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Newsletter No.109


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                             Free Pint
         "Helping 47,000 people use the Web for their work"
                     http://www.freepint.com/

ISSN 1460-7239                                  4th April 2002 No.109
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                           IN THIS ISSUE

                             EDITORIAL

                       MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                         From Jane Waddell

                    FREE PINT BAR & STUDENT BAR
                    In Association with Factiva
                   a Dow Jones & Reuters Company
                     Reviewed by Simon Collery

                                JOBS
                  Business Information Researcher
                   Project Manager - Pubs & Subs
                        Senior Stats Manager

                           TIPS ARTICLE
                      "The War Against SPAM"
                          By Stuart Cliffe

                             BOOKSHELF
  "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference"
                    Reviewed by Marylaine Block

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
  "Finding Chemical Information on the Web - the User's Viewpoint"
                   By Deborah Kahn and Jenny Drey

               EVENTS, GOLD AND FORTHCOMING ARTICLES

                        CONTACT INFORMATION

             ONLINE VERSION WITH ACTIVATED HYPERLINKS
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/040402.htm>

         ADOBE ACROBAT VERSION WITH NEWSLETTER FORMATTING
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/040402.pdf>


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                      >>>  ABOUT FREE PINT  <<<

Free Pint is an online community of information researchers. Members
receive this free newsletter every two weeks packed with tips on
finding quality and reliable business information on the Internet.

Joining is free at <http://www.freepint.com/> and provides access to
the substantial archive of articles, book reviews, jobs, industry news
& events, with answers to your research questions and networking at
the Free Pint Bar. Please circulate this newsletter which is best
read when printed out.

To receive the Adobe Acrobat version as an attachment or a brief
notification when it's online, visit <http://www.freepint.com/member>.

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                             EDITORIAL

We all get a bee in our bonnet about something sometime. When writing
the Editorial in the last edition of Free Pint, I couldn't help
wondering if it is just me who was frustrated with the lack of human
interaction and networking at conferences I've attended recently.

I posted my thoughts at the Free Pint Bar and asked if anyone had any
solutions or ideas. I received a tremendous response, with replies
coming from all over the world <http://www.freepint.com/go/b16645>.

Seasoned networkers posted about the importance of scheduled informal
discussion sessions, perhaps over lunch. Often the best time to make
contacts is over coffee or whilst queueing for a buffet lunch. Popular
techniques in the US apparently include labelled interest tables where
a facilitator encourages networking about a particular topic, over a
coffee and Danish. There can be designated areas for networking, and a
separate break-out room where delegates can chat to a speaker after
the session.

Pre-conference workshops give newcomers a chance to get up to speed,
whilst being an ice-breaker for regular attendees and speakers before
the main event. Running less formal sessions in parallel to the main
lecture sessions works well too, where small group sessions can focus
on discussion and the sharing of experiences. Umbrella conferences
give networking opportunities across specialisms, whilst social
events, trips and visits are good ice-breakers too.

Conference organisers are encouraged to establish beforehand the
reasons for the delegates attending. Attendees at one small networking
event were handed a sheet on arrival with suggestions of people they
might like to meet, based on common reasons for attending. Coloured
badges or ribbons can show areas of interest or the track a delegate
is following. This information and the organisation name should be
given as much prominence on the badge as the delegate's name.

I was delighted to see a number of conference organisers also posting
at the Bar, urging us to give them feedback and suggestions via the
event questionnaires or on the Web. Likewise, I would urge organisers
to provide decent community support on the Web, allowing visitors to
arrange meetings and post requests for information, and after the
event to get slides and ask questions we wished we'd asked at the
time. A delegate list is valuable too, both before and after the
event, and not just posted on a noticeboard. If there are concerns
about data privacy, then ask delegates for their permission to be
included. Most will be willing.

With all that said, it is probably up to the individual to be
proactive in their networking, and some are better at it than others.
Why not wander around with someone who has different contacts to you?
It can be difficult for newcomers to an industry, and old hands can
consider mentoring in this way.

The poster of this suggestion likens it to tying in with 'connectors'
as described in Malcolm Gladwell's 'The Tipping Point'. Since this
book has so many relevant suggestions for this discussion, and has
recently been published in paperback format, we've included a review
of it in today's Free Pint.

Thank you to all those who responded in such detail to my
frustrations. Whether you're a seasoned pro, a conference organiser,
or a nervous networker, I would strongly recommend you take a look at
the great bunch of replies at <http://www.freepint.com/go/b16645>.

As well as the book review, there are lots of other great tips,
articles and reviews in today's Free Pint. I really hope you get a
lot out of it and share this issue with your friends and colleagues.

Best regards
William

             William Hann, Founder and Managing Editor
      Email: <william@freepint.com>   Tel: +44 (0)1784 420044
Free Pint is a Registered Trademark of Free Pint Limited (c) 1997-2002

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                       MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                         From Jane Waddell

* <http://www.evca.com/> - The European Venture Capital Association
  has published the first report on Corporate venturing activity
  across the continent - essential background reading.

* <http://www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/> - Provides details on how to
  take advantage of tax breaks for corporate ventures, as well as
  general UK tax information.

* <http://www.businesslink.org/> - Information on setting up and
  running a small business in the UK, corporate venturing and
  government initiatives to encourage venturing.

* <http://www.dda.gov.uk/> - The DDA is the corporate venturing arm
  of the British government's Ministry of Defence. Features
  technology transfer links and case studies.

* <http://www.qinetiq.com/> - QinetiQ is a new science and technology
  company formed by the MOD. The site offers a free newsletter of
  news, information and expert views.

Jane Waddell is an Executive Director of TLTVenturing
<http://www.tltventuring.com/>, a technology partnership agency who link
innovative technology businesses to companies seeking leading-edge
technologies.

Email your top five favourite Web sites to <simon@freepint.com> or
see the guidelines at <http://www.freepint.com/author.htm>.

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   How many information and Internet-related publications do you
 read each month? For the Free Pint Pub Crawl we monitor over 180,
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                           FREE PINT BAR
                    In Association with Factiva
                   a Dow Jones & Reuters Company
                           
                     Reviewed by Simon Collery
          <http://www.freepint.com/issues/040402.htm#bar>


Free Pint Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar>
-------------------------------------------

   [Note: To read a Bar posting enter the message number in place
    of XXXXX in the address http://www.freepint.com/go/bXXXXX ]

We sometimes face a dilemma in the Free Pint Bars. For example, if we
get postings about bank sort codes, the postings are then indexed by
search engines and we get more people looking for the same thing.
Definitive sources of sort codes have been posted but people don't
seem to look at them. We've added a note in the Bar Guidelines to say
that we no longer accept postings about them. But people who don't
bother looking back through a thread will probably not bother to look
at the Bar Guidelines (16661)! Where will it all end?

Meanwhile, business researchers have been busying themselves with
enquiries about European companies investing in South Africa (16631),
a professional body for business developers (16800), an oil company
called Odeco (16701), investigating a company's past (16702), copies
of CEOs' speeches (16861) and European civil and criminal court
records (16896).

There were finance oriented postings about free sources of historical
market caps (16895), historical FT100 information (16633), the number
of UK fund management companies (16778) and banking services for
offshore companies set up to avoid tax (16672).

Other researchers have been looking into online communities in
general (16681), building communities of Web owners (16822),
copyright (16863), employee expense management (16742), the UK
funeral service industry (16809), individuals linked to organised
crime (16899), indexing quality control (16781), finding old articles
(16676) and the role of women in employment in East and Southern
Africa (16728).

As usual, plenty of good Web resources have been noted and
recommended. These include library catalogue search resources
(16640), best practices for presenting information in strategic and
marketing plans (16828), non-UK pharmaceutical industry news sites
(16638), research and development expenditure for engineering and
manufacturing companies (16667) and UK petrol prices (16836).

In the last couple of weeks I reviewed Google's new news search tool
(16793) and a site where you can look up basic data on all the
countries of the world (16898).

Technical queries have arisen about using Access 97 with Windows XP
(16773), blocking foreign language emails (16775), tools for storing
and accessing favourites (16657), archive search tools (16802),
problems with Yahoo! mail (16841), converting files in Cubase (16825),
scanning paper archives (16668), monitor problems (16830), offsite
archive storage (16807), printing the contents of Outlook Express
folders (16753), file indexing software (16834) and free Quark
Express readers (16837).

The more miscellaneous queries have been about job profiles for
content managers (16737), music in TV adverts (16840), popular music
resources (16632), Virgil's Eclogues online (16867), dietary
treatments for allergies (16641), a Chinese proverb (16735), UK
immigration (16763) and the usual handful of Latin phrases (16662,
16720, 16864). And that just about sums it up for the last couple of
weeks.

   [Note: To read a Bar posting enter the message number in place
    of XXXXX in the address http://www.freepint.com/go/bXXXXX ]


Free Pint Student Bar <http://www.freepint.com/student>
-------------------------------------------------------

  [Note: To read a Student Bar posting enter the message number in
  place of XXXX in the address <http://www.freepint.com/go/sXXXX>]

In the Student Bar there's been talk of the Information Society in
developing countries (2384), divorce law (2390), designing an
electric vehicle charging station (2402), the information needs of
deaf students at university (2403), share price event study
methodology (2413), subject headings for retrieval of images (2414)
and research methodologies (2415).

There have also been postings about summer internships in radio and
TV (2383), internships in HR (2410) and opportunities for
librarianship graduates in English speaking countries other than the
UK (2419).

  [Note: To read a Student Bar posting enter the message number in
  place of XXXX in the address <http://www.freepint.com/go/sXXXX>]

      Simon Collery, Content Developer <simon@freepint.com>

If you have a tricky research question or can help other Free Pinters
then do post a message at the Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar> or
the Student Bar <http://www.freepint.com/student>.

To have the latest Bar postings sent to you every other day, log in to
your account online at <http://www.freepint.com/member>.

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As well as the details below, you might also like to check out the
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Here are some of the latest featured jobs:

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                           TIPS ARTICLE
         <http://www.freepint.com/issues/040402.htm#tips>

                      "The War Against SPAM"
                          By Stuart Cliffe

Virtually everyone with an email address seems to suffer from
unsolicited emails for commercial, personal or pornographic services.

There are various names for this sort of email.  Probably the oldest
(with apologies to a well-known luncheon meat) is 'SPAM'.

Spam seems much more intrusive than junk mail delivered by post.
Perhaps because the information is delivered direct to your computer
and can be read by anyone, or because much of the content would
probably be illegal if sent by post.  The language and pictures used
can be very worrying for parents of young children.

The usual queries about spam include - Why Spam?  How did they get my
email address?  -and-  What can I do about it?


Why Spam?
---------

Spam is a highly cost effective way to generate income.  Sending the
same information by post would be extremely costly - and in some cases
illegal. Dealing with replies would be expensive in terms of an
enquiry telephone line, reply-paid envelopes, and generally coping
with the results of the mailing.  Also the person operating the scheme
would be highly visible, traceable through telephone and office rental
records, and subject to possible legal attack in the country
concerned.

On the other hand, sending information by email is very cheap - a
telephone connection allows tens or hundreds of thousands of emails to
be sent anonymously more or less at the stroke of a key, and for the
cost of a local phone call.  The contents can be anything - spammers
send from email addresses set up especially for that mailing, with
replies to different email addresses or to websites with disguised
addresses.

No matter how unlikely the offer, for every 100,000 emails sent,
there are bound to be a certain number of replies - and even if these
are requests to 'unsubscribe', the spammer is happy.  These are
confirmed live email addresses that can be sold on to others, and
used for future mailings.

There are all sorts of reasons for spam - some viruses generate their
own little spam shower in the course of transmitting the infection to
others; emails may be deliberately offensive to panic people into
using the 'unsubscribe' option - and confirm that their address is
valid; various frauds try to part you from your money; porn sites
try to tempt new members to subscribe; hackers send 'trojans' to get
control of computers, or persuade the unwary to visit websites that
can install unfriendly software on your machine.

All of the above should suggest that if you receive an unwanted,
unexpected or just plain suspicious email, the best response is NOT
to reply to it, open it or do anything other than delete it - or
report it to the system it came from.


How did they get my email address?
----------------------------------

If you ever gave your email address to apply for a username and
password for a website; signed a guest book; sent a newsgroup
message; emailed a query; or (the worst case) sent an 'unsubscribe'
request, your email address became public property.  Even if you have
not done any of these things, your address may be churned out by a
random address generator.

Don't be confused if you receive an email apparently addressed to
someone else,  or to 'undisclosed recipients'.  Emails can be 'blind
copied' (BCC'd) to a long list of addresses, but each person will see
only the original 'to' address, not the - possibly thousands - of BCC
addresses used by the spammer.


What can I do about it?
-----------------------

To protect children from seeing unwanted mails, and to deal
automatically with as much spam as possible, it is necessary to
become a little technical - or to know someone who can do the
necessary setting up.

Complaining about each item you receive would help to stamp out spam
more quickly, but that does require that you read and carry out some
work on each email.  You may decide it's better to delete as much as
possible and only protest at anything which catches your eye as being
especially annoying.

Virtually all email software includes message 'rules' which allow the
user to move emails around and delete them based on the sender, the
recipient or the content.

For children, you may want to set up an arrangement that will only
allow emails i) addressed to the correct email address AND ii) sent by
one of a small number of specified email addresses to be put into a
personal mail box.  You can limit receipt of emails to those sent by
friends and family.

For older email users, a small number of rules should take care of
most junk email.  Try to find email software like Outlook Express that
can delete emails from the server, without even downloading the
message to your computer.

Because much spam is not addressed personally, you can delete any
message that does not show a correct email address.

Because porn spam includes words or phrases you would not expect to
see in normal correspondence it is possible to delete any message that
contains those terms - a rule that may be unpleasant to set up, but
will avoid any further exposure.

If these rules for some reason exclude emails you do want to receive,
you can set up an 'exception' for specific sending email addresses.

If spam still sneaks through, you may be able to set up additional
rules, or vary an existing rule to exclude stray messages.

Much more information is available from your email software help
screens, and generally on the Internet.  Look on one of the main
search engines under 'spam'.


Reporting Spam
--------------

Most responsible Internet service providers take a very dim view of
spam, attempted fraud, or any other abuse of their standard terms and
conditions. If you are particularly offended by a specific email,
you need to learn to read the header information to identify where it
came from.  This may have nothing to do with the email address shown
in the 'from' information - spammers can easily forge such
information.  For this reason don't overreact when you report the
problem to the 'abuse@' address of the ISP.  If you do make any such
reports, send the header of the email as well as the message text.

Don't under any circumstances seek revenge - your technical expertise
is almost certainly not up to it.  'Mailbomb' software exists that
can fill up your mailbox with thousands of duplicate messages to cut
you off from any email contact.  Your ISP may shut down your own
account if you have major problems.


And finally
-----------

Unless you are an Internet anorak, you may not appreciate that the
Spam wars have generated an increasingly sophisticated range of
weapons. Software will now search through the Internet for contact
email addresses left on websites, guest books and in newsgroups.
Defensive software can generate spoof email addresses to confuse such
searches.

Spam specialist email software can mail out in bulk from a disguised
address, keep track of responses, eliminate duplications and
highlight 'confirmed' addresses from unsubscribe requests.  Similar
routines can also provide all possible email addresses at a specific
domain just by working through popular combinations of nouns and
names.

Emails can contain 'spyware' - even just reading the email loads an
illustration into the message and can confirm your email address back
to the sender.

While viruses are only peripherally connected with spam; never,
never, EVER open an attachment to an email - even from a friend -
unless you know exactly what it is and were already expecting it.

Beware even of following a link from an email to a web page - the link
may start a disguised attachment and infect your machine, or a web
page may use built in scripting to place a file on your computer which
gives someone else control of your system.

If you access the Internet, you must have up to date antivirus
software, and it is advisable to have a 'firewall' which controls all
access to and from your computer.

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Stuart Cliffe is originally an insurance underwriting, marketing and
systems specialist based in Wales. Chief Executive of the National
Association of Bank + Insurance Customers he is also an expert on
consumer and small business financial service issues.

Contact him via the NABIC website <http://www.LemonAid.net>

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Related Free Pint links:

* "Internet Searching" articles and tipples in the Free Pint Portal
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/p185>
* Read this article online, with activated hyperlinks
  <http://www.freepint.com/issues/040402.htm#tips>
* Post a message to the author, Stuart Cliffe, or suggest further 
  resources, at the Free Pint Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar>
* Access the entire archive of Free Pint articles and issues
  <http://www.freepint.com/portal/content/>

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                        FREE PINT BOOKSHELF
                <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf>

  "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference"
                    Written by Malcolm Gladwell
                    Reviewed by Marylaine Block

Gladwell has written here the best explanation I've seen of the meme
theory: that ideas operate like germs and spread like epidemics. Why,
he asks, did Hush Puppies, a nearly moribund shoe brand, suddenly
become cool? Why did Paul Revere succeed in not only spreading the
news that the British were coming, but arousing men to armed
resistance, when another man who also carried the news might as well
have stayed home for all the good he did? Gladwell says there are
three conditions that matter in the spread of ideas: the law of the
few, the stickiness factor, and the power of context.

The few who matter, he says, are connectors, mavens, and salesmen. The
connectors are people like Paul Revere, whose acquaintance is so wide
and varied that they can spread an idea across many disparate groups
that have no contact with each other. I think that's kind of what I
do, really, because people come to me from all different directions,
some because of BookBytes, some because of Best Info, some because of
ExLibris; others come because of columns I've written on wildly
varying topics like rock music or Dr. Kevorkian or the value of
government.

Another group is the mavens, the people who are well-known both for
expert knowledge and enthusiasm -- think of Stephen Jay Gould, for
instance, who bubbles over with ideas and knowledge and connections
between them, but also with eagerness to tell people about what he's
learned. Then there are the salesmen, the born persuaders; think, for
instance, about the kids you knew in high school who could wear
something odd and different and instantly make it cool and trendy.

That's not enough in itself, though, according to Gladwell; there has
to be stickiness as well, something that gives people a reason to
register the idea in their minds. One example he gives is a cheesy bit
of advertising that told people to look for a gold seal in a record
club ad that they could cut out and trade in for free CDs. Looking for
the gold seal gave people a reason to pay attention to the ads. He
draws other examples from the development and testing of Sesame Street
and another children's show, Blue's Clues.

But context matters just as much. Gladwell draws on a lot of classic
experiments in social psychology and even biology to explain why some
situations nourish the spread of ideas and some do not. How did Divine
Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood become a best-seller? By being
discovered by small groups of women, who all told their other friends,
who spread it in their own small groups. Ideas spread best, it seems,
within small groups of less than 150 people, the largest size group
within which people can actually know each other and understand the
complex relationships among the group members. Other contextual
factors that influence the spread of ideas include prevailing beliefs,
genetics, and diffusion of responsibility (if enough people are
present in a crisis, many people won't act because they believe
somebody else will).

He keeps his thesis lively and convincing by drawing his illustrations
from all over the place -- studies of smoker behavior, the epidemic of
youth suicide in Micronesia, the deliberate keep-it-small management
strategy of Gore-Tex, the stabbing of Kitty Genovese while 38 people
watched, the way Bernhard Goetz became a folk hero ... Gladwell is a
born storyteller, and his book reads like a mystery you can't put
down. But it can also be read as a manual of useful strategies for
spreading our own memes -- better tax support for libraries, for
instance -- more effectively.

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Marylaine Block, who is known for building one of the first 
librarian web directories, Best Information on the Net (BIOTN), is
now a full-time writer, Internet trainer, and publisher of two ezines
for librarians, ExLibris <http://marylaine.com/exlibris/> and Neat
New Stuff I Found This Week <http://marylaine.com/neatnew.html>. 
She's written numerous articles for library publications, has edited
a book called The Quintessential Searcher: the Wit and Wisdom of
Barbara Quint [Information Today, 2001]
<http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf/quint.htm>, and is working on
another book about how librarians can manage the unintended
consequences of our technologies.

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Related Free Pint links:

* Find out more about this book online at the Free Pint Bookshelf
  <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf/tipping.htm>
* Read customer comments and buy this book at Amazon.co.uk
  <http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0349113467/freepint0c>
  or Amazon.com
  <http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0316346624/freepint00>
* "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference"
  ISBN 0316346624 (US) 0349113467 (UK) published by Back Bay
  Books (US) Abacus (UK) written by Malcolm Gladwell
* Search for and purchase any book from Amazon via the Free Pint
  Bookshelf at <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf>
* Read about other Internet marketing books on the Free Pint Bookshelf
  <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf/strategy.htm>

To propose an information-related book for review, send details 
to <bookshelf@freepint.com>.

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          >>>  LOOKING FOR A NEW JOB IN INFORMATION?  <<<

  Free Pint Jobs has lots of vacancies and you can set up an email
 profile to be alerted weekly to new jobs matching your experience.
           Try a search now and set up your profile at:
                   <http://www.freepint.com/jobs>

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                          FEATURE ARTICLE
        <http://www.freepint.com/issues/040402.htm#feature>

  "Finding Chemical Information on the Web - the User's Viewpoint"
                   By Deborah Kahn and Jenny Drey

In pre-online days, chemists relied on their libraries or information
departments to provide them with their information, and those who
weren't so lucky had to find their own papers. This was a slow,
painstaking and haphazard process. Later on, online services meant
easier but still restricted access, with limited library budgets which
were strictly controlled. Those who were lucky enough to have access
to skilled information professionals often found communication
breakdowns occurred, and the process was still relatively long-winded.
Researchers in corporate environments had to undergo a similar
process, but with more information specialists devoted to helping find
the information needed, and much larger budgets for online searching
and document delivery.

Now end user searching amongst chemists is an accepted part of the
job. Researchers now perform a great deal of searching that used to be
done by their information services department, for various reasons
including desktop access and decreasing numbers of information
professionals. This brings with it tremendous advantages for users,
such as greater speed and autonomy in their work. But there are also
problems attached - how can end-users reach the information they need
quickly, accurately and cheaply, and how can they reach the most
relevant information?

Many of the resources on the Web expect the user to be a sophisticated
searcher, and few differentiate between the differing needs of
chemists in their various roles. Most chemists are not trained
information searchers. They go to their desktop to find a piece of
information which can help them perform a specific task. They will be
unlikely to have any training in how to use the available sites, and
they rarely spend time reading the help pages.  So they need easy
access to as much relevant information as possible in one place,
where the links are obvious and navigation is simple. It is difficult
to talk about chemists as a homogeneous group - chemistry covers such
a broad spectrum of specialties that different chemists have different
information needs depending on what job they are doing.  An analytical
chemist could work as part of a drug development team in a
pharmaceutical company, as an academic, as a business manager, or
could be involved in testing in a government laboratory. Each of these
jobs requires access to different types of information in order to
solve different problems.

There are however similarities between the needs of the different
groups. Generally speaking, chemists need answers to questions that
arise in the course of their work. The sort of websites they need to
help them find these answers will feature a large number of searchable
journal articles, searchable information on properties of chemicals,
up-to-date news, and the facility to interact with their colleagues,
to ensure they are up-to-date.

DK Associates recently conducted a survey which provided some
excellent pointers as to how end users search and what sites help them
in which aspects of their jobs. Over 1300 chemists across the world
and across a range of disciplines answered an online questionnaire
which shed new light on their searching habits. One of the sections of
the questionnaire asked which of 11 different chemistry websites they
used in their work, how often and why. The following sites were
included in the survey:

<http://www.ch.cam.ac.uk>
A site for chemists maintained by University of Cambridge Chemistry
Department. 2000 links to sites including chemical information,
chemistry calculation tools, and information about research from the
department.

<http://www.chemind.org>
The online version of the magazine Chemistry and Industry. News,
reviews, features, research highlights from the magazine, equipment
news, jobs and events.

<http://www.chemindustry.com>
A directory and search engine for chemical and related industry
professionals. Database of 42,000 websites.

<http://www.chemistry.org>
A service of the American Chemical Society for its members and the
chemistry community. Information about the ACS, its publications,
products, sections. A careers and continuing education service.
Educational resources.

<http://www.chemsoc.org>
A service of the Royal Society of Chemistry acting as the
international chemical societies' electronic network. Links, chemical
news, events listing, careers information, educational resources.

<http://www.chemweb.com>
An information resource for those in research chemistry, the chemicals
industries and related disciplines. Information from over 250 full-
text journals and 30 databases, careers information, conference
listings, news and specialist forums based around specific chemical
fields.

<http://www.google.com>
A general search engine. An index of more than 3 billion URLs.

<http://www.scirus.com>
A search engine concentrating on scientific content only by searching
both web and journal sources. Searches the Web, ScienceDirect,
Medline, Beilstein Abstracts, Neuroscion, BioMedCentral and the USPTO.

<http://www.theScientificWorld.com>
A suite of products and services designed to enhance and accelerate
scientific research. Database of abstracts with links to scientific
literature, research news and alerts, funding opportunities, and
grants awarded; submission of funding proposal applications;
equipment, supplies or biological materials procurement; publication
of research findings.

<http://webbook.nist.gov/chemistry/>
Provides access to chemical and physical property data for chemical
species. Chemical, physical, thermochemical, thermophysical, and ion
energetics data.

<http://dir.yahoo.com/Science/Chemistry/>
Subset of a general search engine. Contains links to over 1400
chemistry related sites.

The results of this survey explained a lot about how chemists go about
finding their answers. Of the total sample involved in the survey, 15%
were analytical chemists. Analytical chemists spend their time
analysing or measuring materials using various methods such as
spectroscopy and chromatography, or developing new methods to do so.
To help them do their job they need journals, which give details of
analytical methods, databases which give information on chemical
properties, information on equipment and products with links to
manufacturers websites, and discussion groups which allow them to
interact with their peers. Over half of these chose ChemWeb first for
journal papers, followed closely by Google.

Organic chemists (17% of the survey), behaved in a similar way. These
chemists were searching first and foremost for literature, then for
compound and reaction information. Again, of these, half stated that
they found ChemWeb the most useful Internet site for them in their
work, followed by Google, and a somewhat smaller sector used
chemistry.org, the website of the American Chemical Society (ACS) -
the world's largest scientific society.

Management and Development users, on the other hand, need to keep up
with what is going on in their area, but do not as often need the
detailed information that analytical chemists or researchers need.
News and journal articles are by far the most looked for information
in their case, although they do also need chemical information,
methods and product information. They placed Google top of their
favourite Internet sites, on the basis of it being "a great search
engine". ChemWeb followed close behind on the strength of its variety,
but the other sites were barely used at all. Those in Manufacturing
gave a remarkably similar response, with Yahoo! mentioned as a third
favourite.

Looking at the broader picture, of the 1338 chemists surveyed, over
57% used ChemWeb several times a week, with 56% using Google several
times a week. Of the other chemical sites mentioned in the survey, the
next most accessed site was chemistry.org, with 15% using it more than
once a week, followed by ChemSoc with 12% using it more than once a
week.

So why do chemists use the sites they do? Let's take the overall most
popular site first of all - Google. With its ability to search 3
billion documents very swiftly, Google is an excellent starting point
for finding other sites which may contain the information needed.  In
every area of searching, Google would probably come very high up the
list of favourite sites.

What then sets ChemWeb apart, with the result that it is searched so
much more frequently than the other chemistry related sites?  It seems
to be the fact that chemists are able to use it in the same way that
they use Google. It is a good springboard from which to locate
information.  This is borne out by what one ChemWeb user, W. Jeffrey
Hurst, Clinical Professor of Comparative Medicine at the MS Hershey
Medical Center, says: "I usually use ChemWeb as my starting place due
to the diversity of resources. I find it easy to navigate and am able
to find a great deal of information not available without going to
multiple sites. As an active researcher and writer, I like the ability
to have access to abstracts of journals, and conference reports, and
the alerts let me know when the current issue of a journal is
available. That allows me to be more efficient, and allows me rapid
access to emerging research."

ChemWeb seems to be unique amongst chemistry websites in its ability
to satisfy the criteria which are so important for chemists seeking
quick answers in the course of their work. It is not just a site with
links, it contains lots of relevant hits and can give chemists answers
to their questions instantly, like Google. Not only that, but
searching across the site is free, and quite a large percentage of the
information held on the site is free as well.

There was a very clear-cut tendency amongst the participants of this
survey to use sites which allow easy access to a lot of relevant,
searchable data. Chemists are like anyone else - they basically want
to find their answers quickly and easily. Looking at the descriptions
of the sites covered, it does not seem surprising that chemists go to
ChemWeb. Other sites all have different aims. Some, such as
chemsoc.org and chemistry.org exist to provide information for members
of societies. Others are aiming at a much broader target market so do
not provide the relevance that ChemWeb does.

What does seem fairly clear is that information providers have to
understand their users' needs, and make life as easy for them as
possible. Chemists need information for their job, but looking for it
is not their job. Information professionals can make their own lives
easier in two ways, one of which is recommending the best websites to
their end users. They can help themselves too by using them themselves
as a springboard for their own searches.

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Deborah Kahn heads DK Associates, an independent consultancy which
specializes in helping information providers to understand the needs
of their users, and to design and produce products which meet those
needs. Deborah has spent 20 years working in the information and
publishing industries, including 10 years for the Thomson Corporation.
She can be contacted at DK Associates: <dk.n4@virgin.net>.

Jenny Drey is a freelance writer/marketing consultant who has worked
in the publishing/information industry for 15 years, in general
publishing and scientific, technical and medical. Her particular
interest lies in electronic publishing and primarily the Internet. She
can be contacted at <jenny.drey@dial.pipex.com>.

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Related Free Pint links:

* "Chemical Industry" articles and news in the Free Pint Portal
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/p19>
* Read this article online, with activated hyperlinks
  <http://www.freepint.com/issues/040402.htm#feature>
* Post a message to the authors, Deborah Kahn and Jenny Drey, or 
  suggest further resources, at the Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar>
* Access the entire archive of Free Pint content
  <http://www.freepint.com/portal/content/>

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                         FORTHCOMING EVENTS
                 <http://www.freepint.com/events>

The LAMIT and LITC conference "Content Management: for information
professionals" <http://www.freepint.com/go/e99> has been getting
attention at the Free Pint Bar. Content management is certainly
one of the hot topics for 2002.

"Knowledge Management" from Bizmedia is also in London this month
<http://www.freepint.com/go/e120>, and it was good to hear from them
on the Editorial topic of encouraging networking at conferences
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b16794>.

Further afield, in Mid-April the Cataloguing & Indexing Group of
The Library Association (now CILIP <http://www.cilip.org.uk>) hold
their conference in Newcastle which "... will focus on the
convergence of standards and the fast changing pace of development."
<http://www.freepint.com/go/e117>.

Even further afield but at the same time, Infonortics' sixth "Search
Engine Meeting" takes place in San Francisco with some top names from
the search engine world <http://www.freepint.com/go/e110>.

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Details of these and many other conferences and exhibitions in the
information industry can be found on the Free Pint Events page
<http://www.freepint.com/events>.

Submit details of your event for free promotion, and keep us informed
of any changes to current listings.

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                           FREE PINT GOLD

This time last year we took a fun look at crime fiction online, and
had a site-packed feature on Web resources about different aspects
of the history of the USA.

* Free Pint No.84, 29th March 2001. "In the Footsteps of Miss
  Marple - Female Detective Fiction Online" and "Quest for Liberty:
  History of the United States of America"
  <http://www.freepint.com/issues/290301.htm>

Two years ago there was a guided tour of some great museum Web
sites, whilst the feature looked at the rapid rise of Internet usage
and technological infrastructure in the Middle East.

* Free Pint No.59, 30th March 2000. "Virtual Visits: Links to museums
  and the like on the WWW" and "Internet Development in the
  Middle East" <http://www.freepint.com/issues/300300.htm>

In 1999 we welcomed articles from two very popular contributors.
Immigration has been a popular topic at the Bar, and Anne Ku covered
resources about emigrating to the UK. Meanwhile, CI expert Amelia
Kassel gave many practical tips for performing competitive
intelligence research on the Web. For more CI resources see Simon's
recent Tipple at <http://www.freepint.com/go/b16614>.

* Free Pint No.35, 1st April 1999. "UK Immigration Sources on the
  Web" and "The Internet for Competitive Intelligence"
  <http://www.freepint.com/issues/010499.htm>

Four years ago, Free Pinters needed reminding about the importance of
managing domain names, and took advice on effective online job
hunting from the ever popular seasoned pro, Sue Hill.

* Free Pint No.11, 2nd April 1998. "The International Marketing Power
  of Domain Names" and "Job Hunting on the Net"
  <http://www.freepint.com/issues/020498.htm>

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                   FREE PINT FORTHCOMING ARTICLES
                           [Provisional]

           * Animal & Pet Resources * Legal Sources *
           * Technology Transfer * Virtual Reference *
         * Trade Unions on the Net * Biomedical Sources *
        * Web Usability Resources * Mobile Phone Industry *
         * Toxicology * Video Games * International Law *
             * Academic, Economic and Social Science *

If you have a suggestion for an article topic or would like to write
for Free Pint then please contact me or sign up for the regular Author
Update on the Web site at <http://www.freepint.com/author.htm>.

                Rex Cooke, Editor <rex@freepint.com>

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                              GOODBYE

Many thanks for reading today's Free Pint and we hope you got a lot
out of it. Don't forget to check out the Bar discussion about
networking at conferences <http://www.freepint.com/go/b16645> and
forward this newsletter to others who might find it useful.

                       See you in two weeks!

             William Hann, Founder and Managing Editor
                      <william@freepint.com>

(c) Free Pint Limited 1997-2002
<http://www.freepint.com/>

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                        CONTACT INFORMATION

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Key contacts:

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Free Pint (ISSN 1460-7239) is a free newsletter written by information 
professionals who share how they find quality and reliable information
on the Internet.  Useful to anyone who uses the Web for their work, it
is published every two weeks by email.

To subscribe, unsubscribe, find details about contributing, 
advertising or to see past issues, please visit the Web site at 
<http://www.freepint.com/> or email <info@freepint.com>.

Please note: Free Pint is a registered trademark of, and published by,
Free Pint Limited. The publishers will NEVER make the subscriber list
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The opinions, advice, products and services offered herein are the
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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
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Write to Rex Cooke, Editor <rex@freepint.com> for more details.
Product names used in Free Pint are for identification purposes only,
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