Tales from the Terminal Room
March 2001, Issue No. 19
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
March 2001, Issue No. 19
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:
Spring is here!
For our UK readers, I will rephrase that: Spring is supposed to be here. And many of the "topical tips" given out on radio, television and the Web about digging the garden and sowing seeds will have to be disregarded until the rain stops and the waters subside :-(
Nevertheless, for the green-fingered fraternity, it is time to think seriously about the garden. Many of us have already started by sowing annuals, chilli peppers, brussel sprouts etc indoors. So a reminder about that most useful of Gizmos - the unwanted or expired CD-ROM. For details of how to use these invaluable gardening tools with your seed strays, please refer to Gizmo of the Month in the March 2000 issue of Tales from the Terminal Room (http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/archives/mar2000.htm).
Staying with the gardening theme, Alison McNab has alerted me to a useful article on gardening resources on the Web. (Gardening Resources on the Web by Janet Evans, Searcher March 2001, http://www.infotoday.com/searcher/mar01/evans.htm). It is North American biased but does include information that is universally relevant. For UK and European gardeners, the Royal Horticultural Society (http://www.rhs.org.uk/) has a useful Plant Finder database and seasonal advice on what we should be doing now in the garden. The BBC also has an excellent gardening section at http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/ with a "Timely Tasks" section.
If only the UK weather would behave in a "seasonal" and "timely" manner! Oh well, might as well carry on bashing away at the terminal.
Market Research on the Web: Pay as you go Options
It was not that long ago that electronic access to market research reports cost an arm, a leg and several pints of blood. That has changed significantly over the last 18 months with Web based services offering pay as you go options for many publications. Most of the major publishers now have Web sites offering access at various levels to their reports, and if you want to search across a whole range of publishers there are several content aggregators that fit the bill.
Nevertheless, finding the most recent report, or section of a report, in the format that you want and at a price that you or your client can afford is still not that straightforward. Having recently been asked to track down two market research reports on nutraceuticals/functional foods, I thought this was a good opportunity to carry out a quick survey of market research aggregators. (Functional foods, by the way, are foods and drinks that have added vitamins, minerals, amino acids etc. and which the manufacturers claim have a beneficial effect of some sort on your health and well-being.)
In this survey I carried out two searches on six content aggregators: the first search was on functional foods and the second on nutraceuticals. Wherever possible, I used the title search option. I specifically looked for four reports to see whether they were found by the services and what delivery and payment options are available. Finally I went direct to each of the publishers' Web sites to see if there was any advantage in going direct.
The content aggregators
IMR Mall http://www.imrmall.com/
The four reports
Functional Foods: A World Survey. Euromonitor, February 2000
The IMR Mall is part of the ECNext network of services but it is not clear as to whether or not this version of the service is being updated. There is a link at the bottom of the home page to ECNext's Commercial Intelligence Mall, a service which appears to have greater coverage and is more up to date.
Coverage: Freedonia, BCC, Euromonitor, Beverage Marketing, Chemquest, CIR, Find/SVP Reports, Packaged Facts, SBI, Investext/MarkIntel, Infratest Burke.
Search options: Browse categories, Search Titles, Search Content. Automatically looks for common singular or plural versions of your terms.
Results: The functional food search found 2 reports. The first was the Euromonitor report. The second was the Leatherhead report, but only the introduction was available. The Nutraceuticals search came up with 11 reports. The most recent was the Freedonia report. Reuters Business Insight is not covered by IMR Mall.
Purchase options: You can purchase an electronic version by chapter (price varies depending on the length of the chapter) and per section (prices vary depending on the publisher). For some publications there is no full report purchase option (this was the case for the Euromonitor and the Leatherhead reports). It seems to be possible to select all the sections and buy the full report that way. However, the total of the section prices for the Euromonitor report came to USD 3540 which is substantially less than the publisher's full price of USD 7000. I did not compare in detail the IMR Mall table of contents with the publisher's own listing so cannot say whether the IMR site does have all of the sections of the report.
Additional comments: All reports are available for purchase in electronic form only.
Commercial Intelligence Mall
Coverage: Although part of the same network as IMR Mall this service has greater coverage than the IMR Mall site at www.imrmall.com. ECNext has over 100 publishers covering a wider range of industries.
Search Options: Title search, full text, browse by publisher, industry search. Automatically looks for common singular or plural versions of your terms.
Results: The search on functional food came up with 2 reports. The nutraceutical search came up with 16 reports and included publishers not available through IMR Mall, for example Reuters Business Insight.
Purchase Options: The purchase options for the Euromonitor and Leatherhead reports are the same as those in IMR Mall (purchase by chapter or section only). In contrast, the Freedonia report which was available by sections or in its entirety on IMR could only be bought by chapter or section from ECNext. Adding up the section prices gave a grand total of USD 5675; the full price on IMR Mall and other sites was USD 3700. The Reuters Business Insight report was only available for purchase in its entirety.
Additional comments: All reports are available for purchase in electronic form only.
Northern Light Research
The Market Research screen was used for this survey.
Coverage: Nearly a hundred publishers (details on the Northern Light Web site) but Euromonitor and Reuters Business Insights are not included.
Search Options: Title, text, research firm, industry, date. Results can be displayed by page or by report.
Results: Functional food came up with 24 results with far more comprehensive and up to date reports from the Leatherhead Food Research Association than either of the ECNext services. The nutraceutical search came up with 113 results but large reports such as the Freedonia 2004 report are split up into several sections and recorded as separate hits.
Purchase options: All of the reports can be purchased in their entirety or by the page. Additional comments: For the Leatherhead report, the per section price was higher than that of the ECNext services. The Freedonia pages where priced at USD 21 each compared with USD 25 per section in the ECNext service. Some of the sections of the Freedonia report were cheaper whilst others were more expensive on Northern Light.
Dialog Open Access
Open Access is the non-subscription pay-as-you-go version of the Dialog service, but does not offer access to all of the Dialog hosted databases. For market research reports, select the Business Research option followed by Market Research Reports.
Coverage: Asian Business Intelligence, BCC, Beverage Marketing, EIU, ESPICOM, Euromonitor, Freedonia, Frost & Sullivan, Kalorama.
Search Options: Search by industry, main subject, entire text, company, publisher, country, year. No title option. You have to use the ? symbol as a wildcard to search for plurals, for example nutraceutical?
Results: the functional food search resulted in 655 "titles" published in the last 15 months. Nutraceuticals resulted in 805 "titles". However, these represented only a handful of actual reports as each section or "page" is listed separately. Only the Euromonitor and Freedonia reports were found.
Purchase options: By "page" only. You can click on "list all pages of this report" and then use the select all button, but as the references to the pages are spread over several screens this is an extremely tedious and long-winded method of purchasing the full report. The full Euromonitor report purchased in this way cost USD 5814.45 compared with the usual full price of USD 7000. The sections of the Freedonia report, however, totalled USD 7489.80 which is considerably more than the usual full price of USD 3700. These total prices seemed rather odd so I double checked that I was indeed looking at the correct documents and that the totals were indeed correct.
Additional comments: The cost of individual sections through Dialog Open Access (USD 32.85) is higher than through the other services. The charges also appear to be significantly higher than the cost of the same record via the full Dialog subscription service (USD 26.25 per section), but as well as the cost per record, there are dial unit charges(5.80 per unit) which must be taken into consideration when using the Dialog subscription service.
Coverage: over 10,000 market research reports from 260 content providers
Search options: Browse by category, search by keyword. Advanced Find enables you to look for keywords in the title or description, sort by relevance, title, price or publication date. Defaults to using "or" so you must use the "and" operator to ensure that all of your terms are searched for. Automatically looks for common singular and plural versions of your terms.
Results: Functional foods came up with 12 reports and found the Euromonitor and Leatherhead reports. Nutraceuticals found 11 reports including the Freedonia and Reuters reports.
Purchase options: Reports are only available in their entirety and some can only be purchased in hard copy format. For some publishers, for example Reuters Business Insight, there are different prices for different licenses such as single user (USD 1115 in this case), Departmental (USD 2385), Global (USD 8000).
Additional comments: There may be a significant price differential between the electronic version and the print version, with the print version costing less.
Coverage: over 37,000 titles from 350 content providers.
Search options: Search by keyword and category, or browse categories and publishers. Advanced Search enables you to search by publisher, title, keywords, date, price and category. You have to use the * symbol as a wildcard to search for plurals, for example nutraceutical*. Results can be sorted by relevance (default), title, date or price.
Results: Functional foods came up with 13 reports including the Euromonitor and Leatherhead reports. Nutraceuticals found 15 reports including the Freedonia and Reuters reports.
Purchase options: Of my four reports, only the Reuters report was available for "buy by the slice" purchase and in electronic form; the rest had to be purchased in their entirety and in hard copy.
Summary of Prices and Availability
Prices are in US Dollars.
EuroFF=Euromonitor Functional Foods: A World Survey
N/A=not available HC=hardcopy only
As a final comparison, I went to the publishers' own Web sites to see whether I could purchase the reports there and what options were available.
Euromonitor http://www.euromonitor.com/: you can purchase the full reports in hard copy via the Euromonitor site. If you choose to purchase individual sections you are redirected to the ECNext site. Functional foods report costs USD 7000.
Leatherhead Food Research Association http://www.lfra.co.uk/: hard copy and diskette version available. Individual chapters/sections not available. Full price GBP 395, Internet order price GBP 355.
Freedonia http://www.freedoniagroup.com/: hard copy can be ordered in its entirety (USD 3700 for the nutraceuticals report). If you choose to purchase individual sections you are redirected to the ECNext site.
Reuters Business Insight http://www.reutersbusinessinsight.com/: subscription service.
So is there a 'best buy'? Not really: it all depends on whether you want to buy the whole report, individual sections and whether you need it in electronic form or hard copy. There is no easy way to predetermine which service is going to meet all of your criteria, or which is going to be the cheapest. You may have to check two or three services before making a purchase. On a more positive note, the services surveyed here do, between them, offer a cost effective alternative to the up-front subscription services.
Government & Politics http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/govern.htm
Just as those of us in the UK had worked out what our government was trying to do with its various portals and information services, they change everything. Ukstate.com, which was the Stationery Office's online book shop, has been re-launched as the "Stationery Office's content syndication service". The Your Bookstore channel is now clicktso.com
According to the Round Robin that was recently sent out the new ukstate.com site will:
As for clicktso.com:
Parliament Live http://www.parliamentlive.tv/
News sources http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/news.htm
Abyz News Links http://www.abyznewslinks.com/
An extremely useful feature of this site is the series of two letter codes: there are media type codes (for example NP for newspaper, PA for Press Agency), media focus (BU for business, GO for government) and a third for the language of the publication. This is a well organised site and is now my first port of call when looking for a newspaper on the Web.
Statistics & Market Research http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/stats.htm
Newspaper Society http://www.newspapersoc.org.uk/
JICREG - British Newspaper Readership Data http://www.jicreg.co.uk/
Gizmo of the Month
If you are a Google fan and use Internet Explorer 5, you might be interested in giving the Google Toolbar a whirl. When the Google Toolbar is installed, it automatically appears along with the Internet Explorer toolbar.
The toolbar offers the following features:
TFTTR Contact Information
Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services
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