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Newsletter No.10

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                             Free Pint
          Helping you find quality information on the Web

ISSN 1460-7239                                      19 March 1998 #10
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                 Welcome to Free Pint Number Ten!

This issue is being brought to you amidst packing crates and chaos!
Yes, we are moving to larger offices today but are still managing
to bring you an issue packed with articles and advice on making the
most of the Web.

We start with an article about the best ways to catch up with friends 
and colleagues on the Internet. This is followed by a thorough look 
at the best business and accounting resources on the Web. Finally, we
highlight some of the recent and interesting postings on the Free 
Pint Forum on the Web site.

So, with removal men waiting, we must now pack up the last two 
remaining items - namely the PC and modem!  Whilst we do so, may I 
invite you to read on and enjoy this issue of Free Pint.

Kind regards,
William Hann
Managing Editor

PS: This newsletter looks best with a fixed font like courier.
If you do not already automatically receive your free copy of
Free Pint, or would like to see past issues, then please visit our
Web site at  You may also find this issue
easier to read and use if you print it out first.

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                           IN THIS ISSUE

                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
                         "Working the Net"
                        by Alison Scammell

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
          "Business and Accounting Resources on the Web"
                           by Ben Heald

                          FORUM FEEDBACK

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Are you able to make informed decisions based upon the latest 
management concepts and practice? Anbar Management Intelligence 
provides rapid access to 60,000 management articles drawn from 400 
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                             NET PROFIT
Net Profit is Europe's leading source of non-technical information
and analysis on the commercial use of the Internet - it is aimed at 
people who need to know how to get information from the medium, and 
those who need to use that information to do their jobs more 

      Find out more at our Web site:

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                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
                         "Working the Net"
                        by Alison Scammell

The Internet is all about human communication, and interacting with
people is very easy. There is no shortage of discussion groups,
mailing lists, newsgroups and chat rooms, and the nature of the
Internet sub-culture means there is an enduring fascination with the
seamier side of these virtual communities.

But what's the best way to go about networking for business, as well
as pleasure? One estimate puts the number of current global Internet
users at 113 million [1]. This represents a substantial networking
opportunity for everyone. After all, as we are always being told,
it's not so much what you know, it's who you know.

Despite all this interactivity taking place on the Net, it is in fact
quite difficult to find specific people. You may want to find an old
friend, catch up on a business associate who has changed jobs, check
on a contact's details or simply find someone's email address. People
are moving around all the time, changing jobs, moving house and
accumulating different email addresses for different activities (more
of us are becoming "portfolio people," doing several different jobs
at once).

Getting someone's email address should be easy, shouldn't it? Well,
you could always just ring them up and ask them (providing you have
their telephone number) but for various reasons, people don't always
want to do this.

One approach is to try one of the "people finding" services on the
Web. Often called "white pages" some of the more well known services
are Big Foot or Four11 You can often specify types of people and
types of information you want. WhoWhere (
will even help you locate your ancestors (but this may just work for
US citizens, I was unable to trace my own, British born,

I particularly liked the celebrity search facility offered by
Metacrawler. I checked out Kate Winslet's address (I had a long
conversation with her once on a flight to Los Angeles, just thought
I'd drop that in) and sure enough, the search listed her London

Many of the search engines, such as Yahoo, will also have links to
these services or provide their own people search facilities. One
problem is that these are US-focused services so they are not much
use for tracking down people in other countries. The best UK-focused
service does seem to be WhoWhere, but if anyone knows of anything
better, perhaps they could let us know by posting details to Free
Pint Forum, located at

Often it's easier just to do a routine search using an engine like
Alta Vista. When searching for a specific person it is a good idea to
put the whole name in inverted commas ("Alison Scammell"), and if the
name is very common, add another key term such as the name of an
organisation or company ("Alison Scammell" "Free Pint"). This
generally only works if the person you are looking for has their own
Web site/home page, has published on the Web or generally has a high

But what do you do when you find all these people? How do you
communicate with them? We all need to build up our network of
contacts and whether they are colleagues, associates, contacts or
friends they (and you) may have different communication needs at
different times. Sometimes email is best, sometimes real time chat,
sometimes snail mail, so you even need bricks and mortar address
information as well. 

Chat and messaging facilities are increasingly being offered by
search engines and Internet Service Providers. There's Infoseek
Instant Messaging (via This allows you to
communicate with friends, family, and business colleagues. It also
verifies e-mail addresses and allows you to set controls on the
people who can communicate with you. The service is free but you will
need to download software before you can use it (and so will all the
people with whom you intend to communicate). Sometimes these services
are called "pagers" or "buddy lists" and they're great for friends
and family. You can find out who is online at any particular time,
and then: start communicating.

But if you want something to use in a business context you need
something a bit more powerful and with more features. If you work in
a large company you may have the advantage of using groupware like
Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange but if you are a one man band, part
of a virtual organisation or small/medium enterprise you need
something powerful AND affordable to do some proper NETworking. 

ICQ would be a good choice. It is available, free, from ICQ (I Seek You) can provide so much more
than all the other, very basic, "buddy services". Check them out and
let us know how you get on.

So don't just waste your time talking to disembodied strangers (with
wacky aliases in virtual chat rooms). The Internet is about people
and communication. Get networking. 

[1] NUA Internet Surveys, available at

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Alison Scammell, MA MIInfSci, is an independent Information
Management Consultant specialising in all aspect of designing and
developing information services, strategies and user needs analyses.
Alison usually works with a network of different information/computer
specialists, tailoring information needs to specific corporate
environments. She combines her commercial consultancy with academic
research and is currently studying teleworkers' information use, for
a PhD, at Loughborough University. Alison can be reached via email:

Alison is also part of the Free Pint team and, as Account Director,
would like to hear from potential advertisers. Email or call +44 (0)181 460 5850.

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The 8th Biennial UK Online User Group conference on New Networks,
Old Information will be held on 14-16 July 1998 at the splendid
Manchester Conference Centre. This is an opportunity to gain
valuable information on current issues as well as renew old
acquaitances and make new friends. As the hotel standard
accommodation is limited, please book early to avoid disappointment.
           Further details and programme can be found at

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                 *** Advertising in Free Pint ***
       Full details at
     Email or phone +44 (0)181 460 5850

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The Institute of Information Scientists sets, maintains, monitors and
promotes standards of excellence in the science and management of 
information.  IIS is the professional body for information services 
managers in digital and traditional print domain.  It raises public
awareness of the benefits of expertise in information management.

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                          FEATURE ARTICLE
          "Business and Accounting Resources on the Web"
                           by Ben Heald

"Your clients are doing business on the Net.  Are you up to speed?"

As is the case in all professional sectors, accountants are running
into the Internet at every turn.  Their clients are operating on the 
Net, and their own firm or business will almost certainly have 
considered establishing a site.  Their institutes have started to 
communicate with them electronically; and perhaps most importantly, 
accountants themselves are wondering what might be out there to help 
them do better business.

There are hundreds of business and accounting sites.  You only have 
to type any generic business term like 'company information' into one 
of the search engines to appreciate the volume.  Presupposing that he 
or she gets beyond this, our intrepid accountant will soon discover 
and get to know sites that are a valuable addition to the range of 
traditional services to which he has always subscribed to stay 

Company Information

Being able to get hold of decent company information on the Internet 
can be a revelation.  Although company information is still something 
you will have to pay for in many cases, significant developments are

Within the UK, you can check that a company exists for free at the 
ICC site.  Unfortunately the same cannot be said elsewhere, as in so 
many other countries either there is no requirement for all companies 
to file accounts, or even if there is, they are not held centrally.  
However in the US all documents filed by listed companies are 
available from the EDGAR site.  For information on smaller companies 
try the Dun & Bradstreet GlobalSeek site. - ICC - EDGAR - Dun & Bradstreet's GlobalSeek

Many companies, and in particular quoted companies, are now putting
their Reports & Accounts online, which in time will lead to new ways 
for companies to enfranchise their shareholders.  There are a range 
of companies building links to this information.  For UK PLCs try the 
UK Equities Direct service from Hemmington Scott, which contains 
financial information on all quoted UK companies.  For US companies 
try the Annual Report Gallery site.

Company information on the net doesn't stop at the traditional stuff
though.  There's all kinds of 'research' that you can do.  Quite 
apart from having a good browse through the information they put on 
their corporate web site, which in itself is often fascinating, you 
can search the news wires about the company (for example on the 
various news sites like the FT's or the Wall Street Journal).  
Alternatively, you can use NetMind to alert you when the company's 
site changes.  Finally, what about something distinctly sneaky, try 
searching DejaNews for postings from people with email addresses that 
use the company's domain! - The FT site - Wall Street Journal site - NetMind - DejaNews

Your Institute
Almost all the accounting institutes are starting to use the Internet
as a way to communicate with their members electronically.  They 
foresee a brave new world where accountants don't just pay their
annual dues as a quasi tax to be allowed to put letters after their 
names; they foresee their sites as cyber libraries that significantly 
leverage the power they have over their members.  All the Institutes 
have realised this, but some have got further in implementing
anything.  For example, the site from the Australian Society of 
Certified Practising Accountants (ASCPA) has a weekly newsletter that 
updates members with new information, reviews and features on its sit.
This is now sent to over 7,000 members each week.

At the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), there 
are now 10 different alerts to which users can subscribe, together 
with discussion forums and searchable databases of articles, events 
and student college exemptions.

Discussion Forums have historically been the carrot that has drawn
accountants to online services (this is the model that CompuServe
pioneered so successfully).  There are still many accountants using
the CSI forums; although project 'C' that was to make these available 
on the web has recently been shelved by new owners AOL.  However, the
functionality of online threaded message forums is now appearing on
the Web.  For example the Institute of Chartered Accountants in 
England and Wales (ICAEW) has recently moved its IT Faculty forums 
from CIX (a proprietary service) to their own site.

The current leading accountancy Institute site is probably the site 
from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), 
which of course has the largest membership in the world (over 
300,000) and contains a vast repository of information.  The one 
thing you can be confident of at sites like this is that you will not 
be asked to send off a 'self-addressed envelope' if you want to get 
hold of something.  Unfortunately it is still possible to experience 
this deceit at some European sites - mentioning no names!

Government Initiatives
As with the initiatives from the professional institutes, the
initiatives from the Government are also interesting.  If not only
because similarly they do not have to view the Web constrained by ROI
guidelines (bless them), but as a method of enfranchising their
constituencies (and hopefully as a way of saving costs).  In the US,
citizens are actively encouraged to use the Internet for all their
dealings with Government.  Check out the 'Digital Daily' from the
IRS, and then compare this with our Inland Revenue home page, which, 
as I write this piece on the morning of Gordon Brown's second Budget,
contains absolutely no mention of events this afternoon. - The IRS Digital Daily - Inland Revenue home page

The most interesting initiative in the UK is the recent launch of
EnterpriseZone; a site that is intended as a hand-holding service for
small businesses.

AccountingWEB is a Internet resource and community for accountancy
professionals, as well as hosting a large range of general business
resources.  It incorporates software support and discussion forums,
accountancy news alerts, access to company information, and a 
PressZone into which suppliers to the industry post information about 
their products.  It also contains a couple of unique features.  
Firstly we have developed a search engine that exclusively indexes 
40-50 business sites.  Run every night this results in a more 
focussed and up-to-date index than many of the traditional wide-area 
search engines that search the whole of the web.  Secondly, we 
feature a dynamic directory of UK accounting firms.  This means that 
all the firms in the directory are able to update their page 24 hours 
a day under password control.  What's more, this service is entirely 
free to firms. - AccountingWEB

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Ben Heald is the editor of AccountingWEB (and also BusinessZone -
equivalent product for small businesses), which was voted European
Information Product of the Year at the Online '97 exhibition at 
Olympia last December.  He edits two electronic newsletters, the 
Prudent Surfer, a weekly summary of Internet developments of interest 
to accountancy professionals; and the Accountant's Internet Monitor, 
which is sent to all registered users of AccountingWEB.  Members of 
the ICAEW can hear him at their Annual Conference (7 July 1998), 
where he is speaking on 'Financial Reporting on the Web'.
Ben can be contacted by e-mail at

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                           FORUM FEEDBACK

                         "Free Pint Forum"

This is our own Bulletin Board service which is provided for your 
use. There are some interesting conversational threads developing 
on subjects ranging from genealogy to evaluating websites for quality 
information - a concept very close to our hearts at Free Pint. So 
thank you to all those who have already posted topics and requests 
for further information. Meanwhile, the following recent postings are 
waiting for some of you to respond so don't be shy, give it a try. 

For instance, do you know what the XML standard is all about and if 
so will it help encourage better interchangeability between Web 
formats and printed material?  Would you like a list of UK search 
tools in HTML format - it's up for grabs via the Forum pages. Next, 
someone wants to learn how to build a search engine - can you point 
the enquirer in the right direction (preferably without suggesting a 
preliminary search on an existing search engine)?

Two other current postings cover respectively a plea for information 
on resources for Web users with various disabilities and details of 
a site which lists places where you can submit classified adverts and 
get certain business resources for free.

If these topics don't whet your appetite why not use the Forum to 
make your own contributions to finding useful information on the 
Internet - now it's over to you.

Why not take a look now at the Free Pint Forum on the Web site at:


Rex Cooke, Editor

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Please note, if you write to us we will not publish your letter if
you do not wish us to, and cannot guarantee a reply to all letters.
Letters may be edited for content and length, and we will withhold 
your contact details if you wish.

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We hope you have enjoyed this issue, and look forward to sending you
the next issue from our new offices.

                       See you in two weeks,
                           Kind regards,
                   William Hann, Managing Editor

(c) Willco 1998

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Free Pint (ISSN 1460-7239) is a free email newsletter for anyone who
uses the Internet to get information for their work in any business
or organisation. The newsletter is written by professionals who share 
how they find quality and reliable information on the Internet.

More details about subscribing, contributing or advertising can be
found at or call +44 (0)171 681 1653

Please note: The newsletter is published by the information
consultancy Willco (, and the publishers
will NEVER make the subscriber list available to any other company
or organisation.

The opinions, advice, products and services offered herein are the
sole responsibility of the contributors. Whilst all reasonable care
has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the publication, the
publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions.

This publication may be freely copied and/or distributed in its
entirety. However, individual sections MAY NOT be copied and/or
distributed without the prior written agreement of the publishers.
All rights reserved.

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