Thursday, March 22, 2007

Finding a Needle in the Haystack: Internet Legal Research

The second presentation I attended was "internet legal research" by the editor of a blog I love, Inter Alia, Tom Mighell, and Gary Price from and Ressource Shelf.

They started by asking who knows RSS and who use them to search the web: about 15 people knew and only 4 were using RSS to search the web. They referred us to Wikipedia for a definition RSS.

Tom explained the relationship between Blogs and RSS, more particularly by discussing the name given for the feeds, for obvious publicity and hits count purposes. They give examples such as the NY Times.

What happens when the article is taken offline two weeks later? You loose the hyperlink? For the NY times, you can use the NY link generator. Wow! I wish there were such generators for our canadian newspapers!!

A hint from the pro: Make your RSS as big as possible. However, on Gary's blog, you have to browse down to it. I took mine off... Should I review my position, ie people who would be interested in my blog know how to create an RSS? It seems since, according to the 2005-2006 numbers, only 10% of Internet users use RSS.

The problem for people using it is: information overload. You bet, have a look at my bloglines feeds... I have to note that these are my public feeds: I have as many that are private! The question than becomes, how to choose the feeds you read!

Here is an Article by Dennis Kennedy and Tom intitled "RSS Resources You Can Use: Automated Web Surfing for Lawyers" where you have a mine of info on RSS uses.

What about the definition of RSS for Oprah's fans? "Ready for Some Stories"

Gary directed us toward a new trend (I have been enjoying for a while from Google): Homeage personalisation. You can also use and

Tom's favorite RSS reader is Google reader. Mine is Bloglines.

How to subscribe to an RSS feed? I won't detail. I am sure if you ask on, you'll get a quick answer! A good sale speech from Gary re the later site: when you run a search you can subscribe to the RSS with one click!! They might change the name to Damn, this domain name already exists. Sorry Gary!

Tailoring RSS to deal with the feeds overload:

How to customize the RSS? Here is one way. to get news from all over the world with preexisting RSS feeds. Want to know everything (or almost) about

You can now create feeds for what ever you want. Thanks to Feedgit! The down side of these tools? They only look at the first results of the major search engines... If you really want "all", buy website watcher.

If you are not an RSS freak, go the email way. Tools like Feedblitz take RSS feeds and transform the RSS in an email delivered to you every time.

You are still at the newspaper level? Simplyheadlines creates newspaper from your feeds!

You want to take your favorites everywhere with you? Post them to the web!
By the way, here are mine (without the private ones...).
My Yahoo offers the same features
The benefit seems to be that the pages you link to are archived. Interesting! Will I move from (own by yahoo anyway)
You can also pay to download I asked which features Gary was paying for and he answered to have access to his bookmarks on all his computers (I can do the same for free with and an automatic refresh of the pages (that might be worth it!).

How to create a page of different information instead of saving numerous favorites or, worst, saving the pages in folders or, even more time consuming, copy-pasting the info you want in a document? Once again, Google offers a notebook. Zoho offer a notebook but you have to cut&paste... However, you have more features on Zoho's (add pictures, spreadsheets, etc.)

Remote storage

You want to have a peak inside books: Amazon search inside the book (the "concordance" feature is amazing!!) and Google book search.

Here is a list of funny/interesting sites:
Flight stats
Local traffic
httrack: archive any website

Wow!! So many new tools to try!! Thanks guys: a terrific presentation! I felt like in my RSS feeds: so much information! You've sustained me for the year! So you in 2008!

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