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.
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The Supreme Court Web site is now up at http://www.supremecourtus.gov . I know there’s been a lot of interest in this one so let me take a quick look at it and give you some thoughts.
Docket Information has its own space ( http://www.supremecourtus.gov/docket/docket.html ) but is not yet available online; visitors are referred to the Court’s BBS.
Court Schedule and Supreme Court Calendar are available as downloadable PDF documents — http://www.supremecourtus.gov/calendar/calendar.html .(The sitewide search engine does appear to index the PDF files on this site, which is nice because so much of this site is PDF.)
Court Rules are available as PDF documents. ( http://www.supremecourtus.gov/ctrules/ctrules.html ) There’s a revised rules PDF and a complete rules PDF.
The Opinions Section is pretty interesting. ( http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/opinions.html ) There is a PDF file on where to obtain opinions, and a pointer to bench opinions issued during October Terms 1992 through 1999. The 1999 Term Opinions of the Court are available on the site itself as PDF documents (that page is at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/99oplist.htm ) It starts with Brancato v. Gunn on 10-12-99 and at this writing concludes with Free v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc. on 4-3-2000. There are also a listing of 1999 Term Opinions relating to orders at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/99orderslist.htm .
I am skipping a lot here, including the site’s short link list, information about visiting the court, and the public information (including a reporter’s guide to applications) but I wanted to just do a quick write-up and give you some idea of what’s there. It’s certainly worth a look, though you will need to have the Adobe Acrobat reader.
This note on the launch of supremecourtus.gov is reprinted here with the permission of Researchbuzz.com.
LOIS Knows Licensed Occupations
LOIS is short for Licensed Occupation Information System. And that’s what this database ( http://188.8.131.52/form00.cfm ) is — a way to get information on listened occupations three ways — by state, by occupation name search, and by reviewing the agencies that license occupations in each state.
The state search is straightforward; highlight a state name and choose “List all Titles.” (You can do a partial word search in addition to a state listing, too, if you like.) You’ll receive a list of job titles with a check box next to each. I discovered that there are 143 licensed job titles in Rhode Island. I checked the boxes of three of them — arborist, elevator inspector, and tattoo artist — and clicked the submit button. I received a single page with the occupation code and licensing board address for each of these three occupations. Each listing also had an “occupational detail” link that gave me more information about the occupational requirements for that particular career.
Occupation Name Search allows you to get a full listing of job titles, but my attempts to use the search didn’t work that well. Professional wrestlers in Rhode Island require a license, but searching for “wrestler” didn’t give me any results. Searching for “Athlete” got me a long list of job titles, however, of which “Professional Wrestler” was one. Similarly, “Tattoo” had no results but searching for “Artist” took me to “Tattoo Artist.
The last search gives you a list of states to choose from. Choosing a state will give you a list of licensing boards in that particular state, Checking a board name and clicking Submit will give you contact information for that board, as well as a list of job titles for which they oversee the licensing.
If you’ve been spending any amount of time finding things on the Net, you’ve probably noticed that subject-specific search engines can really help you get the job done. But how to find them? FinderSeeker lets you search by keyword or category. Choose a category, leave the search box blank, and click “all” to get a listing of all search engines available, or enter a keyword and narrow your search down that way. You can also search for search engines in certain countries. http://www.finderseeker.com/
InfoBeat has launched a free newsletter service to keep readers up the date on the state of various industries. Once you sign up for the free InfoBeat service, you get a daily newsletter of happenings from any of 31 different industries, from Agriculture to Utilities. InfoBeat also has a variety of other services — reminder services, weather, stock quotes, news headlines, and other updates delivered by mail. Check them out and sign up for the InfoBeat service at http://www.infobeat.com .
The folks at Pac-Info ( http://www.pac-info.com ) have been working to add property records databases around the US and Canada, and have stated that their next priority is civil and criminal court indexes. This week they added too many databases to list here, but the additions include:
Nationwide – Trucking – Safety and Fitness Electronic Records
Canada – Aircraft Registration & Leasing
Canada – Immatriculation et location des Aéronefs
U.S. Nationwide – Legal – Briefs
U.S. Nationwide – Chapter 11 Bankruptcies
D.C. – U.S. District Court of Appeals – PACER
Hungry Minds.com ( http://www.hungryminds.com ) has created a database of 25,000 “learning experiences” at their Web site. The experiences, both free and paid, are searchable by keyword or browseable by subject.
I decided I needed to learn more about football. Entering “football” in the search box gave me results in several different categories. There was a subject expert (a sports journalist who provides recommended links), experts for hire, books, discussions, and over 200 learning experiences. Some of them weren’t really what I was looking for (How to Dress for a Football Game, and some of the later results don’t make much sense. raising rabbits?) but some of them were spot on (How to Follow the Defense in Football by Watching the Safeties.) Many of the courses were free, easily- digestible capsules of information.
There are more high-level things available as well. A search on neurophysiology uncovered three courses (all paid distance learning courses), “plant pathology” found two results, and “mechanical engineering” found 15 results.
Business Wire: April 11, 2000. Competitive Analysis Technologies released an update of their database for chemical industry personnel. It now contains 2,001 web sites with information on organic and PetroChemicals. The database includes “517 organic and petrochemical manufacturers, 167 distributors and brokers, 634 support companies, 99 industry associations, 138 industry journals, 141 databases for industry information and 305 additional chemical sites of interest” (This from the press release.) Sites were verified for currency and accuracy. This database is free-based; get the press release with more information at: http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/000411/tx_competi_1.html or check out the product page at http://www.catsites.com/orgbk.html
WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) is a service provided by the CDC that provides information on mortality. ( http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/ ).
You can get an injury mortality report at http://webapp.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate.html ; there are several search choices available here including mechanism, intention (unintentional, homicide, etc), gender, race, etc. Hmm, it’s going to be hard to do an example without being creepy, but here goes. If you wanted to do a mortality report for all unintentional natural deaths occurring in Iowa in 1997, you could do that. You’d get back a table with the number of deaths per 100,000, population of the area you searched, crude and age-adjusted rates.
You can also get “leading cause of death” reports with a slightly different form. Variables you can specify here include gender, race, region, and number of causes to list. For example, you could list the top five causes of mortality in 1994. You also have the option of breaking out age ranges into different groups. When you click the submit button you’ll get back a table of ages and causes of mortality. Some of the boxes on the tables will be clickable; click on them for more detailed information about a particular category.