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Coming May 16: The Kitchen Sink

May 3, 2011

Photo by Some rights reserved.

Twice a year, in the spring and fall, we launch a new version of the knowledgemosaic platform.  If one high impact feature defines each release, then the defining feature for this spring’s release – to go live May 16 – has to be our new Laws, Rules, and Agency Materials search page.

What’s the big deal?  Well, for starters, it’s vast.  We’re talking Siberian tundra-vast.  In fact, so expansive is its coverage, we actually toyed with the idea of naming it “The Kitchen Sink.” (Other creative name candidates that didn’t get as far were “Baggy Pants,” “Glovernment,” and “Everything Else.”)  Not only does the page combine all that currently resides in our current Agency Materials and Federal Fundamentals pages; it also adds new materials from seven additional agencies — not to mention over 100 new dataset categories from existing agencies.   Talk about one-stop shopping.  Think Google, but without all the noise (or ads, for that matter).

Then there’s the layout and functionality of the page – what techies call its user interface, or UI.  The UI of LRAM (not an official acronym, but easier than saying Laws, Rules, and Agency Materials) is unlike anything you’ve ever seen on knowledgemosaic.  From a single starting point, you can jump right into searching or browsing. You can even go back and forth between searching and browsing as you progressively narrow your search criteria.   That ability to refine as you go is a crucial part of LRAM’s user-friendliness: you don’t need to figure out all the parameters of your search before you begin.  Indeed, the page itself guides you in your prospecting.  A faceted sidebar becomes your map, showing where (which sources or date ranges) there are veins of gold and where you may have hit the mother lode; click on any to drill down even further.  A sort of “Choose Your Own Adventure” for grown-ups.

Finally, it’s fast.  Really fast.  Blazing fast. You’ll see for yourself just how fast in a little over a week and a half.

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