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Newsletter No.9

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                             Free Pint
          Helping you find quality information on the Web

ISSN 1460-7239                                        5 March 1998 #9
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                 Welcome to Free Pint Number Nine!

Once again we have a packed issue, full of tips, Web site reviews,
articles and more. We have a super article about how to encourage
others to give the Web a go, and a feature article about finding
market research resources on the Web. We then have the usual letters
section with some helpful guidance from a respected searcher and

We have had a number of emails from subscribers asking about the
Free Pint team and so I thought I'd give some introductions:

Rex Cooke is the Editor of Free Pint. Rex has worked in the online
industry for many years and is a Fellow of the Institute of
Information Scientists and Royal Society of Arts. You can contact
Rex directly by email to

Alison Scammell is Account Director, and is well known
in the information profession. Alison is a Member of the Institute of
Information Scientists and can be contacted by email to or telephone +44 (0)181 460 5850. Being
responsible for advertising, Alison invites you to look at the
Advertisers page on the Web site where we have a number of special
offers (including free banner ad placement on the Web site) and the
facility to accept credit card orders.

Then there is myself as Managing Editor. I am a professional
information scientist and can be contacted by email to or telephone +44 (0)1784 423181.
We also have a network of other information professionals and you can
see their biographies at the end of the articles they write.

Now you know the team, I hope will will read on and enjoy this issue
of Free Pint.

Kind regards,

William Hann

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

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                           IN THIS ISSUE

                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
                     "But what is it good for?"
                           by Ian Watson

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
          "Market Research Information On The Internet"
                          by Jill Bradley


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TFPL, the premier training organisation in business information,
presents the following courses in March:
         British Company Law                     24 March
         Legal Issues for the Information Dept   25 March
         Managing Library Automation             31 March
For further details please contact,
visit our website or telephone 0171 251 5522

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     HIPEx – the Headland Information Professionals' Exchange.
The new online community from Headland Business Information is your
first-stop-shop for business information news.  HIPEx membership
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Online/CD-ROM Business Information; European Business Intelligence
Briefing; What's New in Business Information; or Business Information
Review.  Call 01342 330185 or e-mail for a
free trial.  Quote 'Free Pint' to receive 10% off 1998 subscription.

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                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

                     "But what is it good for?"
                           by Ian Watson

It's amusing to look back smugly at famous predictions that turned
out to be spectacularly inaccurate.  You know the kind of thing:

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously
considered as a means of communication.   The device is inherently
of no value to us."
Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"But what is it good for?"
IBM Engineer on the microchip, 1968

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
Ken Olson, president and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would
pay for a  message sent to nobody in particular?"
Comment on radio in the 1920s.

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

"While theoretically and technically television may be feasible,
commercially and financially it is an impossibility."
Lee DeForest, inventor.

 via Ask Jeeves:

These confident pronouncements were based on their authors'
perceptions of the social and economic systems of the time.  They
were either not willing or not able to imagine the technical or
social changes that would blow their learned declarations wildly
off course.

Yet today we hear the Web dismissed with the same confident bravado.
The best way to counter this negative hype is to promote a better
understanding of what the Web is and what it is not.   Many people
approach this new wonder in the way they would a new video recorder
or toaster:  "show me the buttons, give me a quick guide and show me
what it does".   This Tips and Techniques column is based on my
experience of introducing journalists to the Web and suggests how to
help new users get a feel for the medium.  It's not guaranteed but
here goes:

What is it?
It is important to understand that this is a communications medium,
not a service or a product.   It does not have a help desk although
there is a lot of help available. Dispel the notion that the Web has
the answer to every question.

Befriend and Embrace it.
Nurture the notion that this is an interactive medium where you will
find lots of advice and information, but you will have to get to know
it.  You have to incorporate it into your life and work to get the
best out of it.

I'm not sure I want to get that friendly!
OK.  Think of it as a market or bazaar (a great electronic
information bazaar) in which there are junk shops as well as high
class retailers.  There are bargains and rip offs.  Get to know your
way around.

Sounds a bit scary.
Get Streetwise.  Have a look at Deja News ( and see
how to tap into Usenet news groups to eavesdrop expert (or inexpert)
information exchanges on almost any subject imaginable.   You can
follow a long tortuous discussion thread.  Then you can ask for all
other postings (comments) made by the author of the message you are

What? So all my ravings are recorded for anyone else to read?
They certainly are.  Imagine a verbatim account of your contributions
to that heated debate the other night in the pub!  The lesson is to
be aware of netiquette especially the warning about posting messages
in anger!

Hmm.  Sounds like going in at the deep end.  Any guides?
Get familiar with and understand the relative strengths and
weaknesses of search services like Yahoo, Alta Vista, HotBot or Ask
Jeeves.  If you like the service offered by one of them stick with it
until you feel like branching out.

Anything out there that is better than print?
Look for sources that are well organised such as Yellow Pages
( - it does more than a printed directory could ever do.

Use to search for restaurants, swimming pools or
golf courses by clicking a map.  It will direct you to facilities
within a radius - much better than A-Z guides which list Canterbury
next to Carlisle!  For maps is rather good,
especially its A-Z of London.

Look up online telephone directory to search for names
or partial names or post codes.   You can't yet get from a number to
an address, although you can in the USA (
In fact in the USA you can send cards, letters or flowers (real ones)
to addresses found!

What about buying things?
Taste and try before you buy. In the sixties, record shops had booths
in which you would sample the sounds before parting with the pounds.
Online record sales allow you to do this in you own home.   Try out or Ask Jeeves to find you some other online music

Or sample online book buying at  A couple of hours
browsing in a good bookshop is hard to beat, but when you have a
specific need, online can be more convenient.  The lesson is that the
Web is complementary to existing forms of communication and business.
Use when appropriate.

What about transport?
Above all, make sure you get a reliable ISP and at least a 28,8
modem.  Otherwise the World Wide Web can become the World Wide Wait.

It still feels a bit like an anorak's paradise.
Remember that answering machines, fax and mobile phones were thought
of as nerdy novelties at one time.  OK,  so mobile phones have yet to
shake off the nerdy tag - but if more Mr and Ms Sensibles adopt them
the nerds will become a minority won't they?

I still can't see it catching on....
Just like telephone, television, radio, and computers?  Oh ...
and the Beatles:
"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out"
- Decca AOR man's verdict on the Fab Four, 1962.

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Ian Watson is Information Services Manager at The Herald & Evening
Times. He can be contacted by email to

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Knowledge Management Conference and Exhibition will provide:- all
aspects of knowledge management from strategy to implementation, a
leading edge conference with high profile speakers, interactive
workshops and an exhibition featuring key organisations and rolling
product demonstrations. 02 - 03 April 1998 - The Royal Horticultural
Halls and Conference Centre, London.
       Contact: Learned Information,  Tel: +44(0)1865 388000
     Fax: +44(0)1865 736354,  Email:

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               *** Current Advertising Offers ***
               Five adverts for the price of four!
           Free banner advert on Web site for 10 weeks!
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     Email or phone +44 (0)181 460 5850

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Institute of Information Scientists  IIS  40th Anniversary Conference
Sheffield, England 8-11th July 1998

Day 1 Knowing what we know - Knowledge Management
Day 2 It's there but where? - Archiving Electronic Publications
Day 3 Who owns wins - licensing and copyright in the electronic age
Day 4 Web and other workshops
For the full programme

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                          FEATURE ARTICLE
          "Market Research Information On The Internet"
                          by Jill Bradley

I have concentrated on World Wide Web sources which can be used for
desk research, within this area the Internet has both strengths and
weaknesses and it is understanding this which is key to the
profitable use of this resource. The Internet is very high in the
serendipity factor with the most unexpected subjects receiving good
coverage and equally surprising omissions. This means that it is
always worth a quick look but if you don't find a useful site
fairly quickly it may well be more effective to turn to more
traditional resources.

* Market size figures not usually available
* Penetration figures and demographics not usually available
* Strong US bias
* Patchy coverage
* Often there is lack of authority
* Nobody is in control which causes lack of consistency

* Access is cheap and information is often free
* Some subjects very well covered
* Good for background information
* Speed of obtaining information
* Wide geographic scope
* Rapidly increasing coverage
* More companies adding own Web pages

Don't expect to find much free market research data on the Internet,
it is labour intensive and expensive to produce and no company whose
business is selling data can afford to give it away free. However
many of the market research publishers now have Web pages so that the
Internet can be a good place for checking availability of published
research and a lot of them will offer free samples from some of their
more recent reports.

MAID is a host or supplier rather than a publisher, it therefore
offers access to a very wide range of material worldwide but the
subscription charges are very high indeed.
Mintel is well known for their published market research reports,
they specialize in the UK consumer and retail markets and this site
lists their available reports, with ordering and pricing information.

Euromonitor, Datamonitor and Keynote are all well established and
respected market research publishers, with their sites also listing
available reports, with ordering and pricing information.
Publisher of market research, specifically in the IT area.

Coopers and Lybrand site, this site has a nicely organised launch pad
page which lists 450 useful sites.
SGA do commissioned research rather than published reports but this
site is interesting for two reasons. Firstly SGA have an online
costing option which allows you to fill in your requirements then you
are emailed with a quote for your project, I don't know how well this
works but it is an interesting development. Secondly, on their site
is posted an article by Pete Comley, 'The Use of the Internet as a
Data Collection Method' which describes the results of one of the
first commercial surveys to be conducted in the UK over the Internet.
MORI is best known for their election coverage but their main
business is commissioned research for industry, this home page is
their Internet showcase.
NOP Web site, this has some interesting figures on Internet use.
AMSO is the trade association for the major UK market research
companies this is a good site for market research buyers to check
before commissioning work.
ESOMAR is the European professional body for market research
companies this is a good site for market research buyers to check
before commissioning work from overseas agencies.
List of market research companies in USA

A Canadian site with information on the international food market, it
also has some useful links to other sites.
Site contains statistics on internet users and usage.
Centre for Applied Social Surveys, this is a UK academic/government
initiative which aims to set up a question bank , it is still under
development and is not updated very frequently at present.
Home site for a construction company this gives some very up to date
market statistics on the construction industry and forecasts.

These are the key to using the Internet for any kind of research.
Bookmarks are useful for frequently accessed sites but spending
large amounts of time compiling an extensive collection of bookmarks
can be counterproductive. The Internet changes so fast that keeping
your bookmarks current is like painting the Forth Bridge, a never-
ending task, so that it seems more sensible to use the resources
somebody else has produced.
I often use this for new subject areas before I have bookmarks set
up, it coverage is excellent so it is good for broad searching and
for offbeat subjects but you can be overwhelmed by too many hits.
Strong US bias but you can restrict to domain:uk, it allows some
structured searching but search capabilities are primitive compared
to online and CD ROM systems.
Listing or launchpad of sites by subject area, this is pretty good if
it covers your subject area.
This search engine sets up custom folders which categorise your
search results and enable you to refine your search more easily. &
This is the old staple and it is still a useful source, it is
structured into subject areas but also allows keyword searching
across categories.
Links to over 300 search engines, is very useful for the more obscure
FTP site locator, very useful for finding company sites.
Multi search engine, it uses several other search engines at the same
time using your keywords.

There are business telephone directories available on the Internet
and a smaller selection of residential directories also. These are
the online equivalent to the yellow pages or the national telephone
books. Some of the most obscure countries are available but there are
also surprising gaps so you need to check for the specific country

Some have English versions of the search screen but many are only in
the original language and the level of searching and ease of use
varies considerably. The coverage of the lists below overlap to a
large extent but they are not identical so it is worth searching
UK business telephone directory (yellow pages) searchable by;
location, subject category or company name, results are listed
alphabetically 10 to a page with a random start letter.
List of links to telephone directories mostly business (yellow pages)
available on the Internet, coverage is worldwide and some of the most
surprising countries are available. Search capabilities are variable
as is language availability.
List of links to European telephone directories mostly business
(yellow pages) available on the Internet. Search capabilities are
variable as is language availability.

Site of Eurostat which is the EEC statistical organisation

United Nations World Population Figures
UK Office for National Statistics
Launch pad page with list of useful CSO statistical data links

An extended and regularly updated version of this document including
live links is available online at:

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Jill Bradley has been a qualified Information Professional for 15
years and for the last 4 years has been the Information Manager
with Harris Research, a company well recognised for high quality
research, innovative thinking and excellent client service.
Harris has specialist consumer and business to business expertise in
the Automotive, IT and Telecommunications, Retail, Financial and
Social and Political research. Harris interview in over 55 countries
and have a fully-owned international network of  offices through the
TN/AGB/ SOFRES Group, this gives Harris' clients access to global
scale methodologies for UK, European and International projects.
Jill can be contacted by email to

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     ***  Do you have a comment, feedback or suggestion?  ***
          Why not post a message on the Free Pint Forum
        Accessible on the Web at

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 URGENT: Sue Hill Recruitment & Services Seeks Abstractors down-under

         Can you commit to regular abstracting (Mon-Fri)?
    We need work done daily between midnight and 8am British time
  Good quality abstracts - subject current affairs government issues
It can all be done by FTP so ideal for homeworkers - good rates of pay of Fax +44 171 732 6718

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                  "Advertising in Free Pint Works"
   Full details and offers at

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At Willco we provide a wide range of Internet & Intranet services.
These cover Internet and Intranet site creation, promotion,
consultancy and out-sourced updating and maintenance services.

              To find out more call us on 01784 423181
      Email:  Web:

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                        LETTERS & FEEDBACK

This issue we have published a letter received from a well-respected
online information searcher and author. Marydee Ojala makes some
excellent points in her letter which you can find reproduced below.

Thank you for all your emails of support. We really appreciate your
comments and suggestions, so keep emailing
The Free Pint Forum on the Web site is also receiving a number of
requests for information, so why not pay a visit? You can post a
question or help another subscriber out with their query.
The Forum can be accessed on the Web site at:


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To William Hann
Managing Editor, Free Pint

First of all, thanks for telling me about Free Pint. I'm enjoying it
immensely and mentioned it in an article I wrote for Searcher
Magazine, reviewing International Online. I do have a few concerns
about your article "Fabricating Information" in your Issue #7,
5 February, 1998.

I know you addressed the issue of copyright in your summary but I
think it needs more emphasis. Copyright is an issue that information
professionals should take seriously. Before incorporating information
from the Web – or from commercial, premium-priced online services,
for that matter – it behooves the searcher to ensure they are not
violating copyright. To simply import huge chunks of text and entire
Web pages into a report, article, training course, or proposal,
thereby passing them off  as your own, is neither legal nor ethical.
I urge readers of Free Pint to credit any information they import
into their own writing and to ask permission of the Web page creator
before even attempting to import them.

Having said that, I should admit that I frequently need to illustrate
an article with a picture of a Web page being discussed. I find the
best program for this to be Paintshop Pro. Essentially it takes a
snapshot of the page displayed on my screen and saves it as a
graphics file. The extension is up to you. I tend toward JPEG.

Your section on "Problems with Frames" was extremely lucid. I can't
find a browser that prints a whole page with all the frames, either.
I think you should have mentioned in your next section, "Printing
Blank Pages," that those very same frames may be the culprit. Most
browsers print the frame where your cursor last was before you
issued the print command. If you don't pay attention to where the
cursor is pointing, you may inadvertently ask your system to print a
blank page. It's a waste of paper and leaves you feeling silly.

Keep up the good work with Free Pint.

Marydee Ojala
Editor, DATABASE: The Magazine of Electronic Resources & Research

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

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Well, we hope you've found this issue of Free Pint useful and
informative.  If so, then please remember that the best way you can
thank us is by letting other people know about Free Pint.  Why not
write a review, forward a copy to colleagues, or print out a copy
and pass it around the office?

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

(c) Willco 1998

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

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

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

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

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

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