LLRXBuzz - November 4, 2002

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:

DisabilityInfo.gov

NTSB Expands Aviation Accident Database

State News

South Carolina County Court Records Moving to Net

Harvard Study Finds Variance in Google Search Results

Dumb Warnings

Software for Nonprofits

LLRXBu zz Tour of 50 State Web Sites

LLRXBu zz Archives: April 3, 2000 - Present

The Latest on Legal Research

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DisabilityInfo.gov

The Department of Labor has launched a site at http://disabilityinfo.gov/, which provides information about government resources for individuals with disabilities.

Resources are grouped categorically and presented in tabs across the top of the page. In addition to the usually expected categories of Employment, Education and Income Support, there are categories for Community Life, Civil
Rights and Technology. Each category opens to a page of headlines about recent government initiatives, with a description and link to the full article. Subcategories (for example, the housing category has subcategories that include general information and housing options) are linked to on the left, while the most popular resources for the category are on the right. Annotation is quite good.

The site's keyword search engine can group query results according to Interest Groups -- Service Providers, Researchers, Family Members and Employers. Narrowing the search by keyword and Interest Group is the function of the
Advanced Search option. Search results also provide a brief description with the number of pages in the result.

NTSB Expands Aviation Accident Database

The National Transportation Safety Board has announced its aviation accident database now includes data on accidents dating from 1962 until the present. To access this database, go to the NTSB site at http://www.ntsb.gov/default.htm, and click on Aviation Accident Database. (It's on the right side of the page)

The page begins with query options such as Monthly Lists of accidents sorted by date and a FAA incident database. In addition to information about recently completed investigations, you can download datasets for each year since 1982 or, if your browser will accept cookies, access the National Aviation Safety Data Analysis Center.

To search the accident database, click on Database Query or scroll down to the bottom of the page. Search options include date, location and information about the aircraft such as category, make or model. A string of words can also be searched and results can be sorted by one of the search criteria in ascending or descending order.

Search results include the type of report available on the accidents. The Preliminary report is the first to be available after the accident. Fact. indicates information has been added to the report as it is available. When the report is
completed, the Prel. report is replaced with a Final report. (All the September 11, 2001 reports are still preliminary.)

State News

The Council of State Governments has a Web site focusing on state news at http://www.statesnews.org/. The most recent news items on individual state levels are posted in the center column as they are received.

The left column features information about the CSG beginning with links to its various regions, such as Eastern, Western and Southern. Other information about CSG includes its programs and policies including Agricultural, Homeland Security and Conflict Management. One other left column component is a link to the Daily News Archive.

Each region's page opens to a map showing by maps and flags which states are included in the region. There are also links to individual states, New Publications and the most recent Comparative Data Reports. Interesting.

South Carolina County Court Records Moving to Net

York County will soon be joining Greenville, Richland and Pickens counties as the first in South Carolina to implement a program in which civil and criminal court records will be available to citizens via the Web.

By the time the program is running in 2003, the state will have invested $160,000 for file conversion and York County software license costs, plus training, technical support and upgrades for current software. The cost for
York County will be in equipment upgrades and an annual maintenance fee of $20,000. Get more details in this article from The State:
http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/local/4347087.htm.

Harvard Study Finds Variance in Google Search Results

Researchers from Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society have been studying how governments restrict some Web sites from being viewed by particular citizens. An example is the French government's desire to
restrict viewing of Nazi memorabilia on Yahoo auctions.

This study has expanded to document search results between Google and its European counterparts, google.fr and google.de, targeted to French and German audiences. (http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/filtering/google/) If you like, click to a list of sites that are excluded from the French and German sites, each with a confirmation link for verification. Not only are there links to details, readers are invited to contribute. This isn't the first time or the last that a search engine has removed content from its index, and it's only going to happen more. A must-see if you're interested in search engines.

Dumb Warnings

It's Monday and I suspect you might need a laugh, especially if your favorite American football team is causing you much anguish. Anyway, Dumb Warnings (http://www.dumbwarnings.com/) is an index of -- you guessed
it -- dumb warnings. Dumb warnings are divided into categories, including drinks, electronics, household, and Web. You can rate warnings, leave comments on warnings, or submit your own warnings.

This site is part of the Dumb Network (who knew?) The Dumb Network includes Dumb Laws, Dumb Facts, Dumb Criminals, Dumb Bumper Stickers, etc. Don't explore too many of them at once or you will spend hours and hours here and not get anything done.

Software for Nonprofits

The site is apparently all in black and white. So when I first visited I thought "Ah, Web noir." Then I saw the dog in the little hat and I changed my mind.

Npsoft.org (http://www.npsoft.org/) is a directory of software that provides discounts to non-profits and schools. The directory is divided into several different sections, including assistive technology, business, educational,
programming tools, and Internet. (All the categories I looked at had additional sub-categories.)

Each application has its own page. Information includes a screenshot, contact info, OS, version, cost, and file size. There's also a note showing what discount is available (note that this site also offers freeware so in some cases
discounts don't count.)