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LLRXBuzz - March 12, 2001

By Tara Calishain, Published on March 12, 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:

Pac-Info Gets an Overhaul

Competitive Analysis Technologies Releases Oil and Gas Database Updates

Briefing Books Expanded for Wall Street Journal Online Subscribers

CourthouseDirect.com Expands Public Record Database 

LegalZoom.com to Launch March 12th at Internet World 2001 

Strange and Unusual Dictionaries

Fact City Offering Thomson Financial News

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Pac-Info Gets an Overhaul

Pac-Info, a directory of publicly-accessible databases available at http://www.pac-info.com/, has gotten a major overhaul, being redesigned in PHP. In addition, the site now lists over 3900 databases.

Obviously if I listed them all we'd be here until the next newsletter. But I did talk to Tim Koster, head of the site, and he explained the additions to the site like this:  "In our statewide areas we've tried to concentrate on adding new corporate, uniform commercial code, professional licenses (many many more in this category), inmates, most wanted, sex offenders, and missing children. The most chilling is the Arizona database of death row inmates. We've added a substantial number of County records, including property databases, most wanted, civil and criminal filings, and recorders documents.

On our U.S. nationwide page we've added a number of associations which list their members in database form: CPA's, Dentists, Nursing Homes, Orthodontists, Tax Professionals, etc. We also listed Firestone Recalls, Ford Dealerships, and Funeral homes (in that order). Probably 90% of our Worldwide section is new. You'll find things like government phone directories, patent searches, art thefts, corporate filings, business names, white pages, professional licenses, and lots more. We've started dividing the global sections into regions and countries to make the searches a little easier."
Make sure you've got some time before you visit this site -- it's a timesink.

Competitive Analysis Technologies Releases Oil and Gas Database Updates 

Competitive Analysis Technologies has released the first quarter 2001 updates to its "Oil and Gas on the Internet." The database delivers information from over 5,000 industry sites directly to the desktops of statisticians recording information on upstream and downstream operations in the oil and gas industries. Subscriptions to the databases are available in hard copy or electronic formats. CAT has also announced the availability of a demo at its publications site.

The demo, at http://www.catsites.com/publications.html, provides samples of publication databases available to the oil and gas, chemical and utilities industries. Detailed information is included along with pricing information for individual issues and subscription rates. The four levels of corporate electronic formats are defined with listed site license advantages. You can get the press release on this whole deal at http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/010305/0332.html

Briefing Books Expanded for Wall Street Journal Online Subscribers 

Dow Jones & Company has expanded its "Briefing Books" service to subscribers of The Wall Street Journal Online. Information on over 25,000 global companies includes news, earnings data, sec filings, executive biographies and analysts audios. In addition to the Journal and Dow Jones Newswires, expanded data will come from Market Guide, Thomson Financial, and CCBN. 

Subscription rates for The Wall Street Journal Online are $59 annually or $29 with print subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal or Barron's. Also in Dow Jones news -- work.com, a business portal that Dow Jones provided content to, is shutting down. You can get the whole story on that at http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010309/bs/dow_jones_workcom_1.html.

CourthouseDirect.com Expands Public Record Database 

CourthouseDirect.com has added four New York and two Michigan counties to its database of real property and public records. The site now offers copies of public documents from major counties in several states including New York, California, and Texas. http://www.CourthouseDirect.com/ offers a drop-down box for linking to state and county information. Each state page starts with a list of fee-based options, like retrieving documents or searching public records. 

Most states offer access to free databases, such as counties and demographics or sex offenders. Free databases on the Texas page include births from 1926, also divorce and marriage records from the '60s.

LegalZoom.com to Launch March 12th at Internet World 2001 

LegalZoom.com has announced the March 12th launching of its web site. The LegalZoom site will provide assistance to individuals and businesses preparing online legal documents, including trusts, divorces, corporations, and copyrights. Wills will also be included, which CEO Brian Liu says most Americans avoid making because of the time and costs involved. 

LegalZoom.com will use menus and questionnaires to aid individuals in creating the documents. No legal advice will be given, and the site will actively refer viewers to attorneys for issues more complex than document preparation.

Strange and Unusual Dictionaries

If you're looking for a few odd dictionaries, look no further than http://blueray.com/dictionary/. Available on this site are the White Queen's Dictionary of One-Letter Words (over 700 entries), the Dictionary of All- Consonant Words, and the Dictionary of All-Vowel Words.

Unfortunately the dictionaries do not have search engines, but they're designed to be browsable. The examples are delightful and the dictionaries are a lot of fun to browse through (who knew that there was a difference between ooo, oooo, ooooo, oooooo, and oooOOOooo?) If you really like the dictionaries, they're available in a print version. The site also has links to other unusual dictionaries and some recommended books for those interested in words. Lots of fun; worth a look.

Fact City Offering Thomson Financial News

Fact City has started offering Thomson Financial information through its Fact City database. This information encompasses publicly-held companies. An easy place to access it is iWon at: http://www.iwon.com/home/search/factcity_tutorial/0,14925,,00.html

Fact City seems to have been working on the natural language interface for its fact databases; they're a little harder to mess up than they used to be. It's still possible, though. Fact City had no problem with questions like:

Fact City burped on the following questions:

I think the biggest problem with the database at this point is that the different topics -- sports, television, movies, finance -- are not separated out. 
It's reasonably certain that if I'm looking for information on my stock I'm not looking for information on Andy Griffith's movie career. If there was some way to limit the searches to one or another database, that would be excellent.