Tales from the Terminal Room

May 2012, Issue No. 101

Home About RBA Business Resources Search Strategies for the Internet Tales from the Terminal Room Training Contact Us

Please Note: This is an archive copy of the newsletter. The information and links that it contains are not updated.

PDF PDF version
(356 KB)

Share |




Creative Commons License.

Tales from the Terminal Room ISSN 1467-338X
May 2012, Issue No. 101
Editor: Karen Blakeman
Published by: RBA Information Services

Tales from the Terminal Room (TFTTR) is an electronic newsletter that includes reviews and comparisons of information sources; useful tools for managing information; technical and access problems on the Net; and news of RBA's training courses and publications. Many of the articles will have already appeared on Karen Blakeman's Blog at http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/

Tales from the Terminal Room can be delivered via email as plain text or as a PDF with active links. You can join the distribution list by going to http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/index.shtml and filling in the form. You will be sent an email asking you to confirm that you want to be added to the list. TFTTR is also available as an RSS feed. The URL for the feed is http://www.rba.co.uk/rss/tfttr.xml

In this issue:

  • Search tools
    • Workshop: Beating Google into submission (Reading)
    • Order matters with Google advanced search
    • Use more than Google
  • 11th Southern African Online Information Meeting, Sandton, Johannesburg
  • Personalised vs non-personalised search – a word cloud comparison
  • Business Information Workshop - Top Tips
  • Useful industry information guides from the British Library BIPC
  • Twitter Notes

Search tools

Workshop: Beating Google into submission (Reading)

A reminder that I am running an advanced search workshop concentrating on Google on June 28th, venue Reading University.

Topics will include:

  • how Google works – what Google tells us and what we have to guess
  • latest developments at Google- what's gone, what's new, impact on search results
  • how Google customises your results and can you stop it?
  • how to focus your search and control Google
  • Google's specialist tools and databases
  • what Google is good at and when you should consider alternatives

You will have ample opportunity to experiment and try out the techniques for yourself. Exercises are provided to help you test out the search features but you are free to explore and try out searches of your own.

This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience. The techniques and approaches covered can be applied to all subject areas.

Cost: £150 +VAT (Total £180). A limited number of places for unwaged and students are available; please contact karen.blakeman@rba.co.uk for further details.

Full details are at Beating Google into submission: how to get better search results http://www.rba.co.uk/training/Google.htm


Order matters with Google advanced search commands

The great thing about running search workshops is that you have so many people experimenting with advanced commands that someone is bound to spot an anomaly that you haven't. We've become used to seeing different results when changing the order in which we enter keywords but not when using advanced search commands. During one of my workshops we had a couple of people playing around with Google's allintitle command. This tells Google to look for all of the keywords following allintitle in the title of a document.

The search that was initially used was allintitle:diabetic retinopathy and came back with 277,000 results. Restricting the search to UK academic sites by using allintitle:diabetic retinopathy site:ac.uk reduced the number to about 2,190 and gave sensible results. But changing the order of the commands to site:ac.uk allintitle:diabetic retinopathy gave two very bizarre results:

Advanced Google commands

Both results are from academic sites but the allintitle as a search command seems to have been ignored. The first entry includes intitle, diabetic and retinopathy and the second has allintitle, diabetic and retinal. Using the Verbatim option from the menus on the left hand side of the results page gave us zero!

Next we tried combining allintitle with fieltype:pdf.

allintitle:diabetic retinopathy filetype:pdf

gave us 3490 results of which at least the first 100 were relevant.

Switching the order to:

filetype:pdf allintitle:diabetic retinopathy

gave 495,000 results some of which were relevant but many did not contain all of our terms nor did they contain both diabetic and retinopathy in the title. Google was also looking for variations on our terms.

Advanced Google Commands

Using Verbatim on this search gave us zero again.

Verbatim advanced Google commands

When we looked at the advanced search screen Google had put everything in the right boxes. If we used the advanced search screen to enter our terms afresh the search worked, with Google putting the allintitle command at the start of the search.

Was this a general problem or just with allintitle? We then played around with the intitle command.

intitle:diabetic intitle:retinopathy site:ac.uk – 2220 sensible results (slightly more than our original allintitle search)

site:ac.uk intitle:diabetic intitle:retinopathy – 2220 sensible results identical to those above

intitle:diabetic intitle:retinopathy filetype:pdf – 3480 sensible results

filetype:pdf intitle:diabetic intitle:retinopathy – 3480 sensible results same as previous search

We then tried using a phrase after intitle:

intitle:"diabetic retinopathy" site:ac.uk – 2130 sensible results

site:ac.uk intitle:"diabetic retinopathy" 2130 sensible results identical to previous search

Following a suggestion made by Tamara Thompson of PIBuzz ( http://pibuzz.com/ ) changing the search slightly to site:ac.uk "intitle:diabetic intitle:retinopathy" gave exactly the same results.

Just to make sure that it wasn't just us in the UK seeing this I asked fellow members of AIIP ( http://www.aiip.org/ ) to run the original two allintitle searches. They saw exactly the same thing.

Its seems, then, that there is a problem when allintitle is not the first command in a search. The intitle alternatives appear more reliable. If you prefer to use the command line rather than fill in the boxes on the Advanced Search screen remember that order sometimes matters.

Does this affect other combinations of commands? I left it at allintitle and intitle but I wouldn't be at all surprised.


Use more than Google

If you need more evidence – other than me telling you! – that you need more than Google then take a look at The Disruptive Searcher (Sanity checking Google http://disruptivesearcher.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/sanity-checking-google/):

if I hadn't searched across more than Google for data on a small, new company that I was asked to research recently, I would have missed out on some very significant information that Google just wasn't showing me.

So take a look at Bing (http://www.bing.com/), DuckDuckGo (http://duckduckgo.com/) and Blekko (http://blekko.com/) for starters. The Disruptive Searcher also mentions Dogpile (http://www.dogpile.com/), which combines results from Google, Bing and Yahoo.


11th Southern African Online Information Meeting, Sandton, Johannesburg


I had a fantastic week at SAOUG's 11th Southern African Online Information Meeting (#saoim). The conference programme was excellent and I picked up many new ideas that I'm going to work on over the next few months. SAOUG (Southern African Online User Group) who had organised the meeting had also set up a group of social media reporters whose responsibilities were to tweet and blog the event. They did a great job and on one of the main conference days #saoim was trending on Twitter in South Africa!

If you are quick you can see some of the #saoim tweets by searching http://search.twitter.com/ or http://www.bing.com/social . For a more permanent record I have created PDF Tweetdocs for each of the days of the conference and for the pre and post conference workshops. Tweetdoc (http://www.tweetdoc.org/) imposes a limit of 500 tweets per document so for two of the days there may be some tweets missing. The documents are as follows:

4th June 2012 http://www.tweetdoc.org/View/46755/Southern-African-Online-Information-Meeting-(1)

5th June 2012 http://www.tweetdoc.org/View/46756/Southern-African-Online-Information-Meeting-(2)

6th June 2012 http://www.tweetdoc.org/View/46758/Southern-African-Online-Information-Meeting-(3)

7th June 2012 http://www.tweetdoc.org/View/46760/Southern-African-Online-Information-Meeting-(4)

8th June 2012 http://www.tweetdoc.org/View/46761/Southern-African-Online-Information-Meeting-(5)

9th June 2012 http://www.tweetdoc.org/View/46762/Southern-African-Online-Information-Meeting-(6)

Workshop and presentation

The slides for the workshop and presentation I gave are now up on authorSTREAM and Slideshare.

Personalisation of search: take back control

Personalisation of search: take back control – ADDENDUM
Answers to some of the questions that arose during the workshop
http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/karenblakeman-1442618-personalisation-of-search -take-back-control-addendum/

The future of search: localisation, personalisation and socialisation
http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/karenblakeman-1438816-the-future-of-search- localisation-personalisation-and-socialisation/
http://www.slideshare.net/KarenBlakeman/the-future-of-search-localisation-personalisation- and-socialisation


Personalised vs non-personalised search – a word cloud comparison

My talk at the recent INFORUM 2012 conference held in Prague was about the issue of personalisation and the impact of our social network activities on search results. I believe that personalisation, and in particular contributions from our social and professional networks and even Google+, can present us with an alternative view of a topic or person that can be an important part of our analysis of a situation. I always have two different browsers open. One is not logged in to any account of any sort, has all cookies cleared at the end of each research session, and has search history disabled. The other is permanently logged in to a Google+ enabled account, social and professional accounts, and has web history enabled. This enables me to quickly switch between two very different environments to give me very different results when I am conducting research on Google or even Bing. Demonstrating this at a workshop or conference can be difficult, though, because postings and comments from the social elements of the search results may have been restricted to friends or limited circles.

For the INFORUM 2012 conference I decided to generate word clouds for personalised and non-personalised results for a Google.co.uk search on the single word Prague. The titles and up to the first 250 words of the top 20 results for the searches were scraped into a document from which the clouds were generated. In the graphic below, which has been taken from my presentation, the first word cloud represents a search that is as non-personalised as I could make it and the second has been personalised by several weeks of research on what to do and see in Prague. There are no prizes for guessing what we were interested in visiting!

Word cloud comparing personalised and non-personalised


Business Information Workshop – Top Tips

The TFPL business information workshop held on May 17th in London turned out to be quite an intense day with plenty of questions and much discussion between the participants regarding the services and resources they use. When it came to the participants nominating their Top Tips at the end of the day there was a bit of umming and ahhing initially but they soon picked up speed and we ended up with eleven. Here they are.

1. BL BIPC industry Guides The British Library Business Information and IP Centre's industry guides were very popular. You probably already know about the BL Business Essentials wiki Industries pages ( http://bl-business-essentials.wikispaces.com/Industries ) but these have now been expanded into a series of 30 PDF guides at http://www.bl.uk/bipc/dbandpubs/Industry%20guides/industry.html highlighting relevant industry directories,databases, publications and websites. One of the participants who had been using the guides since they were launched said that they are regularly updated and everyone was impressed that a named person responsible for the guide is clearly shown on each one.

2. Zanran http://zanran.com/ A search tool for  identifying charts, graphs and tables of data in PDFs and Excel spreadsheets. Run your search and Zanran comes up with PDF and spreadsheet files that match your criteria. Very useful if you are looking for industry statistics.

3. Slideshare http://www.slideshare.net/ Looking for a conference presentation, an expert on a particular subject, overview or background on an industry then look in Slideshare. One workshop participant commented that they wished they had known about this a couple of weeks ago.

4. SCOTBIS http://scotbis.nls.uk/ A national information service aimed at Scottish businesses and based on the business resources at the National Library of Scotland but, nevertheless, useful information for those of us not based in Scotland. SCOTBIS provides its users with a free enquiry service and also offers fee-based research and other charged services.

5. Don't just Google – try other search tools! If you are carrying out a general web search don't just Google. You may find the information you are looking for more quickly using alternatives such as Bing.com, DuckDuckGo.com, Yandex.com, Blekko.com

6. Advanced search commands. Familiarise yourself with the advanced search commands, in particular ‘site:'  for searching within a single site and ‘filetype:'. Look for PowerPoints for presentations, spreadsheets for data and statistics, or PDF for research papers and industry/government reports. Note that filetype:ppt will not pick up the newer .pptx so you will need to include both in your search, for example.

filetype:ppt OR filetype:pptx

You will also need to include .xlsx if you are searching for Excel spreadsheets and .docx for Word documents.

7. BUSLIB-L - an email based discussion list that addresses all issues relating to the collection, storage, and dissemination of business information regardless of format. To join the list, go to http://list1.ucc.nau.edu/archives/buslib-l.html where there are also searchable archives.

8. Bureau van Dijk's M&A Portal http://www.mandaportal.com/ A gateway to news, events, research and analysis on mergers and acquisitions worldwide. Some of the information on the portal home page is free of charge and there is a free search option for tracking down deals and rumours contained in BvD's Zephyr database. The deals can be sorted by value, date or status. Basic information is free but you can purchase the full details from the Zephyr database using a credit card. The cost of the reports varies depending on the amount and type of information available.

9. Mergers and Acquisitions Review (Thomson Reuters). This was recommended by one of the workshop participants. Free quarterly summaries and reviews of M&A activity, for example http://dmi.thomsonreuters.com/Content/Files/4Q11_MA_Legal_Advisory_Review.pdf and http://dmi.thomsonreuters.com/Content/Files/4Q11_MA_Financial_Advisory_Review.pdf

10. Official Company Registers. The f irst port of call for many of us when checking up on a company. Most registers' sites will offer an English language interface for searching but the information is usually in the local language. To locate searchable online official registers try one of the following:




11. ISI Emerging Markets http://www.securities.com/ Provides news, company information, industry reports and M&A from over 100 emerging markets. Much of the content is unique to ISI Emerging Markets. This was another service that was highly recommended by one of the workshop participants.


Useful industry information guides from the British Library BIPC

Evaluated listings and subject guides from people who know the sectors are the quickest way to home in on good quality sources of information. The British Library Business and IP Centre (BIPC) has, for a long time, had a wiki at http://bl-business-essentials.wikispaces.com/Industries listing web-based resources on a number of industries. These have been expanded into a very useful series of 30 PDF guides at http://www.bl.uk/bipc/dbandpubs/Industry%20guides/industry.html highlighting relevant industry directories, databases, publications and websites.

All of the guides show when they were last updated and the name of the person who has edited the guide. Not all of the resources are freely available on the web but you can access the information for free in the Business & IP Centre at the British Library, St Pancras. You will need a Reader Pass; details on how to obtain one can be found at http://www.bl.uk/bipc/visitus/howtouse/index.html

The resources are split into Directories, Business Advice Sources, Market Research and Statistics, Trade Magazines and Newsletters, and Internet Resources. Even if you cannot make it to the BIPC to access the publications these guides are valuable pointers to the key sources of information on industry sectors. Highly recommended.

Twitter Notes

The following are some of my recent tweets and retweets. They are selected because they contain links to resources or announcements that may be of general interest. I have unshortened the shortened URLs.

June 13th

RT @ijclark: Dave Gorman wins: Flickr changes deletion policy | ZDNet UK http://www.zdnet.co.uk/blogs/jacks-blog-10017212/dave-gorman-wins-flickr-changes-deletion-policy-10026391/

June 12th

MT @stephendale Get Reluctant Employees On Board w/ Social Media, Put ‘Em Through Boot Camp “extreme induction” http://www.fastcompany.com/1839831/to-get-reluctant-employees-on-board-with-social-media-put-em-through-boot-camp

June 11th

Pros /cons of Google Scholar. Presentation by @evenflood http://folk.ntnu.no/ flood/foredrag/gsfagref.ppt It's in Norwegian but worth dusting off Google Translate, which seems to work well on this.

June 6th

Interesting RT @Philbradley: Google vs. Bing Interesting experiment on trying to switch. From Slate magazine. http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2012/05/google_vs_bing_i_switched_to_microsoft_s_search_

RT @spetts: Rowan Atkinson LIVE: 02 – Fatal Beatings http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBeguUvuDzs&sns=twe #saoim

June 5th

Useful for reputation monitoring RT @JaniceDW: use foursquare in your library to see what people are saying and who is the mayor #saoim

#saoim @mstephens7 – Techno-divorce. If it isn't working let it go – even if you've spent money and time on it!

May 30th

RT @sewatch Google Not Responsible for Policing YouTube Content: French Court: Court rules Google has no … http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2180753/Google-Not-Responsible-for-Policing-YouTube-Content-French-Court

May 25th

#fp2012 #information Organum Mathematicum – all the information you'll ever need! http://www.flickr.com/photos/rbainfo/7266250808/ The Organum Mathematicum was invented in 1661 by the Jesuit astronomer and mathematician Athanasius Kircher. It was intended to be a comprehensive portable encyclopaedia covering arithmetic, geometry, fortifications, chronology, gnomics (sundials), astronomy, astrology, steganography and music. Each of the nine disciplines has 24 flat boards with definitions and information.

May 22nd

#inforum12 Tim Buckley Owen: University of Queensland survey 70% refuse to use intrusive apps, 80% would pay premium for privacy

May 18th

RT @CareersInfo: Eurostat yearbook 2012: The latest version of the Eurostat yearbook is now available http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Europe_in_figures_-_Eurostat_yearbook

Catching up w/ Google Knowledge Graph. Now seeing it on one of my accounts. “Google Launches Knowledge Graph” http://searchengineland.com/google-launches-knowledge-graph-121585

RT @andypowe11: Facebook vs. Google: Comparing the value of the largest online display advertising networks http://aggregate.andypowe11.net/facebook-vs-google-comparing-the-value-of-the

RT @stephendale: Loved this: Dear Social Media Expert 10 Reasons Why I Won't be Attending your Masterclass http://socialmediatoday.com/node/507117

May 15th

RT @NazlinBhimani: Getty Research Portal will provide unlimited access to 20,000 digitized art history texts in public domain 31st May)

May 9th

For fellow brickwork bores! Illustrations of the main brickwork bonds from http://ibstock.com/ http://www.ibstock.com/pdfs/technical-support/TIS21Brickworkbonds.pdf

May 6th

Some good pointers from @Philbradley on how to run a Google+ hangout “Google+ hangout experiment – results” http://philbradley.typepad.com/phil_bradleys_weblog/2012/05/google-hangout-experiment-results.html

RT @awareci: LeakDirectory – a wiki containing list of whistle-blowing sites & more http://leakdirectory.org/index.php/Leak_Site_Directory

TFTTR Contact Information

Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services
Twittername: karenblakeman (http://twitter.com/karenblakeman)
UK Tel: 0118 947 2256, Int. Tel: +44 118 947 2256
UK Fax: 020 8020 0253, Int. Fax: +44 20 8020 0253
Address: 88 Star Road, Caversham, Berks RG4 5BE, UK


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.

Privacy Statement

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.

Creative Commons License
Tales from the Terminal Room by Karen Blakeman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 3.0 Unported License.
For permissions beyond the scope of this license contact Karen Blakeman by email at karen.blakeman@rba.co.uk or via http://www.rba.co.uk/about/contactkb.htm.

This page was last updated on 14th June 2012 Copyright © 2012 Karen Blakeman.