My blog posting on Petrolprices.com is the entry that receives the largest number of hits by far. Not surprising as petrol prices continue to rise and there is a wide variation in pump prices even within a small area. The site now has a blog and recent articles include discussions on biodiesel and a special 4p/litre off promotion in Northern Ireland. RSS and Atom feeds are available so you can keep up to date with the topics via your favourite feed reader.
A reminder that the Resource Discovery Network (RDN) has been replaced by Intute.
“Intute is a free online service providing you with access to the very best Web resources for education and research. The service is created by a network of UK universities and partners. Subject specialists select and evaluate the websites in our database and write high quality descriptions of the resources.”
I find the new service much easier to navigate and I can find relevant gateways much more quickly than with the old RDN. There are 4 main areas: Science & Technology; Arts & Humanities; Social Sciences; and Health & Life Sciences. If you are intrested in business information, the resources covered by the busines and management section of SOSIG are now at http://www.intute.ac.uk/socialsciences/business/. Although their target audience is students, staff and researchers in higher and further education this collection of resources is of value to anyone who uses business information.
Adverteyes is a database of who’s said what, where and when in advertisements. It includes endlines, slogans, straplines, taglines and trademarks that are currently appearing or have appeared in the UK, Ireland and the USA media. Data from unique campaigns in Canada, Australia, India and South Africa is now being added. The database is intended to provide assurance that a proposed ad line will not infringe on the current use of that line by others. It also provides information on current overly used advertising themes and on what specific brands have ‘said’ through the years. The most recent 100 straplines added to the database can be viewed free of charge but you need to subscribe to search the whole database. The annual subscription is currently £19.95
You can search using phrases or keywords that appear in the slogan combined with a product category such as airlines or foods. Alternatively you can just select a category. You cannot search directly by brand name or company – those are only picked up if they appear in the slogan. The results give the “line”, brand name, product category, product, media (print, radio, television, outdoor, other), year and country. The results are listed by ad line in alphabetical order but you can re-sort them by brand name.
The database goes back to the 1950’s and ’60’s, and it is interesting to see what advertisers could get away with at that time. There was the famous – or should that be infamous? – “Guinness is good for you” but Guinness also ran a campaign claiming that “a Guinness a day keeps the doctor away”!
A new version of Exalead (http://preview.exalead.com/search/), one of my favourite search engines, is currently in beta test. The beta home page thankfully remains minimalist and uncluttered but has retained the short cut options that enable you to add other sites and search engines to your own personalised version of the page. Exalead say that they will be increasing the size of the web database from 4 to 8 billion pages and there is a separate image search option on the home page.
The major changes are on the Advanced Search and the results screens. The Advanced Search has been simplified and the phonetic search and approximate spelling have gone. A pity …. er, no they are still there but under ‘What?’, ‘More’. For heaven’s sake, list them by default along with NEAR, Boolean search and the pattern matching/regular expression options! It was only when Phil Bradley mentioned their location in his blog that I realised they had not been axed. And if I missed the link, so will a lot of other people. If you have never tried ‘regular expression’, it is a pattern matching search that you can use to mask one or more letters in the middle of a word. For example the search /psych.*ist/ will find psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist etc. You start and end the word with a forward slash, and a full stop followed by an asterisk stands in for one or more letters. I find it very useful when searching on chemical names.
The results screen has also been simplified. To limit your search by language, file type, location, RSS feed, video or audio you now have to click on ‘Refine your search’ on the right hand side of the screen. I think that is a mistake as I suspect that a lot of people will not bother to investigate it. Furthermore, because these options are not on the advanced search screen, they will think that Exalead’s search functionality is limited. I know some people find the current results screen overpowering and confusing, but Exalead could at least restore the RSS, Video and Audio buttons to the results page and include the refine options in Advanced Search as well.
A new feature that I do like is the page preview button on the thumbnails next to the results. If you have opted to display text only results there is preview link included in each entry. Preview enables you to look at Exalead’s own cached copy with your search terms highlighted. This has always been available but it has never been obvious how you do it.
As this is still in beta, changes are continually being made. Watch this space, as they say, for further developments. In the meantime you can compare and contrast at http://www.exalead.com/ and http://preview.exalead.com/search/
TechXtra is a free source of information in engineering, mathematics and computing and is now an independent service. Previously connected with the EEVL gateway, TechXtra is an initiative of the ICBL and the Library at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. TechXtra is based around a search engine that provides access to the freely available full-text content of millions of articles, key websites, theses and dissertations, books, industry news, new job announcements, technical reports, eprints, learning & teaching resources and the latest research, in engineering, mathematics and computing. Where the full-text is not freely available, TechXtra provides links to vendors for pay-per-view options. In addition, free trade magazine subscriptions and technical document downloads, job announcements, industry news, new books, information about offshore engineering publications and newsletters are available.
The basic search offers keyword searching combined with categories such as books, industry news, latest research. The Advanced Search offers various keyword options (all the words, phrase, any of the words, without the words) and options for selecting Special Collections for example Directory of Open access Journals, CiteSeer – Computer and Information Science Articles, NASA Technical Reports.
Some of TechXtra’s resources will not be picked up by the standard search engines, or you may have to wade through volumes of murk and mire before you find them. I tried it out on some of my test searches relating to the energy sector, in particular on deep drilling and the origins of petroleum, and was impressed with its speed and relevance. TechExtra is now in my list of key search tools for this area.
Automotive World, started by the Financial Times in 1990, has re-launched its web site and now incorporates ‘AWKnowledge’ and ‘AWResearcher’. Automotive World’s subscriptions include daily updates on 12 key automotive sectors and 37 OEMs globally. Printed research publications include The Automotive Quarterly Review, and the World Car and World Truck reports. Forthcoming research titles will cover detailed OEM forward model insight and merger and acquisition strategies of the supply base. The full text of the articles and reports are available to subscribers only but you can view the headlines freeof charge. There is a free RSS feed of industry headlines, but again, the full text of the stories are available to subscribers only. Free trials are available.
‘Russia: All Regions Trade & Investment Guide’, which was mentioned in an earlier blog posting, now has its own web site at http://www.russiasregions.com/
with a free sample region (Moscow). If you only want data on one or two regions, there are now options on the Order page for purchasing them as individual PDF files (£20 each).
Apologies if you have already seen this on the LIS discussion lists or on the UKeiG blog.
Some of you will have noticed from the auto-replies to private messages sent to me that I have been on hols for about 2 weeks. I am now back. That’s the good news – OK, I know that’s debatable
The bad news is that a couple of hours after I had downloaded two weeks worth of email my PC’s hard disk crashed in spectacular fashion. Of course Sod’s Law was in operation and I had also deleted the downloaded email from my ISP’s server. Deleting everything from the ISP mail server was a I habit I developed in the early days of the Internet when ISPs charged an arm, a leg and several pints of blood to store more than a few kb of messages for more than a few days. A practice that I have today abandoned!
Everything that I received up until midday 29th July was backed up but anything between then and midday August 15th has gone. So if you have sent me any emails during that period could you please re-send them? Especially those of you who sent me emails requesting user names and passwords for access to the members area of the UKeiG web site.
The sixth edition of Search Strategies for the Internet is now available. Further details are available on the RBA web site and, as with previous editions, updates can also be downloaded from the web site. Although the price of the publication itself remains the same – GBP 35 for the ring binder version and GBP 22 if you only want to purchase the pre-punched loose leaf pages – we are now having to charge for postage and packaging. In the past we have been able to absorb these costs but rates have increased considerably over the last two years and a new pricing structure is about to be introduced by Royal Mail.
With this edition we are offering an additional purchase option. You can immediately purchase and download a PDF version of the publication via Lulu.com, price USD 27.50.
The structure of the publication remains essentially the same with section I outlining search tool essentials and key search techniques, section II details the major tools currently available, and search strategies are covered in section III. The summaries and comparison table, which are freely available, are in section IV.
I had a quick look at the contents pages of previous editions and when it comes to the major search engines the fifth edition covered Google, AlltheWeb, AltaVista, Gigablast, Teoma and HotBot. This time we have AlltheWeb Livesearch, Ask, Exalead, Gigablast, MSN Search and Yahoo Search. The first edition (published in early 1998) included Yahoo (as a directory), AltaVista, HotBot, Excite, Infoseek, Northern Light, Lycos, Euroferret and DejaNews. Google, officially launched on 7 September 1998, was just a glint in Larry and Sergey’s eye!