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Better Search for Stimulus Bill

Tizra, a new E-book publisher, can help you quickly navigate such classic mysteries as Agatha Christie's "The Secret Adversary," and, it turns out, Congress's "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act." After hearing a radio broadcast about the stimulus bill over the weekend -- through the din of his kids playing nearby -- Tizra CEO Abe Dane decided to slap it on their Web site to demonstrate the power of their publishing platform.

At ProPubilca, we've been 'thumbing' through massivePDFs downloaded from congressional Web sites, but it's an imperfect strategy. The enormous document is slow to load, comes in two parts, and while Adobe's PDF reader has a search function, it's more shovel than scalpel. Meanwhile, Tizra's newest tool gives curious citizens"the kind of search people are used to getting," Dane told us. "If it's a desktop search [such as Adobe's] it's got to be the exact string of letters, whereas with a web search, it's a little softer."

Other benefits include results ordered by relevance, and little snippets that provide a touch of context. And perhaps best of all, one can easily pinpoint specific sections of the legislation to share by cutting and pasting a link into an e-mail, or say, a news article. Here's an example: We reported earlier on renovation plans for a liquor warehouse paid for by the "State Energy Program." Then, we could give you the scoop and point you to the behemoth bill; but in a single bound, our new friends at Tizra can send you directly to the legislative language that describes the program. Cool!

Tizra, a start-up based in Providence, R.I., provides old school print publishers with a platform for digitizing their books without turning over the rights to their e-versions to industry leaders like Amazon and Google. Here's the nice profile from Xconomy, a business and technology news Web site, that put us on to Tizra.

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