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Vol. 23, No. 4/Summer 2001

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A view of the Alamo from the News Division Suite in San Antonio This year the News Division suite overlooked the Alamo - what a view!

 

News research by the beat
By Megan Gallup

The first thing I wanted to do after attending this yearís CE course was update my Internet bookmark lists! But my computer was over 1,000 miles away, so that had to wait a few days.

The 2001 News Division Continuing Education course, "News Research by the Beat," was well worth the time. Every attendee walked away with a multitude of Internet resources.

Reminder: You can get copies of the handouts from the presentations on the News Division web site (www.ibiblio.org/slanews/) in the Conferences section. Below are the highlights.

TRANSPORTATION

The day began with Barbara Post of the Transportation Research Board. She wowed us with transportation-related web sites. One highly recommended site is "Transportation Research: Around the World on the Web" (www4.trb.org/trb/studies.nsf/web/web_links). Here you will find PDF documents divided into information on all modes of transportation, statistics and the environment. Lots of web sites, organization names, addresses and phone numbers are included.

Every state has a transportation agency, or you can try the site for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (transportation.org) for localized information.

For statistical resources, try the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (www.bts.gov) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.hwysafety.org).

Most important to remember is that the web is not the only resource out there. People still know the answers, so call a transportation librarian if you canít find what you need.

HEALTH

Paul Brock and Gerri Klumpp represented the Health and Pharmaceutical Technology fields. They suggested that when using their list of sources, first take the research request and categorize it, and then find a resource for that category. Categories range from Emerging products, Drug Costs, and Government to Food & Nutrition.

One source for any category is MEDLINEplus (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus) from the National Library of Medicine. This site has health topics, drug information, dictionaries and directories.

For health news, try PharmaLiva (PharmaLive.com) or Reuters Health (www.reutershealth.com). The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation site (www.kaisernetwork.org) is a good place to track legislation. Some medical journals are available free online, and donít forget to contact local academic physicians for information.

The handout also lists numerous subscription database and printed resources in case you find yourself doing a lot of medical research.

LEGAL

Constance Ard of Greenebaum Doll & McDonald introduced us to countless legal sources available on the web. One of the most important things she tries to do in her job is stay informed through legal news sites such as Law.com, Gigalaw.com and LLRX.com, the last being a law librarian resource.

If you need to find quality, reliable experts on a deadline, you might try using FindLaw (findlaw.com), which is set up similar to Yahoo. Or LawOffice.com (www.lawoffice.com), which is more consumer oriented.

Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis are providing more free resources on the web for those of us who donít subscribe to these services.

Some real estate public records are available on NETR Real Estate Research and Information (www.netronline.com). And use PACER (pacer.psc.uscourts.gov) for court docket sheets, though some courts are making document images available now.

Sometimes searching your own archives can get you an answer to a legal question. And donít forget your law librarian friends - theyíre happy to help if they know you can return the favor someday.

MILITARY

BJ Fox and Marie OíMara showed us more military web sites than we ever knew existed. Check out the online handouts for a few names and phone numbers of people who might be able to help you out.

One of the best places to start looking for military information is DefenseLINK (www.defenselink.mil). Thereís so much information contained in this source, you might want to spend a little time studying and exploring it so you know how to use the site when needed. It contains news, special reports, Department of Defense information and links to other defense sites.

You should also bookmark an information portal provided by the Naval Postgraduate School (web.nps.navy.mil/~library/militaryinfo.htm).

Try out Google UncleSam (www.google.com/unclesam) or SearchMil (www.searchmil.com) for basic searching. Or try GrayLIT Network (www.osti.gov/graylit), which will search over 100,000 full-text technical reports.

If you need to verify military awards or honors, BJ suggested calling the public affairs office at a base near you. And she reminded us that a lot of information simply is not on the web yet, so call on a military librarian for assistance.

BUSINESS/FINANCE & TELECOMMUNICATIONS

The last speaker of the day was Mary Ellen Bates, of Bates Information Services, who explained that most company web sites are designed by marketing and sales departments. These sites are not designed for researchers, but one way to get to the information you need is by starting with the site map. Look for investor relations, annual reports, organizational charts and changes in executives.

You can find market and industry information by using SEC filings, if youíre willing to sort through them. The 10-K will have competitors, industry analysis, market share, corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions. 10K filings can be found at FreeEDGAR (www.freeedgar.com) or 10-K Wizard (www.10Kwizard.com), among others. The second site has real-time access to EDGAR filings.

Itís wise to search several different SEC sites, since some do not always have complete results. And check out Edgar Online's IPO Express (www.edgar-online.com/ipoexpress/), which tracks S-1 filings (required for an initial public offering) for companies that never went public.

To find company information, try CorporateInformation (CorporateInformation.com), Hoovers (www.hoovers.com) or Wall Street Research Net (www.wsrn.com). These three all have free information and some fee-based information.

Donít forget traditional web sources such as the Census Bureau for industry statistics. And try portals such as Business.com (www.business.com), IndustryLink (www.industrylink.com) and About (www.about.com).

For telecommunications information, try the information portal Telecom Information Resources on the Internet (china.si.umich.edu/telecom/telecom-info.html) - scroll down past the book advertisement to see the Table of Contents. And check out the web pages of various telecommunications associations.

While everything may not be on the Ďnet yet, there sure is an awful lot of information available. So itís time to update those bookmarks! Megan Gallup is News Research Editor at the Daytona Beach News-Journal in Daytona Beach, Florida.


Megan Gallup is News Research Editor at the Daytona Beach News-Journal in Daytona Beach, Florida..