European Network of Excellence in Open Cultural Heritage
Bringing together the cultural heritage of Europe is no small task, and the European Network of Excellence in Open Cultural Heritage (EPOCH) is certainly up to the challenge. This network of over 100 European cultural institutions was created “to improve the quality and effectiveness of the use of information and community technology for cultural heritage.” On the homepage, visitors can view the “Highlights” section, which includes materials from conferences on digital heritage activities and new interactive exhibits from member institutions. The “Multimedia” area is a real gem, and it includes 3D downloadable models of various cities and a number of other pictures created used the ARC 3D WebService tool. Also, the site includes research papers that document their work in social media and digital distributive technologies.
[Source: The Scout Report, Volume 16, Number 49, December 10, 2010]
Association for Applied Sport Psychology
The three interrelated focus areas of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) are health and exercise psychology, performance psychology and social psychology. The aim of the Association is to see how “participation in sport, exercise, and physical activity may enhance personal development and well–being throughout the life span.” Visitors will find that the “About” section of their website has a “History” link, as well as links to “Awards & Grants”, “Fellows”, and “Special Interest Groups”. The “Publications” link has position papers published by the AASP in PDF format at the bottom of the page; topics of the papers include unethical behavior, choosing a sport psychology consultant, and human diversity. Visitors can check out the “Resource Center” link for information for parents, coaches, and athletes, which cover such topics as mental skills training information and how to teach and apply sport psychology skills.
[Source: The Scout Report, Volume 16, Number 47, November 24, 2010]
The Labor Trail
Created by the Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies, the Interactive Labor Trail documents 140 significant locations in the history of labor, migration, and working-class culture in Chicago. Visitors to the site can use the information here to learn more about the history of labor activism and related matters in Chicago, and visitors are also encouraged to add sites for inclusion on the map. First-time users can use the map by just clicking on sites of interest (like Hull House or the Pullman community) and they can also listen to audio features, such as “The Haymarket Affair”, narrated by William J. Adelman. In the “Resources” tab, visitors can watch video clips, look over a photo gallery, and check out a detailed bibliography and external resources.
[Source: The Scout Report, Volume 16, Number 46, November 19, 2010]
- The Rising Burden of Government Debt [Flash Player]
The Brookings Institution sponsors a wide range of work on the global economy, and this recent paper and analysis by Eswar Prasad and Mengjie Ding looks at the rising burden of government debt across the world. Released in November 2010, the piece uses international financial data and national GDP figures to look at the increase in government indebtedness from 2007 to 2010. During this period, the ratio of world debt to world GDP rose from 44 percent to 59 percent, and it is estimated that this ratio will reach 65 percent in 2015. So-called “advanced economies” (AEs) account for the bulk of the increase in global public debt since the start of this recent economic crisis and downturn…
- Cultural Shock [pdf]
The Demos organization in London is a think-tank that produces compelling reports on everything from public space to government spending. This report from October 2010 is by Samuel Jones, and he explores the relationship between the British government and culture and sport. His basic question is: “Why should the state get involved in culture, and if it should, how?” The 154-page report is divided into sections such as “Society and the cultural realm”, “Taking the cultural pulse of a nation”, and “Evidence of Potential”. It’s an interesting read, and the paper argues that “cultural policy must focus on the equitable distribution of individuals’ cultural capabilities, indicating that this will require thinking anew about what form the structures take, and how they are run.”
- NPR: The Picture Show
National Public Radio’s “The Picture Show” photo blog is a great way to avoid culling through the thousands of less interesting and engaging photographs on the web. With a dedicated team of professionals, this blog brings together different posts that profile various sets of photographs that cover 19th century war in Afghanistan, visual memories of WWII, unpublished photographs of JFK’s presidential campaign, and abandoned buildings on the islands in Boston Harbor. Visitors can search through previous posts, use social media features to share the photo features with friends, and also sign up to receive new materials via their RSS feed. There’s quite a nice mix of material here, and visitors can also comment on the photos and recommend the collection to friends and others.
- London Lives
“London Lives: Crime, Poverty and Social Policy in the Metropolis” is a project with the goal of “assessing the role of plebeians in the evolution of social practices in the modern metropolis.” In other words, the website aims to make accessible the records of non-elite individuals in order to show how those users of particular social institutions—charities, the penal system, and others—shaped their development. Visitors can choose “Browse Documents” to see the types of documents available, such as “Parish Archives”, “Criminal Records”, and “Coroners’ Records”. The “City of London Coroners” records from the 1780s include an inquest into a suspicious death, with no less than a dozen interviews with people who knew the man who died, and one of whom attested to him being “a little touched in the head”. The “Additional Datasets” link contains 16 other datasets, including one of boys recruited to serve at sea for the Marine Society.
[Source: The Scout Report, Volume 16, Number 45, November 12, 2010]
- Justice with Michael Sandel [Flash Player]
Is it sometimes wrong to tell the truth? How much value does society place on a single human life? These are truly the “big questions” of human existence, and they (along with many others) are discussed at length by Professor Michael Sandel of Harvard over the course of his popular “Justice” class. Now anyone around the world can sit in Sanders Theater to partake in the course, courtesy of Harvard and WGBH. Visitors can view the 12-part lecture series in its entirety, and they will by privy to a wide-ranging set of conversations and dialogues between Professor Sandel and his students. On the homepage, visitors will find the link to the lectures, along with information about the course readings, several helpful discussion guides, and a place for visitors to join the conversation in an online discussion forum.
- Malaysia: Abused and abandoned: Refugees denied rights in Malaysia [pdf]
The situation for many refugees around the world is quite dire, and every year, World Refugee Day seeks to educate the public about some of the issues surrounding refugees around the globe. In June 2010, Amnesty International released this 20-page report which reveals a “litany of abuses suffered by refugees in Malaysia, the vast majority of whom are from Myanmar.” Among other findings, the report notes that refugees and asylum-seekers in Malaysia are subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention in atrocious conditions, caning, and human trafficking. One potential solution to this problem is the introduction of government ID cards for UN-recognized refugees. The report includes a methodology section and a set of proposed policy solutions.
- PRIV-WAR: Regulating Privatisation of War [pdf]
What does it mean to have private military companies involved in the conduct of war? This is a subject of interest to the European University Institute, and a host of other partners, including the University of Sheffield and the Riga Graduate School of Law. The purpose of the PRIV-WAR project is to “assess the impact of the increasing use of private military companies and security companies in situations of armed conflict.” The project was started in 2008, and on their website interested parties can learn about their activities and click on to the “Publications” area. The working papers are quite worthy of special attention, and they include “Passing the Buck: State Responsibility for Private Military Companies” and “A History of Private Warfare”. Moving on, visitors can also use the “News” area to peruse a chronological listing of their publication records and conference activities. [KMG]
- U.S. government announces new policy to address homelessness
Addressing the problems of the homeless population is a multi-faceted undertaking, the White House made an announcement that a new effort called “Opening Doors” would be utilized to offer a new approach on the federal level to dealing with homelessness. The basic premise behind this approach is that better coordination among the “many agencies that try to help homeless people find employment and health care as well as stable places to live” is a crucial step to ending homelessness entirely. One of the key components of this plan is to also add housing vouchers for low-income families and affordable rental units in the short-term. The hope is that chronic homelessness (where people tend to cycle through shelters and hospitals) can be effectively alleviated with the implementation of this policy.
[Source: The Scout Report, Volume 16, Number 25, June 25, 2010]
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory [pdf]
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has tracked the national trend in greenhouse gas emissions and removals since 1990. This website provides access to the reports they have created since then, and the reports represent the collaborative efforts of hundreds of experts from academic institutions, consultants, and other government agencies. Visitors can download the reports, or take a look at their respective executive summary. Each summary contains “an overview of recent trends, anthropogenic sources and sinks of greenhouse gases, and an explanation of the relative importance of emissions and removals from each source category.” Users of the website are also encouraged to look over the overviews for different emissions, such as carbon dioxide and methane. The site is rounded out by a list of greenhouse gas inventories from other countries and global emission projections.
[Source: The Scout Report, Volume 16, Number 23, June 11, 2010]
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Publications
Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) makes all of their published research reports, case studies, and guidebooks publicly available on this website. The documents are arranged thematically, and they include everything from “Affordable Housing” to “Zoning”. Given the recent interest in building “green”, many visitors will want to click on over to the “Housing Production and Technology” area. On the right hand side of the page, visitors will find the “Popular Picks” list. Some of the publications are intended for an audience with a more technical background, but many of the works deal quite broadly with urban policy matters. The site is rounded out by a direct link to “New Publications” area near the bottom of the homepage and social media functionality.
- Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation [pdf] (Last reviewed in the Scout Report on February 24, 1995)
Since 1983, the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) has worked on research which looks “into the causes of international conflict and cooperation.” The Institute draws on scholars from around the University of California system, and they also have a number of visiting scholars from different parts of the world. On their homepage, visitors will notice four primary sections, including “Research”, “Regions”, and “Publications”. In the “Research” area, visitors can learn about their three primary thematic projects, and also learn about the researchers working on each area. In the “Publications” area, visitors can peruse a list of recent publications, which include books, reports, and journal articles. The easiest way to access some of these publications is via the subsections within the “Publications” area. Visitors should also look at their calendar and consider signing up for the IGCC e-newsletter via the homepage. A dip into the homepage updates is a good idea as well, and in the past it has contained reviews of books by IGCC scholars and reports like “Political Attitudes Under Repression: Evidence from North Korean Refugees”.
- Framing Conflict: Iraq and Afghanistan
Two Australian artists recently continued the tradition of official Australian war art that began in World War I by traveling for six weeks throughout the Middle East to record the lives of Australian troops in wartime. The paintings, composed using photographs, create a vivid picture of the experience of war. On the homepage visitors will find a slideshow of 19 of the paintings and photographs by the artists. Additional paintings, photographs, plus some of the equipment used by the artists, can be found by clicking on the appropriate links below the second paragraph on the homepage. Under the “Further Information” heading is a “Video Interview With Lyndell Brown and Charles Green (YouTube)”.
[Source: The Scout Report, Volume 16, Number 21, May 28, 2010]
Social Panorama of Latin America 2009 [pdf]
Every year, the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) publishes a report that comments on various aspects of the region’s social well-being. To do this, they rely on a number of researchers with experience in the area who look at poverty trends and income distribution, with a keen eye towards trends in social spending and how the respective states in the region can address the population’s welfare. This 64-page report was released at the end of 2009, and it includes a brief summary and six chapters. The chapter titles include “Poverty and inequality in the context of the economic crisis” and “Public policies and the care crisis: alternatives and initiatives”. The report is well-written, and persons with an interest in international relations, public health, and social policy will find the report very useful.
[Source: The Scout Report, Volume 16, Number 20, May 21, 2010]