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:
The Latest on Legal Research
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HIPAA Site Launched
BindView Corporation has announced the launching of a Web site for IT and health care professionals who need information about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. ready4hipaa (http://www.ready4hipaa.com/)
divides HIPAA compliance into the four basic areas of Preparation, Strategy, Implementation and Maintenance with execution suggestions in a timeline before the 2003 deadline. Additional features on the site include federal regulation explanations and information on electronic transactions and HIPAA codes.
BindView has also announced the availability of a HIPAA Tool Kit with by-Admin and by-Control suites. The software offers access programs, along with customized queries and report features that insure meeting the HIPAA standards. You can get more information from the press release at
West has announced a new Web site designed to demonstrate learning in the first year of law school. Destination Law School
(http://www.destinationlawschool.com/) uses interactive learning modules to teach the organization of law and basic online legal research. Harvard Law School professor Arthur Miller challenges students with research problems and, while using Real Player, introduces the technologies available to locate the answers. You’ll need to register.
LatinFocus, at http://www.latin-focus.com/, offers economic and financial information on the Latin American countries of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. The site provides current news plus a news archive from the beginning of the year (all the news I saw was pulled
from Bloomberg and Yahoo), and a Web directory of the companies, central banks, stock exchanges, finance ministries and statistical institutes in the area. There’s a huge amount of reference-type data here but unfortunately I couldn’t find attribution for the pages I looked at.
Additional features include a monthly calendar of economic releases, an economic forecast, and an economic briefing from the International Monetary Fund. LatinFocus also offers a free monthly newsletter highlighting current macroeconomic or political developments in the area. Good stuff here. Worth a
Albert (http://albert.com/) now has a demo available at http://albert.com/demo.php. The site invites you to try the natural language Albert search engine. (You can also instruct Albert to ask a random question on your behalf, but that takes all the fun out of it.)
I asked Albert, “What is the highest mountain in the world?” The results, which seemed to be pulled from the FAST search engine, were actually pretty good. Granted, the first two appeared to be exactly alike (one was from about.com and one was from miningco.com (now about.com), but the rest of the URLs were the same) and the two after that seemed similar, but the question was answered. Albert didn’t start straying too far afield until the end of the page, when he was giving me results like “Austrian missing on world’s fifth-highest mountain.”
(I liked the way the search results were presented — headline, paragraph, URL — but additional information, like the size of the page, would have been helpful.)
I asked Albert a slightly more complicated question: Who played Fonzie on Happy Days? The first answer wasn’t immediately useful (it concerned the actress who played Pinky Tuscadero) but the second answer had the information in the page summary. The answers Albert provided for this question weren’t as uniform or useful as the mountain question — he provided me with several pages about “Team Fonzie” and a page for the Happy Object Oriented Programmers.
Finally I asked Albert “What do you think of Ask Jeeves?” The first result was an analyst quote page from Ask.com. Fair enough. The engine seems to handle natural language questions okay — some better than others, of course — it’s worth a look.
The University of North Texas has digitized Gammel’s Laws of Texas, Volumes 1-10, and made them freely available at http://texinfo.library.unt.edu/lawsoftexas/. The Laws were published at the end of the 19th century and encompass a wide variety of laws, including colonization laws and constitutions. There are over 16,000 pages of documents in this collection, viewable as PDF files.
You may view the Laws in one of two ways. You can browse each volume (hold your mouse over the volume number and a window pops up with links to particular resources in that volume) or you can search by keywords. A plain keyword search is available, or you can do an advanced keyword search. Considering the advanced keyword search only allows you to narrow your
search to things like image and remote anchor text, it’s not as useful as it could be, but the basic keyword search works fine.