The mission of the Independent Institute is to address public policy research by redefining the debate over public issues through fostering new and effective directions for government reform. Its website maintains a comprehensive online archive of studies on a variety of issues, giving access to e-books, articles from the institute’s journal, the “Independent Review”, as well as to periodic reports, working papers, and other publications. Webpages are available both in English and Spanish, and each item, provided with annotations, can be located through a search engine or well-organized directories. While some content is free of charge and retrievable in their original format, books, DVDs and other material are presented with a summary and available for purchase. This applies also to several policy reports, articles, and audio-video programs. The website also presents detailed info on conferences, forums, and debates sponsored by the institute, which bring together scholars and policy experts addressing a vast range of policy issues. The Institute publishes a quarterly newsletter and sends out weekly commentaries. Also provided are detailed info about the Institute’s learning and research programs, seminars and upcoming and recent events. There are several topical website links, a simple keyword and a sitemap, under an effective design (even if sometime a bit clumsy).
The Independent Institute
Promoting ideas and debate for public policy
The OYEZ Project
A multimedia database on the U.S. Supreme Court
Based at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, the Oyez Project is a multimedia-based U.S. Supreme Court tool created in the late 1980s with the support of many researchers, students and academics mainly from Northwestern’s Learning Technologies Group. The project receives a support grant from the NSF, the National Endowment for the Humanities and Google, but is also supported by private firms and foundations. Conceived as a demostration of the power of multimedia integration with serious academic content, OYEZ gives access to more than 7,000 hours of Supreme Court audio (all distributed by a Creative Commons license), including session records since 1995. It also contains abstracts for all leading constitutional decisions of the Court, authoritative oral arguments in streamed media format. The database presents a list of all Supreme Court justices as well as a list of cases sorted by subject. For each case a short abstract, a summary of the proceedings and a clip are provided. Along with frequent updates, the site hosts a blog with latest information on specific issues and a calendar that reflects the Supreme Court’s most recent sessions. The website is accessible for free and also offers a virtual reality tour of the Supreme Court building. A well designed and complex website, with some improvements in crucial areas for new users, such as help, FAQ and comment sections.
United Nations Treaty Collection
The UN online collection of treaties and related documents
Provided and managed by the United Nations, the UN Treaty Collection provides access to over 50,000 treaties and international agreements and to a similar number of related subsequent actions which have been published in hard copy in over 2,100 volumes. The database collection is available in several languages and includes all multilateral treaties registered or filed and recorded with and published by the Secretariat since 1946, pursuant to Article 102 of the Charter. The treaty reference information made available here, and the full texts of treaties, correspond to treaties and subsequent actions registered up to August 2001, while overall the site is kept quite up-to-date, also to include the latest desktop published volumes. Aimed at advancing diplomacy initiatives and world peace, the site has been awarded a Laureate status by the Innovation Network of the Computerworld Smithsonian Awards. Full access to the database requires an annual paid subscritption, but a large section is still freely available to the public, searchable by multiple search criteria and dowloadable in various languages.