Archive for the ‘Research Stuff’ Category

My home state of Pennsylvania has finally joined the rest of the country in posting its statutes and legislative activity online:

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/PUBLIC/cons_index.cfm

Thanks to Genie Tyburski’s TVC Alert for the heads up!

*For those of you who need an explanation for this reference, please see http://politicalhumor.about.com/cs/georgewbush/a/top10bushisms.htm for details.

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According to the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal, “You’re a nobody unless your name Googles well”-I introduce you to Abigail Wilson, a woman apparently so traumatized by the fact that her new married name cannot be found in Google, she is planning on inflicting the following on her soon-to-be born child:

So when Ms. Wilson, now 32, was pregnant with her first child,
she ran every baby name she and her husband, Justin, considered through Google
to make sure her baby wouldn’t be born unsearchable. Her top choice: Kohler, an
old family name that had the key, rare distinction of being uncommon on the Web
when paired with Wilson. “Justin and I wanted our son’s name to be as special as
he is,” she explains.

After all, who can be bothered with such silly things as family or religious tradition when it’s really the boys in Mountain View who we want to keep happy?

Oh please.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117856222924394753.html?mod=hpp_us_pageone

At the risk of sounding like a press release, I wanted to point out to everyone this new resource from BusinessWeek magazine.

The Company Insight Center, available at investing.businessweek.com, is designed to “pull together up to 33 pages of data, charts, profiles, and new stories on each of 42,000 public companies in the US and abroad” according to the company.

From my point of view, the most useful part of this new resource is the “people page” on the companies channel.  There you can click on board members, and then you can see other members of the board and their respective affiliations.  This is very handy for helping to see all the different relationships that are corporate directorships these days.

I’ve subscribed to BusinessWeek for years, and have always found the print edition to be full of stories of interest to me.  This new free tool is a wonderful addition to this publication.

Shoe

Click on the picture to see the full view.

Just heard about this resource from Thomson Gale this a.m. on the drive into work:

AccessMyLibrary – News, Research, and Information that Libraries Trust

“…free access to millions of articles from top publications available at your local library.”

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I was very sorry to read tonight about the demise of another great tool that I use as part of my research arsenal on a daily basis.  The Israeli company Netsnippets announced on their website that they are going out of business, although apparently they will still be providing technical support via e-mail to current users.

I guess we should just come to expect this type of thing in the Internet age, but this marks the second time in less than a year that a tool that I had come to use daily is no longer available.  Last year Microsoft killed Onfolio ( oh wait, they “merged” it with Windows Live) and now no more Netsnippets.

The pursuit of the perfect research tool continues…

Many legal professionals would agree that the day can’t come soon enough…..

Content Analyst, Public Sector – Mountain View or Washington D.C.

The fine folks at Justia (my favorite legal website) yesterday announced a new free service that contains information on recently filed  federal civil cases.

From the press release:

“The Federal District Court filings are categorized by State, Federal
District Court and Legal Practice Area, and include the presiding judge
and cause of action information for each case. The database includes
over 300,000 Federal District Court civil cases filed since January 1,
2006, and is updated multiple times each day.

Visitors can subscribe for free to RSS feeds of new cases that meet
specific criteria, or to RSS feeds for customized searches. For example,
with an RSS feed, visitors can track new Federal Court patent cases,
cases that are filed in a specific court or cases filed against a
particular company.”

In my research classes, I often speak with the students about paid databases, and how one day they may be replaced by information that is freely available on the Internet. Based on this announcement, I’d say that day is getting closer than any of us realize.

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Hmmm…not quite sure what to think about this one yet.

On the one hand, I’m a big fan of the idea put forward by James Surowiecki in his great book The Wisdom of Crowds, which argues that the collective is smarter than any one individual.

On the other hand, I run a business that provides paid research services, and am somewhat concerned what this development might say about the willingness of people to pay for quality information and answers.

Google Is Shutting Down Answer Service – New York Times

Google said today that it would shut down Google Answers, a service that allows users to pose a question to a panel of researchers and pay for a helpful answer.

The service, which started about four years ago, failed to gain much
traction with users, especially when compared to a rival service
offered by Yahoo, which is free.

“It was not one of our most popular products,” said Sunny Gettinger, a Google spokeswoman.

Books are my favorite things, and librarians are some of my favorite people (which is why I hope to be joining their ranks soon…wish me luck!) So I seem to read quite a few articles like this one from today’s Boston Globe about how libraries are becoming more like Starbucks, and less like the more traditional library of my college days.

But is it really an either/or proposition? I found this statistic about library use at UMass most interesting:

With 149,859 people walking into the library last month, use is up 27
percent over October 2005. More students are taking out books as well.
Circulation as of June 30, the end of the most recent fiscal year, was
up 84 percent to 435,524 from the same time the year before.

Coffee’s on, dusty books are out at UMass library – The Boston Globe

Thanks to Sabrina Pacifici of the always extraordinary beSpacific blog for the heads up on the article!