Tara Calishain is the co-author of Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research, 2nd Edition, and author or co-author of four other books. She is the owner of CopperSky Writing & Research.
In This Issue:
The Latest on Legal Research
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The Congress Online Project, at http://www.congressonlineproject.org/webstudy2002.html, is a two- year initiative financed by The Pew Charitable Trusts to strengthen the electronic
communication channels between Congressional members and the public. They’ve just released a report called “Congress Online: Assessing and Improving Capitol Hill Web Sites” which “discusses the critical elements for building and maintaining effective congressional Websites and provides the results of our evaluations of all Member, committee, and leadership Web sites.”
Initial findings conclude that less than 10% of the 605 evaluated Web sites received a grade of A or B, and more than 5% failed. Research with focus groups, constituents and others show that while Congressional sites are being used as promotional tools, viewers are seeking information such as position statements and vote rationales. You can get the report in three
formats: printable HTML (about 60 pages) printable PDF, and an executive brief (also PDF format.)
In addition to this report the site also contains “best practices” tips for Congressional sites, back issues of newsletters (only a few issues available), research reports and demographic information, and a link list concentrating on usability. Worth a look.
Copyright & Fair Use
Stanford University Libraries has teamed with the Council on Library Resources and FindLaw Internet Legal Resources to sponsor this site at http://fairuse.stanford.edu/.
You can search Copyright & Fair Use by keywords or by words that describe a concept. My search for the “concept” online distribution netted results listed in
order of relevancy, the higher scores marked with red icons and black icons marking the lower scores. (Two results were red, the rest were black.) Clicking on the icons will locate similar items and, while the title links to the document, there is also a link to just a summary. Unfortunately, search results do not include document dates.
This site explores Primary Materials on the subject such as statues and regulations. It also covers Current Legislation and addition resources on the Internet. It wraps up with an Overview of Copyright Law including Supreme Court Cases since 1893.
The University College, Cork has a portal on Irish Law at http://www.ucc.ie/ucc/depts/law/irishlaw/. Go directly to a category with sub-headings listed underneath or use the drop-down box to take you straight to headings such as legislation, constitution or law on the Web.
Links to various aspects of Irish Law are listed in the right top corner under Subjects. There you will find Commercial Law, Criminal Law, Human Rights Law, Tort Law and more. The list of category headings continues: IrishLaw List, The Irish Constitution, The Peace Process, European Law and many more.
A keyword query sorts results by relevancy, but does not provide a score. Or you can sort the results by date. There is also an option to hide the summaries and list more results. Search keywords are highlighted in the summary.
The options continue on Irish Law. Subscribe (or Un- subscribe) for e-mail updates. Get a full list of the most recent Irish News Headlines. Search IrishLaw Archives, or look at all of the monthly archives. Though the front page of this site is really crowded, there’s a tremendous amount of information here. Worth a look.
A new Wall Street Journal Online at WSJ.com has been released with new features in addition to its new design. The technology infrastructure anchors the online edition with a more efficient organization to support faster reading and features intuitive navigation with strengthen search functions. Online
Journal will debut exclusive columns for the online edition and offer new industry information. Press release:
Lycos News (http://news.lycos.com/) has added Newsmine Scrollovers to certain of their news stories. I couldn’t get them to work except in IE, and there
they worked fine.
Here’s how it works. Certain words in a news story are hyperlinked with a small magnifying glass icon next to them. Move your mouse over the hyperlinked words and a menu will pop up with links to additional information
about that word. For people and places, sometimes photos are available in the box. Links include news search, links to books and CDs for sale, travel
information, maps, and sometimes kid-safe resources.
I like this idea, but I’d like to see a greater breadth of stories available at Lycos News.
The directory, at http://www.completeplanet.com/, provides categories to be browsed and also a search engine. There’s a lot to be found here but you have to be persistent. I find this directory to be too much robot and too little human. For example, Click on the music category from the front page. The second listing in that category is from “Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette.” Huh? Also, while the listings have keywords, they’re not annotated so that you can understand what’s available on each resource. Searching for Pez with the site search engine provides over 85 results, including the Library of Congress Federal Research Division. Searching for “neurophysiology” found 46 results, much better focused. And searching for “metallurgy” found 117 results, including one on electronic music in Albuquerque.
I like BrightPlanet, and I really love the idea of working to map the invisible Web. But this resource needs to be touched by a human a little more. If you
want to use it, I recommend using specific terminology and specialized vocabulary.