Tales from the Terminal Room
November 2001, Issue No. 26
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
November 2001, Issue No. 26
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:
As in previous years, the November issue of TFTTR is mostly taken up with a preview of Online Information, regarded as the information event in Europe. Most of the information in the preview has been gleaned from company press releases and is biased towards up-front subscription services, the most notable exceptions being Skyminder and Access Asia. There are, though, some interesting public sector projects such as ZyLAB's Dutch municipalities Web project and the French government portal.
To counter-balance the preponderance of annual subscription services we have also included information on some recent updates to the RBA Web site. In particular, BBC Monitoring has adopted a novel approach to charging and collecting payment for articles, and search engine AllTheWeb has several new features.
We'll be back to the usual format for December's TFTTR.
Preview: Online Information 2001
To be held at Olympia, London, 4th-6th December
Online Information will be celebrating its 25th anniversary at Olympia in December. I started attending the exhibition in 1980 when it was still being held in the Hammersmith Novotel. Even in those early days, the event had become so popular that overcrowding was a serious problem: some exhibitors found themselves in a marquee attached to the side of the hotel and, as the show is held in December, it was freezing. As for the delegates, at times it was impossible to move down the aisles and if you wanted to actually speak to an exhibitor - forget it! Not long after, "Online" moved to larger premises and is now held at Olympia in London. For those of us in Europe, it is the information event of the year.
As well as the conference for fee paying delegates, there is a massive free exhibition, and free product and expert sessions. Information on all of these can be found on the OI 2001 Web site at http://www.online-information.co.uk/
Even if you are attending just the exhibition, you can get more out of the day and suffer less information overload if you plan your expedition in advance.
First fill in your free exhibition ticket and pre-register. Haven't got one? Then get thee hence to http://www.online-information.co.uk/ and pre-register immediately. This does save a little time on the day but make sure that you join the right queue at the entrance to the exhibition.
Next print out the list of exhibitors and the floor plan (available on the Web site) and study them well. Identify suppliers that you definitely want to see on the day and make a list of them. One inevitably gets side-tracked, but it does sometimes help to have a "shopping" list. There are "Information Trails" that categorise exhibitors under one or more headings, for example search & retrieval solutions, but some exhibitors list themselves under all categories even though they do not offer relevant products or services :-(.
And don't forget to seek out details of free seminars and briefings, often given by experts in the field.
If, even after extensive preparation, you arrive and find yourself on the verge of panicking at the sheer size of the event, make a bee- line for the UKOLUG help desk (Stand number 4). They will at least be able to offer you a shoulder or two to cry on. The documentation provided by the event organisers has improved over the years but the helpdesk can answer those essential questions such as "Where am I?", "Where is the bar?", "Where does the number 65 bus go from?" and "Have you seen my friend?". On a more serious note, if you cannot work out where to start or who to see, the UKOLUG helpdesk will try and sort out a workable strategy for you. I am of course biased in favour of UKOLUG, having been a member for twenty years and a regular on the helpdesk:-)
Now for some of the exhibitors. What follows is a select list that I have compiled from press releases from various sources. In some cases, announcements are made two to three months before Online so they are not necessarily new to Online. As in previous years, December's issue of TFTTR may have a review of additional interesting products that I discovered on my travels round the exhibition.
Thomson has become a major information provider for many users of business information and offers a wide range of products and services. This is just a selection of recent OI 2001 related announcements.
Thomson Financial Launches ShareWorld 3.0
Dialog New Pricing Strategy
DialogSelect and Dialog Intranet Toolkit
The service enhancements recently added to DialogSelect and Dialog Intranet Toolkit include greater flexibility and control over the Alerts feature, which gives users the ability to set up personalised clipping services.
Dialog - Full Text FT
Dialog Adds Australian Content
The new Fairfax content is already available through the Profound service's NewsLine section and will be available in early 2002 on Dialog and DataStar.
Dialog Company Profiles
Price? Dialog Company Profiles service is available for a flat fee subscription based upon the number of users. Bad news for small businesses and occasional users who prefer pay-as-you-go options. Looks like I'll have to stick with Skyminder for International company information and ICC for European information for the time being.
There are two levels of service. The first is the "deposit account" which gives access to all information on Skyminder. The minimum deposit is USD 500 and charges are deducted from this on a pay-per- view basis. The second is the BIT credit card account, which gives pay-per-view access to a limited collection of data.
If you need an additional incentive to take out a free trial, SkyMinder are offering to enter your details into a sweepstake for a laptop computer.
For further information visit the stand, or attend the free product demonstration in theatre B on the 5th of December at 2:25 p.m, or go to http://www.skyminder.com/
Bureau van Dijk
BvD Launches the Internet Version of OSIRIS
In addition to accounts OSIRIS contains Reuters news, detailed earnings estimates and recommendations collated by JCF, a new stock data section provided by Fininfo and ratings from Standard and Poor's, Moody's and Fitch. Other additions include industry codes from Dow Jones and within the ownership section, researched by BvD's in-house consultants, the ability to identify and search by a company's degree of independence.
The financial information can be displayed in a range of formats with varying levels of detail and standardisation (including the "as reported" data and re-stated accounts) so users can do accurate cross-border searching and analysis whilst still having the ability to drill right down to the raw data. Access to the original data is important if you need to see the original accounts or want to carry out your own specific analysis.
OSIRIS is available on free trial for an in-depth evaluation. Alternatively, you can have a one-to-one demonstration on the stand or go to the product overview in Theatre B on Wednesday 5th December at 15:40.
For further information or a free trial contact Tel: +44 20 7549 5000, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://bvdep.com/
FAME - Increased Coverage
New data fields have also been added to the company reports to provide users with a more complete picture of a company's financial position. These indicate whether: a qualified auditor's statement has been necessary, there has been a post balance sheet event, any contingency liability has been made and if the company is exempt from filing audited accounts. Other recent enhancements include: the addition of stock data and a dynamic link to BvD's NOMINUS, a detailed analysis of the UK share register.
ICARUS Coverage Increased to 1.4 million US Companies
ICARUS now contains: company profiles provided by Dun & Bradstreet data, full text news articles from Reuters and holding company and subsidiary information researched by BvD's in-house team. Search options have been expanded to offer full-text, time-period, industry, country and other options for Reuters articles and searching by parent company or year of ownership. The ownership data is hyper- linked within the company reports to enable users to move directly to the report of an owner or subsidiary simply by clicking on the company's name.
Alacra Adds Perfect Information
For further information on PI visit http://www.perfectinfo.com/ or telephone
+44 20 7892 4200.
Snapshots Launches Research Service
The Snapshots Series is a market research toolbox of market data on industry sectors in over 19 countries, including the UK, US, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific. The reports cover market size, segmentation, shares, distribution and forecasts. New industry sectors that were requested such as IT, Media and Financial Services have been added, along with new country coverage for Malaysia and Ukraine. Product additions also include socio-economic data, links to key market players and trade associations, plus an additional search option by SIC and NAICS codes.
The significance of this development is that previous Snapshots have been restricted by content suppliers. This year Snapshots have set up their our own internal research department to build more tailored products.
For further information contact Debra Curtis, Snapshots International, Tel: +44 20 7829 8408, Fax: +44 20 7829 8410, Debra.email@example.com or visit http://www.snapdata.com/
Dutch Municipal Information from ZyLAB
As part of the Disclosure of Information Act, the Dutch Ministry of Home Affairs has made a subsidy available to those who put governmental information on the Internet. One of the conditions is that at least five municipalities must work together, to create a mutual solution which satisfies all participants.
The city councils scan their official documents and ZyLAB's software publishes the information on-line, allowing citizens to search on a particular word or a combination of words which appear in the documents.
ZyLAB will be demonstrating the sites of each of the five municipalities:
For more information contact Ian Quanstrom, ZyLAB UK, Tel: +44 1276 850 970, firstname.lastname@example.org
Access Asia's New Information Portal
If you prefer to pay an annual subscription for unlimited use there is the new "Platinum Access". This gives access to the entire database of market sector reports, company profiles and market briefings, weekly Access Asia In-Depth news articles and Access Asia Stats.
For further information contact Access Asia, Tel: +44 20 8350 7150, Fax: +44 20 8882 4986, email@example.com or visit http://www.accessasia.co.uk/
Business Monitor International - Country Risk Ratings Service
The service currently covers the world's largest fifty emerging markets but will increase to a hundred markets next year.
For further information on EMO or Business Monitor International visit http://www.emerging-markets-online.com/ and http://www.businessmonitor.com/
The French Information Industry Association (GFII)
For further information contact Ruth Martinez, Tel: +33 1 43 72 96 52, Fax: +33 1 43 72 56 04, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.gfii.asso.fr/
Wordmap for Building Taxonomies
Anyway, Wordmap is launching an online taxonomy building service. Wordmap ASP will allow "knowledge professionals to build and manage complex taxonomies online". Users upload their own taxonomy datasets - so ideally you have to have one to start with - from plain text, XML or ISO standard formats, and the Wordmap system creates a visual environment in which they can be managed and enhanced. If you do not already have a taxonomy Wordmap makes its own datasets available for you to work with.
Now for the bad news: Wordmap ASP "starts at" GBP 1,000 per month but a special discount will be available for the duration of Online. To register, or receive further information, visit http://www.wordmap.com/ or contact Bill Hutchison, email@example.com, Tel: +44 1225 358182.
New Sources (http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/news.htm)
NewsBase - BBC Monitoring (http://www.newsbaseworldmonitoring.com/)
The Quick Search is a combination of keyword searching combined with an optional date range search (on, before, after or between specified dates). The Advanced Search has additional options for searching by source country, content country and subject. Once you have selected to buy an article or articles, you can choose to view them on screen, send them to your email address or to someone else's email address.
What is particularly interesting about this version of the service is that you can search and read headlines free of charge and payment for the full articles is via Micropricing. An average article costs about 6 pence.
If you click the "buy" button the purchase is recorded with your email address. That's it. No formal registration - name, address, telephone number etc. - just an email address. Once your accrual has reached a pre-set "trigger level" of GBP 10, you are contacted by email and told how much you owe. I can see a problem with this straight away: there does not seem to be any means of stopping an unauthorised person using your email address for this service. However, the interesting bit of the deal is that you have an absolute right to reject all of your accrual on this service so I assume this is the fail-safe. If you reject it then you have no liability to pay but rejection may lead to access to the service being suspended.
Most of the articles that I have requested so far have averaged about 4 pence, so it could be a while before I clock up GBP 10 worth of purchases. It'll be interesting to watch how this approach to pricing and payment works over the next few months.
Changes to The Times http://www.the-times.co.uk/
The Times is still giving free access to articles published within the last seven days, but older material going back to 1985 is now only accessible via a subscription service and as text only. There is a "sample search" page that lets you try out the new service: there are options to search by keyword, in the headline, by writer or section, and you can limit your search to articles published within the last 30 days, 90 days, 1 year, 5 years or a specific date range. Results can be sorted in ascending or descending order by date or relevance. Although you can view the results list, you have to subscribe to the service in order to retrieve the articles.
Pricing plans vary from GBP 10, which gives you 10 articles at GBP 1 each, to GBP 2000, which gives you 20,000 articles at 10 pence each. The full range of pricing plans are on the Web site and there are special deals for schools and bulk purchases. Payment in advance is required.
I have no doubt that the other major newspapers, such as the Telegraph, Guardian and Independent, will want to know how successful, or not, this will be.
Company and Telephone Directories http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/directs.htm
A new German directory has been added to this section. Business Deutschland (http://www.businessdeutschland.de/) is an extensive database of German companies searchable by product, company name, Bundesland, zip code, area code and trade group. Contact details for each company include company name, address, telephone, fax number, email address and Web URL. This looks to be an excellent free directory with help readily available if you find it difficult to think of an appropriate terms for any of the search fields. The directory is available in both German and English.
Search Strategies for the Internet http://www.rba.co.uk/search/
The sections on FAST - AlltheWeb (http://www.alltheweb.com/) have been extensively revised and updated to include the search engine's new features, in particular the News Search option and the search prefixes. With its recent enhancements and its ability to return highly relevant results, it compares favourably with Google and I know many people who use AllTheWeb as their primary search engine.
The News Search covers more than 3,000 sources from around the world and appears to include major, respected newspapers from most countries but no source list is available. AlltheWeb claims to update the news catalogue throughout the day at a rate of up to 800 articles a minute and has a refresh cycle of 9-11 days on the main catalogue.
The Advanced News Search has options for selecting the language in which the articles have been written and one or more broad categories of news sources, for example International, Business, Financial. The domain filter enables you to restrict your search to a particular type of site, for example .com, or to one specific site, for example telegraph.co.uk. You can also exclude sites by domain. The date restriction enables you to search for articles indexed in the last 2 hours, last 6 hours, last 12 hours, last 24 hours, last 2 days or last week.
On the Web search front, you can now use prefixes to search for terms in specific sections of a Web page or for types of sites:
url.tld: - finds pages within the specified top level domain. For example url.tld:uk
url.host: - finds pages on a specific site. For example url.host:www.detr.gov.uk
link.all: - finds pages with a link to the specified URL.
normal.title: - finds pages that contain the specified word or phrase in the page title, for example normal.title:ferrari
The AllTheWeb summary sheet, which contains details of all of the new search prefixes, is freely accessible and is available as a PDF file (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/fastsumm.pdf) or as an HTML page (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/fastsumm.htm) The updated, descriptive chapter is only available to purchasers of the hard copy of Search Strategies for the Internet and is a PDF file (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/subscribers/fastchap.pdf). If you have forgotten your ID and password, or have not yet registered your ID, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
TFTTR Contact Information
Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services
TFTTR archives: http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/archives/index.shtml
Subscribe and Unsubscribe
To subscribe to the newsletter fill in the online registration form at http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/index.shtml
To unsubscribe, use the registration form at http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/index.shtml and check the unsubscribe radio button.
Subscribers' details are used only to enable distribution of the newsletter Tales from the Terminal Room. The subscriber list is not used for any other purpose, nor will it be disclosed by RBA or made available in any form to any other individual, organisation or company.
You are free:
|This page was last updated on 26th November 2001||2001|