viaLibri – search for rare books

viaLibri searches for old and rare books on eighteen different web sites that aggregate the inventory of hundreds of antiquarian booksellers world-wide. You can search by a number of criteria including author, title, imprint, publication years (before/after), price, first edition and keyword. As the interfaces and search options of the individual sites are different you may get no results at all if your search is too narrow, so it pays to start off with a relatively broad search. You can always edit your search later and add extra criteria.

You can sort the results by year of publication, price, author, title or bookseller and then click on the individual links to view further details of the book or buy it from the bookseller.

viaLibri search results

There is also a Quick Query Library Search that searches 72 online library catalogues including Worldcat, Copac, National Union Catalogues and National Libraries. You can use viaLibri’s Quick Query, which only searches on author, title or keywords, but enables you to click and run your search in each catalogue in turn without re-typing your search. Alternatively you can click through to each of the catalogues advanced search screens, but you will have to re-enter your search terms.

A very nice site if you are trying to locate a rare book for purchase or if you just want to find a copy in a local library for research purposes.

Track down lost bank accounts

If you have lost track of a bank or building society account Lost Accounts can help you find it. This is a free service set up by the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings and Investments. Together they represent most of the firms that offer savings and current accounts in the UK.

Banks and building societies are stepping up their campaigns to reunite customers with lost cash because towards the end of 2009 the Government is going to pool the £1 billion lying in dormant accounts and place the money in an FSA-regulated central reclaim fund. This fund will then be reinvested in the community, particularly in youth services and financial inclusion schemes, but if someone later comes forward to claim their money, the fund will be used to pay account holders.

The procedure for tracking down your dormant or forgotten account is very straight forward. You enter your personal details, current and previous addresses and as much information as possible about the account. Even if the original institution has been swallowed up in mergers and acquisitions, it should still be possible to find your account. The response may take up to 12 weeks but, before you can claim the money as yours, you will have to provide proof of identity.

Online 2008 presentations available

The three presentations I gave at Online Information 2008  are available on Slideshare and authorSTREAM. Details are as follows:

Pre-conference workshop, 1st December 2008: Making Web 2.0 Work


Wednesday 3rd December, 11.15-11.45, Gallery Rooms
Competitive Intelligence: Can Free Sources do the Biz?


Wednesday 3rd December, 13:45-14:15, Theatre  C
Impact of Web 2.0 on Search


Chipwrapper introduces time-slices

One of my favourite news sites, Chipwrapper (, now offers an option to search for articles within a specified time period. Chipwrapper is a Google custom search engine that covers UK news sources on the Internet. Until now, a drawback  of the service has been the absence of an option to limit  your search by date. You can include a year and/or month in your search but now there are built in options to search for articles published within the past 24 hours, week, month or year.

My earlier review of this excellent service can be found at

PNC’s Christmas Price Index

PNC CPI Broadcast

PNC’s Christmas Price Index for 2008 is now available. The index, compiled by PNC Wealth Management,  monitors the cost of the gifts sent by True Love  in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. The Christmas Price Index (CPI) team, comprising James P. Dunigan, Rebekah McCahan and E. William Stone, have been tracking the index since 1984.

According to the 24th annual survey, the cost of the PNC CPI is  now $21,080, $1,573 more than in 2007 .  PNC comment in their press release:

“The seven swans a-swimming proved to be a driver of this year’s index, carrying the greatest weight with a whopping 33.3 percent increase due to their scarcity. True Loves will spend $5,600 this year for Swans compared with $4,200 in 2007….

Two other costs in the CPI dropped this year: three French hens and Six geese-a-laying. This year the hens cost $30, a drop of 33.3 percent over last year, and the geese cost $240, falling one-third. Four calling birds remained steady, costing $599.96, the same as a year ago.”

An interactive chart allows researches to view the total CPI as well as individual items over the years.  More detailed and historical information is available including a spreadsheet containing data going back to 1984.

Christmas Price Index Interactive Chart
Christmas Price Index Interactive Chart

For True Loves who prefer to shop over the Internet,  PNC Wealth Management calculates that they will pay a grand total of $31,957 , almost $11,000 more than in the traditional index. According to Dunigan:

“In general, Internet prices are higher than their non-Internet counterparts because of shipping costs for birds and the convenience factor of shopping online”

PNC Wealth Management also tabulates the True Cost of Christmas, which is the total cost of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song’s verses. This holiday season,  True Loves will pay more than ever before – $86,609 – for all 364 items, up 10.9 per cent  from $78,100 in 2007.

The Research Practioner Skills Day Presentation

Those of you who attended The Research Practitioner Skills Day at Chelsea Football Club on 26th November should have received all of our presentations by email. If not, mine (Using the Web) can be viewed or downloaded from either Slideshare or authorSTREAM.

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by karenblakeman

ticTOCs Journal Tables of Contents Service

I had been doing so well at cutting back on my RSS feeds, but then I bumped into Roddy Macleod at Online Information. He reminded me about the ticTOCs service and then today I spotted their posting about the service in spineless?.

ticTOCs is a new scholarly journal tables of contents (TOCs) service  and Heriot-Watt is one of the fourteen partners who have developed it. You can use ticTOCs to search for the most recent table of contents of over 11,000 scholarly journals, from over 400 publishers and also view them on the ticTOCs site.

You can view the latest TOC (table of contents) of the journal, link through to the full text (where subscriptions allow), and save selected journals to MyTOCs so that you can return to the site and view future TOCs. Alternatively, you can save your selection as an OPML file and import the list into your favourite RSS reader. And that has been my undoing 🙂 . I have already added about 30 journals to my feeds but I suspect that I shall delete some of those once I have had a chance to evaluate their relevance to my areas if interest. But I have at least two more subject areas to investigate. RSS feed overload is imminent!


Begone Searchwiki

Google’s Searchwiki sounded like a good idea at the time.  Sign in with your Google account, activate Searchwki, carry out a search and you can promote, or delete entries in your results list and add comments that can be made public.  So I had a go. Unfortunately, should you later want to look at the un-searchwiki’ed results list you cannot just switch it off. You have to log out of your Google account and re-run the search.  What annoys me even more, though, is that it overrides my Firefox Customise  Google add-on.

I like to drop in an out of my Gmail, look at Google analytics about once a day and work on my Google Custom Search Engines. So most of the time I am signed in to one of my Google accounts.  I do not want to have keep logging out  just to carry out an ordinary  search  and to be able to look at the results in the way I want.  Thankfully, Google seems to have seen sense over this.  Techcrunch reports that Google will be providing a add a toggle button to allow users to turn the feature off, possibly in  Q1 2009.

In the mean time if you are curious about Searchwiki, curb your curiousity. Don’t go there!

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

The Texas Secretary of State is the official office for registering various business entities in Texas, but I have been told that it is not the best source for quick and free information.  The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – Taxable Entity Search has basic business entity information including name, status, location, agent, file number, SOS (Secretary of State) registration date, and taxpayer ID.  You can search by file number, tax ID or entity name.