Web Resources of the Month - 2013

Web Resources of the Month - 2013

Each month, the librarians of the Law Library will be highlighting a particular website or resource that we think might be of interest in an e-mail to the faculty. We are repeating the information here as a “running archive” of this information. The list below lists the non-academic sites.

Open Congress/Open Government
via http://www.opencongress.org/ and http://opengovernment.org/

The movie All The President’s Men famously advises to “follow the money.” Open Congress facilitates that undertaking for Congress. Open Government has started with several of the states and is working on adding more. These sites are also extremely useful for following issues of interest and tracking bills. Both of these sites are sponsored by the Sunlight Foundation. [January 2013]

Polling the Nations
via http://poll.orspub.com/

If you need reliable data to support a statement about public opinion on economic, social or political policy issues, here or abroad, Polling the Nations is an outstanding resource. This Axinn Library database includes public opinion survey data from the United States as a whole, from individual states and cities, and from more than 100 other countries. Coverage is from 1986 to the present, updated weekly. With Polling the Nations, you can locate survey results on issues and individual questions from the most reputable polling organizations, such as CBS and ABC News, the Pew Research Center, Gallup, Roper and a wide range of others from academia, the media and special interest organizations. The database is searchable by topic, keyword, geographic area, date and source organization. Remote access will require a network login. [February 2013]

The Oyez Project
via http://www.oyez.org/ 

“The Oyez Project at Chicago-Kent is a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work. It aims to be a complete and authoritative source for all audio recorded in the Court since the installation of a recording system in October 1955. The Project also provides authoritative information on all justices and offers a virtual reality tour of portions of the Supreme Court building, including the chambers of some of the justices.” The project’s most exciting archival efforts include its audio files. In the About section of the website it is noted that “[t]he audio archive contains 110+ million words in 9000+ hours of audio synchronized to the sentence level.” There are even mobile apps on the website, and the About page includes links to the apps and a description of them under the heading “Oyez Apps.” “We have created two separate apps for smart devices (iPhone, iPad, Android phones) that extend the use of Oyez content. PocketJustice focuses on the Court’s constitutional jurisprudence, giving users case abstracts, opinions, and audio from their devices. OyezToday concentrates on the Court’s current activities with swift delivery of abstracts, opinions, and audio. Both apps enable easy clip creation. Just flip, tap, listen, clip and share. It’s that simple. And both apps come in free versions.” Go to a deeper level of research on groundbreaking decisions from our highest court with The Oyez Project. [March 2013]

Open States
via http://openstates.org/

The Sunlight Foundation launched a site with searchable legislative data for all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Open States is the only comprehensive database of activities from all state capitals that makes it easy to find your state lawmaker, review their votes, search for legislation, track bills and much more. [April 2013]

Internet History Sourcebook Project — Medieval Legal History
via http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/sbook-law.asp

This site, hosted by Fordham University, gathers references to online primary sources for historical documents, including the law. The “Medieval Legal History” page, in particular, provides links to primary sources in Roman, English, Germanic, Jewish and Islamic law, among others. From the page devoted to the law of the Salian Franks, for instance, one learns that “if any person have wished to strike another with a poisoned arrow, and the arrow have glanced aside, and it shall be proved on him: he shall be sentenced to 2,500 denars, which make 63 shillings.” [May 2013]

States Perform
via http://www.statesperform.org/Default.aspx

States Perform is an initiative of the Council of State Governments that provides users with access to interactive, customizable and up-to-date comparative performance measurement data for 50 states in six key areas: fiscal and economic, public safety and justice, energy and environment, transportation, health and human services, and education. Compare performance across a few or all states, profile one state, view trends over time, and customize your results with graphs and maps. [June 2013]

via http://www.data.gov/

Data.gov provides descriptions of data sets generated and held by the federal government. It provides economic, health care and environmental information, as well as other government information, and is updated frequently with new data sets. The site also contains information about how to access the data sets, and various filter tools, such as search by agency, topic, location and more. [July 2013]

TWEN Guidance
via http://lawschool.westlaw.com

As you make the final preparation for your courses, here are some useful links for help with TWEN: TWEN Resources; Professor’s Guide to TWEN — a searchable pdf; What’s New on TWEN — Release Information; User Support — west.twensupport@thomson.com or 1-800-850-9378. [August 2013]

Roll Call
via http://www.rollcall.com/

One of the most respected publications covering Congress is now a free site, and a great source for law students and faculty on the latest developments on Capitol Hill. In addition to exclusive special features, such as the recently posted 50 Richest Members of Congress, Roll Call provides news and policy updates, fundraising and seniority charts, commentary and Roll Call blogs. You can take advantage of free registration to receive daily updates on legal or policy issues of interest. [September 2013]

via http://usaspending.gov/

Where is the federal budget going, you ask? USAspending.gov has all the details. “The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) of 2006 requires that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) establish a single searchable website, accessible to the public at no cost, which includes [detailed information] for each Federal award … . USAspending.gov was first launched in December 2007 to fulfill these requirements.”  Read more about it. [October 2013]

Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research (FRASER)
via http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/

The Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research (FRASER) preserves and provides access to economic and banking data and policy documents including: publications of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, publications of District Federal Reserve Banks, statements and speeches of Fed policymakers, archival materials of Fed policymakers, government data publications, statistical releases, congressional hearings, and books and reports by various organizations. To search FRASER, use the blue navigation bar and/or the search bar at the top of each FRASER page. You can also stay current with FRASER’s consolidated monthly newsletter of links to its published research, data news, and latest economic information. Subscribe. [November 2013]

via http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/landing.jsp

The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) maintains an expansive collection of social science and political data. The data archive has more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences and hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism and other fields. [November 2013]

Comparative Constitutions Project
via http://comparativeconstitutionsproject.org/

The Comparative Constitutions Project seeks to gather every constitution and constitutional amendment from every country in the world from 1789 forward. The project’s repository contains searchable versions of publicly available constitutions. At present, the project’s inventory includes 720 of the 800 or so constitutions written since 1789. This is because several of the texts and their translations remain under copyright. The eventual intention is to host all constitutional documents that are available for public use. [December 2013]


A fantastic, free, well-respected security tool for keeping track of the myriad of passwords required for websites. LastPass is also quite easy to install and use. For a $12 annual fee you can access your LastPass database on your cell phone and tablet. [January 2013]

The Atlantic Cities

The Atlantic Cities, sister site of the well-known magazine, The Atlantic, “explores the most innovative ideas and pressing issues facing today’s global cities and neighborhoods.” With sections focusing on topics from jobs and economy to lifestyle, and from technology to design, this site brings readers the latest in news, data and trends from urban centers in the U.S. and around the world. The site is free and is searchable by keyword, by city and by features such as “Urban Wonk,” Videos and Rankings. [February 2013]


As many people become more concerned about search engines and what they do with an individual’s searching history and other personal information, there are search engines available that explicitly state their mission to keep an individual’s search information private. DuckDuckGo is one search engine that promises to do exactly that. It promises to keep no individual information and to protect its users’ privacy. DuckDuckGo’s motto is at the left bottom of its search screen, and it says simply this: “We believe in better search and not tracking.” Find out more about this search engine and the way it differs from other search engines at http://donttrack.us/. [March 2013]

Art Talk

Each month, curators, museum directors, historians and educators from some of the world’s most renowned cultural institutions reveal the hidden stories behind particular works, examine the curation process and provide insights into particular masterpieces or artists. [April 2013]

Economics Search Engine

ESE uses a beta version of Google Custom Search Engine to search more than 23,000 economics websites and utilizes yolink to mine results and retrieve actionable, keyword-rich content. Results can be saved to Google Docs, bookmarked or shared via major social networks. Each site is certified by RFE, which is run by economists from RePec Author Services and EDIRC. [April 2013]

Fallacy-a-Day Podcast

Fallacy-a-Day posts podcasts covering the different logical fallacies that so often appear in conversation and argument. The podcasts offer a quick and fun way to review common fallacies and dodges in logic and reasoning. Although the site appears to be on hiatus, there is an ample archive of fallacies to explore. [May 2013] 

World Database of Happiness

The World Database of Happiness is an archive of research findings on subjective enjoyment of life.  It brings together findings that are scattered throughout many studies and provides a basis for synthetic work. [June 2013]


TimeToast is a great tool to create and share timelines on the Web. It can help create legal timelines for academic purposes or litigation, historical timelines of significant events or, for fun, a timeline of your vacation or favorite book. [July 2013]


Doodle is an easy free web site to help with scheduling group events.  It can sync with your other online calendars, including Outlook. [August 2013]


A good place for well-chosen and succinct posts covering corporate and business world is Schumpeter, the business and management blog of The Economist. Named after Joseph Schumpeter, an influential and innovative economist, this blog offers intelligent takes on major corporate giants, on company finance, failures, and public relations, and on technology, hot products, and industry-related issues of the day. Posts are written by Economist correspondents from around the world, providing a global perspective. Non-subscribers to The Economist can register to view up to six articles per week. [September 2013]


“If this then that” is a free online service that automatically works on the web for you. Your “recipes” have “actions,” “channels” and “triggers” in them, but are very simple to construct. Want to know more? Read about how it works. [October 2013]

Open Content Project

The Open Content Project contains “roughly 4,600 images from the J. Paul Getty Museum available in high resolution on the Getty’s website for use without restriction — representing 4,689 objects (some images show more than one object), including paintings, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, antiquities, and sculpture and decorative arts. The Getty plans to add other images, until eventually all applicable Getty-owned or public domain images are available, without restrictions, online.” [November 2013]

Palindromes (Fun With Words)

Palindromes are peculiar sentence constructions that read the same way backward as they do forward. Famous examples are Napoleon’s alleged lament “Able was I, ere I saw Elba” and “A man, a plan, a canal: Panama.” Even odder instances appear on the Fun With Words website. [December 2013]