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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Pennsylvania Statutes From LexisNexis, August 28, 2002
LexisNexis has announced its latest statute product, Pennsylvania Statutes, Annotated by LexisNexis. This product is separate from the statute products released earlier this year for the states of Texas, New Jersey and Florida. Pennsylvania Statutes, Annotated by LexisNexis will include annotations, as current as August 2002, on various laws dating from 1968. Future plans are to
expand coverage of releases to include rules and constitutions. LexisNexis customers already receiving unannotated Pennsylvania Statues will receive this new product for no additional charge.
Press release – http://www.lexisnexis.com/about/releases/0539.asp
Accessing Court Records
According to the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Internet is becoming the tool of choice for State courts systems who are required to provide public access to the records. It also views the rapid availability of possibly sensitive information as leading to a “quiet revolution” of government accountability.
Recently the CDT completed a survey of the ways state courts use the Internet to provide availability of public records. Information on the survey and its findings are posted at http://www.cdt.org/publications/020821courtrecords.shtml.
Individual states are listed with links to the various types of information. Findings also include other fee-based ways in which each state distributes information, as well as contact information for different state offices. The survey includes three guides to justices information systems which are downloadable as PDF files. Worth a look, there’s lots of information here.
European Flood Damages Libraries
By now we have all seen reports of the flood disasters in Europe. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization reports on the damages the floods have caused to European libraries and archives at
http://www.unesco.org/webworld/floods_europe. The report includes
disaster recovery actions now underway. The front page starts with recent news articles on the recovering processes.
The list in the left column links to information in each of the countries of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Information includes the institutions damaged as well as links to other web sites for more information (some lists are putting lists of damaged holdings online.)
Electronic Voting Information
Looking for information on electronic voting? Sure you are. Find it here: http://lorrie.cranor.org/voting/hotlist.html. Categories include indexes, online available voting systems, Electronic Voting Protocol Papers, and Voting Equipment and Services Vendors. Sometimes annotation is good and sometimes it isn’t there at all.
As long as you’re at http://lorrie.cranor.org/, check out the mailing list for information on electronic voting at http://lorrie.cranor.org/voting/, Lorrie Cranor’s papers on voting at http://lorrie.cranor.org/pubs/voting.html, and the prototype of Sensus, a security-conscious electronic voting system, at
Boosting Web Site Credibility
Does your Web site need a shot of credibility? Check out the guidelines at http://www.webcredibility.org/guidelines/. This site provides ten tips to make your site more credible. Some of these guidelines seems rather obvious (“Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site.”) but some of them were more thoughtful (“Use restraint with any promotional content (e.g., ads, offers).” — I would not have thought that more promotion = less credibility.) As you might expect from such a page, there’s plenty of supporting research here.
Visit the root of the site, http://www.webcredibility.org, for more information on Web credibility and Web credibility research.
Database of Gambling Research
When I hear the term “grey literature” I think of quasi-legal literature that’s sold on street corners. But that’s apparently not what it means. Apparently “grey literature” is literature that libraries have a hard time accumulating and tracking.
The Alberta Gaming Research Institute has a “grey literature” database of about 400 items relating to gambling research. It’s available at http://gaming.uleth.ca/. Searching is simple keyword, or you can use an advanced search which covers author, subject, date range, date added/modified, and type (types include research reports, newsletter articles, and conference proceedings.) You can also browse the database — it’s broken
down into about 30 different topics.
A search for “addiction” found 52 results. The search results include record number, title, publication date, and author. Clicking on the title takes you to a more detailed page which includes subject, URL, and abstract. And, of course, there’s a blog available for showing new additions at http://www.abgaminginstitute.ualberta.ca/agrilibrary/blogger.html. Very
interesting. Check it out.
Scirus Updates Search Engine
Scirus and FAST have teamed up to update Scirus, the science search engine, last covered by yours truly in April 2001
(http://www.researchbuzz.com/news/2001/apr5apr1101.html). The new version claims to have more subject specific topics and improved relevance ranking. (There are over 107 million pages of information in this engine, including 17 million proprietary records.)
The site itself is available at http://www.scirus.com/. The front page allows you to do a basic keyword search, while an advanced tab lets you used a series of drop-down menus to build your query and a series of checkboxes to specify the sources you want to search.
I did my traditional search (“adrenal insulin uptake”) and got two results.. both … from… ResearchBuzz.com??! Okay, where’s Allen Funt? Wait, hang on, I didn’t use phrase marks before. Okay. That’s better. I got over 2900 results, which are helpfully divided into journal results (749) and Web results (2162).
Journal results include title, source, and brief abstract; web results have a title, date when available, and brief excerpt. All search results have checkboxes you can use to e-mail or save results. In addition, the right of the page has a list of words you can use to narrow down your search results, or enter your own.
Unfortunately Scirus continues to have a problem with irrelevant results. There are still substantial results for “pez collection,” “purple pieman,” and “xena warrior princess.” Though these will probably not pop up during a focused search, Scirus may want to tweak their spider a little bit more, possibly making EDU domains less inclusive.