How to Use the Website
Searching the ALICE Catalog
Browsing and Filtering
The fields in the left sidebar of the home page allow you to browse the ALICE library and filter your search results by category (i.e. Policy Area, Level of Government, or Year). The first 5 options for each category are displayed below the category name. To see additional options, click on the “more >>” button. A browsable list with all of the filterable options will open. You can choose to view the list of options either alphabetically or in numerical order by largest number of search results. Filtering by multiple categories (or multiple options within a single category) will limit search results to only those items meeting all the selected criteria. .
Browsing by Policy Areas and Subjects
ALICE’s legislative models and other resources are divided into 14 broad Policy Areas, such as Energy and Environment, Health, and Voting and Elections. Each Policy Area contains a number of more specific Subjects, such as Public Health, Renewable Energy, and Wages and Compensation. For browsing the ALICE library, either Policy Area or Subject is a good place to start. Selecting multiple Policy Areas or Subjects will narrow your search results to items that fit under ALL of the fields you select. For example, if you want to see only resources that are cross listed in both Economic and Workforce Development AND Energy and Environment, click on both
Filtering (and Browsing) by Resource Attributes
You can further limit or filter search results by selecting a Resource Attribute category (Year, Source, State, Collection, and Level). For example, if you want to see only Energy and Environment resources from New York State, start by selecting “Energy and Environment” under Policy Area. Then, select “New York” under State. This will limit your search results to resources linked to New York AND Energy and Environment. (The order in which categories are selected does not affect the search results. You could achieve the same outcome by selecting the same categories in the reverse order).
You can of course also browse using only the Resource Attributes. For example, to find all exemplary legislation in the ALICE library originating from California, click “Exemplary” under Collection and “California” under State. Or to see all municipal level resources from California, select “Municipal” under Level and “California” under State. Selecting additional filters will further limit your search results to resources that fit under ALL of the fields you selected. For example, selecting “California” under State, “Municipal” under Level, and “Exemplary” under Collection will yield all exemplary municipal legislation in the ALICE library originating from California, but not exemplary state legislation.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for browsing by Policy Area or Subject, you may want to try browsing the list of tags located at the bottom of the category list in the left sidebar. Unlike policy categories, tags are non-hierarchical keywords that allow you to search for more specific topics, such as “Affordable Care Act”, and broader topics that span multiple policy areas, such as “youth.” Selecting a tag while searching under a Policy Area or Subject will yield only items in that Policy Area or Subject. Selecting a tag without first selecting a Policy Area, Subject, or Resource Attribute will return search results for ANY item tagged with that tag. If you are searching under a Policy Area or Subject and would like to broaden your search to all the items associated with a particular tag, deselect your existing search restrictions (under “You Searched For:”) by selecting the “x” to the right of the name of the Policy Area, Subject, or Resource Attribute highlighted in orange.
Finally, of course, the search bar at the top of the page operates just like Google or any other search bar. You can enter keywords, names, dates, or phrases. Use quotation marks to search for phrases. And, importantly, the search bar works in conjunction with the categories in the left sidebar. So, you can enter a search term and then select a Policy Area (or Subject, or Date, or Tag) to limit your search results to items containing your search terms only within that Policy Area.
Sorting Search Results
Once you have your search results, you can sort them using the drop-down "Sort By" bar, which appears at the top of the search results list. The Sort By bar allows you to sort results by Relevance, Year (newest first or oldest first), Title (A-Z or Z-A), Recently Updated, Expert Rating (highest to lowest), or Public Rating (highest to lowest).
To start a new search, click on the ALICE logo in the top left corner of the page, the home tab next to the "About ALICE" tab, or the "start over" link next to the number of items being displayed in the search.
Blacklight and Solr
The multi-faceted search capabilities of the ALICE website are powered by cutting-edge, open-source, search and discovery software, including Blacklight and Solr. We are employing these advanced search tools for the first time and very much welcome your feedback for improving their functionality and usefulness. This website is a work in progress and will benefit from your suggestions.
Exemplary and Model Law Rating System
The ALICE website now allows you to rate all the model and exemplary laws in the library. Each exemplary and model law has a public and expert rating. If you would like to rate laws- sign up here. The expert rating is determined by individuals who have gained expertise in a policy area usually through their work in academia, advocacy organizations, or research centers. If you work for a research center or advocacy organization, or are an academic or have some other expertise in a policy area, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know so that we can provide you with "expert" rating privileges.
Note to Policymakers:
Policymakers are encouraged to discuss with local and national advocates about what version of a law, if any, would be most beneficial and politically viable in their state. And while we do not include language to undo the damage done by previously passed ALEC legislation, please consider, in consultation with your local advocates, whether it makes sense to introduce bills that repeal previously passed laws in your state. For a list of expert organizations by policy area – see the Resource Organizations page.