Tales from the Terminal Room

November 2012, Issue No. 105

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Tales from the Terminal Room ISSN 1467-338X
November 2012, Issue No. 105
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
    • Google search bar moves
  • Graphwords visual thesaurus
  • Top Tips for Business Information
  • New StatsWales Launched
  • Twitter Notes

Search tools

Google search bar moves

Just when you thought you had sussed out the additional search options on Google's results page Google decides to move them. Instead of appearing to the left of your results page the menu has been moved to the top, leaving a blank space where the old menus used to be.

There are the usual options such as images, maps, shopping and videos and clicking on More reveals a drop down menu for News, Books, Places, Blogs etc.

It begins to get confusing when you click on Search tools and an extra row of options appears.

It is not obvious what the “The Web” does but clicking on it gives you two options. “The Web” is the default and I assume that to be the whole of the world because the second option for me is the UK. Presumably for those of you in other countries it will be your own country. The “Any time” option gives you the various time periods and custom time period by which you can limit your search. “Reading, UK” is my physical location and some results are personalised using that location. The location can be changed to another town or the country as a whole, as with the previous side bar menu. It is not clear what “All results” does but again clicking on it reveals the final set of search options including the all important Verbatim.

As with the previous side bar menus, the second level options change depending on which type of resource you are searching. For example, if you click on Search tools in Images there are links that take you to options that include size, colour and type.

This change looks as though it is here to stay as most people in the UK are now seeing it and several of the country versions of Google I've looked at are also displaying it. All the old options are still there but it sometimes requires extra clicks to get to the same place and I sometimes forget what each link has underneath it. So those of you who, like me, run training sessions expect to spend the next few weeks updating your slides and training materials.

Graphwords visual thesaurus

Graphwords (http://graphwords.com/) is another thesaurus visualisation tool that uses Wordnet (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/). Type in a word and it generates a map of associated nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs.

To view the meaning of a group of words move your cursor over the node and to explore a word and its related terms in more detail simply click on it.

Many thanks to Carol Bream for the alert.

Top tips for business information

Here are the Top Tips for business information compiled by the participants of my latest business information workshop held on November 15th, 2012 in London. The set of slides that was the starting point for the workshop can be found on authorSTREAM at http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/karenblakeman-1601945-business-information-key-web-resources/

  1. Zanran http://zanran.com/ Asearch tool for identifying charts, graphs and tables of data within formatted documents such as PDFs, Excel spreadsheets and images. Enter your search terms and optionally limit your search by date and/or format type. Zanran comes up with a list of documents that match your criteria with thumbnails to the left of each entry. Hover over the thumbnail to see a preview of the page containing your data and further information on the document. Very useful if you are looking for industry statistics.

  2. University library subjects guides . If you are looking for some good starting points on a subject seek out some university library subject guides. These list resources that are only available to their own students and staff but may also include links to relevant publicly accessible resources that have been assessed for quality.
  3. Socialmention http://socialmention.com/ Several social media search tools were covered in the workshop but this one received a special mention as a good general all round social media tool. It covers images, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, audio and bookmarks. If you are monitoring a topic you can set up email and RSS alerts.
  4. Companies House http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/ The official registry for UK companies. Other services such as Company Check (http://companycheck.co.uk/) and DUEDIL (http://www.duedil.com/), which repackage Companies House data, may provide more information free of charge but it is always worth double checking with Companies House to see if there is more up to date information and to get a full of list of the documents that are available on a company. The history and list of documents that can be ordered for a company is informative in itself. On the Companies House web site use the Find Company Information to locate the company in the register and then click on “Order information for this company”. You will then see a list of available documents. Titles such as “Struck off and dissolved” and “Application for administrative restoration” would suggest that perhaps you ought to investigate further before doing business with the company.
  5. LinkedIn groups A couple of the workshop participants regularly use LinkedIn groups for research questions. Look for groups set up by professional and official bodies relevant to your subject.
  6. Twitter If you are looking for a professional, research or trade association that may be able to help with your research you only need to find just one organisation on Twitter covering your topic. Then, to find others that might be useful, see who that organisation is following.
  7. Millionshort http://millionshort.com/. If you are fed up with seeing the same results from Google again and again give Million Short a try. Million Short runs your search and then removes the most popular web sites from the results. Originally, as its name suggests, it removed the top 1 million but the default has changed to the top 10,000. The principle remains the same, though. Exclude the more popular sites and you could uncover a real gem. The page that best answers your question might not be well optimised for search engines or might cover a topic that is so “niche” that it never makes it into the top results.
  8. Biznar http://www.biznar.com/ Biznar is a federated search engine that runs your search in real-time in about 70 resources. There is a list on the Advanced Search screen where you can deselect individual or groups of resources. The results are combined into a single list and organised on the left hand side of the screen into folders such as Topics, Authors, Publications, Publishers and Dates. These are computer generated but can help you narrow down your search. A bit erratic at times and sometimes comes up with odd results but people still thought it was worth including in the Top Tips list.
  9. DUEDIL http://www.duedil.com/. This service repackages Companies House data and provides some of it free of charge. The feature that won DUEDIL a place in the Top Tops is the “Group” visualisation that illustrates the connections between the company you are researching, its parent companies and subsidiaries. You have to create an account (free at the moment) to access all of the information.

  10. SCoRe http://www.score.ac.uk/ Acatalogue of current and historical printed company reports held in UK libraries. The catalogue does not provide links to digitised documents but is a very quick and easy way of identifying libraries that hold hard copy reports. The participating libraries include London Business School, the British Library, Manchester Business School, City Business Library, Guildhall Library, Strathclyde University and the University of Warwick. A full list is available at http://www.score.ac.uk/collections.asp

    Update from Ann Folkmans:

    The SCoRe website (www.score.ac.uk) will close as of 21st March 2013. Many of the participating libraries are no longer actively collecting print reports and are in the process of digitising their collections. The Guildhall Library will continue to cover London Stock Exchange companies listed between 1880 and 1965 supplemented by the planned digital archives at the London Business School, the University of Manchester and the University of Strathclyde. The British Library's collection of hard copy company annual reports remains available.

New StatsWales launched

StatsWales (http://statswales.wales.gov.uk) is the key website to visit for statistics on Wales and on 3rd December a new version of the site was launched.

New features include:

  • improved search capability
  • enhanced charting
  • direct URI access to data catalogue and reports
  • better sharing of reports including those personally tailored/configured
  • additional direct data access formats
  • more powerful personalisation
  • support for legacy links

The old platform will be available until December 31st at http://statswales1.wales.gov.uk

A video tutorial on the new system is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a08s26rDM1g

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.

2nd November

# 2012PAD November 1st, 2012: Reading's Climate Change Strategy - visualisation by Cara Holland http://www.flickr.com/photos/rbainfo/8147119840/

[A bit of silliness] :-)) RT @MichaelStead: "My network location has no nodes!" "How does it smell?" "Terrible!" < Ba dum tish!

6th November

MT @universitysham Not enough graduates in science & modern languages to meet demand for specialist teachers http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/action-urged-as-universities-fail-to-produce-enough-graduates-to-become-specialist-teachers-8282349.html

9th November

RT @davebriggs: Following a surprisingly large number of complaints that it had disappeared, http://lgsearch.net/ is back.

MT @theREALwikiman: If you use video to market your library, have a look at this YouTube / Vimeo comparison http://www.librarymarketingtoolkit.com/2012/11/youtube-versus-vimeo-which-one-is-best.html

10th November

RT @PyramidHead76: This is why you shouldn't go into Birmingham without a camera... https://twitter.com/PyramidHead76/status/267298584947466241/photo/1

14th November

Love it! RT @lukask: You don't need to follow me! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQqq3e03EBQ&feature=youtu.be [Clip from The Life of Brian]

18th November

RT @stephendale: Apple Now Owns the Page Turn - yes, the digital world has gone mad! http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/16/apple-now-owns-the-page-turn/

19th November

RT @dannysullivan: A Yahoo-Facebook Search Partnership? Reality Check Time! http://searchengineland.com/a-yahoo-facebook-search-partnership-reality-check-time-139954 my post, as promised

20th November

RT @ruskin147 : http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2012/121120b.html Here's HP's amazing statement about Autonomy - one question, who did the due diligence ?

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
Address: 88 Star Road, Caversham, Berks RG4 5BE, UK


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This page was last updated on 5th December 2012 Copyright © 2012 Karen Blakeman.