In This Issue:
The Latest on Legal Research
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.
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Wow! Last week’s request for additional resources brought all kinds of great ideas. Thanks; there are going to be some great issues of LLRXBuzz this fall
thanks to you guys. Keep ’em coming!
Oklahoma – http://www.state.ok.us/
I think this is the first state Web site I’ve seen that mentions the use of Dreamweaver for maintenance. Nothing about that one way or the other; I just think it’s interesting.
One thing that bothers me about some search engines is that one engine is used for everything. State web sites can encompass tens of thousands of pages (if not more) and yet you’re expected to use one search engine that
encompasses the whole site. Pfeh. Oklahoma solves this problem with SoonerSearch at http://www.soonersearch.odl.state.ok.us:8080/, which
provides you with a query box and a list of state agencies with checkboxes. Click on the checkboxes of the sites you want searched, or leave them all
unchecked to search every site. Each agency includes the date it was last indexed and what I would guess to be the number of pages (the help page says “number of webpage links” but I’m not clear on what that means.)
For more search engine goodness, check out the Oklahoma State Courts Network at http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/start.asp, which indexes
over 200,000 documents. There’s a really basic search on the front page, but you probably want the advanced search at http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/index.asp, which allows you to specify where you want to search (state legal materials with several subcategories, federal legal materials with ditto, etc.) The expand vs. search option is slightly confusing at first, but the search interfaces are excellent and the data divvied out neatly. Way to go, Oklahoma!
Oregon – http://www.state.or.us/
Wow, two sites in a row with great site search engines! Check out Oregon’s Compass at http://www.state.or.us:1080/compass/. Instead of a category-oriented search engine, it’s more like a searchable subject index. There’s a category tree through which you may browse, or you can search
individual categories or the whole index. Sometimes they page information available in the directory isn’t very good; more keywords and in some cases better titles would come in real handy.
Business in Oregon, at http://www.businessinoregon.org/, also offers a subject index at http://www.businessinoregon.org/sitemap.cfm, but you can get plenty of information without having to resort to the site map. The site includes a link to a business registry database, a page of market information including demographics (some of this is in PDF format), business law and legal information, and some general financial information. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here there is a search engine, or you can check out the site FAQs.
Pennsylvania – http://www.state.pa.us
Pennsylvania PowerPort, and boy, they’re not kidding! I’d be here all day describing all the materials on this site. But I’ve got four more states after this
one, so I’ll try to keep it quick.
The Pennsylvania Code has its own Web site at http://www.pacode.com/, and can be browsed or searched by keyword and, optionally, section. The Pennsylvania Bulletin also has its own domain, at http://www.pabulletin.com/index.asp, and contains “Statewide and local court rules; the Governor’s Proclamations and Executive Orders; Actions by the
General Assembly; Rulemakings by State agencies; Proposed Rulemakings by State agencies; and State agency notices.” You can search by keyword or many different document information parameters.
Pennsylvania School Profiles (http://www.paprofiles.org/; Pennsylvania really likes having separate domains!) offers school information searchable by county, map, or keyword. Each school report (reports are available in PDF format) offers a variety of information, including address, enrollment, technology and library resources, enrollment stability, class size, staffing, and programs available. There’s also a state profile available.
Rhode Island – http://www.state.ri.us/
How many other state Web sites have a Mr. Potatohead icon on their front pages?
Tear yourself away from that and check out the public information kiosk at
http://www.state.ri.us/submenus/leglink.htm. It’ll give you legislative information by session (I wonder how this page is going to look five sessions from now)
as well as a couple other goodies — a legislator’s address book (including e-mail and physical address, plain HTML, suitable for printing), or a downloadable version of the General Assembly database (available as a comma-delimited text file or in DBF format.)
If you’re interested in getting more contact information, check out http://www.state.ri.us/submenus/sofflink.htm. Here you can get contact information for several types of state officials as well as city and town information.)
On the other hand, if you’re looking for more legal stuff, check out the General Assembly page at http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/gen_assembly/genmenu.html. Here you can get Bill Text (going back to 1997), journals (back to 1998), and public laws (going back to 1994). You can also see the Rhode Island constitution, committee agendas and calendars, and some general
legislation information (including how to run for office in Rhode Island).
South Carolina – http://www.myscgov.com/
Please explain to me why I’m so fascinated with the South Carolina traffic cams. Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, onward.
You can search for South Carolina business filings by keyword at http://www.scsos.com/corp_search.htm . Information returned includes contact information, status, registering agent, filing date, and expiration date (if there is one.) There’s also a charities search, searchable by keyword, at http://www.scsos.com/char_online.htm. Information available includes address, status, and revenue.
Want local information? Check out the maps of all South Carolina counties at http://www.sciway.net/maps/cnty/. (If you’d rather get county information, check out http://www.state.sc.us/counties/.) There’s a list of cities and towns in SC with links when available at http://www.state.sc.us/scsl/cities.html.
Then there’s http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/ . There’s both a general search here or a search that allows you to find state Supreme Court and Appeals court opinions by judge, court type, date, and/or author.
South Dakota – http://www.state.sd.us/
South Dakota has a state news site at http://www.state.sd.us/News/index.cfm that’s really nice. Down the middle is the latest news — looks like about a week’s worth — while on the upper-right there are news tips for the upcoming nice. Well done South Dakota.
Maybe you want to Get It Done in South Dakota. Okay, check out http://www.state.sd.us/state/sitelist.cfm, the Get It Done page / site index. The top of the page has a drop down menu and query box allowing you to search by agency and keyword.
Below that is a site list divided into services, with categories ranging from administrative hearings to wildlife. Individual links are as specific as how to become a state trooper, reporting a fish with a tag, and an application for starting an insurance company in South Dakota.
If you just want government stuff, http://www.state.sd.us/state/govern.cfm is probably a better bet. Here you’ll find a linked list of agencies, links to elected offices, and a variety of information about South Dakota (state facts and symbols, state phone book, online forms, etc.)
Tennessee – http://www.state.tn.us/
Tennessee, our gorgeous neighbor (ever driven through the Blue Ridge mountains in the fall?) to the west. And not a bad Web site either.
The guide to Tennessee communities, at http://www.tennesseeanytime.org/main/citizen/community/index.html, divides Tennessee into east, middle, and west sections, and provides information for the communities of each. In addition, there’s a school and public library directory as well as a page of demographic information on the state as a whole.
(And if you’re interested in more Tennessee statistics, don’t miss
http://www.tennesseeanytime.org/main/facts/records/index.html, which provides sources for several more statistics, even down to often-updated statistics on traffic accidents.
Tennessee’s laws and rules are in another section at
http://www.tennesseeanytime.org/main/government/laws.html. This page has the full text of the Tennessee constitution (downloadable as a PDF file), state rules and regulations (browsable by chapters) and a link to the general assembly.
One more week to go. See you then!