23rd January 1998 at 00:00

If you're sick of sound-bites and actually want to see what parliamentarians are arguing about, this official Houses of Parliament Web site is an excellent starting point.

As well as information about how parliament works and a section for schools, this site holds a compendious amount of detail with the texts of more than 70 Bills before parliament.

For instance, if you've heard plenty of speculation about what the Government plans for schools, you can use this site to see for yourself the whole text of both education bills that are now before parliament.

You can also see the legislation that has been passed, such as the 1997 Education Act abolishing assisted places schemes.

The glory of this kind of Web site is in its detail and you can use it to check on forthcoming parliamentary business, questions, select committee reports, standing committees, debates and written answers from ministers. It isn't the world's most beautiful Web site, but it is a useful way of getting an overview of the legislative process beyond the 30 seconds of parliamentary shouting that you usually see on television news.

JESSE'S WORD OF THE DAY. www.randomhouse.comjesse

Where does the phrase "red herring" come from? Or "scapegoat" or "white elephant"? Did you know that "paparazzi" got their name from a film character or that flappers in the Twenties were called "bimbos". You would know all of this and more if you visited "Jesse's Word of the Day", an entertainingly word-obsessed Web site which each day discusses a new word or term, examining its origin and meaning. As well as providing the etymology of a new word each day, there is an archive of hundreds of words that have been previously discussed by the page's editor, Jesse Sheidlower, a senior editor at the publishers Random House. If you or your class want to ask your own questions, there's an e-mail link to send your own word puzzles to this New York-based site.

Sean Coughlan

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