November/December 1999 // Spotlight Site
The Scout Report
by Terry Calhoun
Note: This article was originally published in The Technology Source ( as: Terry Calhoun "The Scout Report" The Technology Source, November/December 1999. Available online at The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher.

The Scout Report modestly calls itself "a weekly publication offering a selection of new and newly discovered Internet resources of interest to researchers and educators." The Scout Report amply justifies its motto of "Surf Smarter," for it is one of the best general education resources on the Internet. Founded in 1994, it is published by the Internet Scout Project in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and receives funding through a grant from the National Science Foundation.

In library language, the Scout Report is called a current awareness reader advisory. It uses a variety of methods to find resources. Its staff "information trawl" and "scout" constantly; that is, they monitor a long list of Internet-based information sources to find links, and they browse through various meta-sites and Internet information nodes. The Scout Report site also permits end users to submit hyperlinks through a Web form that feeds a comprehensive, moderated (filtered) but not annotated e-mail and Web publication called Net Happenings.

The Scout Report's primary content is published in four topical publications: in the Scout Report (weekly), in the Scout Report for Business and Economics (biweekly), in the Scout Report for Science and Engineering (biweekly), and in the Scout Report for Social Sciences (biweekly). The Scout Report's experienced staff apply an intelligent set of guidelines in choosing resources and write consistent and informative descriptions about each site. Much of the power of the Scout Report comes from this careful selection and annotation by the staff. Subscribers may elect to access the publications via an e-mail newsletter or via the Web. All 7,660 previous annotations from past newsletters are available through a searchable database, and archives of previous issues and bimonthly compilations are also accessible via Web browsers. The Scout Report Web site also offers a Scout Toolkit and Webliographies for the K-12 community. The Scout Report's liberal copyright policy makes evident its emphasis on sharing the materials it publishes.

Finally, the Scout Report's extensive Web site is intuitively navigable and elegantly designed. If you want to keep on top of the best and newest of Web resources for educators, the Scout Report is simply the best.

Scout Report logo copyright Internet Scout Project, 1994-1999. Used with permission.

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