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Newsletter No.21


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                             Free Pint
         "Helping 11,000 people make the most of the Web"
                    http://www.freepint.co.uk/
ISSN 1460-7239                                   3 September 1998 #21
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                           IN THIS ISSUE

                             EDITORIAL

                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
                   "Tricks with local newsgroups"
                          by George McMurdo

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
                   "Legal Resources on the Web"
                        by Elizabeth Elliott

                        FREE PINT FEEDBACK

                        CONTACT INFORMATION

              ONLINE VERSION WITH ACTIVATED HYPERLINKS
            http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/030998.htm

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ONLINE INFORMATION 98 ...
... the world's largest information industry event, 8-10 December 98.
     
Incorporating a leading-edge conference with themes including:
Who are the new consumers?  Filling the intranets.  e-Publishing.
Web information - fee or free.  The creation of virtual communities.
     
Visit www.online-information.co.uk for full Conference Programme.

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                             EDITORIAL

Well here we are refreshed (though unfortunately not tanned) after
our welcome summer break.  We hope you managed to get away even for
a few days, although we haven't received any postcards yet?!

Free Pint comes of age today with a bumper 21st issue full of the 
usual mix of articles, tips and letters.  We begin with a revealing
look at how you can easily run your own newsgroups to aid 
intra-company or departmental communication. This is followed by an
excellent in-depth look at the many resources on the Web available 
to lawyers and others interested in the law. We then delve into our 
e-postbag with some super tips which will definitely help you use 
the Web more effectively.

Sadly this issue sees the departure of Alison Scammell from the 
Free Pint team. Alison has been responsible for advertising since
the beginning of the year but now moves to spend more time on 
research at London's City University and her training activities.
I'm sure you will join me in wishing her all the best for the future.

As always, please forward this issue to colleagues and friends, and 
I now invite you to read on and enjoy your twenty first Free Pint!

Kind regards,
William

William Hann MIInfSc, 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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               SEARCH STRATEGIES FOR THE INTERNET
       How to find essential resources more effectively

A new publication by Karen Blakeman and published by RBA Information 
Services, UK.  ISBN 09527191 2 6
Further details and ordering information from publications@rba.co.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)118 947 2256 Fax: +44 (0)870 056 8547
Or visit http://www.rba.co.uk/publications/search.htm

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                     PAST ISSUES OF FREE PINT
            http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/issues.htm

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                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

                   "Tricks with local newsgroups"
                          by George McMurdo

Most folks' experience of newsgroups will likely be of those within
the global Usenet hierarchy, provided via their commercial or
academic ISP.  Providing a news-server feed of a reasonable
proportion of the thousands of publicly available Usenet newsgroups
is a non-trivial task in terms of the allocation and management of
diskspace.

However, operating a news-server outwith the Usenet system, to
provide a system of private newsgroups, is a comparatively trivial
activity which can be an easy method of providing an organizational
computer conferencing system from relatively limited resources.  And,
although not everyone seems in fact to find newsreader interfaces
straightforward to use, there should in principle be learning-curve
benefits from using the same environment users may have experienced
from reading Usenet messaging.  In my department, for example, we run
Netscape's News Server 2.0 for this purpose, on a computer named:

                          jimmy.qmced.ac.uk

Most World Wide Web URLs use HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol).
However, there is also a URL type which uses NNTP (Network News
Transport Protocol) usually found creating a link to a Usenet
newsgroup.  When a user clicks on such a link, typically their
newsreader client will be invoked, and if the linked-to newsgroup is
taken by the host configured as their NNTP server, a directory of
recent message headers will be downloaded to the newsreader.  The
normal format for such a newsgroup URL is:

                      news:some.newsgroup.name

It is, however, possible to create a URL link directly to an
individual newsgroup message, via its message-id. In global Usenet
newsgroup messaging, this method of hyperlinking is rarely found.
This is because most systems which carry Usenet newsgroups expire
their messages after periods from as short as a day or two, to at most
about a fortnight. Consequently there's little point in creating a
link to a message that will probably have been expired by the time
somebody tries to follow it. However, for local newsgroups, where
messages may not be expired for a much longer time, this can be a
valuable option.  Here's an example of such a URL:

                 news:34EC6D91.4BC@mail.qmced.ac.uk

The hexadecimal gobbledygook probably looks daunting, but you don't
have to type this in.  In Netscape's newsreader the method for
creating such a link to a newsgroup posting is as follows. Firstly,
locate the target message. Next, from the Options menu, choose Show
Headers, and then All. The message-id will then become visible as a
hyperlink, which can be right-mouse-clicked on, to select Copy Link
Location. Then begin to compose the new e-mail or newsgroup message,
and paste in the link to the target message.  (In MS Internet
Explorer's newsreader such links can be located, copied and pasted,
from the File menu, then Properties, then Details.)

This method could be used beneficially, for example, to create a link
within a short e-mail notification message to a substantial number of
users on an e-mail distribution list, providing them with a direct
hyperlink to a large file - perhaps a long text document, or a
photograph or illustrative image file, or a copy of another binary
file - stored as just a single copy in a newsgroup.  The example news
URL above can also be expanded as follows to specify the NNTP server
from which the message should be read:

       news://jimmy.qmced.ac.uk/34EC6D91.4BC@mail.qmced.ac.uk

Any Internet-connected Web browser, e-mail client or newsreader
capable of making an NNTP request could retrieve that newsgroup
message.  User beware - that is a real URL and the target message has
an attached image FACEEVIL.JPG (11k) feline photo file.  Also - since
Web pages written in HTML can be attached to newsgroup postings -
this offers a method of 'grey' Web publishing for users within
organizations whose policies or nature of IT support or extensiveness
of need either doesn't permit them or doesn't enable them to load
pages onto their Web server.

For example, I teach a large class of first year students some
introductory Web information retrieval and HTML to create a page of
ten links on a subject of their choice.  Although any of our students
has the option of running a proper Webspace account, I don't coerce
these students to do so, and it would be quite an administrative
chore.  Instead, they all post a copy of their subject Web pages into
a newsgroup used for the teaching of their module.  Here is a URL for
an example of the format of such a page:

       news://jimmy.qmced.ac.uk/35CB1AD6.3F54@mail.qmced.ac.uk

In such Web pages, any hyperlinks to accessible World Wide Web
resources will be 'live', as also could be links to inline images,
provided that they were absolutely referenced (whereas in regular Web
pages you'd tend to reference your own inline images relatively).
The following Web page has some examples of newsgroup URLs, including
the ones above:

           http://jimmy.qmced.ac.uk/~jimnews/urlsdemo.htm

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George McMurdo is a lecturer in the Department of Communication &
Information Studies, Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, EH12 8TS.
http://jimmy.qmced.ac.uk/~cidept/

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              Research Bank Web(tm) Adds New Features
The Investext Group recently released the first upgrade to Research 
Bank Web, the leading source on the Internet for original-image and 
full-text reports from over 700 investment banks, market research 
firms and trade associations worldwide. The new upgrade incorporates 
several new features, including free-text searching across all reports
and the ability to buy individual pages of reports in portable 
document format (PDF).
       For a free demo visit our web site at www.investext.com

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                 ** FREE PINT ADVERTISING WORKS **
         Reach the desk of 11,500 regular users of the Web
               Free banner exposures on the Web site

       Full details at http://www.freepint.co.uk/advert.htm
         or email ads@freepint.co.uk with your name and
       postal address to receive the "Guide for Advertisers"

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                          FEATURE ARTICLE

                   "Legal Resources on the Web"
                        by Elizabeth Elliott

The trouble with lawyers is they like paper.  In order for the
internet to tempt lawyers out of the library and away from traditional
research materials it must prove itself to be comprehensive, fast and
cheaper than the alternatives.  There is no doubt that lawyers who
have not yet explored the internet would be surprised at the wealth of
legal information which is available and amazed at how much of it is
free.  The catch is that the information is not indexed in the way
that a library is and it is not always easy to find quickly.  Hence,
the danger is that anything saved in terms of money will be lost in
time wasted.

The aim of this article is to provide a starting point by describing
some key UK sites which will be useful not only to lawyers undertaking
research, but also to individuals who want to know about the law or
lawyers.  It focuses on information which is free, rather than on
subscription services.

Of particular interest are the legal resources pages maintained by
independent computer consultant, Delia Venables at
http://www.venables.co.uk/legal/ and electronic publishing consultant
Nick Holmes at http://www.infolaw.co.uk.  Both sites provide
convenient gateways to the legal web and are well worth exploring.
There is masses of free legal information for individuals and also
information about and links to other legal sites.  The Infolaw site
gives a list of recommended UK-based law web directories and search
engines.  It also provides a "lawfinder" service, described as
a"one-stop resource for researching and keeping up to date with
primary law on the web", covering statutes, statutory instruments,
Parliamentary Bills and case law.  These sites (particularly Infolaw)
are also important for saving time and the telephone bill if you are
researching a particular legal topic, for example employment law or
family law, since there are links to relevant sites.  They also have
links to directories of solicitors and barristers.

The Government Information Service site at http://www.open.gov.uk is a
key site giving links to all government departments as well as a
bewildering array of other organisations, some of which you will not
even have heard of!  Useful links are, for example, to HM Land
Registry (for those addresses you can never find), the Legal Aid Board
(for those eligibility requirements you can never remember) and The
Lord Chancellor's Department (including High Court judgements).

For those studying law, the extensive site published by Semple Piggot
Norrie Aquino at http://www.sppa.co.uk is an excellent resource.
While it promotes The University of London LLB course, it is also
designed to be of benefit to law students in the UK.  There are links
to a huge collection of legal resources and a legal chatline for law
students!

The site maintained by the Law Society, the professional body for
solicitors, at http://www.lawsociety.org.uk (and also at
http://www.lawsoc.org.uk) is worth a look and contains material of
interest both to lawyers and to the public.  It covers the role of the
Law Society, the training of solicitors, vacancies in the law and also
the latest edition of the Law Society's Gazette on-line.  The Bar
Council also has a site at http://www.barcouncil.org.uk, which
explains the work of the Bar Council and of barristers and has a link
to a directory where you can find a barrister by name, town or
expertise.

If you are looking for a particular reported case, the new site
published by the official transcribers, Smith Bernal will be
invaluable.  It is to be found at http://www.smithbernal.com and
features "casebase", a free transcript archive containing over 20 000
judgments from the Court of Appeal and Crown Office dating back to
April 1996.  It is possible to search by case name, date, case number
and/or Division.  For House of Lords judgements reference must be made
to the United Kingdom Parliament site at http://www.parliament.uk.
This gives access to Bills before Parliament, Hansard from both Houses
and Lords' judgements since November 1996.  Acts of Parliament and
Statutory Instruments can be accessed via HMSO's website at
http://hmso.gov.uk.  Full texts are available for Acts only since
January 1996 and for SIs since January 1997.

More legal journals are appearing on-line, in addition to the Law
Society Gazette mentioned above.  Others of interest are the Web
Journal of Current Legal issues published by the University of
Newcastle in association with Blackstone Press at
http://webjcli.ncl.ac.uk, in which articles focus on judicial
decisions, law references, legislation and legal research.  The
Journal of Information, Law and Technology at
http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/ is an electronic law journal covering a
range of topics relating to IT law.  It is produced by the
Universities of Warwick and Strathclyde.  The Lawyer is more of a
newspaper, providing current news, stories, features and advertising
on legal matters in the UK.  It is at http://www.the-lawyer.co.uk.

The legal publishers are of course mainly interested in your business
and will charge for their services, but their sites do sometimes yield
useful free links.  For example, the Butterworths site at
http://www.butterworths.co.uk has undergone a recent transformation
and now offers a free service called "News Direct", described as "an
on-line newsroom for the legal profession", which aims to keep lawyers
up to date with the latest legal news.  The International Centre for
Commercial Law at http://icclaw.com is the website of legal publisher
Legalease Ltd.  As well as giving the on-line version of the UK Legal
500 (recommended law firms and lawyers), it provides the latest legal
developments, links to legal home pages and The Student Law Centre
(tips on education and training).

Even this brief introduction to legal resources on the web makes it
plain that there is plenty out there to tempt the lawyer and to ensure
many happy hours of surfing.  But it is first of all a matter of
education, ie letting people know what is available, and secondly of
hoping that one day soon a way will be found to classify the
information comprehensively.

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Elizabeth Elliott is a solicitor who has practised in London and
Oxford.  She has recently joined the team of specialist knowledge
consultants who work on OKSYS (Oxford Knowledge System), the flagship
knowledge-discovery service from The Oxford Knowledge Company
(http://www.oxford-knowledge.co.uk).

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      GREATER VISIBILITY AND MORE VISITORS FOR YOUR WEB SITE

 Regular submission of your site's details to the top search engines
  and directories is an essential way to help people find your site.
              However, this is a time-consuming task.

    Allow us to manually announce your site to the most important
 search sites and indexes. Full details at http://www.willco.co.uk/

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                          FREE PINT FACT

             At least 15% of new subscribers come from
            personal recommendation, and more than 68%
        of current subscribers are professionally employed.

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                        FREE PINT FEEDBACK

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Subject: Legal Resources on the Web
From:    Gail Sanderson, Director of Library & Information Services,
         Davies Arnold Cooper
Date:    12th August 1998

I see that your next issue [#21] will include 'legal resources' as 
the feature item. The best web site by far is

     http://www.ukc.ac.uk/library/netinfo/intnsubg/lawlinks.htm

and Sarah Carter should get a medal for doing such a good job on it!

I am currently in charge of a project to create/develop an intranet 
for my company and this site will be the only web page available
to lawyers initially because it is so comprehensive - you can find
links to almost any sites you want in the legal field.

Gail

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Subject: Suggestion - House style for URLs
From:    Pam Davies, Senior Assistant Librarian, 
         Leeds University Library
Date:    6th August 1998

Dear Free Pint

I don't know about other people's email systems, but Pegasus mail I
use here can recognise, and turn into a clickable link, any URL which
starts with "http://".  It can't recognise those quoted more briefly,
like those in the article in issue #20 on News Aggregation.

Could you impose a "house style" on your writers by asking them to
quote URLs in full, for the benefit of readers with email systems like
this one?  It makes it so much easier to follow up the quoted sites
(especially now that Pegasus mail has lost the previous bug whereby
when I followed a fourth link within one email session the whole PC
froze up and had to be reset!).

I don't know how common it is for email systems to be able to
recognise links like this as I've never used any other system. In
Pegasus mail 2.5, you set it up by "Tools, Options, Clickable links"
if it's not set by default.  I guess you still need an html version of
Free Pint, for those with less helpful email systems and as an archive
(I delete my copy once I've read it and perhaps forwarded it to
relevant colleagues, as our email administrator gets twitchy about
storage volume and as I know it's there on the website!).

I hope this suggestion will also alert people to the same problem when
they're writing emails to mailing lists etc.

Many thanks for Free Pint - there's always something interesting in
it.

Pam Davies


William Hann replies:

Thank you Pam for an excellent suggestion - you will see from 
this issue that we have introduced the new house style of ensuring
that all Web addresses start with "http://". Enjoy!

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Subject: Anything we can do ...
From:    Rex Cooke, Editor, Free Pint
Date:    27th August 1998

Many of you tell us how much you enjoy reading Free Pint and some of 
you are burning to contribute, so why not get in on the act and 
offer us a Tips article?

In your own areas of interest you may well be able to do better than 
us, because you have first-hand knowledge. So I welcome draft 
outlines for articles of about 500 words in length about how you use 
the Web for your work.

It needn't take long - firstly, think of your theme and then jot down
the angles which you find interesting.

For example:

- Which sites do you use daily?
- What pitfalls are there to avoid?
- Give any time-saving tips
- Suggest novel ways of finding information

Then expand the details a little, check and include your recommended 
Web addresses and email the result to me for consideration.

Go on readers, give it a try!

Rex

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Subject: Free Pint #20 - Trade Associations on the Web
From:    James Arscott, Investext
Date:    20th August 1998

Dear Free Pint

Regarding Alison Scammell's informative article on "Trade Associations
on the Web". I would like to suggest some more ways of getting to the
desired trade association data quickly and successfully.

In my experience, pan-European trade associations are usually very
open in making a large amount of information publicly accessible. In
most cases they represent all the national level associations for
whatever industries they represent and, as a result, can offer very
good material (cross border comparable data and broader market share
information).  Unfortunately, even these do not overcome the single
biggest gripe when seeking out trade association data.  Namely,
knowing who publishes what in the first place!

One way of overcoming this is to use a service that offers a
commingled database of research information from the associations. 
Entering a search term such as "widgets" would automatically find
topical reports without the enquirer needing to know the name of the
relevant association.  The Investext Group has such a service
available via the web (www.investext.com).  It provides the original
documents in PDF format.  You do have to pay for it.  On the other
hand, it saves a lot of tiresome "surfing".  Alternatively, look at
the types of directories that actually tell you WHAT the associations
publish.  So many directories just list the names of the associations
and contact details, leaving you with no option but to then access
individual web sites to see if they actually have anything to offer. 
Once again, quite laborious when you may have a busy schedule.  IRN
(www.irnxxx.co.uk) offers a service that will actually tell you what
each UK association publishes as well as any additional statistical
information on offer.

These suggestions may not be free.  However, surely it is a matter of
time before most web users recognise that time is money, and that
there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Cheers
James Arscott

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Subject: 10,000 subscribers
From:    Steve Miller, Marketing Manager, NetNames
Date:    7th August 1998

William and the team,

               CONGRATULATIONS FROM ALL AT NETNAMES

Roll on the next 10,000!

Cheers,
Steve
http://www.netnames.co.uk/

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          WE'D LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF FREE PINT!!

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 two 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

17/09/98 #22 - Search Engine Tips & E-Commerce Resources

                                                        [Provisional]
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                        CONTACT INFORMATION

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

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

Jane, Administrator
  e: jane@freepint.co.uk

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.
Product names used in Free Pint are for identification purposes only,
and may be trademarks of their respective owners. Free Pint disclaims
any and all rights in those marks. All rights reserved.

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