Magazine article Information Today

Facts and Figures on Tax Policies, Firearms, and Military Media

Magazine article Information Today

Facts and Figures on Tax Policies, Firearms, and Military Media

Article excerpt

Two hot topics that always generate controversy are taxes and firearms. As the tax season looms ever nearer and as the nation still recovers from the shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., two special resources highlighted in the January/February issue of The CyberSkeptic's Guide to Internet Research offer valuable information.

In Knowing Nonprofits (p. 4), Susan Fingerman looks at the Tax Foundation (www.taxfoundation.org), a nonprofit dating from 1937 that provides tax-related information for businesses and individuals. She notes that its mission statement is to "educate taxpayers about sound fiscal policy and the size of the tax burden borne by Americans at all levels of government."

While the organization may be 70plus years old, the Tax Foundation created a "modern Web 2.0 site" featuring a Google-powered search box, according to Fingerman. Many foundation publications are geared toward the business community. The "2011 State Business Tax Climate Index," a 60-page document, includes rankings of the top 10 best and worst states from the five tax indexes (corporate, individual income, sales, unemployment, and property) and tables showing the tax changes from 2006 to 2011. Information directed at individuals includes the Fiscal Facts publication "Summary of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data" from October 2010, which outlines individuals and what they are paying in taxes.

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Most of the foundation's reports and publications can be emailed, downloaded as a PDF, or commented on directly from the website to its Twitter link.

In Net Focus (pp. 6-7), Nick Tomaiuolo gives the Firearms Research Digest (www.firearmsresearch .org), originating at the Harvard School of Public Health, high marks. The website lets users access bibliographic information for articles appearing in more than 300 medical, social science, public health, and legal journals. Because the site is a bibliographic database, users must go elsewhere to find the full text of the articles. However, Tomaiuolo says the database doesn't just upload original article references. Instead, staff members from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center write concise, easy-to-read summaries for each article, eliminating specialized terminology found in the published abstracts that can make comprehension difficult.

Currently, there are about 1,000 "highly relevant" citations dating from 2002 to 2009, but the plan is to expand coverage to include citations dating from 1988. …

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