers, along with a short piece about the importance of the work, and its context within the development of jazz. Finally, the Fun Facts section allows visitors to find out where early jazz musicians were born and read some musings on the origins of the word jazz.

June 6, 2003

Nation Master
If you have ever wanted to look up any number of national statistics, the Nation Master Web site is an excellent resource for finding out any number of current details about just about any country in the world. Currently, Nation Master has 335 statistical data sets, ranging from library books, forested land, Internet users, and airports. For easy reference, the main Web page features the most frequently requested stats, such as televisions and military expenditures per capita. Nation Master also allows visitors the option of creating their own graphs in order to effectively compare different nations. The site also has links to national profiles, which include the available statistics for each country, and images of the country's flag and a political map. Additionally, the site has a search engine, and a place where visitors can read short facts on the different countries. Apart from being interesting to browse through, the site will be helpful for students looking for basic statistics on the world's different countries.

100 Years of Flight
This overview of the past one-hundred years of flight was developed by the organization, and pays tribute to the men, women, and planes that have contributed to the technological innovation that has transformed transportation -- and, to a larger extent, how humans experience the world. Visitors will want to start by browsing the section devoted to telling the stories of the influential individuals involved in the enterprise of flight, such as Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong, and William Boeing. Another section highlights twenty memorable moments in aviation, such as the first crossing of the English Channel and the arrival of Charles Lindbergh in Paris after making his way across the Atlantic. Interspersed amidst these sections are the many distinctive Time magazine covers that have served as tributes to the accomplishments of those flying pioneers, including the 1949 cover with Chuck Yeager.

Genome News Network
While there is a great deal of information about genes and genomes available in the mainstream media, it may be difficult for many to obtain more objective and scientifically-informed material about these complex subjects. To that end, the Genome News Network provides this bi-weekly publication that features stories about human medicine, microbes, biotechnology, and agriculture. Visitors who may be less familiar about genes and genomes will want to start with the "Quick Guide to Sequenced Genomes," or the basic overview provided in the "What's a Genome" area. The site also features news updates on topics ranging from the African-American Biobank, the first cloned mule, and how geneticists recognize cancer cells. Additionally, visitors can browse through the archives of the News Network (back to the year 2000), and elect to receive the bi-weekly report via email.

African-American Poetry, 1760-1900
Utilizing software developed at the University of Chicago, this online database of African-American poetry is a fine resource for people looking for a compendium of poems by numerous notable 18th and 19th century African-American poets. First-time users will want to read the users manual, which explains the software used to design the database, and how to best utilize the available search engine, which allows for a number of detailed searching methods. The database itself contains 12 million words from a total of 86 works. Visitors looking to browse the online works should consult the bibliography section, as it contains a detailed description of the authors and works covered within the database. Visitors familiar with this genre will note the inclusion of many notable poets, including Paul Dunbar, James Corrothers, and Albery Allson Whitman.

The Wagner Library
For many lovers of opera, there are composers who have written opera, and there is Richard Wagner. During his lifetime, Wagner wrote and staged some of the most detailed and densely-structured operas of the 19th century, including Gotterdammerung, Die Walkure, Das Rheingold, and Tristan und Isolde. Edited and designed by Patrick Swinkels, this Web site represents what is perhaps the most ambitious effort thus far to present many of Wagner's prose writings online, along with his correspondence and libretti. On the site, visitors can read reviews of his operatic productions from the 19th century, and read background essays about the myths and legends he drew on for his many works. Additionally, the site presents (in English translation) the complete text of the 1911 edition of Wagner's letters to his family, and also features links to the legendary correspondence between Wagner and Liszt housed at the Project Gutenberg Web site. It may be worth taking a look at the site just to read some of Wagner's elaborate (if not always well-structured) musings, particularly "The Artist and Publicity," which begins with a characteristically dramatic flourish: "When I am along, and the musical strings begin to stir within me, strange whirling sounds take shape of chords, until at last a melody springs forth, revealing to me the idea of my whole being."

Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project
Developed by the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, this site offers visual and written testimony about the experiences of United States veterans ranging from those who served in World War I, to those who served in the first Gulf War. The documents are organized into three main topical areas, including courage, patriotism, and community. The community section features recollections of the communal experience found by many who served in the Armed Forces, including those of John Walter Earle, who was a Special Services Officer during World War II. The patriotism section contains documents that relate the first-hand experiences of seven who served, including the harrowing and terrifying account of James Walsh's time in the Korean War. Each one of the narratives contains information about the individual's time of service, primary documents, and in some instances, video clips from recent interviews.

Mostly Medieval: Exploring the Middle Ages
After researching and writing a novel set in 13th century Scotland, Susan Wallace decided to develop a Web site that would contain information about heraldry, myths, religion, and medicine during the Middle Ages. The site is divided into seven thematic areas, including "Ballads," "Beasties," "Heraldry," and "Medicine." In the "Ballads" section, visitors can read a complete text version (or synopsis) of numerous ballads from the Middle Ages, such as the ballad of Gude Wallace, Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne, and The Unquiet Grave, where a dead woman expresses her distaste for mourning. The "Heraldry" section is one of the most engaging, as it includes a brief introduction to this time-honored practice, and features a wonderful dictionary of fabulous beasts used as part of the coat-of-arms. These fascinating creatures include the calopus (a wolf-like animal with spiked horns), and the lindorm (a huge snake-like creature). Intended for those with a casual interest in the Middle Ages, this site will be a nice diversion, and perhaps spark a trip to the library for more works dealing with the era.

May 30

The Supreme Court Historical Society [Macromedia Flash Player]
Dedicated to "the preservation and dissemination of the history of the Supreme Court of the United States," the Supreme Court Historical Society was founded in 1974 by the late Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. The Society has a number of public outreach programs, including an annual series of lectures by distinguished scholars. Serving as the online presence of the Society, their site contains a number of helpful features that will be of use to students studying the Supreme Court, or persons looking for background information on the court's history and various justices. Visitors will want to take a look at the Timeline of the Justices, an area devoted to providing biographical sketches of the chief and associate justices beginning in 1789 when the Court held its first session. Information about the current Court justices is also available here, along with a detailed history of the Court and its major decisions during the tenure of each Chief Justice. For students, several quizzes are provided, along with a multimedia presentation on the Supreme Court packing controversy that transpired during President Franklin Roosevelt's second term.

Einstein Archives Online
Officially released on the Web last week, this impressive digital archive features the writings, scholarship, and thoughts of Albert Einstein, one of the 20th century's greatest scientists. The site allows visitors to view and browse 3,000 high-quality digitized images of Einstein's writings, ranging from his travel diaries (many of which are in German) to his published and unpublished scholarly manuscripts. The online archive draws on the manuscripts held by the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was produced by the Jewish National & University Library's Digitization Project. Additionally, visitors have access to the archive database, which contains 43,000 records of Einstein related documents, such as his notebooks and third-party items. More casual visitors will want to visit the online gallery, which contains a selection of some of the key documents available here, such as his famous article that mentions the equation E=mc2. Overall, this is a thoroughly engaging and informative trove of digitized material on one of the world's most respected scientists.
Developed in part by the University of Exeter's School of Performance Art (with the help of Jon Primrose), the aim of is "to eventually be the best resource for practical information and advice about technical theatre techniques for theatre folk at any level." The site is divided into a number of thematic sections where browsers can go to find out information about props, lighting, rigging, sound, and stage management, along with eleven other topics. For those looking to find out about a particular theatre term, they should take a look at the online glossary, which contains over 1400 terms. The glossary is searchable by first letter, word, or for fun, there is a random word finder as well. The costume section is also rather useful, as it features links to online costume galleries, sites featuring research on costumes, and a link to businesses that supply and rent costumes to theatre organizations.

Uncle Sam's Reference Shelf: County and City Data Book
Uncle Sam's Reference Shelf: County and City Data Book contains official population and housing data from the 2000 Census plus business and other data for all US counties, cities with 25,000 or more inhabitants, and places of 2,500 or more inhabitants. Information includes percent population change by state; counties with populations of one million or more; top 40 cities by population; state, county, and city area and population; population by age, race, and sex; relevant maps, and much more. The PDF files include easy-to-read tables and graphs making the information an easily-accessible source of the country's latest geographic data.

May 23

The Crisis of the Union
Created and maintained by the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image at the University of Pennsylvania Library, this online document archive contains material related to "the causes, conduct, and consequences of the US Civil War." The collection is largely comprised of books, broadsides, cartoons, pamphlets, and other printed ephemera from 1830 to 1880. Drawing heavily on materials held by the Library Company of Philadelphia, the documents include speeches by Charles Sumner, cartoons by Thomas Nast, and promotional material from the Know-Nothing Party. The entire archive can be browsed by author, date of publication, title, or subject. Using a built-in viewer, each document can also be viewed in its original format, and visitors can zoom in or out on discrete areas. Finally, visitors can also search the entire archive by keywords, subjects, graphic elements, or date.

High School Hub
Developed by Wanda G. Wojcik and Dyann K. Schmidel, the High School Hub is an omnibus of links designed to be of assistance to high-school students looking for any number of online resources ranging from school subjects to reference works. Many of the links are quite topical, such as the daily news quiz (provided by the New York Times) or the Today in History feature, provided by the Library of Congress's American Memory project. The Homework Help section will be one that students will want to return to multiple times, as it is organized around academic subject; and each one contains several dozen links to features like an online table of chemical elements and famous American trials. Finally, the site also contains some pastimes and diversions, such as word puzzles and a typing challenge.

Cool Antarctica
Paul Ward, the designer of this site, spent over two years in Antarctica as a marine biologist with the British Antarctic Survey. Currently a teacher at a community college in Britain, Ward decided to develop this site to provide information about Antarctica's history, wildlife, and the various explorers who have traveled across the continent. The section featuring Ward's photographs is quite compelling, featuring hundreds of pictures of wildlife, the area's mountains, and icebergs. The historical pages are quite detailed, particularly those about the legendary Ernest Shackleton and his amazing Trans-Antarctica Expedition of 1914 to 1917. Persons looking for material about visiting Antarctica will find a section dedicated to helping people prepare for a visit to the area, including information about various cruise operators and what type of clothing is most suitable


The National Museum of American Illustration
Founded in 1998 by Judy A. G. Cutler and Laurence S. Cutler, The National Museum of American Illustration is housed at Vernon Court (Newport, RI), a mansion designed 100 years previously by the firm Carrere and Hastings, architects of other notable buildings such as New York Public Library and the Frick Collection. Portions of the six acres of grounds surrounding Vernon Court were originally landscaped by Frederick Law Olmstead. At the Web site, visitors can view a sampling of works by artists such as N.C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, and Elizabeth Shippen Green. Probably the best way to see the museum online is to take the virtual tour. Starting at the floor plan, click any room to see orientating photos and artworks arranged as they are on the walls. There are also images of murals and sculptures, as well as some furnishings, site plans for the gardens, and aerial views of the exterior of the house

May 16

Africana Digitization Project
Produced by the Digital Content Group at the University of Wisconsin Library, the Africana Digitization Project provides a excellent template for further projects to make works dealing with Africa more accessible to researchers and other interested parties. Currently, there are eight works available for browsing on the site. These important resources include Andre Alvares Almada's Brief Treatise on the rivers of Guinea from 1594, P.E.H. Hair's Barbot's West African vocabularies of 1680 from 1992, and Manuel Alvares's account of travels through modern-day Ethiopia from 1615. All of the works here are in English, and can be searched individually using the online search engine provided. For persons doing work in the field of African history, or those interested in reading travel narratives from Europeans, this repository will prove to be a helpful find.

Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus On Line
Developed as a public online resource by the Getty Institute, the Art and Architecture Thesaurus is a structured vocabulary containing 125,000 terms and other information that may be used to describe art, architecture, decorative arts, material culture, and archival materials. Each record within the Thesaurus is returned as a concept, which in turn, is linked to various terms, related concepts, sources for the data, and notes. For example, if a user types in the term "gargoyle," all of this valuable information is returned, including a chart that notes the terms hierarchical position within the Thesaurus. An online help feature will assist first-time visitors get better acquainted with the system, and a FAQ section provides answers to a number of common queries. Finally, users can provide feedback to the editors via an online form.

Big Dig Archeology [QuickTime]
From the Boston Museum of Science comes the Big Dig Archeology educational Web site. Visitors get a chance to explore Spectacle Island, an archaeological site just offshore from the City of Boston. They begin by learning about the site itself, what it looked like, what tools the Native Americans used, what food they ate, and other physical and natural histories of the island. A wide range of descriptions and photographs are available, as well as several interesting QuickTime movies of the island's early history, its recent history, and a description of the excavation from an actual archaeologist. The well-designed site does a good job of providing nontechnical descriptions and enough multimedia content to make it enjoyable for kids of all ages.

May 9, 2003

The Medici Archive Project
The Medici family is widely considered one of the most famous and respected patrons of arts during the Renaissance, and their legacy perseveres in the numerous works of art, music, and sculpture that were produced as a result of their beneficence. The archive of the Medici Grand Dukes contains almost three million letters, and offers "the most complete record of any princely regime in Renaissance and Baroque Europe." Currently, the Medici Archive Project is developing this site to place many of these letters online, along with a strong interest in the history of costumes and Jewish history during the Renaissance. One of the site's strongest element is the Document of the Month, where the Archive's curators have selected an item from their holdings to place online, along with a long-form essay detailing the provenance and importance of the document. Visitors to the site can also search the currently available documents in a variety of ways or by browsing a complete list. 

Musee Rodin
The physical Musee Rodin consists of two buildings -- HÙtel Biron in Paris and Villa des Brillants in Meudon (a suburb) -- but the museum's Web site makes it easy to visit both. HÙtel Biron, an 18th century structure that is surrounded by gardens, has a long history available at the Web site. Acquired by the French government in the early 1900s, Rodin rented space there and always intended the building to be a museum of his works. There are over 6,000 sculptures in many media - terracotta, plaster, bronze, marble, wax, glass, and stoneware. Finished sculptures in marble and bronze -- such as bronze casts of Rodin's most famous works, The Thinker and The Burghers of Calais, and The Kiss in marble -- are housed at HÙtel Biron, while preliminary sketches, studies, and maquettes are at Meudon, where Rodin lived and kept a studio from 1893 until his death in 1917. Works are presented as illustrations in essays from the Collections section of the Web site; larger views open in a new window, which may not facilitate browsing but may encourage reading. The site is available in both French and English. 

Friends of Trees
Based in Portland, Oregon, the Friends of Trees organization is dedicated to restoring urban forests around the country, with a particular emphasis on the Portland metropolitan area. As their Web site notes, "Tress are an essential part of the urban ecosystem. They help keep our water and air clean, prevent erosion, provide wildlife habitat, and make neighborhoods greener, more beautiful places to live." On the site, visitors can read about their ongoing planting activities and browse the newsletter they publish three times a year. For most visitors, the most helpful area of the site will be the Tree Resources section. Here, users can look through a fact sheet on the benefits of trees in urban environments, the care and maintenance of trees, and a large tree database.
On August 28, 2002, President George W. Bush issued an executive memorandum as part of the New Freedom Initiative that directed all federal agencies to cooperate in building an interagency Web portal for people with disabilities, their families, employers, and the general public. As a result of this directive, was developed to service these different groups. The site is divided into ten broad thematic areas, including housing, education, health, technology, and civil rights. Within each area, visitors can look through a number of press releases and links dealing with each area and, in many cases, specifically addressing the rights of the disabled. The site includes a search engine and, appropriately enough, is also available in several different versions, including a high-contrast version. Finally, the site also contains a number of federal grant opportunities for persons and organizations serving and working on behalf of the disabled. 

Jazz Institute of Chicago
For all the attention paid to the fantastic blues music that is often closely associated with Chicago, many people seem to forget that Chicago has also been fertile ground for jazz musicians as well. Some of the many famous musicians produced by the Second City include Gene Ammons, Eddie Harris, Benny Goodman, Von Freeman, Herbie Hancock, and numerous others. Of course, the Jazz Institute of Chicago has never forgotten this legacy, and for the past thirty years, they have been keeping the jazz spirit alive throughout the entire city. Additionally, the Institute has programmed the city's Jazz Festival since it began in 1979. Along with reading about upcoming events sponsored by the Institute and letters from fellow jazz fans, visitors can browse the Jazzgram. The Jazzgram contains interviews with jazz musicians such as Buddy De Franco, commentary on recent recordings, book reviews, and pieces about jazz in Chicago.



May 2, 2003

Psychiatry On-Line
The field of psychiatry is one that is vast and rather complex, and fortunately for academics and practitioners in the field, the Psychiatry On-Line Web site provides a well-conceived international forum for the discipline. Edited and maintained since 1994 by Dr. Ben Green (a licensed psychiatrist in the United Kingdom), the site features peer-reviewed articles, papers, and case reports from around the world. Part of the Priory group, Psychiatry On-Line contains links to other germane online journals, including the Italian and Brazilian counterparts to the English-language version of Psychiatry On-Line. Visitors will want to browse the archives of previously featured papers, which are thematically organized under topics ranging from affective disorders to substance abuse. The general public will find the section Psychiatry in the Cinema of note, as Dr. Green offers commentary on the depiction of persons with psychiatric conditions (such as schizophrenia) in films like "A Beautiful Mind" and "As Good as it Gets."
Jointly sponsored by the International Literacy Institute and the National Center on Adult Literacy at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, is a cornucopia of valuable resources related to adult literacy in the United States and throughout the entire world. Particularly impressive, the search engine allows users to browse their holdings by country or region, topics, or perspective (such as teacher, practitioner, and so on). Their publication section is quite authoritative in its scope and depth, containing numerous technical reports, policy briefs, and international papers. Equally compelling are the sections devoted to the organization's ongoing projects, such as Tech.21, which is a hands-on dissemination system for the implementation and enhancement of high quality IT applications in adult education. Additionally, the Web site is frequently updated, and new developments in the field of adult literacy are prominently posted on the site's homepage. For anyone working in the field of adult literacy, this site will most likely prove to be an indispensable resource. 

Internet Sacred Text Archive
The world's philosophical and religious traditions have found a fine home at the Internet Sacred Text Archive, which, as the homepage notes, is "a quiet place in cyberspace devoted to religious tolerance and scholarship." Working together with a number of colleagues and volunteers, JB Hare has compiled this vast archive of sacred and philosophical texts from a number of public-domain sources and placed them on the site. What makes the site so intriguing is that Hare has placed detailed information about the sources and standards that have been deployed for each separate project, which will be of great interest to scholars. While the entire site can be searched, there is much to be learned by looking through the topics listed on the main page, which range from Atlantis to Zoroastrianism. Each separate topic contains a number of accurately transcribed (and some times, translated) primary and secondary documents, such as first-hand collections of oral traditions. For persons looking for their own copy of the material contained on the site, a CD-ROM is available for purchase as well. 

Internet Geography
Created by teacher Anthony Bennett, the Internet Geography Web site seeks to be a center for shared geographical resources and knowledge. A wide range of information and teaching tools can be found here, including links to original works that describe general physical, environmental, human, and economic geography subjects. Special sections of the site are geared specifically for students and teachers; the site provides them with homework help and lessons for teaching geography. Additions are regularly made to the site, making repeated visits necessary and fruitful. 



April 25, 2003

Ancient Near
The ancient Near East has been the birthplace of some of civilization's most important advances, among them written language, the impulse to urbanism, and crop cultivation. Created and maintained by Paul James Cowie (a doctoral student at Australia's Macquarie University), the site is a fine resource for both scholars and the general public. Scholars will want to make sure and take a look at the conference diary section, which lists upcoming conferences and various calls for papers and other submissions. The announcements section is of additional interest, as it gives advance notice regarding related activities, including international symposia. For the general public, a host of sections (such as museums and galleries) offer comprehensive listings of Web-based resources ranging from Egyptology links to those dealing with cuneiform. The Web site also contains a listing of links to museums that specialize in the antiquities and archaeology of the Near East located around the world.

Mathematics Help Central [.pdf]
This helpful site offers a number of resources, mainly intended for college-level mathematics students. The bulk of the site's material is contained in the Lecture Notes section. Seven complete sets of notes from math professors are presented, with emphases on courses in college algebra, pre-calculus algebra and trigonometry, and calculus, among others. Ready-to-print graph paper can be downloaded in a variety of grid sizes and layouts. A section of lecture notes on discrete mathematics is also given, although it is a work in progress.

Modern Haiku
With its origins in 15th century feudal Japan, the haiku is one of the most delicate forms of poetry and, despite its deceptively simple meter, can convey a wide range of emotion, feeling, and nuances. Started in 1969 by Kay Titus Mormino, Modern Haiku is a journal dedicated to promoting and publishing the work of those writers and poets working on this particular form of poetic expression. On this site, visitors can browse the last seven issues of the journal, which is published three times a year. Each issue features a number of poems, featured cover art, a note from the editor, and a featured critical essay. From the main page, visitors can browse a list of recent and past book reviews featured in the journal, along with information about submitting work to the editor.

The Victory Garden
Over the past 28 years, "The Victory Garden" (broadcast on PBS) has become one of the most enduring and respected "how-to" show on television. The show's current host is Michael Weishan, a nationally known horticulturist who leads viewers through some of America's finest gardens, along with offering a number of segments devoted to small and large-scale projects for those with a green thumb who watch the show. Their Web site serves as a valuable adjunct to the television program, as it features detailed information on the projects covered in each segment, such as how to start a miniature terrarium, backyard composting, and selecting aesthetically pleasing planters. The Inspired Gardens section allows users to re-visit places from the program, including the Blithewold Mansion and Gardens in Rhode Island and the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. Epicureans will also find the several dozen recipes available here a delight, as they range from an adventurous crawfish and dill pizza to the more understated old-fashioned omelet.
Around for close to two hundred years in one form or another, musicals are much loved by many professional and amateur companies who tread the boards. Authored and maintained by John Kenrick, an expert on musical theater history (and a personal assistant to six Tony-winning producers), the site contains close to 900 Web pages of information about the history, development, and current traditions of musical theater. Persons seeking basic information about the history of the art form will want to read the essay "What is a Musical?" Each historical section is divided into smaller sub-sections, so users can move to each section quickly. One of the best sections on the site is devoted to Mr. Kenrick's reviews of cast recordings, current and past productions, and those recordings that should be avoided. Finally, Mr. Kenrick also offers brief "courses" online dealing with some of the great names of musical theater, such as George M. Cohan and Ethel Merman.

Lewis and Clark as Naturalists
In late May of 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark sent forth from St. Charles, Missouri with a directive from President Thomas Jefferson. One of their charges was to collect and record information about the plants and animals they found along their journey westward. Anticipating the bicentennial of their departure, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History has created this fine Web site that allows visitors to travel with Lewis and Clark as they moved across the Great Plains and into the Pacific Northwest, examining the plants and animals they encountered. Regrettably, very few of the actual specimens collected by the explorers are intact, so the Smithsonian has drawn on its own massive collections to stand in as surrogates for the original specimens. Visitors can browse the collection by species, state in which each specimen was collected, or by date each specimen was collected. Each specimen contains information about where it was found and comments from the explorers about each specimen. The interactive map allows viewers to move along the trail of Lewis and Clark and click on each place where specimens were collected to obtain a detailed description of the locality and the object. Finally, there are a number of lesson plans designed to be used in conjunction with the Web site.
There are two types of people in this world: those who love the Three Stooges and those who cannot stand them. The latter group will probably want to avoid this site, but for Stooges aficionados out there, this site is a great place to visit. Developed by Robert Davidson, this Web site is a cornucopia of sounds, Stooge shorts, transcripts, and videographies all related to the Stooges' long performing career. From their vaudeville beginnings, the Stooges became a household name through their short films. Later, they then experienced a type of renaissance as the shorts made their way to television syndication in the 1950s. The site contains lists of the Stooges fabled physical comedy routines, a filmography, production crew listings, and monitor screen wallpaper that users can download for their own use. Additionally, visitors can find over twenty complete Stooge shorts to watch here, including the much-loved "Disorder in the Court," "Three Little Beers," and "Calling all Curs." Overall, this site is a great deal of fun and rather addictive. 

The Handbook of Texas Online
Sponsored by the Texas State Historical Society, this online guide to Texas is an excellent resource for students looking for information about the Lone Star state. The casual browser may want to look in the Browse section, which is divided into place names; "what" (covering many subjects, such as business and education); "who;" and "when." The Handbook also contains many images, which can be immediately located by going to the Multimedia section, which lists them all alphabetically. The Handbook can also be searched in its entirety, although most of the entries can be found quickly through the Browse section. For those persons looking to purchase a hard copy of the Handbook, information is available on the site. There is also an online form where visitors can make article revision suggestions, or suggest new article topics to be covered in future editions. 


April 18, 2003

National Archives and Record Administration: Access to Archival Databases
The National Archives has recently created this valuable online database that contains close to 50 million historical records, culled from 350 archival sources from 20 different federal agencies. Some sources include the Japanese-American Internee File, the Community Action Program Grant Master Files, and the Civil War Sites Database. From the homepage, visitors can learn about the architecture of the database, read about the terminology used on the site (and in the archives more generally), and how to get help using the archives. To begin, users will want to select a file unit, which are divided by subject, geography, organization, time span, and creator (such as civilian or military agency). After making this selection, a list of relevant file units will be returned, and users can select the one that is most germane to their area of interest. At this point, users can perform a more detailed search within the particular database they have selected. When users have found the information they are looking for, they have the option to view the records, print them out, or copy them to their own computer. Overall, this is an important addition to the extensive number of federal data sets available online.

This American Life
On their Web site, the staff of the radio show "This American Life" describes their innovative and popular show in these words: "Its mission is to document everyday life in this country. We sometimes think of it as a documentary show for people who normally hate documentaries. A public radio show for people who don't necessarily care for public radio." Hosted by Ira Glass since its inception in 1995, the show has run the gamut of compelling and fascinating topics, ranging from summer camp to gun control in the United States. On their Web site, listeners can listen to over 150 previous episodes, learn about contributors to the program, and read about how to submit story ideas and internship opportunities. Educators may also want to take a look at the For Educators section, which offers some perspectives on how This American Life may be used in the classroom. Finally, visitors can also view a list of the staff's favorite shows, including a rather memorable tribute to Frank Sinatra that features Gay Talese reading some of his own reporting on Sinatra from the 1960s. 

Smithsonian Physical Tables
From the Online Interactive Books and Database Web site Knovel comes the Smithsonian Physical Tables 9th Edition. "Originally published by the Smithsonian Institution Press, this classic reference source comprises 901 tables of general interest to scientists and engineers, and of particular interest to those involved with physics in its larger sense." The downloadable tables include general physics constants, constants for temperature measurement, the blackbody and its radiant energy, temperature characteristics by material, latent heat, thermal properties of gases, acoustics, geomagnetism, and many more. This free service provides a wealth of important and helpful information that scientists and researchers everywhere should fully utilize.

A Tapestry of Time and Terrain
This helpful teaching tool from the United States Geological Survey brings together the comprehensive geological and topographical maps of the United States. As the site suggests, "... this digital tapestry outlines the geologic story of continental collision and break-up, mountain-building, river erosion and deposition, ice-cap glaciation, volcanism, and other events and processes that have shaped the region over the last 2.6 billion years." First-time users will want to watch the Quick-Time film that shows the merging of the two maps, along with a brief description of how each individual map portrays the United States. Within the features description section of the site, visitors can interact with a clickable map surface that details the prominent features of the United States, such as the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin and the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington. Equally helpful for learning about geologic time is the interactive map legend that allows users to learn about the different eras, like the Paleozoic or the Precambrian. For people who are looking to learn more about geology, this Web site will be one they will want to peruse several times.

Indian Peoples of the Northern Great Plains
Created with grant support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant Program, this online database highlights the photographic and visual record of current and former Indian groups from the Northern Great Plains. Housed at Montana State University, this particular online collection was designed to provide students, researchers, and the general public with direct access to valuable primary source material on Plains Indian cultures. The general organization of the site's archival materials is by tribe, but there are several themed collections, including one of Blackfeet tipis. The search options are quite impressive, as users can search by subject, date, location, tribe, and artist or photographer, along with further refining each search by looking by the geographical location of where the item is currently held.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
The International Federation of Library Association and Institutions is "the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users." Started in 1927 in Edinburgh, the Federation currently has over 1700 members located in 150 countries. From the siteís main page, visitors can read the Federationís governing documents, search a directory of current members and affiliates, and learn about their annual conference. The section detailing the fellowships and grants administered by the Federation will be especially helpful to aspiring library and information professionals who are seeking to enhance their training, or those looking for funding for new projects in the arena of librarianship. Library and information professionals will definitely want to check out the past conference proceedings (which include many papers presented in each session), which date back to the 1993 conference held in Barcelona. Finally, the Electronic Collections portion of the page holds a number of useful links, including many dealing with metadata resources, upcoming digital collections from around the world, and information on copyright and intellectual property issues.

April 11, 2003

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
Born in Stonewall, Texas in 1908, Lyndon Baines Johnson would later become president of the United States after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and oversee one of the most turbulent periods in recent American history. Located on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, the Johnson Library and Museum was dedicated in 1971 and is part of the system of presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. First-time visitors will want to tour the online research section, which contains a timeline of Johnson's life; information about Lady Bird Johnson; and quick facts about his presidential cabinet, religious affiliation, and favorite foods. The online primary documents are impressive, ranging from selected speeches given by Johnson during his administration, photographs, and most notably a number of oral histories. The oral histories are taken from dozens of his associates, fellow politicians, and friends, including Billy Graham and the late Senator Everett Dirksen. Visitors will also enjoy looking through the audio and video files, including conversations with Adam Clayton Powell, Thurgood Marshall, and Jacqueline Kennedy. The site is rounded out by a nice section especially aimed towards young people.

Online Journalism Review
Based at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, the Online Journalism Review was launched in 1998 with the intention of "evaluating the emerging field of online journalism, providing readers commentary, monthly features, and Web resource databases." The Review is also committed "to identify who is best serving the public on the Web, and who, hiding in the cloak of journalism, belongs in different garb." To that end, the Review's team of journalists reports on a host of online topics, ranging from Web site designs, private online news sources, and ongoing developments within the world of online journalism. Some of the primary resources available here include the Japan Media Review (focusing on the electronic media coverage within, and about, Japan) and a number of online forums. Additionally, interested visitors can elect to subscribe to the Online Journalism Review via email.

Cornell Library Historical Monographs
Beginning in 1990, the Cornell Library initiated an ambitious early attempt to create digital surrogates for materials that were rapidly deteriorating and becoming brittle. Utilizing prototype equipment developed in tandem with Xerox, the materials were scanned and placed online. Currently, the materials available include 441 entire monographs, totaling 159,961 pages. The search engine located on the site allows visitors to search the holding by author, title, and text. Additionally, visitors can browse the collection by author or title. The monographs include Shelley's "An address to the Irish people," Comte's "Positive Philosophy," selected writings of Richard Wagner, and Sir Richard Burton's "Personal Narrative of a pilgrimage to el Medinah and Meccah." The Web site concludes with a help section that contains information about searching and browsing this interesting collection of online monographs.

The Papers of John Jay
Contributor to The Federalist, the first Chief Justice of the United States and a two-term governor of New York, John Jay gave much of himself to the fledgling nation. Given that he was an alumnus of Columbia University, it is fitting that this institution has created this omnibus of his collected papers and placed them online. Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Florence Gould Foundation, the Jay materials may be searched by the name of the writer, name of the recipient, date of composition, name of holding institution, and accession number. Along with an extended biographical essay, the site also features four background papers. The papers include hypertext links to germane digitized documents held in the archive and deal with topics such as Jay's work on the treaty of 1794 with the British and his work with France throughout the 1770s. Overall, this is a fine repository of primary documents relating to one of America's early statesmen.


Henry James Scholar's Guide to Web Sites
Maintained and created by Richard Hathaway, an educator at the State University of New York at New Paltz, this site is a compendium of links and writings by and about the American writer Henry James. The site begins with a collections of electronic texts of James' works. Some of the more recent additions include short stories that James wrote specifically for The Atlantic Monthly during the 1860s. While the site cannot be searched in its entirety, a table of contents provides some assistance for those hoping to navigate its sections. The contents include such topics as Henry James conferences, Finding other etexts, The Henry James E-Journal, and an on-line discussion group. The section dealing with writings by and about James will be of great interest to scholars and students, as it includes links to study guides and musings on his great works by other noted authors and scholars.

April 4, 2003

The Global Threat of New and Reemerging Infectious Diseases
Authored by Jennifer Brower and Peter Chalk, working on behalf of the RAND Corporation, this 140-page online book explores an in-depth analysis of the security implications posed by the dissemination of various infectious diseases. Throughout the work, the authors draw on two case studies, namely the HIV/ AIDS epidemic in South Africa and the public health response system within the United States. The book itself is available as six separate chapters, including an appendix and bibliography. For those looking for a brief synopsis of the work, a nine-page summary is also available. The authors conclude their work by presenting several recommendations that may address various existing shortcomings, including increased coordination between public health authorities at all levels of government, integration of the private sector into overall public health efforts, and a large-scale education and information campaign.

Iraq: The Cradle of Civilization at Risk
As of late, there has been great consternation about the future of antiquities and archaeological expeditions within Iraq, largely due to political upheaval and military conflict in the area. With that in mind, the H-Museum mailing list has assembled a host of materials gleaned from their own discussion boards and scholarly resources that will help give visitors some sense of the breadth and importance of the material reminders of ancient civilizations located within Iraq's borders. The collection is divided into five primary sections, including a compilation of recent articles and documents that deal with the protection of cultural property and details about ongoing archaeological projects within the country. Two of the most important links on the site lead to the virtual online library of Iraq's history at the University of Kansas and the resources for Near Eastern archaeology provided by Arizona State University.

Storm Events Database
From the National Climatic Data Center comes the Storms Events Database. Events are included from 1993 to the present, but as is stated on the site, the site is usually 90-120 days behind the current month. Users first choose a state and then, if necessary, a county, date, and event type. Results can be limited by tornado type, hail size, wind speed, number of injuries or deaths, and even amount of property or crop damage. The generated report lists all of the events during the time period specified and, when clicked, contain specific information about that event. Although the reports can not be downloaded, this powerful resource can be an helpful addition to a researcher's toolbox. 

Relax with a Book
Host of a BBC television program dedicated to books, David Freeman also finds time to compile his interviews on this Web site for consideration by the Web-browsing public. Conducted in a prestigious London hotel, the interviews run the gamut from authors of "how-to" books to those working in the genres of history and music. Visitors to the site can perform detailed searches by author name, genre, publisher, or title. The homepage features the most recent interview by David Freeman, along with a brief introduction to the author and his or her work. The site contains over 610 interviews, including one with Jamie Oliver (the popular "Naked Chef") and Joan Collins musings on her recent book about her life. Finally, visitors can leave feedback for Freeman on the site, along with the ability to listen to his weekly radio program.

March 28, 2003

Social Security Online History Page
The creation of the Social Security program during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt is widely understood to be one of the most important pieces of social welfare legislation in United States history. Drawing on their vast repositories of oral histories, audio recordings, and primary documents, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has established this Web site that will be of great help and assistance to researchers looking for a holistic appraisal of the Administration's historical development and contributions to the welfare of the American public. Visitors will want to check out the detailed explanation of how Social Security numbers are assigned (and who received the first number back in 1936). One fascinating feature is the sound and video clip section, which features radio debates on the merits of the Social Security program taped during 1935 and Lyndon B. Johnson's remarks on the passage of the Medicare bill in 1965. The Web site also includes transcriptions of oral histories done with administrators of the SSA over the past 65 years. All in all, this site serves as a well-thought out archive that deals with the transformation of the federal government's role in increasing its influence in the arena of social welfare.

Women of Our Time
This lovely little exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery shows off about three dozen portraits of prominent American women from the 20th century. In the main Gallery, scroll through thumbnail portraits such as Julia Child shopping in an Italian market in Boston in the 1970s, Marilyn Monroe entertaining troops in Korea in 1954, or Maya Lin talking to a black cat in her New York City apartment. Larger views and information about the women depicted, as well as the settings of the photographs, are available by clicking any thumbnail. There are two "sidebar" sections: Biographical Moments and Styles, where visitors can watch and listen (or read a transcript) of curator Frederick Voss's illustrated lecture on the ways these portraits help us understand their subjects' lives, and the evolution of styles in portrait photography.

Web surfers looking for a wide variety of current news about Kenya will enjoy looking through this Web site, which features news items from the East African Standard and other local and regional newspapers. The main page is divided into topic news areas, including sports, national items, and weather. From the left-hand side of the main page, visitors can find out more specific information about Kenya's government, ethnic groups, and economy. The most helpful section in this area is the one devoted to Kenyan history, as it offers a broad overview of the country's development, going back to the late Stone Age and continuing up through independence from Britain. Understandably, there is also an extensive section devoted to tourism, which may be a boon to persons hoping to travel to Kenya in the future.

March 21, 2003

Baseball Library
Baseball fans will be delighted to find out about the existence of Baseball, a massive database devoted to one of America's favorite summer pastimes. The core of the site is based on two printed works, "The Ballplayers" by Mike Shatzkin and "The Baseball Chronology," edited by James Charlton. Currently, the Baseball Library contains profiles of over 8,800 professional baseball players, 75 book excerpts totaling 840 pages, and a number of other special features, such as the "greatest team" profiles. Looking up individual players brings up substantial amounts of detailed information, including their total statistical profile over their career, memorable highlights, and photographs. Equally exciting is the "Teams" section of the site, where visitors can look at rosters, statistics, and day-by-day season chronologies of every National, American, and Federal League team. The site has numerous featured sections, such as "Hall of Famers;" hypothetical "Historical Matchups;" and one that is certain to generate much conversation (and perhaps many arguments), the 12 selected as "Baseball's Greatest Teams." This site is great fun and will be quite enjoyable for those with a passion for baseball.

Locks, Docks and Beyond
The history of waterways is a subject of great interest in both the United States and Britain, and this novel online exhibit on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in West Yorkshire does a good job of exploring the importance of the canal in community life and history. Originally built in the middle of the 19th century during the Industrial Revolution, the canal was closed in 1950 and reopened in 2001. Through personal reminiscences, photographs, and illustrations by local schoolchildren, the exhibit reflects on various facets of the canal and its value to residents living nearby. Within the exhibit, visitors can look at a number of "now and then" photographic essays of towns along the canal (such as the village of Marsden), as well as hear older residents speak about their own experiences working and playing along the canal. The site will be of interest in educators and also to those who are hoping to perhaps create their own local history Web site.

The Pantheon
The Greek world of gods and goddesses is extremely intricate, and The Pantheon Web site provides an effective way to begin learning about this world, both for beginners and for those looking to brush up on their knowledge of their exploits and times. Beginners will want to start by reading the essay on the creation of the world out of chaos, which then leads into the piece on the creation of mankind. One helpful feature of these essays is the many interactive hyperlinks that visitors can use to access a brief synopsis about each god or goddess. A section on the principal Greek gods contains an interactive family tree, beginning with the union of Uranus and Gaea, and concluding with their great-grand children -- Apollo, Artemis, and several others. The site is rounded out with a selection of relevant links to other sites dealing with mythology and a list of suggested readings.

March 14, 2003

Arab Human Development Report 2002
Written and researched by a team of regional experts (working under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme), this 180-page report outlines the current state of human development and its future potential throughout the Arab world. The report begins by noting that Arab countries have made significant strides in more than one area of human development, although it also mentions that three significant deficits (freedom, empowerment of women, and knowledge) constitute "weighty constraints on human capability that must be lifted." While the full report is quite lengthy, it is divided into more digestible sections dealing with the overall state of human development in the region, the potential for building human capability, and cooperation among Arab states. The report also contains several appendices that offer detailed statistical information gathered by the researchers and a list of background papers. For those looking for a quick overview of their findings, the report also has an 11-page summary.

FDA: Antibiotic Resistance
In the past few years, there have been more reports of bacteria that are increasingly resilient to antibiotics. Understandably, this antibiotic resistance is of great concern to the medical community in terms of public health, and is due largely to the increased use of antibiotics. With this in mind, the United States Food and Drug Administration has developed this Web site to inform the general public about this phenomenon, as well as to provide a number of documents generated by different government agencies about this problem and strategies for combating it. For those unacquainted with the situation, there are several helpful general fact sheets and overviews provided online from the Center for Disease Control and the University of Wisconsin. Additionally, the site contains several papers outlining some general recommendations about how the problem can be contained with the cooperation of doctors, hospitals, and increased awareness of the populace.

Drawing the Western Frontier: The James E. Taylor Album
The National Museum of Natural History, in collaboration with the National Anthropological Archives, has recently placed the James E. Taylor Album online for ready access. James E. Taylor was a professional artist who worked throughout the last four decades of the nineteenth century, supplying numerous national newspapers with illustrations and drawings based on on-site descriptions and first-hand observations. Over his long career, Taylor collected photographs and newspaper clippings, which he compiled into scrapbooks, along with various letters and other printed ephemera. Taylor's eye for thematic organization is demonstrated by some of the highlighted scrapbook pages available for inspection on the Web site, including those dealing with gold mining, frontier life, and the Meeker tragedy. Visitors to the site can look at any of the 748 images contained here in detail, or browse through the different album pages. The site is rounded out by an extended biographical essay about Taylor and his work, which illuminates his role in creating the popular (and largely mythical) image of the West and its inhabitants.

The Prokofiev Page
Maintained by Sugi Sorensen, this Web site is dedicated to the life and work of Sergi Prokofiev, one of the most accomplished composers and pianists of the 20th century. New visitors to the site will want to take a look at the detailed biography of Prokofiev provided here, along with a timeline that highlights some key moments in his life. The site also features a complete list of his works by genre, along with pertinent details (such as instrumentation, length of work, and so on) and recordings recommended by Sorensen and other contributors. The site also has a concert list that notes when upcoming performances of works by Prokofiev will be taking place, as well as sketches of "Prokofievians" such as Jascha Heifetz, Neeme Jarvi, and Andre Previn. Perhaps one of the best features on the site is the interviews, which include conversations with Sviatoslav Prokofiev (his oldest son) and Harlow Robinson, a professor who has written several biographical works about Prokofiev.


March 7, 2003

This site is designed to provide detailed information on many different aspects of pursuing an undergraduate or advanced degree in business, along with providing related information on available scholarships and potential career options. Developed as part of the All Schools online network, visitors to the site can search their database of over 1500 schools by state, country, specialty, and educational level. The search engine will return results based on visitors specifications that will contain links to the different schools' respective programs, along with a link to send email to the program directly. The site also has a helpful list of hundreds of financial aid options available to students studying business, along with a glossary and suggested reading for selecting an appropriate program. Finally, the site contains numerous guidance articles written by experts in the field of business education, such as a Yale business school professor and a former Ocean Spray marketing director. 

Manet/ Velazquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting
The opening sequence of this exhibition Web site depicts the bidding process for an acclaimed Spanish painting, Murillio's "Immaculate Conception," which was purchased by the Musee de Louvre in 1852. Sponsored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Accenture, this beautiful site explores the great love of Spanish painting by the French throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century. Visitors will want to start by viewing the Artists' Journey through Spain section, which allows them to look at an interactive map of the travels within Spain that led artists such as Mary Cassatt, Edouard Manet, and others to produce such lasting and powerful works of art. The Comparative Gallery section is a fine feature that allows visitors to drag two different paintings from five different online galleries and read text that compares these nineteenth century French and American works with the Spanish paintings that inspired them. The Artists and Paintings section offers a brief overview in the exhibit, as well as a timeline that features crucial political, social, and cultural events from 1780 to 1890 that affected the artistic milieu of Spain and France. Perhaps the finest feature of the site is the ability to view the legendary Prado Museum in Madrid as Manet would have viewed it in the 1870s. Utilizing the photographs of the museum's grand Sala Central taken by Jean Laurent between 1879 and 1885, visitors can navigate around the interior, and zoom in and out as they prefer.