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To read comments to this article, go here
More MS Documents and Some Research Tools
Sunday, January 02 2005 @ 11:16 AM EST

marbux has found a page on Wayback, transcripts of the proceedings in the Microsoft antitrust trial. So we are adding that link to our collection. There are copyright questions regarding transcripts, so I'll look into that to see if we can reproduce it here or not, but in the meanwhile, you have the link, and I know you will enjoy it. The Department of Justice has some of them, so those are definitely available. There is no better way to learn how trials work than to attend one, but second best is to read the transcripts. A lot of what you learn in books about the law isn't exactly the way it works in real life, and that experiential knowledge is every bit as valuable as the parts you can read about. So, I hope you will take the time to read the transcripts. Knowledge has power, but you never know which piece in advance will turn out to be vital, so it's good to scarf down all you can. Then you are better equipped to be helpful.

Please do note where you find information on Microsoft's antitrust and anticompetition activities, and which document you found it in, and then leave a comment on the Microsoft Litigation page. All the info is out there, but finding what you need in a hurry is the trick. So that is where our many eyeballs can be a real help, composing a kind of index for others to use as a map. If a FOSS developer or vendor is sued down the road, it could make the difference for them to have such an index ready-made, particularly if they are limited financially.

There are excerpts from Gates' video deposition [DOJ list of all the depositions as PDFs] , but what is, to me, way more interesting is a a discussion where the parties and the judge try to decide what the press and the public gets to see and hear. I think you will see what I mean about fine-tuning when you read that. And as you can see on the list, even with a public First Amendment right of access, some things remained sealed.

I also enjoyed reading the opening remarks of both sides, Microsoft and the government, part one and part two. To preserve it all, in case it suddenly disappears, we downloaded the materials, and I learned about a neat trick in Firefox and some other research tools to share with you.

First, in Firefox, there is an extension called downTHEMall which lets you download all links on a page with one click. Instructions here. Being a female, I thought at first the name was about a shopping mall, as in down at the mall. Disjoint. Anyway, it's a neat trick. If you are in GNU/Linux you already have some fine tools, but this is nice because our poor Microsoft-Windows-using cousins can use it also. Here's my personal how-to from Ian Justman, who found downTHEMall, and told me about it:

1. Install the "downTHEMall!" (http://downthemall.mozdev.org) extension into Firefox.

2. Point Firefox to a particular page whose links you wish to grab.

3. Go to Tools, come down to downTHEMall.

4. Select the links you wish to download individually, or "bulk-tag" them by clicking on "all files" in the "Filter" section of the dTa window.

5. Select a directory to "Save files in".

6. Click on "Start downloads!" and wait.

Speaking of Firefox, you must see today's UserFriendly. There's also Spiderzilla which rebuilds all of the hyperlinks so they work in the downloaded version of a site. It describes it like this: "It allows you to download a World Wide website from the Internet to a local directory, building recursively all structures, getting html, images, and other files from the server to your computer. Links are rebuilt relatively so that you can freely browse to the local site (works with any browser). You can mirror several sites together so that you can jump from one to another. You can, also, update an existing mirror site, or resume an interrupted download". Of course, you need to make sure the site allows spidering first, for legal reasons, and, more importantly, for ethical ones, and observe copyright and other restrictions that may prevail, but for private use, it's a good research tool.

Then on Wayback, they offer the following browser plug-in for the Wayback Machine. It's one of those you just click and drag to the browser toolbar. When you visit a page that you want to find an old version of, just click the toolbar link. You will be transported to any historic versions at the Wayback Machine. I haven't investigated if there are any privacy issues, so you'll need to do your own due diligence on that.

And then I learned how to use Amazon's search engine A9, which I thought I'd share with you. Groklaw member Nick has the details:

There are times when a regular Web search will not yield the kind of information you seek, or more importantly will not yield the kind of source material you wish to reference. What if you are writing a report for your upper management and you want to include a quote about the differences between setting up an organization with a vertical hierarchy of management versus a horizontal hierarchy of management? If you did a Google search, you might come up with Web pages on the subject, or someone's thesis paper for business school. But what if you wanted to include a quote from a "reputable" source (that is, a source your upper management might feel comfortable)? Yes, we're talking dead tree sources. So off you trudge to the bookstore to find a book on the subject so that you can type up a paragraph or two to include with your report and give it a "reputable" reference.

Instead of going to the bookstore, why not have the bookstore come to you? If you haven't used Amazon's A9 search engine, here's a quick glimpse of its power. Go to www.a9.com. In the search field type: "horizontal hierarchy" "vertical hierarchy" This way it will search for both phrases. Hit Enter. The search results might initially include sources from the Web as well as books, so on the right-hand side of the screen make sure the Web and Images buttons are "unclicked," and that the Books button is "clicked." Now you are just searching inside books that have been digitized by Amazon. Yes, you are actually searching inside dead-tree books! See the second result in the list, the link labeled "People in Organisations" An Active Learnning Approach"? Under that is a sub-link labeled "page 269." Click that sub-link. The resulting page is a reproduction of page 269 of that book, and you can see how it nicely answers the difference in hiearchies. Now isn't this easier than going to the bookstore?

Not every book has been digitized, and even those that have may not have all of their pages digitized. Sometimes you'll do a search and it will indicate that your search phrase is in the book somewhere but won't tell you specifically where. That just means that page hasn't yet been digitized. But what is there is a treasure trove of material that can augment your search, or in certain circumstances provide you with just the kind of search results you need."

And soon we'll have Google books. This is such exciting news from Google. They will be scanning books and documents from the NY Public Library and 4 universities, and that is exciting enough, so they will be searchable and in many cases fully readable online. The collection will include so many out-of-print books. For others, there will be excerpts, so you can decide if you wish to buy the book. They are asking book publishers to sign up.

But what is even better is that they have chosen as the four Harvard, Stanford, the U. of Michigan, and the University of Oxford. You can read more about it here.

Harvard has only agreed to a test project. Ditto the NY Public Library. And Oxford is offering only public domain books, pre-1900. The announcement says that they will start with 40,000 books at Harvard and then decide whether to go forward with the entire 15 million volumes. That is just Harvard. They will, however, scan *everything* at Stanford, some 8 million books. And 7 million at the U. of Michigan. Stanford and the U. of Michigan have law libraries. I wrote to the U. of Michigan to ask if the law library would be included, and they said not yet, but they're thinking about it. I live in hope. If they ever put the Harvard law library on the Internet, we'd be in business for sure. You can read all about how varied their library is following all the links, and drool. We already have Google Scholar, where you can "stand on the shoulders of giants." We seem to be getting closer to my vision of a Google Legal. Please, Harvard! Please, please, please. Go forward.


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