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Newsletter No.75


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                             Free Pint
         "Helping 33,000 people use the Web for their work"
                    http://www.freepint.co.uk/

ISSN 1460-7239                               16th November 2000 No.75
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                           IN THIS ISSUE

                             EDITORIAL

                        MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                           from Atalanta

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

                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
                "Music and the Internet Revolution"
                      By Tracey Howard-Baker

                             BOOKSHELF
         "Super Searchers in the News - The Online Secrets
                of Journalists and News Researchers"
                     Reviewed by Peter Chapman

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
    "Business Information for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises"
                       By Diana Grimwood-Jones

               EVENTS, GOLD AND FORTHCOMING ARTICLES

                        CONTACT INFORMATION

              ONLINE VERSION WITH ACTIVATED HYPERLINKS
            http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/161100.htm

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           >> FREE tickets for Online Information 2000 <<
      5 - 7 December 2000 * National Hall, Olympia, London, UK

Is finding the information you need turning out to be a bit of a bind?
GET UNTANGLED at Online Information 2000 and find a wealth of
information sources.
REGISTER TODAY for free, fast track entry into this essential event
http://www.online-information.co.uk/ol00/register.asp

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                      >>>  ABOUT FREE PINT  <<<

Free Pint is a community of business professionals who use the Web for
their work. Members receive this free newsletter every two weeks
packed with tips on finding quality and reliable business information
on the Internet. Signing up at <http://www.freepint.co.uk/> provides
free access to the substantial archive of articles, book reviews,
industry news and events, with answers to your research questions and
networking at the "Free Pint Bar" and "Student Bar". This newsletter
is best read when printed out and viewed in a Courier font.

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                             EDITORIAL

We're back from our scoot around the UK in the Free Pint Bus last week
on the Free Pint Roadshow.  Simon and I were accompanied by Gill
Voisey from Roadshow sponsors Factiva as we met with students on
information courses in the afternoons each day and then local Free
Pinters and Factiva customers in the evenings.  It was a tremendously
successful and enjoyable trip, even with all the wet weather and
flooding, and you can read about our exploits on the Bar at 
<http://www.freepint.co.uk/bar/read.php?i=5860>. I would like to 
extend a special vote of thanks to Factiva for sponsoring the whole 
Roadshow and would urge you to check out their new portal for 
information professionals at <http://www.factiva.com/infopro> and 
sign up to the Factiva Infopro Alliance.

Our next live event is in London at the beginning of December at the
Online Information 2000 show. We're bringing the Free Pint Bar to life
on stand 30 with a pub theme where that famous Irish folk band the
"Free Pint Players" (including our very own Simon on Mandolin) will be
entertaining visitors. You can try your luck on our one-armed bandit
to win a real free pint and we're running a series of "Question Time
Workshops" again. Watch out for the Free Pint team suitability attired
as bar stewards, and with plenty of informative and fun things to see
and do at this major event I really hope you can make the trip. The
exhibition and conference take place on the 5-7th December at Olympia
in London, with free exhibition tickets and full details available on
the Web at <http://www.online-information.co.uk/>.

In today's newsletter we bring you the regular range of articles and
tips, including a look at the revolution taking place in the music
industry online and Web sites with resources for small to medium sized
businesses. We've packed in lots of reader tips and reviews along with
roundups from the Bar and Student Bar. If you enjoy this edition then
do pass it on to your colleagues and friends.

I'll be bringing you some exciting news in the next issue about a new
UK company research service we're about to launch with full eCommerce
capability on the Free Pint site. In the meantime I'd like to thank
all those who sent birthday wishes for Free Pint's third birthday last
issue. I feel we certainly celebrated it in style on our 1000 mile
Roadshow last week, but I don't mind if I don't visit another pub for
a while!

Cheers
William

William Hann BSc MIInfSc
Founder and Managing Editor, Free Pint
e: william@freepint.co.uk
t: +44 (0)1784 455435
f: +44 (0)1784 455436

           Free Pint is a trademark of Free Pint Limited
                     http://www.freepint.co.uk/

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           Use Cruiser - for hosting with a difference!
                   http://www.globalgold.co.uk/

Are you looking after multiple accounts or managing multiple brands or
clients and in need of a more flexible hosting solution to help you
handle your business efficiently and effectively?

  If so, think Cruiser. http://www.globalgold.co.uk/Hosting/Cruiser

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  >>>  WANT TO REACH BUSINESS INFORMATION SEARCHERS GLOBALLY?  <<<
 Advertise here. Full coverage details, special offers and rates at:
                http://www.freepint.co.uk/advert.htm

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                        MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                           from Atalanta

* LLRX - law articles and up-to-date links, including "Researching 
  Intellectual Copyright Law", by Stefanie Weigmann. 
  <http://www.llrx.com/>

* British Media Online - British news and media site.
  <http://www.zen.co.uk/home/page/wrx/alltnews.htm>

* Allonesearch - Vast amount of research/reference information.
  <http://www.allonesearch.com/>

* Delia Venables - The best portal for UK Law.
  <http://www.venables.co.uk> 

* Spyonit - Good for letting me know when my favourite websites
  change, to save me surfing them every day, or when I forget to look
  at them at all. <http://www.spyonit.com/>

Atalanta is a much-travelled ex-lecturer and ex-diplomat with wide
experience of librarianship, mostly medical library experience, with
interests in the classics, mediaeval history and the Times crossword.

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Tell us about your top five favourite Web sites. see the guidelines at
<http://www.freepint.co.uk/author.htm> or email <simon@freepint.co.uk>

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              FACTIVA LAUNCHES INFOPRO ALLIANCE PORTAL

Take a look at our new portal to support information professionals
around the world. The Infopro Alliance Portal provides tools and
resources especially for the professional researcher, with links to
industry web sites, publications, white papers, case studies and
discussion through our link to the Free Pint Bar.
Bookmark http://www.factiva.com/infopro

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        >>>  IT'S TODAY'S NEWS. IT'S FREE. IT'S FOR YOU  <<<
                  http://www.freepint.co.uk/news/

Free Pint News is a major free resource for members of Free Pint, with
today's news headlines from around the world in over 300 categories.
              The full text is also only a click away.

                    Why not check it out today?

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                           FREE PINT BAR
                    In Association with Factiva
                   a Dow Jones & Reuters Company
                           
                     Reviewed by Simon Collery
          http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/161100.htm#bar


           Free Pint Bar - http://www.freepint.co.uk/bar

[Note: To read a posting enter the message number in place of XXXX in 
the address <http://www.freepint.co.uk/bar/read.php?i=XXXX>]

Last week one of our subscribers asked for some help finding the top
sites on the Web (5657).  There are lots of places to find such
listings, but there are so many criteria for judging a site to be a
'top' site that the person asking the question probably still has a
lot of work to do.  However, a carefully picked collection of
resources is probably as valuable as a powerful search engine.

Resources recommended by Free Pinters in the past couple of weeks have
ranged from real estate (5728) to patents (5832), free business
information (5875) to wired communities (5778), news sources (5866,
5662) to second hand hardware exchanges (5670) and training for
researchers (5730) to public tender notices on the Web (5729).  There
have also been mentions of guides to library enquiry deskwork (5756)
and information brokerage (5732).

There have been questions about forgotten passwords (5761, 5772), the
most popular Web server (5661), style sheets (5829), HTML training
courses (5802), IE5 on NT (5773), and ISPs (5734).  There were a
couple of unanswered questions about browsers written in visual basic
(5702) and the best clients for large mailings (5841).  And though the
query about exporting Outlook Express messages (5775) received some
answers, it specifically relates to use on a Mac.

Search related queries included one about the information seeking
behaviour of seniors (5803), DogPile meta search engine (5855) and
Copernic compared with Net Detective (5771).  I reviewed a site that
allows you to search for specialist search tools (5779), a search tool
which has changed its name without showing any sign of improvement
(5715) and two Internet subject guides (5812, 5697).  There are a
couple of questions in need of an answer about whether search engines
can spider form submissions (5665) and tactics for searching in
languages other than English (5682).

Business researchers have been enquiring about finding Greek company
information (5684), Italian company information (5692) and global
drugs marketing (5766).  Information is still being sought on selling
services online (5783), finding a company's foreign subsidiaries
(5854), European waste recycling companies (5764), the amateur
football league market research (5861), petroleum commodity prices
(5726) and stock market information (5893).

Other researchers have been looking for household waste figures
(5763), comparisons of company intranets (5847), European research
resources (5687), customer satisfaction surveys (5823), McCance and
Widdowson food tables (5852), the meaning of the term 'computer
misuse' (5856) and the difference between venture capital and angel
investment (5865).

There have been miscellaneous questions about names of university
lecturers (5776), pop star management (5872), part time work (5873),
skateboarding (5811), rankings of architecture courses (5691), the
impact of greenery on house prices (5708), town twinning (5752),
online competitions (5741), Web sites for Christmas (5738) and library
humour (5757).  While one Free Pinter seeks a 'dating agency' to match
those with ideas to those with the skills to help realise those ideas
(5863), another seeks a site that classifies ideas (5774).  Perhaps
they need each other.

As we have a lot of demographic and statistics questions, a site
listing places to find this sort of information was very welcome
(5745).  Perhaps the people who want information on broadband
penetration statistics for the UK (5892) or statistics on ordering
takeaway food online (5690) will find what they want there.  There
were also requests for quantitative data on UK retail banks (5693),
European ebusiness figures (5794) and researchers who use the Web for
finding medical data (5769).


     Free Pint Student Bar - http://www.freepint.co.uk/student

[Note: To read a posting enter the message number in place of XXXX in 
the address <http://www.freepint.co.uk/student/read.php?i=XXXX>]

On the Student Bar there have been postings about maritime engineering
(1062), how to use the Web for teaching (1066), ecommerce placements,
(1067), a temporary research job available (1070) and the opacity of
scientific and computing terminology (1074).

      Simon Collery, Content Developer 

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To read a message:

- Enter the id number in place of XXXX in the address
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/bar/read.php?i=XXXX>,
  for example <http://www.freepint.co.uk/bar/read.php?i=3989>

- For Student Bar postings please use the address 
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/student/read.php?i=XXXX>

- Alternatively, view this summary online with activated hyperlinks at
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/161100.htm#bar>

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Do you have a research question? Could you help other members? It's 
easy to post a message at the Bar <http://www.freepint.co.uk/bar> or
the Student Bar <http://www.freepint.co.uk/student>.

Visit daily for "Today's Tipple" - a different Web site reviewed every
working day at the Bar. Access the Portal archive of Tipples at
<http://www.freepint.co.uk/portal/content/tipple.php3>.

To have the latest Free Pint Bar postings sent to you every other day,
send a blank email to <digest@freepint.co.uk>. For the Student Bar
Digest send an email to <studentdigest@freepint.co.uk>.

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Download your FREE 30-Day Trial of BullsEye Pro, the Ultimate Research
Assistant for Professionals. In the June 8th issue of Free Pint, Chris
Sherman describes how "BullsEye, a desktop based meta search engine
can also access many of the sites included in InvisibleWeb.com." With
fine-grained filters and up to the minute trackers, you will control
information rather than having it control you. Go to
http://info.intelliseek.com/promotions/fp.htm and receive a 20% 
discount off the price of $249 if you purchase a copy by 12/31/00.

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  >>>  SEARCH FOR AND PURCHASE DISCOUNTED BOOKS FROM AMAZON  <<<

 Use the handy search boxes on the Free Pint Bookshelf homepage to
 search for and purchase any book from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

                http://www.freepint.co.uk/bookshelf/

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                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
         http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/161100.htm#tips

                "Music and the Internet Revolution"
                      By Tracey Howard-Baker

Since the conception of the computer, the music industry has exploded
with new opportunities that have been seized by talented
entrepreneurs, frustrated musicians and bedroom wannabes alike.
Despite attempts from increasingly worried record companies, the
accessibility to a wider selection of musical expression and available
artists is increasing, bringing with it the inevitable questions of
piracy, copyright infringement and licensing.

Of course, this is not the first time these issues have been raised
and whilst musicians of all standards are obviously concerned, it
appears that the media have inadvertently championed the major
organisations who have been employing these tactics for years - namely
the managers, agents, promoters and record companies themselves.

It is a little known fact that the majority of contracts insist that
the copyright owner sign over all rights to the company.  The advance
fees are recoverable from the artists, regardless of whether the
company bothers to advertise and distribute the product.  Whereas, it
is commonly recognised that signing a deal is not a contract of
employment and there are thousands of cases where the bands have been
shelved without ever releasing a record. Added to this the majority of
managers, agents and promoters rarely pay even a fraction of the
income generated from the bands they profess to be employed by.

Many Radio Stations are associated with record companies, leading to
play lists concentrating on continuous bombardment of what is, in
their opinion, their most popular artists.  Even local radio stations
are sent free promotional records which makes it impossible for the
average independent companies and acts to compete financially.
Champions of the talented such as John Peel are few and slots
allocated for the airing of unsigned acts rare indeed.

Exploitation has always been a major part of the music business, the
arguments have always revolved around the artists' inability to market
and promote themselves, a somewhat erroneous view, considering that
the majority of musicians have to be a combination of advertising,
marketing and promotion gurus just to get noticed in the first place!

Combine this with the fact that to collect any royalties for original
work there must be a minimum of 3 air plays or performances in
recognised venues and these have to be recorded and applied for
through PRS and MCPS, who despite doing a tremendous job, work on the
premise that the largest percentages go to the major recording artists
and after all, no-one can be expected to know how often a single song
is played in venues, radio, television and other media world wide.  It
is an acknowledged fact that many musicians wait for years before
receiving their royalties, if at all.

These are issues that still remain, despite years of negotiations from
the Musicians Union and other recognised bodies. In an industry where
only 1% of people have a chance to succeed and business acumen is
often replaced with creative dedication, wages for the average
musician are nominal and original artists remain unpaid.

The advent of the Internet and ease of building your own website has
provided people world wide the chance to air their music to an
audience previously only available to a minority, with the added
advantage of bypassing the intricate monopoly within the industry.

Streaming media and the plethora of software that is available to all,
has freed the musician, who has taken up the challenge of a new and
exciting platform.  Demos of their work can be found everywhere on
the web.  Band information, publicity, photos, gig lists, audio clips
and even full albums can be downloaded at a fraction of the cost of
producing a CD.  The ability to set your own price on your product and
prevent its being downloaded is already available and music resources
for learning an instrument abound.

Lack of access and experience in computing is no longer a contributing
factor, due to the excellent facilities provided by sites such as
Peoplesound.com, where quality acts get paid to put their music on the
web, retain their copyright and receive all but a minor percentage of
the sale from their work.

And finally - to all those companies and artists who complain about
copyright infringement and piracy - if they are so concerned then why
do they themselves release music on their own web sites available free
for listening or download with the knowledge that it will in all
likelihood be burnt to disc or recorded by anyone with a computer and
a couple of phono leads?  Perhaps a double standard? Or perhaps they
finally recognise that there is a revolution going on and the people
they have taken advantage of for so long may no longer require
their services.

Here are a few resource links.

The largest music resource on the web, covering everything a musician
would need, including tuition, instruments, downloads, dedicated MIDI
and lyrics search engines, far too much to cover here, a definite
MUST. <http://www.harmonycentral.com>

The Musicians Union is the recognised trade body for musicians.
Includes information on all aspects of the music industry.
<http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk>

The Performing Rights Society registers songs, collects and pays
royalties. They also organise regular informative workshops with
expert speakers on all business aspects of the music scene.
<http://www.prs.co.uk>

The Government Patents Office who can enable you to check all
registered companies and patent your product.
<http://www.patent.gov.uk>

Performing/Broadcasting Rights resource.
<http://www.bnet.co.uk>

MCPS - Mechanical Copyright & Performing Society. Registers, collects
and pays copyright on records and other stored data.
<http://www.mcps.co.uk/>

ISA - The International Songwriters Association.  A great resource for
all songwriters with members receiving a magazine which includes
record labels currently seeking acts and their requirements plus a
copyright recording facility.  Also arranges Showcases for new talent.
<http://www.songwriter.co.uk>

The following are the most popular music websites, with masses of new
original Acts/Bands.  Demos and Full Tracks available for free
download. Raise your profile and put your own music on the site.
<http://www.peoplesound.com>
<http://www.mp3.com>
<http://www.vitaminic.co.uk>

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Tracey Howard-Baker is a professional entertainer, founder and chief
executive of a non-profit voluntary group, the Electric Blues Club
<http://www.playthemusic.co.uk>.  She has organised and arranged
sponsorship for several projects, providing a platform where musicians
of all standards may receive education, information and the
opportunity to perform and record their music. Like most musicians
Tracey has had a number of related occupations and has worked in
Broadcasting, Education, Government, Computing and is a Consultant on
Research, Telemarketing & Promotion to people in the music industry.
Undeterred by failing health she is currently designing a website for
the club. <http://www.electricbluesclub.co.uk>.

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Related Free Pint links:

* "Music" links and articles in the Free Pint Portal
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/portal/industry/industry.php3?category_id=90>
* Read this article online, with activated hyperlinks
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/161100.htm#tips>
* Post a message to the author now at the Free Pint Bar
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/bar>
* Access the entire archive of Free Pint content
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/portal/content/>

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Sue Hill Recruitment - jobs every day - Online Information Stand 435

   We are always keen to hear from flexible, adaptable individuals
  with excellent business information research skills, particularly
     those wanting temporary assignments. Our clients are blue
    chip companies who want the best and trust us to provide it.

   Tel: 020 7378 7068  jobs@suehill.com   http://www.suehill.com

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                     >>>  FREE PINT FACT  <<<

The Free Pint Roadshow, in association with Factiva, saw us giving
away a lot of leaflets and information packs last week. However, it is
a fact that we also gave away hundreds of Free Pint beermats and
Factiva highlighter pens, loads of sample copies of Information World
Review and five bottles of very nice champagne.

We drove just under 1000 miles in the Free Pint Bus during the week,
and have subsequently had a number of signups on the Web site with
comments like "Saw a Free Pint vehicle". We were also highly amused at
the number of double-takes passers by made as they saw a vehicle with
"FREE PINT!" splashed all over it, but most comments came in regional
dialects as we were filling up with petrol when I was asked many times
"What's that there Free Pint?". I should really have worked on a more
witty and succinct answer than "Well, it's an online community of
business information searchers who ...". We therefore left a trail of
glazed looks around England and Wales. Find out more about our trip at
<http://www.freepint.co.uk/bar/read.php?i=5860>.

      William Hann, Managing Editor <william@freepint.co.uk>

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                        FREE PINT BOOKSHELF
                http://www.freepint.co.uk/bookshelf

         "Super Searchers in the News - The Online Secrets
                of Journalists and News Researchers"
                     Reviewed by Peter Chapman

Super Searchers in the News is the fifth title in the successful Super
Searchers series and follows the well-established format of individual
interviews with professional users of information who are acknowledged
experts in their particular business. Each interview rounds off with
'Power Tips' contributed by the interviewee, and the whole book is
completed with an extensive appendix of referenced sites and sources
and a comprehensive index.

Paula Hane is a skilled interviewer who asks the right questions to
draw from her distinguished interviewees real insights into the way
that they work and the tools that they use. Obviously the danger with
a book like this is that these tools often change (or disappear)
between the time of the interview and the date of publication, so it
is pleasing that the emphasis is on how to search rather than the
detail of the tools used. In addition, many of the interviewees stress
the value of the various List-Servs which support the work of
journalists and news researchers so readers wishing to keep abreast of
developments can see which ones to join.

What makes this book special for British Free Pint recipients is the
presence of a British researcher: Annabel Colley of the BBC. At this
point, I must declare an interest. Annabel is the Chair of the
Association of UK Media Librarians (AUKML) of which I am a member, and
it was Annabel who suggested that I reviewed the book.

The interview with Annabel is a useful counterpoint to the nine other
interviews in the book which are with American journalists and
researchers. First, it highlights how different from America is the
regulatory environment in which British and European news researchers
work. Secondly, it mentions useful non-American resources such as Free
Pint and FT.com. Thirdly, it is a reminder that although news is
global, the culture in which it is interpreted is still national!

Free Pint readers who work in the news industry should buy this book.
It has a number of excellent 'Power Tips'; it lists the key sites for
tracking news and for sifting out information useful to news
organisations; and it is very readable.

Free Pint readers who don't work in the news industry should borrow
the book to understand what makes otherwise sane men and women so
passionate about news and so single-minded in their pursuit of what is
so often transient information!

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Peter Chapman is Head of Electronic Information Services for a
regional morning newspaper. He was bitten by the news bug as a child
whilst following the fortunes of Yorkshire County Cricket Club in the
Yorkshire Post.

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Related Free Pint links:

* Find out more about this book online at the Free Pint Bookshelf
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/bookshelf/supernews.htm>
* Read about other Internet searching books on the Free Pint Bookshelf
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/bookshelf/searching.htm>
* Read customer comments and buy this book at Amazon.co.uk
  <http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0910965455/freepint0c>
  or Amazon.com
  <http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0910965455/freepint00>
* Details: ISBN 0910965455 published by Cyberage Books written by
  Paula J. Hane, Scott Simon (Frw), Reva Basch (Editor)
* Search for and purchase any book from Amazon via the Bookshelf
  
* Associated Web site at <http://www.infotoday.com/supersearchers>

To propose a business-Web-related book for review, send details 
to <bookshelf@freepint.co.uk>.

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             >>>  RECOMMEND FREE PINT TO A FRIEND  <<<
         Have you recommended Free Pint to anyone recently?

Free Pint can only continue to remain free if you help us spread the
   word to your colleagues and friends. It's very easy by simply
  entering their email address on our confidential Recommend page.
We'll then send them a courteous and brief introduction to Free Pint.

                http://www.freepint.co.uk/reco.htm

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                          FEATURE ARTICLE
        http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/161100.htm#feature

    "Business Information for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises"
                       By Diana Grimwood-Jones

Small business is, increasingly, big business as commercial providers
wake up to the opportunities offered by a potential market of over a
million Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK alone. The
build-up of good quality information for SMEs has been slow, as the
major providers have concentrated their efforts on the large corporate
market, and small businesses themselves have been reluctant or unable
to make use of web-based information to help their business
development and solve their day-to-day problems. However, there are
now a number of sites targeted directly at SMEs, and much of the
information within them is available free.

This brief overview will attempt as far as possible to avoid web sites
on business portals and cash flow already covered in recent articles
(or at least will highlight different aspects of them), and will
concentrate on three areas: general, multi-purpose sites; SME funding
sources; trade and business associations as sources of advice,
including 'self-help' online communities. Though it will include some
international sites, the main focus will be the UK.


General sites and portals
-------------------------

For a good overview of UK government support for small business, start
at the main DTI Web site <http://www.dti.gov.uk> and click Business
Support for details of help for small business. A high profile element
of this is the new Small Business Service, launched on 1 April 2000 
<http://www.businessadviceonline.org/> designed to help a small
business at every stage of its lifecycle. Although the service itself
is still in its infancy, the site has already accumulated useful
resources in some key areas, notably 'Doing business on the Internet'
(which many SMEs are still fighting shy of) and information of use to
specific sectors: there are 27 of these currently listed, including
aerospace, energy, financial services, household goods and transport.
The SBS oversees the work of the Business Link network in England:
details of services offered, and locating your nearest Business Link,
can be obtained from the main site at
<http://www.businesslink.co.uk/>.

Another useful 'official' site is The Enterprise Zone 
<http://www.enterprise-zone.org.uk> launched three years ago by the DTI
and now managed by Bright Station. Its home page offers access to
information and key sites in a range of business functions such as
Finance, Sales & Marketing and IT. There is also a Link Shopper
service for office product procurement which describes itself as the
'UK's largest office store for business buyers'.

One of the most recent views of SME information need and use was
provided by a British Library funded project jointly run by
Strathclyde University and the Library Information Technology Centre,
which reported in 1999 (1). The project involved a very substantial
website development, hosted on the Strathclyde server, responsibility
for which has now passed to the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
<http://www.glasgowchamber.co.uk> who have badged it as the Chamber
Business Information Centre. The Chamber site is currently under
construction, so it may be late November before you can check what a
good small business portal it is. There are plans for more frequent
updates of site links and an expansion of the sectors covered.

Two sites with commercial backing are worth mentioning. With typical
understatement, Virgin describes its biz.net service as 'the complete
online small business service - your virtual management team'
<http://www.virginbiz.net>. The site offers good basic guidance in the
practicalities of start-up, growth and 'moving on' but the
presentation of search results is unclear and there are gaps - for
example, searches under 'IPR' and 'trademarks' failed to produce any
hits.

Dun & Bradstreet has recently launched a new service for UK-
based SMEs called do-Business <http://www.do-business.net/>. It offers
a mix of free and priced services (e.g. competitor tracking and a
matching service to find suppliers), many of which have been developed
with third party suppliers. The site offers access to consultancy
teams in Finance, Marketing, Strategy and Support, and has a help desk
facility.

Broadening our scope to Europe, it is worth checking the Dialogue with
Business service, launched in January 1999 and accessed via Europa,
the official website for the European Union
<http://www.europa.eu.int/business/> (then select English as the
language). This provides one-stop access to a range of key issues such
as intellectual property rights, technical harmonisation and funding
opportunities, summaries and texts of EU legislation, personalised
advice and feedback (delivered through the Euro Info Centre network)
and a 'Practical information' section which includes details of fairs
and exhibitions, a mammoth business directory, a translation service
and a list, updated daily, of the best global business sites from 70
countries.

The site, which attracts more than 11,000 requests for information per
day, is to be upgraded and improved: one plan is to sound out
companies on draft new EU legislation through online consultations.
Another European Commission service, set up as the result of a joint
recommendation from European and American industry representatives, is
the Transatlantic Small Business Initiative (TASBI) which promotes the
formation of business linkages (strategic partnerships, licenses,
distributorships, joint ventures) between European and American SMEs
<http://www.tasbi.com/>. It offers a partner search facility through
its PEPPER matchmaking database.

Finally, a word on search engines. All the major ones offer access to
small business information. Yahoo! <http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com>
crams a lot of information into a small space, or dig down through 
<http://www.yahoo.co.uk> Business and Economy to Small Business
Information for UK and Ireland only.

Sources of Funding
------------------

Grants, loans and other funding possibilities for SMEs could easily
form the subject of an article on their own. Most of the general sites
listed above have some Finance or Funding component (e.g. the main DTI
site gives details of various awards and loan schemes) but they can
take some tracking down. Details of European funding can be
particularly difficult to winkle out, in spite of the heavy emphasis
given by the European Commission on the importance of SME
participation in Community projects.

Good starting points are the 'Funding opportunities' on the Europa
Business site (an expansion of this is promised soon) and the
'Innovation in Practice' button on the CORDIS home page 
<http://www.cordis.lu/>. This will take you through to details of the
Innovation/SMEs programme 
<http://www.cordis.lu/innovation-smes/home.html> and the Financing
Innovation site <http://www.cordis.lu/finance/home.html> which
includes information for both innovators and investors. Click on
Contact Lists in the 'Practical Information and Tools' section for
details of useful contacts including venture capital associations,
European institutions and other websites of interest - many of these
latter are geared to high technology start-ups.

The most popular commercial products are now available over the web.
EPRC Ltd maintains the InfoGrant database, which provides information
on grants and other financial assistance schemes available to
businesses in the UK (details at 
<http://www.eprcltd.strath.ac.uk/eprcltd/>) and is meant for use by
small business advisers. It now also offers GrantPoint, a self-service
database for use by small businesses themselves. A search currently
costs 39 pounds plus VAT.

Another well-known product is Grantfinder, a subscription-based
service which claims to be the most comprehensive database of UK and
EU funding. It includes details of around 1900 grants, loans,
subsidies and other incentives <http://www.grantfinder.co.uk/>.


Business and trade associations
-------------------------------

Business associations can offer the SME valuable and informed support.
The UK pressure group for small business is the Federation for Small
Businesses <http://www.fsb.org.uk>. Issues of current concern are
highlighted on the site (for example, at the time of writing there is
a Quick Poll on the Fuel Tax). A key organisation for many small (and
not so small) businesses is their local Chamber of Commerce, part of
the British Chambers of Commerce network, which represents more than
120,000 firms <http://www.britishchambers.org.uk>. A new initiative,
developed in partnership with Royal Mail Via Code (its secure digital
security service), is Chambersign, which offers affordable, secure
access to e-commerce to even the smallest companies.

Internationally, the US-based International Small Business Consortium
<http://www.isbc.com/isbc/> claims a membership of 33,000+ in over 140
countries. This site is worth checking out for its Dead Horse Strategy
alone (if you find you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is
to dismount, but there are several other options!). More seriously,
the consortium's mission is to provide a productive and professional
web-based network to help SMEs communicate about business needs,
expand their markets, and share resources, knowledge and experience.

Colin Duguid's article on cash flow in Free Pint No.71 
<http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/210900.htm#feature> recommended
bookmarking the BusinessZone site developed by the Sift Group 
<http://www.businesszone.co.uk/>. A newly launched service on this 
site is Any Answers, developed in conjunction with AccountingWeb, one 
of the Sift 'communities', in which questions can be posted to an
audience of 75,000 accountants worldwide. Sift is gradually expanding
its Vertical B2B Communities of professionals, trade and industry 
<http://www.sift.co.uk/> which now cover Accountancy, European
Business, Law, Training & HR, the Travel trade and (most recently)
Commercial Property. Its TrainingZone site 
<http://www.trainingzone.co.uk/> is claimed to be the most heavily 
used service in the country, and won a Yell UK Web award this year 
in the 'Best e-commerce (B2B) site' category.

Another source of specialist information is the Law Society's Lawyers
for your Business, a service backed by Business in the Community, the
Federation of Small Businesses and the Forum of Private Businesses
<http://www.lfyb.lawsociety.org.uk/>. This offers a series of guides
to various legal aspects of running a business, maintains a library of
frequently encountered legal pitfalls, and offers access to a
directory of solicitors.

Finally, trade associations are often the starting point for companies
seeking information and guidance, though many do not yet have a
convincing web presence. The DTI's Trade Association Network Challenge
(TANC) is an initiative designed to encourage trade associations to
make more creative use of the Internet. The TANC home page
<http://www.brainstorm.co.uk/TANC/Welcome.html> includes a link to the
(UK) Directory of Trade Associations. An international listing, in
which the UK and Irish ones are flagged, can be accessed through 
Yahoo! <http://www.uk.dir.yahoo.com/>. Click on Business and Economy 
and then select Organisations for a list that includes Trade 
Associations.

(1) Allcock, S and others. Business information and the Internet: use
of the Internet as an information resource for Small and Medium-Sized
Enterprises. Final report. (British Library Research & Innovation
Report, 136.) BLRIC, 1999.

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Diana Grimwood-Jones provides independent consultancy advice on
strategic and operational issues in information and library
management. Now back in the UK after a stint in Brussels, recent
project work has included designing classifications for web-based job
and training course information, and a survey of information support
within large, successful organisations. She can be contacted on 020
7249 3181 or by e-mail at <diana@artemisconsult.demon.co.uk>.

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Related Free Pint links:

* "Business Services" links & articles in the Free Pint Portal
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/portal/industry/industry.php3?category_id=167>
* "Portals for business information on the Internet" article in Free
  Pint No. 74 <http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/021100.htm#feature>
* Respond to this article and chat to the author now at the Bar
  
* Read this article online, with activated hyperlinks
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/161100.htm#feature>
* Access the entire archive of Free Pint content
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/portal/content/>

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                     >>>  FREE PINT PORTAL  <<<
                 http://www.freepint.co.uk/portal/

The Free Pint Portal continues to grow with new gateway and link sites
being added continually to the Industry sections. Research a country
or access the entire archive of Free Pint issues, articles and daily
Bar tipples all categorised by topic. If you're searching for business
information then the Free Pint Portal is a great place to start.

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The Online Information 2000 event in London, UK, is the biggest
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We look forward to meeting our current subscribers there, welcoming
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Current European events include the Content Summit in Zurich,
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In the States, the Conference on Universal Usability will be taking
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Full details of these and many other forthcoming conferences and
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found on the Free Pint Events page <http://www.freepint.co.uk/events>.

      Simon Collery, Content Developer <simon@freepint.co.uk>

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>>>  SUBMIT YOUR SITE TO THE TOP SEARCH ENGINES - FAST AND FREE  <<<

Free Pint Submit is a quick and easy way to contact the major search
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                           FREE PINT GOLD

The Tips article this time last year gave advice on where to find the
best water resources on the Web.  The feature article was about
electronic communities and how much we have yet to learn about them.

* Free Pint No.50, 18th November 1999 "Information on tap - Web
  resources on the water industry" and "Electronic Communities" 
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/181199.htm>.

This time two years ago we ran an article on how to promote your site
at little or no cost.  There was also an article on the complementary
relationship between CD-ROMs and the Web.

* Free Pint No.26, 12th November 1998 "Web Site Promotion Ideas" and
  "CD-ROMs and the Web" <http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/121198.htm>.

Three years ago, in the second issue of Free Pint, we were told how
different search engines deal with the case you write your queries in.
And we heard about how the Web lends itself to frauds and scams.

* Free Pint No.2, 20th November 1997 "CAPITAL Punishment in Search
  Engines" and "Fakes and Frauds on the Net" 
  <http://www.freepint.co.uk/issues/201197.htm>.
 
      Simon Collery, Content Developer <simon@freepint.co.uk>

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Many thanks for reading today's Free Pint and I really hope you've
found it useful. Watch out for the launch of our new UK company
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                        CONTACT INFORMATION

William Hann BSc MIInfSc, Founder and Managing Editor
e: william@freepint.co.uk t: +44 (0)1784 455435 f: +44 (0)1784 455436

Rex Cooke FIInfSc FRSA, Editor
e: rex@freepint.co.uk t: +44 (0)1342 316027 f: +44 (0)1342 316027

Simon Collery BA, Content Developer
e: simon@freepint.co.uk t: +44 (0)1865 434143 f: +44 (0)1784 455436

Address
  Free Pint Limited, FREEPOST (SEA3901), Staines
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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
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Please note: Free Pint is a trademark of, and published by, Free Pint
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The opinions, advice, products and services offered herein are the
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This publication may be freely copied and/or distributed in its
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Write to Rex Cooke, Editor  for more details.
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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