Karen Blakeman on February 14th, 2014

On one of my recent workshops I was asked if I used Google as my default search tool, especially when conducting business research. The short answer is “It depends”. The long answer is that it depends on the topic and type of information I am looking for. Yes, I do use Google a lot but […]

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Karen Blakeman on October 7th, 2013

I recently mentioned Gridwatch (How the UK’s electricity is generated as a way of tracking how much energy is passing through the National Grid and the technology used to generate that electricity. Although Gridwatch is a great way of observing the total amount of electricity that is generated by each technology – gas, coal, […]

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Karen Blakeman on July 28th, 2013

Statista ( is a portal for statistics, market data, market research and survey results. It aggregates data on over 600 international industries from more than 18,000 sources, including market researchers, trade organizations, scientific journals, and government databases. You can get a rough idea of what the service covers from the list of topics at, although this […]

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Karen Blakeman on July 12th, 2013

Towards the end of June I headed off to Swansea Central Library to facilitate a workshop on search tools and techniques for finding business information and statistics. The session was organised for the libraries of the wonderfully named SWAMP – South West and Mid Wales Partnership. We had fantastic views from the library of the […]

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Karen Blakeman on January 25th, 2013

I regularly mention Zanran ( in my workshops on search and business information, and it often finds its way into the Top Tips compiled by the delegates at the end of the day. Zanran is not a Google alternative. Rather than search the text of web pages it extracts and indexes numerical data presented as […]

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Karen Blakeman on January 8th, 2013

The EU has launched a public beta of its new open data portal at Open data is information that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone. The EU portal covers all the information that public bodies in the European Union produce, collect or pay for. At present it has 5,811 datasets of which 5,634 come […]

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Karen Blakeman on November 26th, 2012

StatsWales is the key website to visit for statistics on Wales. A new version of the site, StatsWales ‘Beta’, has been launched with a full launch planned for Monday 3rd December. 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 […]

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Karen Blakeman on September 24th, 2011

Public Data Explorer has escaped the cull at Google Labs, from which it  has now “graduated”. There were signs that it might survive when Google started adding public data charts to the top of the results for some statistics searches. It can now be found at Public Data Explorer allows you to search and compare […]

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Karen Blakeman on February 14th, 2011

I’m a nosy neighbour. I like to know what’s going on in my area: who’s bought the house next door, local planning applications, any dodgy activity going on? My husband and I are both self employed so there is usually at least one of us out and about in Caversham during the day. That means […]

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Karen Blakeman on November 10th, 2010

When looking for UK official statistics many of us immediately think of If you are looking for data on Wales, though, you really should be heading for the Welsh Assembly’s StatsWales at This is a free-to-use service that allows you to “view, manipulate, create and download tables from the most detailed official data […]

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