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LLRXBuzz - August 28, 2000

By Tara Calishain, Published on August 27, 2000

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:

Civil Engineers Have their Own Directory

Gary Price Creates Campaign Finance Database Link Roundup

KnowledgeRush Organizes Writings Into Directory

Pac-Info Revs Up; Adds Fifty Million Links

Search Engine Directory Lists Resources By Country

State of Pennsylvania Offers Distance Learning Directory

NY Dept of Labor Offers Safety Library

Google Offers Site Search Beta -- Tweak Tips

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Civil Engineers Have their Own Directory                                            
There's an extensive directory of Internet resources for engineers at ICivilEngineer (http://www.icivilengineer.com/). The site, set up with a Yahoo-type directory on the left and news and headlines on the right, offers a variety of categories from General (ethics, history, etc) to different types of engineering (including environmental, earthquake, and hydraulic) to surveying.

There are two components to this site, which you'll see as you browse around. The first component is the directory of sites. The directory is well-annotated and contains about three thousand sites and articles. In addition to that there's a second component of another three thousand articles in the search engine.

For example, I might browse the "concrete structure" directory of the main site. I get plenty of pointers to sites of interest about concrete structures. But say I'm interested in concrete, how it fractures, and how it reacts under stress. I plug 'concrete fractures stress' into the search box (which defaults as Boolean "and," so the search engine looks for concrete AND fractures AND stress.) That gives me 28 results just like you'd get from a full- text search engine, only very targeted for Civil Engineering, making it possible to do general and very specific research here. Worth a look.

Gary Price Creates Campaign Finance Database Link Roundup    

Search maestro Gary Price has gathered a group of resources related to campaign finances at http://gwis2.circ.gwu.edu/~gprice/campaign.htm. While he's gotten resources for all states and DC (and in some cases more than one resource -- Vermont has a link for Campaign Finance 2000, one for, Campaign Finance Database (back to 1916), and one for the Elections & Campaign Finance Division ) not all states provide interactive databases. Still, this is an intriguing list and worth a look.

KnowledgeRush Organizes Writings Into Directory                              
KnowledgeRush, at http://www.knowledgerush.com, is an library of public domain texts and materials. Currently they have about 3000 books online. One of the more interesting things about this site is the fact that they're organizing this information into a Yahoo-type searchable subject index, which you can view at http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/jsp/db/directory.jsp.

LLRXBuzz readers might find of interest here the American history category as well as the science category. There's also a political category (which includes books like 1984 and Animal Farm) and a reference category (with encyclopedia and dictionary categories). This site also boasts a nice one-page ready reference link list at http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/jsp/db/links.jsp . Worth a look.

Pac-Info Revs Up; Adds Fifty Million Links
...okay, not fifty million, but Pac-Info has come back to life with a vengence and added several sites to their index and a page of search forms at http://www.pac-info.com/locations/search.shtml .

Added Databases Include: 

Arizona - Geologists
Arizona - Home Inspectors
Florida - State Bar - Attorneys by Geographic Area
Texas - Lamar County Marriages 1841-1910
Texas - Statutes
Piatt County, IL Marriage & Cemetery Records

Search Engine Directory Lists Resources By Country 
Search Engine Colossus (http://www.searchenginecolossus.com) is a good place to start if you're looking for resources sorted by geography. The no-frills front page breaks out search engines by country from the first through third columns, with a short topic index in the fourth. (There is also a short list of categories in French at the bottom of the page.)

Choose a country or topic and you'll be presented with a list of resources, with a graphic next to each one. (I'm not sure that the graphics were logos. I think sometimes they are and sometimes they're not.) The annotations are brief and come in three text colors. Annotations in white text describe resources which use spiders to gather and categorize resources (like Google). Annotations in green describe resources which use humans to gather an categorize resources (like Yahoo.) And finally, annotations in tan describe unusual or unique search engines. I'm not sure theses logos/not logos are necessary; leaving them off would cut load time even more and make the site even more appealing. If some graphic is really necessary, how about a search form from the site? Still, worth a look.

State of Pennsylvania Offers Distance Learning Directory                     
Exchange at http://www.dle.state.pa.us/. Currently the site offers a directory of courses and seminars. The site offers a variety of searching options, including activity type, subject, grade level (from K-4 all the way up to professional development), and technology type (audio, Internet, videoconferencing, etc.) You can also do just a keyword search with none of these parameters if you like. Doing a keyword search for "law" found two courses; one on business law and one on special education laws and concepts.

The list provides very little detail; to get more detail click the checkbox at the right of the list and then choose "Show Selected Details." (You can click as many checkboxes in the list as you like.) Unfortunately it doesn't appear that you can get course details without registering. Registration is free. You can find the site's privacy policy under their Terms of Service link.

Google Offers Site Search Beta -- Tweak Tips This is an opportunity to add site search and to get around that cookie- dependent search result setting. The URL referenced above allows you to enter a domain name and multiple domain names separated by an URL. Once you've done that, Google will return HTML code that creates a search form with different radio buttons for searching either the entire WWW or the different domains you specified.

For example, if you entered edu;org in the sitesearch box, you'd have HTML code that had a radio button for searching the WWW, one of searching the edu domain, and one for searching the org domain. Once you've got this code, you've got an excellent opportunity to break free of cookie tyranny and make sure you always get 100 results per screen, even if you don't like cookies or you use several different computers.

Look at the code Google gave you for your search engine. Find the line that says:

<INPUT type=submit name=sa VALUE="Google Search">

Now, after that line put this on its own line:

<input type=hidden name=num value="100">

That tells Google you want 100 results on each screen of results. (The number in the value quotes can be anything from 1 to 100.)

One more thing. If you want to permanently turn the SafeSearch filtering mechanism on, you can do that too. Just add this line after the INPUT type=submit line mentioned above (or after the input type=hidden line you may have added in):

<input type=hidden name=safe value="on">

This just tells the search engine to turn the SafeSearch filter on. This is not a foolproof way to prohibit unfiltered surfing -- all you'd have to do is change the setting in the URL box from &safe=on to &safe=off -- but if you want an interface that defaults to a filtered search without using cookies or settings, this is an easy way to create it.