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Newsletter No.20


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                             Free Pint
         "Helping 10,000 people make the most of the Web"
                    http://www.freepint.co.uk/
ISSN 1460-7239                                      6 August 1998 #20
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                           IN THIS ISSUE

                             EDITORIAL

                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
                  "Trade Associations on the Web"
                        by Alison Scammell

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
                  "The Need For News Aggregation"
                          by Nick Gilbert

                        FREE PINT FEEDBACK

                        CONTACT INFORMATION

              ONLINE VERSION WITH ACTIVATED HYPERLINKS
            http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/060898.htm

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                      TRADE ASSOCIATION DATA
         BROUGHT TO YOU EXCLUSIVELY BY THE INVESTEXT GROUP

Industry Insider is the first and only electronic collection of trade 
association research and analysis from more than 170 trade 
associations worldwide. Use it to locate growth trends, production 
rates, consumer buying/spending habits, export/import data, sales 
figures, market share, financial ratios, regulatory data and 
numerous types of economic indicators and industry statistics.
For the full list of trade associations available visit 
our web site at www.investext.com

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                             EDITORIAL

Summer seems to have finally arrived here in the UK and so we've
produced a bumper issue for you to print and ponder in the sun!

We start with an overview of trade association data available on
the Web, followed by an enlightening look at the need for news
aggregation sites.

If you enjoy Free Pint then we hope you will help us circulate our 
News Release to your favourite publications and journalists. You will
find the Release in a separate email. Free Pint can remain free to 
you if you keep spreading the word far and wide.

The Free Pint Team are taking a short break for the summer, and so
there won't be an issue in two weeks time.  However we will return 
on the 3rd of September fully rested and hopefully tanned! We would
also like you to join us in welcoming Jane, our new administrator, 
who can be contacted by email to jane@freepint.co.uk.

May I now invite you to read on and enjoy your twentieth Free Pint!

Kind regards,
William Hann, Managing Editor

e: william@freepint.co.uk
t: +44 (0)1784 455 435
f: +44 (0)1784 455 436

PS: Free Pint looks best in a fixed width font like Courier, and 
is easier to read and use if you print it out first. Visit
http://www.freepint.co.uk/ for all past issues, advertising & 
authoring details. Also reserve your free copy there or by 
emailing subs@freepint.co.uk.

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                *** Information for Advertisers ***
           Full rate card and circulation data available
           including regular free email progress update
               http://www.freepint.co.uk/advert.htm

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                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

                  "Trade Associations on the Web"
                        by Alison Scammell

Trade associations have a number of different roles but one of their
most important functions is collecting, organising and supplying
information. They provide centres of expertise and specialised
knowledge on specific industries and markets and are a useful first
port of call for anyone doing research in these areas. 

A major strength of trade associations is that they are able to
provide the very latest news on developments in an industry and press
releases are readily available. You will find though that a lot of the
information made available via trade association web sites is for
association members only and much of the material is password
protected. Although many trade associations feature online bookshops
and lists of publications you may be disappointed that very little in
the way of in-depth research is available via the Internet.

There are trade associations for just about every kind of activity and
human endeavour. Some are very large organisations covering a wide
range of different aspects of a major industry like that provided by
the Association of British Insurers (http://www.abi.org.uk/). This
web site is very typical of the kind of structure and information you
are likely to find on offer by trade association web sites providing
fact sheets, market briefings, policy statements, statistical data,
consumer information and an industry overview. 

But trade association web sites are not just for heavy duty industry
research. More ephemeral data can also be found from trade association
sources on the web. For example, if you are looking for some new
recipe ideas you could do worse than try the British Trout Association
(http://www.fishlink.co.uk/trout/). Or checkout the history of ice
cream at the web site of the Ice Cream Alliance
(http://www.ice-cream.org/) and, while you are there, pick up some
consumer tips on shopping for ice cream and the best way to get it
home. You may be surprised at the range of trades with associations
and web sites on offer. Did you know there was a Miniaturists' Trade
Association? This is a trade association representing many of the
United Kingdom's leading miniaturists, including makers and retailers
of dolls houses, dolls house furniture and accessories
(http://www.minta.co.uk/index.htm).

In the UK at least, trade associations have generally been fairly slow
to recognise the Internet as an important information delivery
mechanism but the situation is now beginning to change. As part of the
UK government's Information Society Initiative there has been
considerable support and encouragement for trade associations to
develop web sites and the Trade Association Network Challenge web site
(http://www.brainstorm.co.uk/TANC/Welcome.html) is one starting point
for locating UK trade associations on the web. This site claims to
provide "the Web's most comprehensive UK Trade Association Directory"
but only a few of the entries have direct links to association home
pages. A more useful link for researchers looking for web-based trade
association material on this site is at
http://www.brainstorm.co.uk/TANC/Bookmarks/Associations.html. This is
a very selective list however and it's as well to try some other
resources.

A more powerful search facility for locating trade associations is
provided by The American Society of Association Executives
(http://www.asaenet.org/). Their Gateway to Associations Online is a
fast and easy way to locate trade association web sites worldwide but
you will only be able to search on trade association names, so a
certain amount of trial and error is involved. There are many web
sites claiming to provide directories and links to trade associations
but so many of these are poorly structured and organised and contain
very few or even redundant hyper-links.

One of the best ways to locate trade associations on the web is to use
one of the most popular search engines. Yahoo's directory structure
provides a long list of trade associations at
http://www.yahoo.co.uk/Business_and_Economy/Organisations/Trade_Assoc
iations/. These give an international focus but British sites are
"flagged" for easy identification. Yahoo is probably the best way to
search for trade associations by industry sector. By starting at this
URL you can also click on a specific industry. Clicking on
"construction" for example revealed about 50 trade association sites
world wide, covering all possible aspects of the construction
industry. 

It is easy to refine this search even further: you could check out the
web site of the Precast Concrete Institute ("the international
membership organisation dedicated to fostering greater understanding
and use of precast and prestressed concrete") at http://www.pci.org/
or the National Aggregates Association
(http://www.nationalaggregates.org/), the trade association
representing the interests of sand, gravel, and crushed stone
producers.

The information provided by trade associations on the web is varied
but limited. You can find lots of useful facts and figures on a vast
range of industries and activities but you may well be disappointed at
the lack of in-depth research and industry analysis. Much of the
information is only available for association members but the web
sites do provide useful starting points for basic industry research. 

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Alison Scammell is an independent information management consultant
combining consultancy, writing and training. She is also a researcher
at City University's Department of Information Science
(http://www.soi.city.ac.uk) studying end user aspects of the Internet
and the information needs of teleworkers. Alison can be reached via
email (alison@zayin.demon.co.uk) or by calling +44 (0)181 466 1372.

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                          FREE PINT FACT

                If all 10,000 Free Pint subscribers
              were to stand shoulder to shoulder ...

                    ... the line would stretch
                  almost 4 miles (or 6 kilometres)!

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                          FEATURE ARTICLE

                  "The Need For News Aggregation"
                          by Nick Gilbert

There is little doubt that we are all information junkies in one form
or another. We have a need to know that is almost insatiable. The
arrival of the Internet has both satisfied and confounded that need.
On the one hand we now have a cheap form of accessing news that is of
interest to us, while on the other we are confounded by the
complexity of finding that information. We also suffer from that
niggling feeling that we are missing out, that while we are aware of
information from one news source we are missing something from
another.

It's become a tired old cliche that "information is power"; it's
perhaps more accurate to say that "lack of information is
dis-empowering". Basically, knowing what is going on in your industry
is valuable and even sometimes entertaining. But how do you keep in
touch?

The simple fact is that there are too many sources of information.
Broadly called 'the media' we are now in a position where we are
choosing other technology to sort this media. Information providers
charge fees for doing this but is it really necessary to pay for what
is already available on the Internet? Clearly it is if the
information provider filters and arranges information in ways that
cannot be achieved otherwise.

But what we are beginning to see is that despite the adage
"information is power" a new trend is emerging: "information is cheap"
or getting cheaper. The arrival of new and faster distribution
techniques and notably browser-based services has led to an
increasing pressure on pricing as services compete on a more equal
playing field and publishers offer more and more information at lower
and lower cost.

This has led to publishers competing to give information away, for 
the most part, on the Internet. A strange concept indeed but
something they have been happy to do to some extent to be seen to be
involved in new media and also to look at ways of developing new
revenues through online communities. The Wall Street Journal has been
the most successful sticking to a policy of selling its online news
for $49 a year. It's a cost that over 100,000 subscribers are happy
to pay. But few other papers can emulate this and most prefer to
compete to be first to provide news online seeing it as adding value
to paper-based services. The fears that online publishing would erode
print products have for the most part disappeared.

At NewsNow we estimate that there are over 500 news sources that are
of regular interest to our subscribers. Most people however only
regularly use around ten bookmarks. They either don't know where a
site is or simply can't be bothered to go there regularly.

This is a problem for those running sites and for those seeking
information.

This calls for a simple solution. The development of sites that
aggregate. By this, I mean sites that go and get relevant information
and post it all on the site for use by visitors. It's rather like a
supermarket going to relevant suppliers and bringing the goods to one
location. Because despite the flexibility of the Internet most people
prefer to one-stop-shop to gather information and do a limited amount
of surfing or visiting new sites.

Search engines weren't able to solve the problem of news gathering,
nor can directory sites. They merely help you get to someone else's
sites but it is not something you want to do repetitively. Which is
why a new breed of aggregators are coming on the scene. Here's a
run-down of the main news aggregators:

Yahoo (www.yahoo.co.uk): The first site to re-invent itself as an
aggregator and to date the most successful. By widening its remit
from simple search directory to one-stop-shop for business and
consumer information, it has created compelling reasons for users to
return more regularly. Features include free email, stock quotes,
weather, a pager service and a wide range of news categories.
However, most of Yahoo's news comes from a limited range of
publishers, namely Reuters, the Press Association and AFP.

Start (www.msn.co.uk): After the failure of the Microsoft Network to
set the world alight, Microsoft is moving into news aggregation.
Deals with a range of content providers have been inked which allow
users to read news from a variety of sources including The Daily
Telegraph, Sporting Life, New Scientist, Press Association and the
Discovery Channel among others.

Newsnow (www.newsnow.co.uk): The first UK news aggregator. Launched
in March '98, perhaps one of its most attractive aspect is its
real-time feed characteristic with updates every 5 minutes. It's also
very attractive to have a search option so that you can see how a
story has been dealt with by a number of publications. NewsNow
provides a one-stop-shop for news from over 30 news sources including
the BBC, ZDNet UK, This is London and SoccerNet.

Newshub (www.newshub.co.uk): The news aggregation pioneer. Though
largely US-biased, it offers access to news headlines from a range of
sources, updated every fifteen minutes. There are eight news
categories ranging from Technology to Health and a link through to
News Index, allowing full-text searching of recent news articles from
many international sources.

Music Wire (www.musicnewswire.com): One-stop-shop for entertainment
news. Breaking news headlines from a wide range of music and cinema
sites are scanned for latest headlines, which are added instantly to
the homepage. It is let down however by a poor user interface.

NewsLinx (www.newslinx.com): Independent news aggregator providing
"real-time" headlines from a range of technology news sources
including Wired, Computer Reseller News, ZDNET UK and CNET's
News.com. NewsLinx is targeted to those who want the latest Web news
from all the best sources, but don't have the time to surf.

Total News: (www.totalnews.com): Not an aggregator in the true sense
of the word, but provides direct hyperlinks to the relevant pages of a
mind-boggling range of news sources. Will long be remembered for an
epic court case in which it was ordered to stop by-passing the
registration systems of some heavyweight publications.

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As staff writer on Internet World magazine, Internet Business and PC
Week, Nick Gilbert wrote extensively on Internet-related issues. He
is now business development director for NewsNow, the UK's first news
portal site. NewsNow brings breaking news headlines from over 30
leading UK news sources, making it the most timely news service of
its kind.

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           All past issues of Free Pint are available at
            http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/issues.htm

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         Free Pint Dissertation - More Volunteers Needed!!!

As you may remember, I am the post-graduate using Free Pint as    
case study for my dissertation - "Implications for Commercial Internet
Publishing Strategies". Many of you have volunteered to complete my
questionnaire already but I would really like a few more of you.  So
if anyone has 5 minutes to spare, please can you contact me by e-mail
at claire@freepint.co.uk and I will send you a questionnaire. All
participants will receive a copy of the  results when the project is
complete.  Many thanks - Claire Reeves.

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                        FREE PINT FEEDBACK

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Subject: Free Pint #19 - Travel and Tourism Resources
From: Martin White, Principal Consultant, TFPL Ltd
Date: 29th July 1998

As a past (and hopefully future) contributor to Free Pint I know how
difficult it is to fit a definitive list of sites into the number of
words allowed. This problem must be especially acute in an area such
as travel and tourism, where IBM estimate that there are over 20,000
sites.

Not surprising when you consider that the travel and tourism business
is worth over $4 trillion. (One of a number of useful figures that can
be found in an IBM white paper at
http://www.ibm.com/ibm/publicaffairs/travel/index.html).

I feel that Matt Moore gave himself an even greater challenge by
trying to cover the three main subsectors of the sector (the travel
and tourism industry, business travel and tourism/leisure travel) in
one article. Having been involved in the industry since the early 80's
when I created Reed Telepublishing as the travel information
development subsidiary of Reed Publishing, could I offer the following
as complementing the useful list of travel sites provided by Matt?

The two companies trying to create the definitive travel information
site are Microsoft and American Airlines. Although US in origin they
both offer good global coverage, and the Expedia site has over 10,000
links, so the IBM figure is probably about right

http://expedia.msn.com/daily/home/default.hts
http://www.travelocity.com/

Other US sites with reasonable global coverage are
http://www.hotelstravel.com/
http://destinations.previewtravel.com/

Reed Publishing are probably the largest travel information publisher,
with their OAG travel services site, though not surprisingly the data
is not as comprehensive as their subscription timetable publications
and CD-ROM products. http://www.oag.com/

The OAG site also leads you to the travel site developed by Cahners, a
Reed subsidiary. http://www.traveler.net/

All these sites are having a great deal of investment pumped into them
reflecting the potential value of electronic commerce to the travel
industry, and change on almost a month-by-month basis. (For more on
electronic commerce wait until the 17 September issue of Free Pint).
In this business either you are global and comprehensive, or niche.
For example www.airwise.com, cited by Matt Moore, lists just 13
airports in Europe, 6 of which are in the UK, which is not very
helpful.

For UK readers (or for anyone wanting to visit the UK) the definitive
site (including the arrival and departure screens from most UK
airports) is http://www.a2btravel.com

This is owned by Emap PLC, who also operate
http://www.bargainholidays.com which is an excellent source for last
minute holiday reservations.

Finally I personally feel that the Thomas Cook site is the definitive
source of currency rates for travel purposes http://www.thomascook.com

The Finnish site listed in Free Pint has been designed to show off
some neat mathematical software, and is aimed at the foreign exchange
market. The cross rates cited are for transactions of more than $1
million. It is quite an interesting site, but the user interface on
the Thomas Cook site is much easier to use and uses tourist rates.

Martin White
Principal Consultant
TFPL Ltd www.tfpl.com

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Subject: Free Pint #19 - Some additional travel information
From: William Muehl
Date: 30th July 1998

William,

The current issue of Free Pint was/is most enjoyable. I would like to
add to the travel section the following resources.

While news groups may offer some interesting information, I prefer to
subscribe to some moderated listservs. My favorite list is the digest
version of "Travel-ease". The URL is: http://travel-ease.net

Another excellent list is "Travel-L" in the digest version. You will
find some subscription information on the web page of the list
administrator: http://w3.ime.net/~aimee/travel-l.html

Both of the lists members are well traveled articulate folk, like 
many of the subscribers to "Free Pint"

Travel well,
Bill

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Subject: Favourite Web Site
From: John Huddleston
Date: 28th July 1998

Hi William

Yes - my wife and I both read Free Pint and we both find it very
interesting - keep up the good work and enjoy your Summer Break in
August.

We use a range of resources. No one dominates, but www.medicinenet.com
hasn't failed me for those hypochondriac moods. For general searches
www.askjeeves.com has succeeded where others have failed. Ask Jeeves'
interface is a much more amenable plain English format.

Regards
John

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Subject: Free Pint Newsletter & Web Site
From: Julia Kent
Date: 4th August 1998

Dear William,

Just like to say I have finally put my name on the mailing list after
months of using your web site. It really is excellent.

I am just starting to research business information after years of
researching editorial information products and Free Pint is an
excellent starting point.

I got details of "Free Pint" from a fellow member of the AUKML
(Association of UK Media Librarians) where a number of members use
you. We are having a conference later this year so I shall continue to
spread the word!
     
Many thanks for what you've done so far and keep up the good work.
     
Best wishes
Julia

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If you have a comment, suggestion or favourite site then why not 
contact the Free Pint team now by email to feedback@freepint.co.uk 
remembering to include your name, title and company or organisation. 
Please note, if you write to us we may publish your letter in whole 
or part for the interest of our subscribers unless you request 
otherwise at the time of writing. Please let us know if you wish 
your contact details to be withheld.

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Thank you for reading Free Pint.  We hope you will forward this copy
to colleagues, friends and journalists, or ask them to visit our Web 
site soon at http://www.freepint.co.uk/

                      See you in four weeks!

                           Kind regards,
                   William Hann, Managing Editor
                      william@freepint.co.uk

(c) Willco 1998
http://www.willco.co.uk/

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                      FREE PINT FUTURE ISSUES

20/08/98     - No issue (summer break)
03/09/98 #21 - Local Newsgroups & Legal Resources
17/09/98 #22 - E-Commerce

                                                        [Provisional]
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                        CONTACT INFORMATION

William Hann, Managing Editor
  e: william@freepint.co.uk
  t: +44 (0)1784 455 435
  f: +44 (0)1784 455 436

Rex Cooke, Editor
  e: rex@freepint.co.uk
  t: +44 (0)1784 455 435
  f: +44 (0)1784 455 436

Alison Scammell, Account Director
  e: alison@freepint.co.uk
  t: +44 (0)181 460 5850

Address (no stamp needed)
  Willco "Free Pint", Freepost SEA3901, Staines
  Middlesex, TW18 3BR, United Kingdom

Web - http://www.freepint.co.uk
Advertising - ads@freepint.co.uk
Subscriptions - subs@freepint.co.uk
Letters & Comments - feedback@freepint.co.uk
Latest Issue Autoresponder - auto@freepint.co.uk

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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.

To subscribe, unsubscribe, find details about contributing, 
advertising or to see past issues, please visit the Web site at 
http://www.freepint.co.uk/ or call +44 (0)1784 455 435.

Please note: The newsletter is published by the information
consultancy Willco (http://www.willco.co.uk/), 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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