LLRXBuzz - March 5, 2001

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:

AAMR Launches RADAR

Physician Directory Now Online

Gary Price Hits The Blog Bandwagon

Legalpulse Offers Legal Forms

GPO Offers Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents

AltaVista Makes Some Changes

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AAMR Launches RADAR

The American Association on Mental Retardation has launched RADAR, its new service that monitors news publications for coverage on disability issues. RADAR tracks issues that can have a significant effect on persons with disabilities, such as abuse, employment, and housing.

The site is available at http://www.radaraamr.com/. You can get a list of periodicals it monitors at http://www.radaraamr.com/newspaper.asp . (It currently monitors over 150 newspapers, trade newsletters, and professional journals. You have the option of viewing the current issue, or searching the database. Viewing the current issue shows you a table of news providing state where the news was reported, date received, topic, and a summary of the news. (The summary of the news also provides the periodical and date of the article itself.)

The search engine lets you narrow your search to a certain number of issues, search by state, keyword, or do a full-text keyword search. A search for genetics found three results, while a search for funding found lots (unfortunately, the search results do not include a count of the results.)

Physician Directory Now Online

The American Board of Medical Specialties has announced that its Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists is available online at http://www.BoardCertifiedDocs.com/.

The site provides the medical community with daily updated biographical and credentials information about specialty physicians in America. Publisher Randy Mysel reports the data is "searchable by 18 different criteria, including area of specialty and geographic location." This is a subscription-based site, with an annual fee of $1,295. Trial subscriptions are available. You can get the press release on the new directory at http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/010228/0208.html.

Gary Price Hits The Blog Bandwagon

Gary Price, the brain behind Direct Search, has started a new Weblog devoted to new resources and tools that he comes across in his travels. It's called The Virtual Acquisition Shelf & News Desk (what a mouthful; how about VASAND?) and it's available at http://resourceshelf.blogspot.com/.

Though he noted in his announcement that he plans to updated it "a couple of times a week, especially in the early stages," the site was updated on both Friday and Thursday. The site currently includes links to human rights reports, a US government directory, a celebrity list, the most powerful women in Europe, a governor's guide to emergency management, and a lot more. Worth a look.

Legalpulse Offers Legal Forms

Legalpulse (http://www.legalpulse.com) is a site that offers several legal forms for free as long as you register (registration asks for your name, company, e-mail, and telephone number.) Once you've registered, you can access a table of contracts broken-out by category. The documents I looked at were more like outlines than "fill-in-the-blank" type documents. The outlines provide major subject headings with friendly discussions of what should be considered when filling in those headings. Most of the legal forms are available as plain text online, but some of the forms (like a patent license agreement) are so extensive and complicated that they're only available as PDF downloads.

The forms are friendly and easy to understand; you'll get a lot of hints reading them. However, bear in mind that this appears to be a UK site; some of the business and intellectual property specifics may be different than what is appropriate for U.S. readers.

GPO Offers Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents

If you're wondering about all the stuff George W. Bush did last week, you can find out via the Weekly Compilation of Presidential documents at http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/nara003.html.

The site actually has presidential compilation documents that go all the way back to 1993 and are searchable by keyword. However, the 2001 documents are browsable by weekly table of contents. Each item in the table of contents has a title (no description, though most of them are self-explanatory), and two links. There's a link for a text version of the document and a PDF version of the document.

AltaVista Makes Some Changes

Earlier this week AltaVista announced a search enhancement to their site. I got a chance to talk to Gannon Giguiere, AltaVista's Senior Director of Search Verticals, about these new changes.

First off, the index is a lot bigger. Before the enhancement the index was around 375 million pages. Now it's 550 million fully-indexed, mostly-HTML documents (there are some text documents.) The main page, as I noted a week or so ago, has had a lot of the portalese stuff stripped from it and is a much faster-loading page with faster-loading returns. But since the main page is much simpler than it was before, what's going to happen to Raging Search? "Currently we're going to keep Raging Search, and I don't know of any additional plans with that," Mr. Giguiere said.

Another part of their search announcement dealt with their new vertical search initiative, which started with a shopping vertical search. Now as you might guess I don't care about the shopping search. But I was tipped to a news vertical, which is being launched on March 7th. That site will feature news from Moreover and other partners, with the feeds going to AltaVista (instead of AltaVista sending out a spider). Mr. Giguiere told me he thought the archives for the news portal would go six weeks deep, which would make it an excellent addition to the news search engine genre. There are several other vertical searches, including technology, finance, and real estate, that are expected to go live in the next 60 to 90 days.

The search syntax has not changed, but the huge increase of pages is worth a look. I am a little dismayed that a site which has adopted as its new tagline "The Search Company" decided to start off its vertical search initiative with a shopping vertical, but I guess that's the new Internet. I await with interest the news portal's launch next week.