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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Idaho Offender Database
The Idaho Department of Correction has an online Offender
Database at http://www.corrections.state.id.us/searchportal.htm.
The database can be searched by the offender name (last and first) or number.
A last name search produces an alphabetical list of offenders, ten to a page, with numbers and current status, i.e., Inmate, Parole or Discharged. The identifying number links to more details such as date of birth and Sentence
Information. The Sentence Information posts the Offense, Sentencing County and Parole Eligibility Date. Discharged offenders have a minimum of information available; just their date of birth and the discharge date.
Other information on the Idaho Department of Correction site is from the Stats/Programming page which offers a variety of reports about offender demographics, population charts, death row inmate information, and a list of most-wanted fugitives.
TaxLinks, at http://www.taxlinks.com/, features revenue rulings from the IRS dating as far back as 1954. Follow the “Find a Revenue Ruling” link, select a year and click on a ruling number. Immediately after the ruling number is, in bold print, notation affecting the current status of said ruling. (i.e., Rev. Rul. 54-
1 was revoked years later by Rev. Rul. 60-184.)
Well, that works if you know the ruling number you’re looking for. The site has a search engine to help if you do not have a lookup number. The search option accepts keyword or phrase queries, but you will have to use quotation marks for phrases. And if you use more than one keyword, connect them with AND or the search engine will default to OR.
This site also links to a very decent set of tax related sites at http://www.taxsites.com/. Links are divided up into a variety of categories though annotation was minimal.
Does the IRS Owe You Money?
Hey, speaking of taxes, here’s a cool resource. The National Taxpayers Union has a searchable database online at http://www.ntu.org/ntu_IRS02/. The database contains the names of almost 100,000 Americans who have not yet received refunds due to them from the IRS. The refunds are for returns filed this
year or earlier.
You can search by last name with or without the name of a state. [Note: if you think you may be due a refund, try other variations of your name in case it was misspelled.] Results include name, city, state, and zip code (but not
street address) as well as what’s owed (all the ones I saw were for income tax refunds.) A phone number to call and make a claim is also available in case you find your name here.
Fed Sites Go Multilingual
GCN: November 18, 2002. There’s a move afoot among Federal government Internet Web sites to develop multilingual presences. The Social Security Administration and the Small Business Administration have launched Spanish-language portals. The National Library of Medicine has a link on each page for readers to read in English and Spanish.
Agencies consider it most cost effective to contract out the service of translating the texts. The documents are then proofed by volunteers before they become MS Word and PDF files.
The Social Security Administration also has a multilingual site with information available in 14 additional languages including Chinese, Korean, Polish and Russian. Some of the forms are available as PDF files because HTML has some problems with fonts in non-Latin alphabets. Check out the entire GCN article about the multilingual movement at http://www.gcn.com/21_33/regulation/20494-1.html.
Mississippi Enhances State Web Site
Mississippi’s Department of Information Technology Services announced two weeks ago a partnership with IBM and EzGov to redesign the State’s Web site and create a centralized infrastructure in which more frequently requested government services can be transacted online.
Examples of services now available online to Mississippi citizens include renewing driver’s licenses, purchasing motor vehicle records and acquiring hunting or fishing licenses. You can check out the press release at
Nevada Offers Driver Histories Online
From the Reno Gazette-Journal comes this story. The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles now offers motorists access to their driving histories at http://www.dmvnv.com. Security on the site is achieved by having motorists provide extensive amounts of information from their license. Even then, the Social Security number and address information is not released. Get the full story at http://tinyurl.com/2n85.
LexisNexis Adds SEC Data and Tools From EDGAR Online
LexisNexis announced earlier this week that they have added SEC data and tools from EDGAR Online. With the addition of this data, subscribers will now be able to search across over two million SEC documents using more than fifteen criteria including keyword, ticker, and company parameters. Documents can be viewed and downloaded in a variety of formats including MS Word and Excel. Get more information from the press release at
Database of Web Robots and ‘Bots
Sometimes in the course of reviewing your Web site’s access logs you’ll find occasionally weird entries. They’re not browsers, and they’re not search engine spiders that you recognize — what are they?
The robot and spider database at http://joseluis.pellicer.org/ua/ will allow you to search for unknown user agents or browse by type including indexing agents, validator agents, and spam harvester agents. A summary page for each type of agent includes a table of information for each robot including the kind of robot it is, whether it’s “naughty” or “nice” (which depends on how
fast it grabs pages to index) and whether or not it honors robots.txt or the robots meta tag.
Individual pages for each spider provide much of the same information, with occasional comments about the spiders. Once you’ve finished browsing, check out the tool that allows you to generate configuration files (including a
portion of an .htaccess file that you cut and paste into your existing .htaccess file, as well as browser and robot inclusion lists.) I learned about several spiders here I’d been wondering about. Worth a look.