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LLRXBuzz - January 1, 2001

By Tara Calishain, Published on January 1, 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:

Indiana's DOC To Release Inmate Database

Survey Says -- Ding!

Walking in a Winter Wonderland -- Maybe

Facts Facts Facts Facts Facts! Whee!

Whoops, I Did It Again

Gary Price Starts Handbook Guide

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Indiana's Department of Corrections to Release Inmate Database

Next month Indiana will launch its Internet database containing information on all of Indiana's prison inmates and parolees. Indiana will be the 19th state to offer this information. For those currently imprisoned, the site will contain the prisoner's name, a photograph, the offenses for which they were convicted, the sentences they received, where they
are housed and their projected release dates.

Those who are on parole or released will not have their photos shown and they will be listed as either "on parole" or "discharged." Private information such as Social Security number and address will not be listed. You can read the whole store on this new database at: http://www.starnews.com/news/articles/inmate1229.html.

Survey Says -- Ding!

Looking for information on surveys? You'll find plenty of information at http://www.princeton.edu/~abelson/
. This site includes a page of information on polling in general, as well as polling results from state, national, and international sources. The Bureau will release the population counts of every state and U.S. territory and the number of Americans employed by the Federal Government but living abroad. In March, the restricting data that is used by state legislatures to redraw the boundaries of congressional districts, including information on population, race, and ethnicity in areas as small as city blocks, will be released.

Another page gives links to survey software and a few general reference resources. And "The Establishment" gives links to associations dedicated to survey research and related to survey research. There's a lot here to look through -- some of the pages seem a little stale, but they're worth a browse.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland -- Maybe

Now, normally I don't cover weather sites. I mean, I figure people find their favorite weather sites about two days after they get on the Internet and they stick with them. But lately the weather is on a lot of folks' minds. If your state hasn't gotten snowed on, fogged up, or frozen, you're in a minority. (And I understand the weather hasn't been that great overseas in some places, either.)

If you want to find out -- way in advance -- if any bad weather is headed your way, you might want to check out weather.com (http://www.weather.com/). On the left side of the main page, there's a space for you to enter your zip code. Once you've done that, the Weather channel will give you current conditions -- AND a ten-day forecast.

Ten days out guarantees that there will be some changes in the forecast over time, but if you're trying to get some ideas of how the weather will affect your plans, this is worth a look.

Facts Facts Facts Facts Facts! Whee!

One of the best -- and worst -- things about the 'Net is how many pages it has. Sometimes when you just want simple information, like facts from an almanac or celebrity birth dates, it's almost impossible to find.

Refdesk (http://www.refdesk.com/) aims to be a ready reference source with plenty of information. Now, the first page will smack you in the head. There are dozens and dozens of links on the front page, gathered into categories like fact of the day, weather, news, social science, and top reference news. Don't get intimidated.

The page is crowded, but it's easy to scan the page for categories of interest. There are also two search boxes on the left side of the page: one is for Google (the top one) and one is for Refdesk itself. Be sure to get specific with your searches; searching for "Almanac" found 401 results! If you find the front page of the site map too oppressive, try the site map instead at http://www.refdesk.com/toc.html. The site map acts has a Windows Explorer type layout for the entire site, giving you a birds-eye view of the over 20,000 links on this site. (And if you're really stuck, you might want to consider the "Ask Bob" question.) Plenty, plenty, PLENTY to see here. A must-see.

Whoops, I Did It Again

So what did you do this time? Hit the wrong key? Trip over the power cord? Knock the laptop off the desk? Get hit by lightning?

If you're a heavy computer user eventually you're going to have to deal with data loss. Luckily http://www.dataloss.org is here to help. The site offers several bits that'll be useful to the user who needs to protect data, including a list of pointers to backup system articles (these would be helped with the addition of dates), and a link list for data recovery resources (books, software, and services). There are also message boards and a chat room on this site, but they're not very busy. If you're looking for a way to start getting your mind around the idea of system backup and data recovery, this is worth a look.

Gary Price Starts Handbook Guide

Super librarian Gary Price has started another meta-list, this time of almanacs, handbooks, and factbooks. You can reach it at: http://gwu.edu/~gprice/handbook.htm
.

The current page has listings of what looks like dozens of resources, including The Minerals Yearbook, the Missouri Blue Book, the U.S. Attorney's Manual, NHL Historical Almanac, etc. The listings cover a variety of subjects all over the world. Worth a look.