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LLRXBuzz - September 23, 2002

By Tara Calishain, Published on September 23, 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:

SLATI

2002 Election Coverage

Rapsheets Extends Database

FindLaw Releases Business Site

NASA Plans Portal Launch

AlltheWeb's Search Engine Offers New Options

Specifying Depth of Results in Google

URL-Shortening Service With A Twist

LLRXBu zz Tour of 50 State Web Sites

LLRXBu zz Archives: April 3, 2000 - Present

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SLATI

The American Lung Association sponsors a SLATI site at
http://slati.lungusa.org/. SLATI stands for State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues and the site is a guide to laws controlling tobacco in the fifty states and the District of Columbia. SLATI features summary reports on tobacco issues such as smoking in public places, excise taxes and smoker protection laws.

The database can be searched by targeting a query with drop- down options under subject headings. Subject headings include Clean Indoor Air, Youth Access and Tobacco Liability. You can also click on individual states on the
map to view what's happening in that state.

Information by state includes topics like Clean Indoor Air, Youth Access, etc -- like the topics in the drop-down menu. Statute numbers are given and it looks like in many places the exact law is quoted.

2002 Election Coverage

Leadership Directories, Inc. has a site with information about the candidates vying for offices in the November 5th election at http://www.leadershipdirectories.com/elect.htm. The sections on Congressional and Gubernatorial Candidates contain information provided by each state after its primary election. Interesting site, unfortunately all of the states have not furnished the required data.

The candidates under each category are listed alphabetically by state. Click on a state under Congressional Candidates and view the offices that are up for election within the state. Click on an office and view the candidates. The
picture of the incumbent is listed first followed by a picture of the challenger. A profile is listed beneath each picture with such facts as birth date, education, career and campaign headquarters location with contact information.

Rapsheets Extends Database

Rapsheets.com has announced adding more than 5 million new records to its
criminal records database of over 55 million. The new records are from the states of Florida, Rhode Island and Wisconsin as well as various metro areas in Texas and Oklahoma.

Rapsheets criminal records database, with its National Criminal Index search function, is available to members and is not limited to use by government and law enforcement agencies. Search costs depend on the query level, but
starts at $6.00 per search. Get more information from the press release at
http://www1.internetwire.com/iwire/iwprj?id=46191&cat=bu.

FindLaw Releases Business Site

FindLaw.com has released its new site for businesses at http://biz.findlaw.com.  The site features information about running a business and articles on such legal issues as employee rights and employer responsibilities. It will also offer legal guidance on business operations like finance, contracts and taxes. The site's case law library answers questions of legal precedent. The FindLaw Business site also has a directory of over one million legal professionals sorted by name, location or area of practice. Check out the launch announcement at
http://library.northernlight.com/FC20020919540000486.html.

NASA Plans Portal Launch

NASA is planning to replace its current Web site with a "oneNASA portal" designed to reflect the diversity in research and work at all of its space centers. NASA has announced a seven-year, million dollar partnership with Dreamtime Holdings, in which Dreamtime will produce a variety of multimedia programming include HDTV broadcasts from the International Space Station. The full story is at Space.com: http://space.com/news/oneNASA_020912.html.

AlltheWeb's Search Engine Offers New Options

I always like to see competition in the search engine world. If Google's bothering to look back over their shoulders for anybody, it better be AlltheWeb.

AlltheWeb continues to offer fun search options and some cool tech. Check out their new advanced search options at http://www.alltheweb.com/advanced. You can now specify that a returned result page should or should not contain a
variety of content types, including images, audio, video, Real content, Flash, Java applets, JavaScript, and VBScript.

And check out the further restrictions section. You can restrict results by date updated, document size, and DEPTH! What is depth? Depth is how many subdirectories AlltheWeb will go down searching for results. For example, using AlltheWeb you can do a search and specify that your search results come only from the top level. So a search might pull results from www.cnn.com, but not www.cnn.com/technology/.
 
You can also specify that you search results be *below* the top level, meaning that results would not come from www.cnn.com, but might come from www.cnn.com/technology/. The AlltheWeb interface allows you to specify that results must be above, below, or exactly as many as ten levels deep. You can also click a checkbox that specifies result pages must be personal (that is, have a tilde, a ~, in the URL.)

Specifying Depth of Results in Google

Google's advanced search options do not at the moment allow you to specify the depth of your search results. So I wrote a Google API program that does do it. It's a little kludgy; there is some overlap between levels (except for top level, to which you can easily restrict your results.)

You can check it out at http://www.buzztoolbox.com/google/goolevel.shtml. And since each use of the form burns ten keys, and I only get 1000 keys a day, I encourage you to use your own Google API key if you have one.

Oh, and I'm not a Perl programmer. :->

URL-Shortening Service With A Twist

I like those URL-shortening services. Actually, as really long URLs become more prevalent they're almost a necessity to pass around. But one big disadvantage of URL-shortening services is that you can't tell what the URL is for -- nothing gives you a clue.

But Snipurl (http://snipurl.com/index.php) allows you to personalize the shortened URL you get back. Here's how it works. Enter the URL to be shortened in the box on the main screen. Now, look on the right side of the screen and enter the "nickname" of the URL -- for example, if you were to
shorten an URL of a story about Yahoo, maybe you'd enter the nickname Yahoo.

If you try to enter an nickname that's already been used, you'll get a warning note and a request to try a different nickname. Since the nicknames can be between 6 and 20 characters long, you have lots of different choices. So if
you wanted to link to a PR Newswire story about journalists honored on postage stamps, you could use the nickname of journaliststamps and get the Snipurl of http://snurl.com/journaliststamps.

You can also register for a free account here. Free registration means you can view a list of the URLs you snipped and e-mail them, edit them, or visit their Web site. Another handy URL-shortening tool; worth a look.