Tales from the Terminal Room
June 2001, Issue No. 22
Please Note: This is an archive copy of the newsletter. The information and links that it contains are not updated.
Tales from the Terminal Room ISSN 1467-338X
June 2001, Issue No. 22
Editor: Karen Blakeman
Published by: RBA Information Services
Tales from the Terminal Room (TFTTR) is a monthly newsletter, with the exception of July and August, which are published as a single issue. TFTTR includes reviews and comparisons of information sources and search tools; updates to the RBA Web site Business Sources and other useful resources; dealing with technical and access problems on the Net; and news of RBA's training courses and publications.
In this issue:
Search Strategies for the Internet http://www.rba.co.uk/search/
Google launches image searching
Google has launched an image search option. It is currently in beta test, but generally available, and can be found at URL http://images.google.com/ or via the Advanced Search screen.
It's all very straightforward and, like all of Google's search features, very fast. Type in some search terms and Google comes up with images that are on pages containing those terms, or images with the term or term in their file name. The results page displays 20 images at a time as thumbnails and for each image you are given height and width of the image, URL of the page containing the image, image size and file name. Buttons, icons, and banner ads are automatically filtered from the search results.
Clicking on a thumbnail splits the screen into two horizontal frames: the top frame shows a slightly larger version of the thumbnail whilst the lower frame displays the Web page that contains the image. From the top frame, you can click the thumbnail to display the full-size image, remove the frame to display the entire page, or return to your search results.
According to the help files, you are also supposed to be able to limit your search to a specific kind of image file by using Google's "filetype:" operator in your query. For example, if you wish to see images of the Eiger that are in .jpg format, then enter eiger filetype:jpg in the search box. At the time of writing this newsletter, however, this did not work but could well have been a temporary glitch; the image search is clearly labelled as "Beta".
As a result of this new search option, the following files on the RBA Web site have been updated:
With all the recent additions to its service it looks as though Google is aiming to provide every service an Internet searcher could desire. However, I note that there are no coffee making facilities. As Google does not always announce its new features, my colleagues have suggested that I have not looked hard enough. I am still looking!!
Support for SMEs http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/sme.htm
[fx:Victor Meldrew] I don't belieeeeeeve it!!!!
Just when I had got used to the UK government's decision to move the Small Business Support information to www.businessadviceonline.org, it decides to redirect me to a completely new site at http://www.businesslink.org/. So for the next five minutes that's where the UK gov's SME support will be. After that - who knows?
News sources http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/news.htm
Nothing really new for those of us who have been using these services for donkeys years, apart from the fact that Dow Jones Interactive and Reuters Business Briefing are now "one". On further investigation, the "Factiva Intelligent Indexing" appears to be the Reuters coding system, of which I always found the company codes invaluable. But these services have, until now, been aimed at the corporate sector and required up-front subscription. As someone who now prefers to use pay-as-go services I was jubilant to see on the right hand side of the screen "Not a Subscriber? Search our news archive using your credit card."
For the credit card option you can search for free and pay for stories that you wish to view at USD 2.95 per article. You can search for your terms as keywords or phrases, company name, or company symbol and use Boolean AND, OR, NOT. This service is a direct competitor to the Lexis-Nexis news service that was mentioned in the May issue of Tales from the Terminal Room (http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/archives/2001/may2001.htm) and which charges USD 2.50 per article.
Before you get your credit card out, though, do check through the sources of both the Factiva and the Lexis-Nexis results. A significant number are likely to be accessible free of charge via the publishers' own Web sites, for example the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Times. Nevertheless, another very useful site for those of us who need comprehensive coverage or archival news stories at an affordable rate.
Miscellaneous day to day essentials http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/misc.htm
ONS 1992 UK SIC Codes
Stock Markets & Company Financials http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/stocks.htm
Marketeye (www.marketeye.com and www.marketeye.co.uk) has been removed from the RBA listing as Thomson will be closing it down. At the time of writing, the Web site was still up but a message stated that "editorial content is no longer being updated".
Background on the closure can be found in a story in The Register at http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/23/19924.html
Direct Marketing http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/marketing.htm
Lists Now http://listsnow.com/
UK Business Data Online http://www.yellowpagesbusiness.co.uk/
Dun & Bradstreet http://www.dnb.com/
Company Directories http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/directs.htm
Over the last 6 months there have been significant changes to a number of UK directories, three of which are described below.
Kelly's UK Business Finder http://www.kellys.co.uk/
Kompass British Exports Interactive http://www.britishexports.com/
Kompass UK http://www.kompass.co.uk/
These things are sent to try us!
Brush up Your Search Strategy Jargon
So you think you know your way round search engines, are au fait with all the advanced search tricks, and have no problem seeing the "Invisible Web"? How about "flip searching", "x-raying" and "peeling back a URL". No? Well don't panic because these are well established, everyday techniques that you are probably using already. They have just been given new names that appear to be extensively used by the recruitment industry.
Let's tackle the last one first: Peeling back a URL.
This is sometimes referred to as "climbing the tree", "retracing the path" or "backtracking" and is commonly used when one gets an Error 404 (file not found) in order to locate the information elsewhere on a site. For example, I was recently asked if I could find a site that gave free historical LIBOR rates. A search in Google came up with what looked like the perfect match:
But this gave an "error 404 file not found" message and Google's cached copy consisted of a page of broken image links. Assuming that bba.org.uk was the British Bankers' Association and, therefore, likely to have the information somewhere on its site, I truncated the URL to www.bba.org.uk/html/. Still no joy so I "peeled" the URL back to the home page at http://www.bba.org.uk/ where I found a link to "For Media and Research" followed by an option for LIBOR.
Researchers also use this trick to see if there are other pages within the same Web site similar to the one that they are currently viewing. In the recruitment industry it is used to find additional CVs or candidates on a specific Web site. Say you have a client who wishes to recruit an expert in widgets. You carry out a standard keyword search and come across information about Joe Bloggs on http://www.superwidget.com/staff/jbloggs.htm. The URL suggests that there may be additional information on this site about other staff so "peeling back the URL" to www.superwidget.com/staff/ may reveal a list of people that are potential candidates for interview.
Now let's look at "Flip searching".
If you are a lawyer or experienced on-line searcher you will know this as citation searching: you take a known document and search for documents that contain references or citations to it. On the Web you can work back from a specific Web page and find other pages that link to it. This can be a neat and quick way of finding pages that are similar in content, the assumption being that pages that link to one another are likely to cover similar subject matter. In the recruitment industry it is used to find people who have links to, or have worked for, a specific company. For example, if you are looking for someone with Oracle skills, potential candidates may have links from their Web CVs to the Oracle Web site.
Some search engines offer a "More like this" or "Similar pages" option next to entries in the results list but you can often search for linked sites directly using a "link:" command. Going back to our expert on widgets example, to find pages that link to the Superwidget site:
HotBot has two options: the plain link: command will find links to the exact URL that you enter whilst the linkdomain: command will find links to any pages within the whole site.
One drawback is that you will pick up links within the Web site itself. With AltaVista you can exclude those by including -host:superwidget.com in your search strategy.
Whilst this technique can work for general research, it is grossly over-hyped within the recruitment sector. Yes, you may find CVs but the bulk of the results are likely to be made up of company directories, portals, subject/company listings and general company related information. You are going to have to spend a lot of time sifting through unwanted hits.
And what is X-raying? (No - not the medical variety!). This is the most over-hyped of the three. X-raying is limiting your search to one site. For example, if you wanted to find pages on just the Superwidget site:
So far so good, but some recruitment agency sites do talk a load of rubbish when addressing the subject of "x-raying".
WRONG! Search engines rarely index every page on a server or Web site. They certainly do not index password protected pages or dynamically created pages.
Possibly - but it depends on the structure of the site and how the pages are created.
What do they mean by "walled-off"? If they are password protected or only accessible from specified IP addresses then "x-raying" will NOT reveal those pages.
Not that old chestnut again. WRONG! Any experienced searcher will tell you how annoying it can be trying to locate information that you know is somewhere on a site, only to find that the search engines have not got round to indexing the relevant pages. And many a Web site owner would love to have all of their pages indexed by the search engines but know only too well that the engines are selective.
Jargon can serve a useful purpose in that, if used correctly, it provides a valuable form of "shorthand", especially if it is descriptive. "Peeling back a URL" and "flip searching" do fulfil those criteria. However, if overused, misused, or incorrectly applied and described then it should be immediately added to your Bullshit Bingo card. And that is where "x-raying" deserves to be!
[If you are new to the concept of Bullshit or Buzzword bingo, or would like to generate your own bingo cards, visit http://misterharold.com/joker/bingo/]
Meetings and Workshops
Karen Blakeman will be presenting the following course:
TFTTR Contact Information
Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services
TFTTR archives: http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/archives/index.shtml
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|This page was last updated on 29th June 2001||2001|