takes link commands offline

Those of you who use the link commands in will have noticed that over the past week link: and linkdomain: have been returning blank results pages. This is not a temporary glitch but has been done on purpose by Live. According to their blog:

” We have been seeing broad use of these features by legitimate users but unfortunately also what appears to be mass automated usage for data mining. So for now, we have made the tough call to block all queries with these operators. We are doing our best to get this back online as soon as possible in a manner that allows folks that use this functionality for real queries.”

The linkfromdomain: command, which lists all the pages that a web site links to, is still working.

While Live makes up its mind about what to do with the commands try link and linkdomain in Yahoo. The results are not always as comprehensive as’s but will probably suffice in most situations. The syntax for the Yahoo’s link command is slightly different. To find pages that link to a specific page on a site it is:


Note that you must include the ‘http://’

To find pages that link to any page on a site the syntax is similar to Live’s:

Google also has a link command but it displays a small fraction of the results.

The Association for Qualitative Research

Alan Dickinson of Skill Zone pointed me in the direction of this site. I should declare an interest on behalf of Skill Zone in that they designed the site but what follows is my own independent assessment. If you don’t want to read the full review my personal opinion is that this is a very good starting point for associations, contacts and practitioners in the field of qualitative and market research.

Founded in the early 1980s, the Association for Qualitative Research has over a thousand members. The web site includes a directory of qualitative research practitioners and suppliers of services. The Directory is available as a handbook published as an A5 format of 500 pages and is free to anyone on request (subject to availability). The published version of the directory includes a selection of articles, reference documents, and the AQR membership list.

There is also a section on useful contacts that lists professional associations, membership organisations and industry bodies focussing on particular aspects of research or services, both in the UK and overseas. The categories include market research, advertising organisations, marketing/direct mail and overseas associations. In addition, the site has a library of articles which are free to read, some short, some in-depth, and a glossary of terms used in market and qualitative research.

Overall, a very good starting point for market and qualitative research in terms of understanding the industry, terminology, identifying relevant organisations, and tracking down practitioners in the field. Definitely recommended.

Top 10 Search Tips from Switzerland

Yes, it’s yet another Top 10 Search Tip – this time from a group of researchers from International organisations based in Switzerland. The event was hosted by CERN in Geneva, well known for its particle accelerator but also the birth place of the World Wide Web. The group came up with the following Top 10.

1. CrossEngine – This is fast becoming the most popular non-Google tool on my Advanced Search workshops. Dozens of different search tools are grouped under tabs by type, for example web, video, audio, images, news, blogs, reference. Type in your search terms just once and then click on each search engine in turn to run the search. It is more up to date than , which is a similar tool, and has a more extensive collection of resources than Turboscout. It has additional features such as file type search options for Google and Yahoo, and you can search social bookmarking and network tools such as Delicious, Furl, Squidoo, Facebook.

2. Vivisimo – Searches several different search engines at once, presents a de-duplicated list of results, and also organises them into folders based on their content. There is still a web search box in the upper right hand corner of the Vivisimo’s home page but it tries to point you directly at Clusty, which it owns. Interestingly, the results and folders that you see when you run the same search in Vivisimo and Clusty are slightly different.

3. Exalead – A search engine developed by a French company. Some of the people working on it are ex-AltaVista, which explains their resurrection of the wild card and NEAR command. Useful for its advanced search features such as approximate and phonetic spelling. Several users have commented on its European bias and web coverage.

4. Google Define. Unsure what a piece of jargon means or what an acronym stands for? Go to google and use the define: command. For example, define:ADSL will bring up a page of definitions from various resources on the Web. You can also search for definitions in languages opther than English (go to the bottom of the results page for the links).

5. Phrase searching. We all know about placing phrases within double quote marks, but someone has spotted that in Google you only need the opening quotes to force a phrase search. As the person who nominated this one for the Top 10 said, it’s pure laziness on our part but it works.

6. Askx – This new beta version of Ask is proving to be very popular. The home page has a single search box but the results page includes news, images, blog postings and suggestions for alternative strategies alongside the web pages.

7. Creative Commons and public domain images. If you need to quickly identify images that you can re-use and the terms and conditions of that re-use, search by Creative Commons licenses or for public domain images. Try where you can search by type of Creative Commons license, for Creative Commons and Public Domain, or for Public Domain images.

8. Thumbshots Ranking – – for checking the overlap, or lack of it, of the major search engines for a search strategy.

9. – Enables you to display results from search tools of your choice side by side. Although the interfaces to many of the resources no longer work, it is still a popular tool with many people.

10. Want to see if RSS is for you? Try the web based Google Reader at Several people have commented that they have problems updating their feeds in Bloglines through their proxy server. Their experience is that Google’s reader is better and more reliable in this respect.

Kidon Media-Link

I was alerted to this listing by David Dunkley at the WTO. Kidon Media-Link lists 18,437 newspapers and other news sources from around the world. Newspaper, magazine, television, radio, and news agency sources are listed by country. You can also browse by language or search by media type, title and city. The results include a link to the source, a two letter code indicating the type of resource (news agency, radio, newspaper etc.), the frequency of publication, and the languages in which it is published or broadcast. A useful alternative to ABYZ News Links, which provides similar listings.

Kidon Media-Link Home Page

Internet Librarian International 2007 Call for Speakers Closing Soon

Posted on behalf of ILI.

New Realities, Roles and Resources
Internet Librarian International 2007
8-9 October 2007 Copthorne Tara Hotel, London

Call for Speakers
Deadline: 30 March 2007

One week until deadline – submit your proposal now!

Information Today invites proposals for presentations at Internet Librarian International 2007: New Realities, Roles and Resources, taking place at Copthorne Tara Hotel, London, UK on 8 – 9 October 2007.

They are looking for a mix of papers for conference sessions, workshops and short tutorials with the emphasis on the practical rather than theoretical. They are seeking case studies and proposals about initiatives in your organisation, not product pitches or overviews.

To be considered as a speaker, please submit your ideas at

Nine years after the first Internet Librarian International, it is clear that internet technologies have vastly altered our professional and personal lives. The amount and types of information available in digitised form has increased exponentially, presenting information professionals with challenges in finding, analysing, managing, customising and sharing information. The new realities of electronic research affect everything we do. New roles mean we may not call ourselves librarians and new resources change our approach to research.

It’s an exciting, exhilarating, sometimes exhausting world for internet librarians. What has worked in your work environments and what has not? Share your experiences and thoughts with your colleagues during Internet Librarian International this autumn.

Possible topics (but don’t let this limit your imagination):

  • Web search
  • Federated search
  • Digital libraries/collections
  • Social software and social networking
  • Blogs, wikis, podcasts
  • Libraries as publishers
  • Taxonomies, folksonomies
  • Evidence-based librarianship
  • Gaming in the library
  • Information policy
  • Web site usability
  • Needs assessment
  • Collaborative working
  • Text mining
  • Internet resources
  • Communicating value
  • Managing e-resources
  • Mobile technology
  • Library 2.0
  • Open access; open source
  • Distance learning, e-learning
  • Multimedia searching
  • Innovative projects
  • Incorporating new technologies Web design
  • Content management
  • Training and teaching

The Advisory Committee will review all submissions and notification regarding acceptance will be made this summer. If your proposal is selected, the primary speaker will receive a free registration to the full conference, which includes lunches and a reception. The organisers are not responsible for speakers’ travel and accommodation costs.

Marydee Ojala, Editor, ONLINE,
David Raitt, Editor, The Electronic Library

Top Search Tips from Aberystwyth

Last week I was at the University of Aberystwyth running a workshop on advanced Internet search techniques and new technologies. This was a re-run of the session I did at Swansea at the beginning of the month and the Top 10 tips the Swansea participants suggested are in an earlier blog posting. This is the Top 10 from the Aberystwyth gang. There are some similarities between the two, notably serious interest in what Microsoft are doing with and in particular Academic Live, a rival to Google Scholar. There was no question about the number one in their list – Crossengine. There was unanimous agreement that this is an excellent tool for quickly running a simple search across many different types of search tools.

1. CrossEngine – Dozens of different search tools are grouped under tabs by type, for example web, video, audio, images, news, blogs, reference. Type in your search terms just once and then click on each search engine in turn to run the search. It is similar to but more up to date, has additional features such as file type search options for Google and Yahoo, and search options for social bookmarking and network tools such as Delicious, Furl, Squidoo, Facebook.

2. Link commands – link:, linkdomain:, linkfromdomain:
Use the link: and linkdomain: commands in to find pages that link to a known page or site. Use them to find pages that are similar to your known page, or to see who is linking to your site.

For example: will only find pages that link to the specified page on a site. will find pages that link to any page on the site.’s linkfromdomain: will list all the external links from a web site. For example

Useful if you want a single list of sites on an evaluated portal or directory, or if you are spring-cleaning your web site and want to see what you have linked to.

3. Allwhois – Use this to find out who owns the domain name of a web site – an essential part of assessing the quality of information.

4. Wean yourself off Google. Look at alternative search tools and identify their strengths.

5. and Academic LIve – Formerly MSN search and totally revamped by Microsoft and a serious alternative to Google.
Academic Live – Different coverage to Google Scholar, has a source list (Google Scholar does not) and format options for bibliographic management packages such as RefWorks and EndNote. No author search though.

6. The Wayback Machine (Internet Archive)
The Wayback machine periodical takes a snapshot of the web enabling you to see how a site has evolved over the years. Invaluable for tracking down “lost” pages, documents and even web sites.

7. Google results number heads the fiction best seller list!
The number of ‘hits’ that appears at the top of your Google results rarely reflects the real number of documents it has found. It tells you it has found 6,542 but only displays 103. Ignore it.

8. Use the domain or site search for sites that have appalling navigation or dreadful site search engines, for example the European Parliament web site. One participant tried the technique on Hansard and said she had better and quicker results than using Hansard’s own search. The site: command can also be used to limit your search to a type of site, for example for just UK government web sites.

9. for its phonetic search, approximate spelling search and wild cards. Especially useful when searching on medical terminology that has alternative spellings or may have been mistyped.

10. Change the order of your terms in your strategy.

For example:

chocolate production UK Switzerland Belgium

production UK Belgium chocolate Switzerland

give different results. The search engines rank those pages that contain your terms close to one another in the order specified near the top of the list. Change the order and you often see a significant difference in the pages at the top.