Saturday, September 30, 2006

Human Rights search engine

Hurisearch is a search engine for human rights information. In its own words.....

  • It gives you direct access to the content of over 3000 human rights websites. Currently over 2'300'000 pages have been indexed.
  • It filters out the non-relevant content: only the pages from websites with a main focus on human rights are indexed.
  • It provides fresh information. The crawler visits all sites periodically. The frequency depends on the type of organisation: every 24 hours for the Intergovernmental Organisations, National Human Rights Institutions, and Academic Institutions; every 8 days for the NGO collection
  • It uses powerful drill-down techniques which become indispensable for in-depth searching: search by language, by organisation, by country, and more.
  • It instantly analyses search results and recognizes the prevalent human rights themes - suggesting new and useful search directions.
  • It prominently displays information produced by local grassroots organisations who often produce very relevant first-hand information (these important sources are lost by larger non-specialized search engines).
  • It is completely independent from political or commercial interests - this is guaranteed by HURIDOCS.

Foreign policy debate

Stanley Hoffman reviews books by Francis Fukuyama, Stephen M. Walt, and John Brady Kiesling in "The Foreign Policy the U.S. Needs" (New York Review of Books, Volume 53, Number 13 · August 10, 2006) John Brady Kiesling is a former Political Counselor at the embassy in Athens who resigned from the foreign service in 2003. His resignation letter held that U.S. foreign policy was no longer compatible with U.S. values or interests. The chapter on public diplomacy in his new book, "Diplomacy Lessons: Realism for an Unloved Superpower," argues that "The realistic goal of public diplomacy is not to make America loved...the attainable goal of public diplomacy is to foster an image of the United States that is tolerable enough to ordinary, conventional human beings that foreign governments, whether fundamentalist tyrannies or liberal democracies, can easily afford the political cost of cooperating with the American superpower on terms close to those we seek."

Friday, September 29, 2006

Treaty status on Thomas

Two features of not to be overlooked are the treaties page, which allows you to track treaties by word/phrase, number, Congress number, type, or date transmitted to the Senate, and the "Legislative Resources for Teachers" section, with "Classroom resources and general information for educators at all levels."

Hard or soft pd?

Here's an article about a recently leaked report from the Pentagon that recommends a tougher PD approach in broadcasts to Iran. Al Snyder dicusses the article in the context of the familiar debate about hard vs. soft diplomacy, ie. whether PD's best chances lie in changing minds or in changing hearts.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Genealogy and Family History Resource

Despite its 1998 look, the Genealogy and Family History Internet Web Directory is an impressive, up to date resource: "Key worldwide educational Internet genealogical databases and resources. This is a professional genealogy and family history worldwide humanities and social sciences mega portal, connected to thousands of related sub-sets, with billions of primary or secondary database records."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

WP political ads database

The Washington Post's political ads database "includes political advertisements funded by campaigns, parties, committees, and independent advocacy groups. Most of the ads are tied to specific U.S. House, U.S. Senate, or gubernatorial races throughout the country. Some of the ads are more general "issue" or advocacy ads not tied to a particular race or candidate." Many different search options, including by candidate/organization, state, party, type of race, issue, character (e.g. "real people", "blue collar", "children"), type of ad (e.g. "attack", "emotional", "biographical"), cue, type of music, etc. Should be of great interest to political scientists/U.S. election pundits!

Thursday, September 21, 2006 - CRS Reports - CRS Reports More than you ever wanted to know about CRS reports, including
Historical Introduction
CRS Products
Where to Look Online for CRS Reports
General Listings
Subject Specialist Listings
Limited Listings
Fee-based Access Sources

Federal Forms Catalog"The U.S. Government's Offical Hub for Federal Forms" - provides citizens and businesses with a common access point to federal agency forms.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

New portrait of American civic participation

The National Conference on Citizenship, a nonprofit organization created by Congress, has just released a 47-page report on American civic participation. Its findings appear to confirm a decline in the willingness of Americans, especially the poor and less educated, to be involved with their communities.
This study, following up on the work of Robert "Bowling Alone" Putnam, can be accessed at:

A Washington Post article, writing about the launch of the report and featuring Putnam's response, can be found at:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Supreme Court oral arguments

From a SC press release:Press Release - September 14, 2006: "Beginning with the October 2006 Term, the Court will make the transcripts of oral arguments available free to the public on its Web site,, on the same day an argument is heard by the Court."

GPO Access Core Documents

Here's what GPO says about the Core Documents service:
Core Documents of U.S. Democracy

To provide American citizens direct online access to the basic Federal Government documents that define our democratic society, a core group of current and historical Government publications is being made available for free, permanent, public access via GPO Access. These titles contain information which is vital to the democratic process and critical to an informed electorate. They support the public's right to know about the essential activities of their Government. Immediate, online access to authenticated versions of these Core Documents of Democracy increases in importance as Americans grow ever more dependent on remote electronic access to basic information resources -- both past and present.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Another site for 09/11 conspiracy buffs...

Another resource - in addition to the NIST site (posted below) - that addresses the conspiracy theories surrounding 09/11 is this Popular Mechanics article.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Documents in the news

Journalists aren't always meticulous about providing sufficient information about the the documents they cite (ie., "According to a new government report...") Peggy Garvin's brief guide to "documents in the news" sites is useful when tracking documents that prove to be elusive despite their newsworthiness.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ready for elections?

Marylaine Block discusses some of her favorite election sites in this short article.

NIST and the WTC

NIST and the World Trade Center Conspiracy buffs will be troubled by this fact-filled National Institute of Standards and Technology site on factors contributing to the probable cause of the post-impact collapse of the WTC towers. The site presents detailed results of a three year building and fire safety investigation.


Thanks to Ankara for a tip about GovTrack which describes itself thus: is a nexus of information about the United States Congress, following the status of federal legislation and the activities of your senators and representatives.

GovTrack is an independent website run by a graduate student in his spare time. Data is collected from the official government websites via automated processes daily.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Guide to the Federal Register and CFR...and more

Thanks to Virtual Library Cat for the tip about Richard J. McKinney's useful Guide to the Federal Register and CFR While you're there, go up one directory to the Law Librarian's Society of Washington DC's legislative sourcebook for many other useful legislative sources!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Google's News Archive Search

Google's News Archive Search describes itself as "an easy way to search and explore historical archives. In addition to helping you search, News archive search can automatically create timelines which show selected results from relevant time periods." The "advanced archive search" feature lets you limit your results to items published between specified dates or years.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Inflation Calculator

Neat reference tool: the Inflation Calulator uses statistics from Historical Statistics of the United States and Statistical Abstracts of the United States to calculate inflation for given amount during the period 1880-2500.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Plain language! provides tips and advice on how to utilize simple, unambiguous writing and an effective layout strategy for webbased communication. Or rather, tells you how to express yourself clearly and effectively on the web.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Poll Pub is an Ajax application that allows you to create a poll, contest, or survey for placement on your blog or website. Poll Pub tallies the results and displays them for you in a handsome pie chart. Handy for getting feedback on your website, or on programming events, current issues, etc.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Thumbtacks and Zohoshow

Thumbstacks and Zohoshow are two examples of web2.0 presentation managers, like powerpoint light. Sign up, log in and create, store and share your presentations on the web.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Weekly status reports on Iraq

Weekly status reports on Iraq from, described as "comprehensive status report on Iraq provides weekly updates in the eight key areas identified as pillars of U.S. Government policy." Lots of detailed information (this week's issue is 37 pages) including maps, statistics, organizational charts, etc.

Google Webmaster Central

Google has created "Google Webmaster Central," a site with useful resources and information for webmasters. As Researchbuzz points out in its brief and to the point review, the site is not just for techies and should be of interest to just about anyone who has a web presence.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The September Project

The September Project is a good place to look for ideas on how to commemorate 09/11. It describes itself as a "grassroots effort to get people together on September 11th to talk about issues that matter. September Project events take place in libraries, where all people are welcomed, and where the exchange of information and ideas flourish. The September Project encourages individual communities — neighbors — to make sense of the world together." The website has a list and annotated map of the (currently) 408 libraries participating in the project, and urges more to join! An attendant blog provides updates on September Project goings-on. Thanks to Marylaine Block's Neat New Stuff for the heads up!