Many media Web sites doing innovative work with public databases

One site lets users review all of the requested vanity license plates that state officials had rejected as “objectionable.” Another provides a map locating all of the art in public places along with a photo of the artwork. In a wide-ranging survey, ASNE's Freedom of Information Committee found enormous variations in the use of public-record databases on newspaper Web sites, "but many are doing highly innovative and exciting work." Now online, The Fascinating World of Forgotten Information is the committee's extensive review of database centers, interactive maps and pages that are informative and interesting.