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What's New at LawMoose? (August 2000 - June 2000)
Be sure to read What's New at LawMoose from July, 2001 forward.
- June 20, 2001: On the eve of the 2001 Minnesota State Bar Convention, we published our most massive update of LawMoose ever. LawMoose has all new search collections, more ways to control the scope of your search, and many new sites we did not include before. If you want to search only Minnesota court sites, you can do it at LawMoose. (You cannot conduct such a comprehensive but narrowly focused web search anywhere else that we know about). If you would rather search, say, bar association and general government and non-profit sites, you can do it. Or, if you are looking for an attorney, we've just built a great way to find attorneys by (1) allowing you to limit your search to law firm web sites only and (2) allowing you to further segment by size of firm: large firms with more than fifty Minnesota attorneys, medium firms with 10-49 attorneys, and small firms and solo practitioners (1-9 attorneys). (These collections exist and are searchable in our non-public area but as of today are not yet available to the public pending start of subscription sales.)
Including collections in our non-public area, pending start of subcription sales, LawMoose now slices the Minnesota Legal Web nine ways, giving you literally hundreds of choices of potential combinations of desired search scope.
Added bonus! LawMoose search collections now include some Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word, and other "special" pages found on the Minnesota Legal Web. Several hundred pages from this largely "invisible web" just became a lot more visible. We examine text describing these "special" pages and, when it is meaningful, add it to our search index. Try searching for "income tax" for example. You'll see lots of Adobe Acrobat forms accurately described by title.
- April 2, 2001: If your LawMoose search produces no search results, the screen you see is now much friendlier and helpful. It is essentially a diagnostic checklist to help you identify what to correct or where to go to find the information you are seeking. It starts with the basics -- spell checking your search term -- and ends with the analytical about making use of our search forwarding links and off-Web resources.
We added Twin Cities Business Monthly to the list of other sites to which you can forward your LawMoose search terms.
We added main menu navigation links to recent filings in the federal district court for the District of Minnesota and to Twin Cities local business news stories.
We added a Law Day banner to make people aware of this May 1 event.
- March 20, 2001: We added a menu at the top of our search results to make it more obvious that LawMoose has several powerful search and display options that let you control the scope of your search and the appearance of your search results.
If you use Netscape to visit LawMoose, we corrected a width problem on our main menu page that only you were experiencing.
- March 19, 2001: We enhanced our highlighting capability by making your search terms stand out even more on a page from the Minnesota Legal Web. We added yellow background highlighting. Search terms still appear in blue font too. If you do any highlighting at all, you will find this much easier on your eyes. We also made it possible to close the highlighted page by clicking a convenient hyperlink.
- March 13, 2001: We expanded our search term forwarding capability -- it's at the bottom of each page of search results -- to allow you to send your search term to Minnesota Lawyer archives. When you do so, you'll see a list of article titles and a several-line-long article summary. We have no connection with Minnesota Lawyer, and you'll see a clear indication you are viewing their search results rather than ours whenever you use this feature. A small percentage of the Minnesota Lawyer articles are free for viewing; others require a subscriber password or a per article payment. Either way, now you can quickly find out if there is an article of interest from our central starting point. Minnesota Lawyer has more than 1300 articles on its web site.
We added a menu link to a list of recent filings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota and another link taking you to City Ordinances for cities throughout Minnesota. We added "General Minnesota Reference" and a "Cases, Past and Present" section. This latter one is experimental. It takes you to signficant current or past cases based mostly on level of public interest.
We spiffed up our news headlines. Now you can easily navigate from one news feed to another and find your way back to the home page without using your back button.
- March 7, 2001: We added two new top level subjects to our main menu -- "Understanding the Law" and "Beyond Minnesota". Our "Understanding the Law" area is designed to help non-lawyers (i.e, everybody in Minnesota minus 20,000 or so lawyers) gain a better understanding of legal terms, basic legal principles, etc. Our "Beyond Minnesota" area links you to the core federal resources you are likeliest to need and gives you access, via the Internet Law Library, to legal materials from states that border Minnesota.
- March 6, 2001: It's tax season, so we added a link to Minnesota tax forms on our main menu.
- March 2, 2001: We improved our navigation in our Welcome (AboutLawMoose) area.
Also, if you are looking for information about Minnesota Conciliation Courts, we added a link to effortlessly retrieve web pages referring to Conciliation Court. Several district court web sites have information about Conciliation Court.
- February 15, 2001: We added more than three hundred Minnesota judges' names to our Super-Easy Search, making LawMoose the best place to begin your web-based research about Minnesota judges. Super-Easy Search now offers more than one thousand five hundred super-easy terms you can launch without having to check spelling or formulate your own search query.
- February 6, 2001: Since publishing our redesign on the 2nd, we've added many more links to the redesigned home page to make it into a concentrated powerhouse of useful Minnesota
research and reference links. We do not really like calling ourselves a "vertical market search engine" or "vortal" as some in the Web business might. We have taken LawMoose well beyond search to an expanded capability for the Minnesota legal community. Correspondingly, we've given LawMoose a new assignment: it's becoming a "community knowledge server", centralizing access to, and
giving its users control over, the otherwise completely disconnected content spread over the community's hundreds of public and private web sites.
- February 2, 2001: LawMoose broadens its capabilities with a whole new home page redesign and several new features. These changes make LawMoose the premiere web research starting point for members of the Minnesota legal community (as we always define it to include businesses and individuals seeking legal information, information about Minnesota courts, lawyers, etc.)
As of today, LawMoose is not "just" a search engine. LawMoose also provides direct links to Minnesota public and non-profit legal resources.
A LawMoose exclusive (so far as we've seen): -- prompted search. It allows us to offer, for example, instant Minnesota judicial "profiling" search results and other "super-easy" prompted searches. One way we use them is to make LawMoose instantly locate information mentioning any or county or city in the state.
LawMoose's original search now contains a "smart" feature that automatically broadens some search terms when the original term produces no results.
Finally, LawMoose also features several law-related news headlines collections from around the world. We use it ourselves. It's a great way to keep up on local news and several aspects of law, including those pertinent to all Internet users, such as privacy.
- December 20, 2000: We corrected an occasional error in search results that we encountered for the first time a few days ago. Our search results are the core of what we deliver, so if you ever encounter an error, please let us know!
- December 15, 2000: Even though the site is evolving, we've dropped the Public Beta 2.0 so you can just use the site without wondering about our development progress. We revamped the main page. We moved another step to all-purpose portal by "porting" our Directory of Minnesota Law Firms on the Web from Priweb.com to LawMoose. The Directory will undergo major changes in the next few weeks (we hope!)
We added a thirty second overview of LawMoose and added a page featuring representative comments of the sort we are receiving about LawMoose. We moved the list of sites included in the current public collection to its own page. And we added a LawMoose WorldWide page explaining that while our focus is on Minnesota legal publishers, the scope of LawMoose's contents includes anything and everything Minnesota legal publishers find worthy of publication. That means that visitors from other states in the United States and international visitors may find information of value too.
- December 14, 2000: We added a sample searchable collection drawn from Minnesota law-related services and products web sites to our Continuing Private Beta. We updated our list of Advisory Committee members.
- December 12, 2000: We officially released Public Beta, Version 2.0 and Continuing Private Beta, Version 5.0 in recognition of the posting of a completely rebuilt, much expanded searchable public beta collection of web pages.
LawMoose now includes well over one hundred sites in our public beta collection, up from sixty in our first beta release. We now have automated screening criteria for eliminating pages without reference value (so you won't have to do it.) Search term highlighting is enhanced and explained more thoroughly. Subsequent pages of search results now have the same value-added links for each result that the initial results page has had.
- December 5, 2000: The highly regarded Minnesota State Law Library links to LawMoose! We've also picked up links, among other places on the Web, from the William Mitchell Law Library, local business portal Vezone.com, local portal sites TwinCities.com and OurTwinCities.com, and the Minnesota Biomedical Business Network (University of Minnesota Institute of Medical Biotechnology). We've also gained our first international link, from Global Law Review, Mumbai, India.
Our visitors already come from well beyond Minnesota because many visit LawMoose as follow-up to their search of the Internet Law Library at Pritchard Law Webs, formerly the U.S. House of Representatives Internet Law Library.
- December, 2000: 50,000 readers of American Lawyer Media's Law Technology News learn about the power of web application servers from Pritchard Law Webs founder LaVern Pritchard's article, What Can Lawyers Expect As the Internet Matures?. He cites LawMoose! as one of the many ways Pritchard Law Webs uses the ColdFusion web application server and programming environment.
- November 27, 2000: We officially release Public Beta, Version 1.1 and Continuing Private Beta, Version 4.1, in recognition of two significant improvements we have added since "going public" earlier this month: search term highlighting and more precise control over collections of pages searched. This version also adds a link to the St. Paul Pioneer Press search box to enhance our ability to help you find what you are looking for even if it it is not in LawMoose's own index.
- November 22, 2000: As a public service, we feature the Florida Supreme Court's ruling in the Presidential election contest. (A few days later, the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear an expedited appeal of this ruling.)
- November 20, 2000: Our highlight feature takes a big step up in intelligence. It does a much better job of finding your search terms in the original web page, even if you combined them with an "and" or used an "or."
- November 17, 2000: We offer a new option: highlighting any page on the Minnesota Legal Web in context to show your search term (a feature that expensive subscription-only sites offer!). Also, we enhance search options so you can completely control which "collections" you search. The immediate benefit: if you do not want case law included in your search, you can now easily exclude it.
- November 16, 2000: Our search box appears on Priweb.com for testing. Visitors to Priweb can search LawMoose from any page of our original site.
- Novemeber 13, 2000: Hennepin County Law Library links to LawMoose and requests a LawMoose search box for their highly regarded legal reference and research site.
- November 9, 2000: We advised the Minnesota law librarian community that LawMoose is in public beta. Since law librarians know how search engines make it possible to find things you cannot find any other way, we think they're going to like LawMoose. They also have high standards -- which we will try to meet!
- November 6, 2000: We published Public Beta Version 1.0, offering search through our index of more than sixty Minnesota government, nonprofit, and educational law sites and nearly 5000 Minnesota court opinions. Simultaneously we began Continuing Private Beta, Version 4.0, all of the above plus our index of 370 Minnesota law firm web sites.
- November 3, 2000: We made it possible to choose to limit your search to only court cases or only lawfirms, not the entire index. This enhances selectivity beyond what we earlier offered based on top level domain name.
- October 30, 2000: We performed an assessment of LawMoose's indexing by other search engines during its private beta phase. (We made our main page indexable even though the rest of our content is still password protected). Already we can be located through Yahoo!, Google, AltaVista, FindLaw's LawCrawler, Northern Light, and HotBot. Because lawmoose is a completely unique name, it's easy to find lawmoose through search engines.
- October 28, 2000: We offered web public visitors a special sneak weekend preview of LawMoose.
- October 27, 2000: With our newest version of Priweb.com each page contains a prominent link to LawMoose.
- October 23, 2000: We posted Private Beta, Version 3.4. It is based on a completely new private beta search collection, consisting of a combined index for 370 Minnesota law firm web sites with all up to date links. It's amazing how much change there can be in a short time. Major changes since our original August spidering include complete rebuilds of both the Dorsey & Whitney and Faegre & Benson sites and the addition of several new law firm web sites.
- October 23, 2000: We added XML-powered features to the backend of LawMoose. We won't publicly disclose exactly what we're doing, but let's just say this. It allows us to do things we couldn't do before.
- October 19, 2000: LawMoose is featured in Bench & Bar magazine's New and Noteworthy column. We posted Private Beta Version 3.3.
- October 11, 2000: We posted Private Beta, Version 3.2. It includes "search forwarding" capability to make LawMoose an even better starting point for web research.
Our own collection is a unique niche collection where you can find things that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to find. But you may want to start local, and expand the scope of your search. That's why we've made it possible, at the click of a link, and without necessity to re-enter your search term, to run your searches through NorthStar, the Minnesota state government web site, The Minneapolis StarTribune, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Google, a well-regarded general web search engine. We also include a link to take you to US Code search (where you can enter your search term). So ... no need to jump from one search engine to another. LawMoose will do it for you.
We give you concentric circles of searchability, in Minnesota, on other authoritative law sites, and across the entire Web.
- September 25, 2000: We posted Private Beta, Version 3.1. It is the same version as we previewed at the Minnesota Law & Tech Show, except that we have turned off the "publisher profile" and "consult" links.
- September 19-20, 2000: We previewed the newest version of LawMoose at the Minnesota Law & Technology Show with numerous enhancements! LawMoose was named "Best Minnesota Legal Web Site" in the 60 Hot Legal PC Tips and Netsites in 60 Minutes presentation the first morning of the show.
- September 13, 2000: We introduced LawMoose Private Beta, Version 2.0. Enhancements include adding an automatic classification of each page of search results to assist visitors in separating sites by top level domain. The purpose is to help visitors understand the source of the page. This can help them, for example, separate governmental from commercial links. Pages from the Supreme Court site will be labeled as State/Local Gov't Site, where law firm pages are labeled as Commercial Site. Other labels include Non-Profit Site, College/University Site, Federal Gov't Site, and Other. We also added a series of informational links to accompany each search
result. They include:
- the ability to generate an on-demand profile of the publisher of the pages displayed as search results (illustrated but not functional yet),
- a link allowing a visitor looking at a search result to jump immediately to the home page of the site on which the search result appears, so that the visitor can come into that site's natural starting point and gain an instant overview of how the search result page fits into the rest of the site on which it appears, and
- a link generating a Google search result showing all pages elsewhere on the Web that link into the home page of the site on which the search result appears (so one can instantly find content related to this site and gauge its
overall place and connections on the Web).
- September 13, 2000: We have made the entire Minnesota legal web multilingual in one fell swoop. Click on any page in search results, and instantly translate that page into one of five languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese. (We may be about the Minnesota Legal Web but we understand that visitors from anywhere in the world might share that interest. In addition, Minnesota itself is becoming more multi-lingual. We hope this reduces language barriers when they might prove to be an impediment to lawyers and clients communicating with each other over the Web.
- August 28, 2000: We expanded the scope of our private beta program by opening it to members of the Minnesota State Bar Association's SmallSolo e-mail discussion group. "We've built our own web crawler, indexer, and search engine. (This may be a First. They do not teach how to do this in law school -- at least last time
I checked.) Only a handful of people have seen it so far. We'd like to expand the circle
a bit to add SoloSmall participants."
- August 21, 2000: LawMoose private beta begins.