Tales from the Terminal Room
May 2001, Issue No. 21
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
May 2001, Issue No. 21
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:
The People Tracker (now added to the RBA Miscellaneous Day to Day Essentials on http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/misc.htm) enables you to set up customisable search screens for users to enter search terms, such as an individual's name and/or a known company name. The system will then automatically search all selected information sources, applying a specific pre-configured search strategy for each source. In the Product Description and examples the sources shown for the People Tracker include Lexis-Nexis, IFR Magazine, Euromoney funds, Corporate Finance, OneSource and EuroWeek. However, the People Tracker is set up and customised for each client and is based on the services to which they already have subscriptions.
NameBase claims to include 100,000 names from approximately 260,000 citations. The names are drawn from over 700 books and serials as well as from documents identified using the US Freedom of Information Act. Although the source list appears to be US dominated, the coverage is truly International. As well as what one would consider to be standard texts for this type of resource there are more interesting publications such as "Spy Catcher", "The Politics of Lying" and David Leigh's "The Wilson Plot: How the spycatchers and their American Allies tried to overthrow the British Government".
If you are not sure of how a name may be spelt or entered in the index, the best way to search is to enter just the person's surname as you think it is spelt. NameBase then conducts a phonetic search and presents you with a list from which to choose.
When you have selected the name from the list, you are shown the list of "citations" and the total number of pages found. Whilst you can search on names and display information about the sources in the citation list free of charge, there is a fee for the pages of information themselves. There is a registration fee of USD 50 (covers two years registration) and document/delivery charges vary depending on where you are based and the mode of delivery (full details are on the Web site).
In addition to displaying the number of citations from a name search, NameBase shows other names that are listed on the cited pages. You can also display a "social network diagram" for the name (free of charge). I must confess to getting hooked on this particular aspect of the service as you can zoom in on names within the diagram to generate yet another "social network". Fascinating stuff.
Search Strategies for the Internet
Business Information on the Internet
Our celebrations regarding the continuation of www.open.gov.uk as reported in the April issue of TFTTR may have been premature. The May issue of the E-Government Bulletin (an Email Newsletter On Electronic Government, UK and World-wide) includes a report about UK Online and refers to open.gov.uk:
News sources http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/news.htm
Lexis-Nexis at BIRD Online http://www.bird-online.co.uk/
Lexis-Nexis offers access to news from over 5,000 newspapers, magazines and journals published around the world with some going back to 1984. There is no subscription and you can search free of charge; each article costs USD 2.50 and payment is by credit card.
The Quick Search on BIRD Online enables you to type terms into the search box and select "any mention" or "major mentions". The pull down sources menu enables you to choose from General News (Global), Major World Publications, UK Newspapers, All News, Financial Times, and Regulatory News Service. For limiting your search by date you can choose from Today, Previous Week, Previous 6 months, Previous 12 months, Previous 2 years, All available data or enter a specific date range. If your search retrieves more than 1000 results you are prompted to refine your search further.
The Advanced Search has an additional option for looking for search terms Anywhere, In the Headline, Headline and 1st Paragraph, In the Indexing, In the Company Field and combining terms using And, Or, Same Sentence, Same Paragraph or exclusion (AND NOT).
Results are displayed in reverse chronological order and you select the articles you require by ticking the boxes next to the relevant entries. You have to register before you can purchase documents but that only takes a couple of minutes. When it comes to entering your credit card details, it is not obvious that the page is on a secure server: it is within a frame and none of the usual indications of security - https in the URL, locked padlock in the browser status bar - are visible. A quick look at the page preferences, however, shows that this is a secure page.
How does Lexis-Nexis news compare with the FT Global Archive?
The FT Global Archive (http://globalarchive.ft.com/globalarchive/) is completely free of charge but its newspaper coverage is far less comprehensive than Lexis-Nexis. The FT Global Archive only goes back 5 years but this is unlikely to be a serious drawback for most searches. With respect to search options, the FT Global Archive offers searching for terms as an exact phrase, in headlines only, journalist only. You can also refine your search by industry, region or individual publications.
Assuming that you do not have or do not want a subscription to one or more of the major news services, how does this version of Lexis-Nexis fit into a general search strategy for news?
These things are sent to try us!
As if mis-directed emails were not bad enough (see the April issue of TFTTR), I have now been receiving some rather odd "undeliverable email" notifications. These notifications are automatically sent by mail servers when email cannot be delivered - sometimes because the mail server is "down" but more often because the email address no longer exists. What is odd about the recent spate of "undeliverable" messages is that I never sent the messages in the first place and the addresses are not even in my address book.
The latest message to be returned to me starts:
Yes. It is SPAM!!!!
A new trick that is being used by spammers is to set someone else's email address as the Reply To: and that poor person gets all the hassle. Thankfully, the spammers have moved on from using just one email address from their list: an acquaintance of mine was on the receiving end of this ploy and had to deal with several *thousand* bounce messages and about a hundred very nasty complaints from recipients of the spam. The more "sophisticated", automated approach selects email addresses in rotation from the spam address list.
What can you do about it? Not a lot :-(( But if you suddenly start receiving a lot of "undeliverable" messages that relate to spam (the notifications usually append the text of the message that could not be delivered), you should contact your IT manager or your Internet Service Provider and explain what has happened. Otherwise, irate recipients of the original spam may complain in sufficient numbers resulting in your email facilities and/or Internet account being suspended.
Gizmo of the Month
WebWasher top of accelerator tests
WebWasher (http://www.webwasher.com/) is a "gizmo" that filters out banner ads, animations, pop-up windows and many other annoying "features" of Web pages.
The June issue of Internet Magazine has a review of Web accelerators: the quick and the dead. (Internet Magazine, ISSN 1355-6428, June 2001, number 79, pp 118-122). Included in the tests were Netsonic, Accelerate 2000, Modem Booster, WebWasher 3, NetSuperSonic 2 and Web Optimizer 300.
In their conclusion they say:
Meetings and Workshops
Karen Blakeman will be presenting the following course:
June 18th, 1.30 - 5.00 pm
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 25th May 2001||2001|