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ResearchWire - Fact-Finding on the Web: 10 More Reference Sources to Bookmark!

By Genie Tyburski, Published on September 1, 1997



Genie Tyburski is the Research Librarian for Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the editor of The Virtual Chase Web Site: A Research Site for Legal Professionals.

The Compleat Internet Researcher program may be found at http://www.aallnet.org/
products/crab/index.html
.



More REFERENCE COLLECTIONS

Reference Shelf, University of California, San Diego

My Virtual Reference Desk (formerly, Virtual Facts on File)

LibraryLand

UWSP Library's Virtual Reference Desk

During February of this year, I spotlighted ten Internet-accessible reference works in the ResearchWire column, Fact-Finding on the Web: A Look at Some Powerful Reference Tools. Now it is time to update that compilation.

Annotated below, legal professionals will discover links for several useful reference publications.

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The Merck Manual Reverse Telephone Directory Municipal Codes Online Biographical Dictionary NAICS
Acronyms Calendars Real Estate Financing Insurance Company Ratings Kelley Blue Book

The Merck Manual

Content: Completeness indeterminable. Incomplete citation information.
Availability: Open to the public; no subscription required.
Ease of use: Very easy to use.
Page layout or design: Small monitors will not display the entire screen. Works with text browser.

Merck & Co., Inc. offers the 16th edition of The Merck Manual, a clinical information reference text. Adapted from Keyboard Publishing's electronic version, entitled Merck Manual TextStack, the publication's introductory web page fails to state whether it provides access to a complete or abridged version of the printed text.

Users may browse the table of contents or search the manual using keywords. While these features facilitate use of the manual, legal professionals should exercise caution. None of the data I retrieved in testing the web version included citation information.

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Reverse Telephone Directory

Content: U.S. white pages. No update frequency or specific source information offered.
Availability: Open to the public; no subscription required.
Ease of use: Very easy to use.
Page layout or design: Simple design. Site legible with browser graphics feature turned off. Works with text browser.

Database America's PeopleFinder offers a reverse telephone directory. Enter a telephone number and find the resident's address and name. Researchers may also search the database by last name, first name, city, or state.

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Municipal Codes Online

Content: Comprehensive.
Availability: Open to the public; no subscription required.
Ease of use: Very easy to use.
Page layout or design: Simple. Low graphics. Those who experience trouble reading small print may want to increase the default font size of their browsers.

Jeannette Voiland at the Seattle Public Library maintains a comprehensive list of links to municipal code sites on the web. I like this site because all the links appear on one page in three easy-to-read columns. Moreover, the author seems to take care to include authoritative sources of municipal code information. Kudos, Ms. Voiland!

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Biographical Dictionary

Content: Impressive. Complete even though it takes its information solely from Internet sources.
Availability: Open to the public; no subscription required.
Ease of use: Easy to use. I would like to see a search feature for the content of the biographies rather than just for the names of the biographees.
Page layout or design: Quick load. Low graphics.

The Australian Science Archives Project offers History of Science, Technology and Medicine, a web-published biographical dictionary of famous inventors, scientists, and mathematicians. Compiled from numerous Internet sources (predominantly academic institutions), this site offers a name index that users may search or browse. Great site for getting the kid started on a school project!

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North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

Content: Complete.
Availability: Open to the public; no subscription required.
Ease of use: Tables offer easy access to basic information. Detailed information requires downloading portable document format (.pdf) files.
Page layout or design: Links to underlying content appear on one page. Tables easy to read. Works with text browser, but tables are difficult to read.

The U.S. Census Bureau provides a NAICS site. NAICS, the mnemonic for North American Industry Classification System, categorizes industries in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. In the United States, it replaces the Standard Industrial Classification system.

The resource offers tables that match the new classification system to corresponding categories in the older scheme. Using the tables, I found that legal services, for example, classified as 8111 under the SIC, now appears as 54111, Offices of Lawyers. The site also provides an implementation time schedule, links to relevant Federal Register notices, issue papers, and concept reports.

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Acronyms and Abbreviations

Content: Currently contains 15,444 acronyms.
Availability: Open to the public; no subscription required.
Ease of use: Very easy to use. Character string searching only.
Page layout or design: Low graphics. Fast load.

Discover the meaning of an acronym, or find acronyms and abbreviations that use particular words, using The WorldWideWeb Acronym and Abbreviation Server.

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Calendar Conversion

Content: Complete. See explanation.
Availability: Open to the public; no subscription required.
Ease of use: Very easy to use.
Page layout or design: Low graphics. Fast load.

Use this resource to find the day of the week, Julian day number, Julian calendar date, Jewish calendar date, or French republican calendar date for any date on the Gregorian calendar. Researchers may also convert Julian, Jewish, or French republican dates as well as Julian day numbers.

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Real Estate Financing

Availability: Open to the public; no subscription required.
Ease of use: Easy to use.
Page layout or design: All links to information and calculators available from the home page. Low graphics. Fast load.

FinanCenter Home Page offers information about mortgages as well as various calculators for determining real estate financing. Unlike other mortgage calculators available via Internet, this site includes taxes, home owners insurance and private mortgage insurance in the calculations. Consequently, it provides a more accurate figure.

Learn about refinancing, early repayment, or closing costs; or calculate the monthly payments, refinancing costs, reducing a loan by early repayment, etc.

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Ratings@insure.com

Content: S & P Ratings: Appears to include all companies covered by the print edition. Check the date of the last update. Reports: Selected companies. Duff & Phelps: Date of rating included in chart.
Availability: Open to the public; no subscription required.
Ease of use: Easy to use.
Page layout or design: Works with text browser, but tables are difficult to read.

Access Standard & Poor's and Duff & Phelps claims paying ability ratings lists via the Insurance News Network. Standard & Poor's also offers reports for several (approximately 100) insurance companies as well as special reports for analysts and professionals.

In addition to ratings, Duff & Phelps offers selected current news stories, insurance statistics, state insurance information, annuities (including a variable annuities database), and motor vehicle crash test information and product defects.

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Kelley Blue Book

Content: New and used cars and trucks sold in the U.S. Used car coverage: 1977 to present.
Availability: Open to the public; no subscription required. Requires U.S. residency.
Ease of use: Very easy to use.
Page layout or design: Simple. Links available from all pages. Users may disable images. Does not work with Lynx.

Need the value of a used car? Want new car price information? Try the Kelley Blue Book site. I found the trade-in value of my car and then received an option to order a title history (fee-based service).

Note that users must be United States residents to use the Kelley Blue Book site.

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