Alacrastore adds EIU content

Alacra Store, who provide pay as you go access to company and industry data, have added EIU content. You can now find all types of EIU Country Data in the store including Country Profiles, Country Reports, Country Forecasts, ViewsWire articles, and Risk Briefings. They have also included all of the content from recent issues of The Economist magazine.

A new feature currently being tested on the EIU files is “Search This Document”. It enables you to see the keyword in context for each place it appears in a given report. I find that this is the only way to confirm that the information you want is in a document. Tables of contents can not always do this. I note, though, that any figures in the text surrounding the keywords are replaced by ###. Drat, drat and triple drat! But not surprising as it would be a sneaky way to get free market share information:-). But the reports are reasonably priced and in dollars, which at the moment is good news for those of us in the UK.

Marketscan – Mailing Lists and Direct Mail Services

Marketscan offer direct mail services to businesses and individuals. The lists appear on first glance to be heavily UK biased but there are also International and European lists. You can browse and build lists via a number of different routes: business, consumer, company directors, market sectors, SIC codes, geographical planner. The business lists, for example, include New Connections, Job Function, Medical Data Set, IT Data Set and email lists. I found the market sectors approach far more flexible than SIC codes, which is the usual option offered by most other services. Building a list is straightforward and prices start at GBP 115 per 1000 records.

There is also a guide to direct mail marketing ( that can be viewed on site or downloaded as a PDF. The points and issues raised should be common sense to anyone experienced in direct marketing but it is all too easy to lose track of where you are in a campaign. For newcomers to direct marketing, this is an essential primer: for seasoned veterans it is a useful checklist and reminder.

Cost of True Love’s Christmas up by 6 per cent

The 21st annual PNC Christmas Price Index shows that the cost of Christmas for True Love – made famous by the song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ – has gone up by 6 per cent. Avian flu and energy prices are major contributory factors the report claims.

Every year, PNC Advisors calculate the cost of goods and services gifted by True Love in the song and this year it totalled USD 18,348. That figure represents the cost of the individual items, not the total cost of presents gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song’s verses. That comes t0 a whopping USD 72,608 for all 364 items, up 9.5 per cent from USD 66,334 in 2004.

Jeff Kleintop, chief investment strategist for PNC Advisors said “Not only are avian flu fears and fuel costs driving prices higher, but gold prices are also on the rise. Meanwhile, wages for skilled laborers are struggling to keep up with rising expenses.” The biggest hurdle for True Loves will be obtaining imported birds. The threat of avian flu has restricted the international shipment of birds, thus preventing the purchase of three French hens from France. However, there are US domestic breeders of French hens, as well as the other feathered friends mentioned in the song. Since the large birds are bought from national suppliers, total costs are higher due to the shipping and related increases in fuel prices. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens reports the cost of geese almost doubled this year while the cost of swans increased by 20 percent.

For online shoppers, PNC tabulates the cost of The Twelve Days gifts purchased on the web and the figures show that it can be considerably more expensive to go Internet shopping. The true cost of Christmas via the web this year is USD 123,846.62. The greatest differential was for Ten Lords a Leaping: USD 10,947 online compared with USD 4039.02 paid for their services using more traditional means of recruitment.

First Issue of Google Librarian News

The first issue of Google’s Librarian News has appeared. Conceived at the 2005 ALA conference in Chicago this will be a quarterly newsletter. The first issue has a feature article on how Google indexes the web and ranks search results. For many experienced searchers there is nothing new in the article and it does not go into any great detail. Nevertheless, a useful primer for students and those who are curious as to how Google works.

Jux2 is back

Jux2 ( is back having been sold by its previous owner on eBay for over USD 100,000.

Jux2 is a meta search tool that runs your strategy through Google, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves and presents you with a combined list. Nothing unusual or innovative in that, but you can also look at just the unique results found by each of the three engines. The closest alternative that I have seen is Dogpile (, which enables you to view the lists of results from the “big four” side by side and highlight the unique pages. For Firefox fans there is a plugin for the search box that adds Jux2 to your list of favourite tools.

Advanced Internet Search Strategies – Top Tips and Sites

We have been running our Advanced Search Strategies workshop again, this time in Sheffield. As usual, we asked the participants at the end of the day to come up with their top tips and sites. This is the list.

1. Use evaluated subject listings to filter out the rubbish, for example OMNI ( in the health and medical area. Use Pinakes ( or RDN ( to help identify them.

2. to demonstrate the overlap – or lack of it – between search engines, and to convince colleagues and users that Google is not always the best or only tools for an enquiry.

3. Use the filetype format available on all the main search engines’ advanced search screens to narrow down your search. For example spreadsheets for statistics, Powerpoint to find information on or from experts on a subject, PDF and Word files for “meaty” market and industry reports, or government reports.

4. Try Kartoo ( for a different approach to presenting results and for suggestions on additional or alternative search terms.

5. to run your search quickly in several different search tools, and as a reminder of the different resource types and tools that are available, for example reference.

6. RDN Virtual Training Suite ( to bring you up to speed on key, reputable resources in an unfamiliar subject or industry sector.

7. Google numeric range search to look for anything involving a range of numbers. For example, “top” banks may be top 10, 15, 20, 100 (top 10..100 banks), or for identifying forecasts (TV advertising spend forecasts 2005..2012).

8. Pattern search in Exalead ( For example /psych.*ist/ finds pages containing psychologist, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst etc.

9. Image specific search tools are often better than the image options of the general search engines. For example Flickr (, Morguefile (, Picsearch (

10. Visit Google Labs ( to keep up to date with what is new and experimental at Google, for example Google Suggests, Google Sets, Personalized Home Page, Search History.

11. Use the Google synonym search to include synonyms in your strategy. Precede your term with a tilde (~), for example ~bank will also find banks bankers, banking, financial, commerce.

12. Use the site search option on the advanced search screens of the main search engines to limit by type of organisation, for example government or academic, or to search a specific site. Particularly useful for searching massive sites whose navigation and internal search engine are dire.

EBRD Directory 2006

The new 2006 EBRD Directory of business information sources on central and eastern Europe and the CIS is now in press.

Available from February 2006, the directory has been completely revised and extended to provide a comprehensive guide to business information resources on the region. The sites are is from the world’s leading publishers, banks, commercial and investment agencies. These are sources used daily by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Business Information Centre. As well as the printed directory, you receive an Internet password that gives you access to updated information. I do quite a bit of research on central and eastern Europe and I find this an invaluable resource on these regions. Yes, I could probably locate much of the information via a Google/Yahoo/Exalead search but the directory is much quicker and I know that their resources have been quality assessed and evaluated.

The price is GBP 165, EUR 250, USD 320 but if you place your order before December 31st you save 15% (GBP 140, Eur 213 or usd 272).

Email your order to, stating your name, organisation, postal and email addresses together with any applicable order number and Dataresources will send you a pro-forma invoice by return.

Fast Search & Transfer to develop new desktop search tool

An interesting story from Information World Review on the Norwegian enterprise search vendor Fast Search & Transfer, and their plans for their “Personal Search Platform” (PSP). This will not be just desktop search. The plans are to involve information providers such as Reed Elsevier so that PSP can provide users with a one-stop-shop for peer reviewed articles, web and desktop search. The article implies that PSP will not be limited to scientific and biomedical publications. Fast, it says, has strong relationships with Reuters, Lexis-Nexis, Factiva and CNET.

blinkx and Times Online launch Times Smart Search

Blinkx and the Times Online have launched a co-branded toolbar called Times Online Smart Search. This is a variation on the Blinkx desktop search with content from the Times being delivered via the blinkx News channel. It works in the same way as the standard Blinkx desktop search in that it analyses what the user is viewing at the time and delivers related content. Blinkx and Times Online have also customised the Smart Folders that update themselves automatically with content relevant to a topic specified by you. I have to confess that in the past I have been very confused as to how to get this to work but I think I’ve finally cracked it.

There are two versions of Times Smart Search: a light version that does not search your own PC but gives you access to Smart Folders and some custom-made Times Online services, and the full “advanced” version that includes desktop search. They are only available for PCs running “later versions” of Windows – there is no Mac version at present – and the toolbar works with both IE and Firefox.

It is not obvious on the Times home page where one can download the Smart Search but I think the starting point is the invitation to try Smart Search beta.

Dot-eu domain about to go live

Expect to start seeing sites in the .eu domain within the next few days. The new top-level domain goes live on December 7th but only trademark holders and public bodies will be able to register during the so-called “sunrise period”. Registrations for the domain, which will be handled by Eurid, will be open to the rest of us on 7 April 2006.