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Newsletter No.92

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                             Free Pint
         "Helping 39,000 people use the Web for their work"

ISSN 1460-7239                                   19th July 2001 No.92
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                           IN THIS ISSUE


                        MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                          from Carol Jack

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

        Senior Information Professional | Knowledge Manager
           Senior Researcher | Resource Planning Analyst

                           TIPS ARTICLE
       "Information Architecture and Web Usability Resources"
                          By Hal P Kirkwood

  "The Invisible Web: Searching the hidden parts of the Internet"
                      Reviewed by Helen Clegg

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
                        "Summoned by Bells"
                          By Zena Woodley


                        CONTACT INFORMATION


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British Library Training Courses - Autumn 2001. It is impossible
to put a price on the importance of being well-informed. Whether you
are interested in Business, Environment, Health, Patents, Science and
Technology or the Internet, we can help you find the information you
need to succeed. Our simple and effective courses provide an easy, low
cost way for you to develop your information finding skills -
benefitting you and your organisation. t:0207 412 7978 or visit for further details.

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                      >>>  ABOUT FREE PINT  <<<

Free Pint is an online community of information researchers. Members
receive this free newsletter every two weeks packed with tips on
finding quality and reliable business information on the Internet.
Joining is free at <> and provides access to
the substantial archive of articles, book reviews, jobs, industry news
& events, with answers to your research questions and networking at
the "Free Pint Bar" and "Student Bar". Please circulate the newsletter
which is best read when printed out and viewed in a Courier font.

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Brace yourself for some of the biggest news I've ever announced in my
editorials. I will shortly be writing to all members directly with
details of a great new enhancement to Free Pint which should really
transform the community and offer you some great new services:

We have been asked many times by members if there is any way they can
pay to upgrade their membership, not only to support the Free Pint
community but to give us the resources to develop new services and
produce premium content. We have therefore been working hard to put
together a great package of unique content, member promotion and
purchase discounts, and all subscribers will very soon have the
opportunity to become a full member, namely a "Free Pint Regular".

I'll say no more at this stage, but watch out for your invitation to
become a Free Pint Regular. Regulars will receive promotion in a new
member directory, a special weekly alert newsletter and generous
discounts across the Free Pint site.

I hope you will take this opportunity to support Free Pint and gain
some tremendous additional benefits from our community. Don't worry,
the Free Pint Newsletter, Bar and Digests will still remain free. It's
just a chance for you to be recognised as an official supporter. To
get a sneak preview, please visit <>.

We are delighted to welcome TFPL as an agency advertiser with Free
Pint Jobs and they are now listing all their information and
knowledge-related job vacancies with us.

TFPL are well known within the information industry and have been
placing candidates, from users to providers of information, since
1987. They also have a specialist division for knowledge management
jobs called KnowledgeRecruit.

You can can find out more about TFPL and search through all their
vacancies at Free Pint Jobs <> where
there are now over 260 information-related job listings. If you do
contact an advertiser then don't forget to tell them you saw them at
Free Pint. Also, set up your Jobs Profile to be alerted of relevant
new positions, as many new jobs are being added on a daily basis.

Don't forget that our offer of a free Financial Report worth 24 pounds
(about US$34) on any UK company finishes at the end of July. Financial
Reports contain detailed accounts, risk and ownership information.
So make sure you beat the deadline by finding out more about this
special offer at <>.

We have some super articles in today's edition of Free Pint. In the
first we welcome back respected author Hal Kirkwood with an article
about information architecture. This is a timely piece, and after all
the recent development work on the Free Pint Web site I'm definitely
considering changing my job title to "Information Architect". We have
a very unusual and interesting article on Web resources for bell
ringers. If you don't know much about this topic then the passion
displayed by the author might just get you hooked. All of this is
accompanied by the regular mix of tips, reviews and the latest from
the Free Pint Bars.

I hope you enjoy today's Free Pint and will pass it on to your
colleagues and friends, and will accept my upcoming invitation to
become a Free Pint Regular.

All the best

       William Hann BSc MIInfSc, Founder and Managing Editor
      Email: <>   Tel: +44 (0)1784 455435
Free Pint is a registered trademark of Free Pint Limited (c) 1997-2001

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                   Free Pinters pay no set up fee

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   High speed connectivity and top quality hardware, at a low price

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     Free Pint has a global membership of business information
     users, with subscribers in 117 countries around the world.
 If you want to contact them then shouldn't you be advertising here?

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                        MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                          from Carol Jack

* I use the currency converter at <> to convert
  overseas invoices to sterling, but you could use it to convert
  Philippines pesos to German marks if you wanted to!

*, <>,
  is a valuable storehouse of media news, advice and links to other
  relevant sites -  you can even submit your showreel to the site.

* My favourite music technology magazine, Sound on Sound, has a great
  website at <>.  It contains equipment
  reviews, advice and a used equipment ads section.

* More specialised technology news and advice can be found at 
  <>, for those of us who use Cubase music
  software for work and/or play.

* As a music lover, I like to visit
  <>, a US site which 
  contains artist bios and discographies, plus general industry news.

Carol Jack is an extranet administrator at a City law firm and is also
an ardent fan of all types of music.

Tell us about your top five favourite Web sites. See the guidelines at
<> and email <>.

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           The end of a day. A good day. A fantastic day.
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                Pinpoint precision.  Best content.
Dow Jones and Reuters. Two global leaders. One incredible new service.
     The basis of a good decision
   Factiva launched its new product on June 11th.
      visit to find out more.

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If you have suppliers, customers or competitors who are UK companies
then you really can't afford not to get the low-down on what they do.
 What better way than with a free Financial Report worth 24 pounds?

Find out more today at <>
but hurry as the offer ends 31st July. One free report per customer.

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

Free Pint Bar <>

   [Note: To read a posting enter the message number in place of
     XXXXX in the address ]

Apparently, only fools and horses work (10980). So I must be a horse.
But the provenance of the saying has not been made clear yet. And that
hasn't been the only linguistic worry in the last few weeks. There
have been further questions about Russian (11235) and Tibetan (11188).
Also, questions about fees for translation work (10943) and
translation software (11005, 10981). And another phrase, "hoist by
your own petard" (11089). Does hoist mean 'bring down' or 'lift or
throw upwards' or both?

Business researchers have been working on Australian company financial
information (10950), electronic tendering services (11116), IT
industry discussion groups (11101), ad sales agencies (11095), safe
repositories for new ideas (11258), Web sites for small businesses
(10939) and preparing a Web site for ecommerce (11030).

Other researchers have expressed interest in TV portrayal of non-white
people (11257), dietary analysis programs (11033), Chinese
pharmacopoeias (11201), the motor industry (11000), sources of
information on serials (11001), unified messaging services and Web
sites in the UK (11070) and UK maps with up to date boundaries

Quantitative and statistical data has been sought about manager to
staff ratios in IT (10963), the number of Web sites there are (11133),
UK economic data (10956), the UK top fifty food manufacturers (11195),
a UK land price index (11019) and retirement pensions in the UK

But the largest group of queries in the past two weeks has been
technical and software related. People need to download whole Web
sites (11043), send photos by email (11147), export emails from one
package to another (11155), install new fonts (11024), troubleshoot
monitors (11205) and desktops that misbehave (11107) and control
Internet access on public terminals (11007).

There have also been questions about using white on white text in Web
pages (11108), drop down navigation (10967), Visual Basic 6 (11182),
creating reports in Access (11174), special characters in Oracle
(11208), mobile phone accessories (11017), vehicle tracking devices
(10941) and getting rid of an unwelcome site that keeps popping up
(11153, 11191).

On the software front, Free Pinters have been looking for archiving
tools (11039), music software (10991), news scrollers (10942),
genealogy software (11252), sizing Excel sheets in Word (11097), Trek
Trak URL databases (11035), choosing library catalogue software
(10933) and software for the Sony J5 (10968).

Recently recommended resources cover cartoons for Intranets (11204),
sites for verifying quotations (11180), sites about residential
property in Northern England (10999) and world population density maps
(11203). We're still looking for some good sites for carrying out
people searches (10945). And we've been told where to go if we want to
moan and complain in the UK (11085)? Maybe the people having problems
with NTL can go there (11046, 11062).

Our more miscellaneous postings have been about jobs in Scotland
(10960) and the Netherlands (11183), Factiva's murder mystery winner
(11166), London based corporate events (10993), Google's newsgroups
(11202), sleeving for CD ROMs (10959), free text messaging (11137,
11042, 11242) and the world combine harvesting record (11057).

Finally, we have heard mixed things about SurfWax, the meta search
engine, but it is worth your while giving it a test drive (11177). And
if search tools make your heart beat faster, I reviewed the very
general purpose Albert, a natural language search engine (11105), and
the more narrowly focused NameBase (11259). And that appears to be it!

Free Pint Student Bar <>

   [Note: To read a posting enter the message number in place of
      XXXX in the address <>]

I guess it will remain quiet in the Student Bar for some time now.
Aside from a sizeable number of queries about university and college
rankings, there have been a couple about industrial design conferences
(1588) and the UK PR market (1601). And there has been mention of the
HotBot Grand Directory (1576). It would be interesting to hear how
useful that is.

      Simon Collery, Content Developer <>

If you have a tricky research question or can help other Free Pinters
then do post a message at the Bar <> or
the Student Bar <>.

To have the latest Bar postings sent to you every other day, log in to
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For the Student Bar Digest contact <>.

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                           FREE PINT JOBS

Free Pint Jobs has details of over 260 information-related vacancies
around the world. The following are a selection of featured jobs:

Senior Information Professional <>
  Leading Investment Bank seeks experienced Information researcher 
  for involved role.
  Recruiter: Glen Recruitment

Knowledge Manager <>
  Opportunity for a Knowledge Management Technologist to drive 
  European KM projects for the R&D division of a global consumer brand.
  Recruiter: TFPL Ltd

Senior Researcher <>
  Outstanding career development opportunity for Information 
  Professional in proactive project based role.
  Recruiter: City Professionals

Resource Planning Analyst - Midlands <>
  It doesn't all happen in London! A prestigious financial services
  client needs a Resource Planning Analyst for their Midlands office.
  Recruiter: Sue Hill Recruitment and Services Limited

                [The above jobs are paid listings]

It is free to search Free Pint Jobs and you can set up a profile to be
notified by email of relevant new vacancies.

List your vacancies and receive significant publicity. Recruitment
agencies can also automatically upload all their jobs.

       Find out more today at <>

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 Apart from automatic subscriber handling, comprehensive features,
    speed, list customisation?  Don't just take our word for it:

   "We are very happy with the list hosting service provided by
   Free Pint and definitely recommend it to other organisations
 considering producing a newsletter." Internet Resources Newsletter


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                           TIPS ARTICLE

       "Information Architecture and Web Usability Resources"
                          By Hal P Kirkwood

The World Wide Web burst onto the Internet scene in the mid-1990's and
with it followed a rush to build and develop Web sites.  What soon
followed was an ever-changing and evolving landscape that included
blinking text, animated graphics, database-driven sites, push & pull,
dynamic Web pages, Flash, XML, and every other variation and
technological widget in between.  Web designers rushed to try out
these new offerings ... to ensure that their sites were 'cool' or
'hot' or in the top 5% of all Web sites.  Users of these sites were
often frustrated and annoyed at the difficulty of finding the
information they wanted.  Moving around these sites without getting
hopelessly lost was a constant challenge.

Somewhere along the way, however, the need for a more thoughtful,
critical, and organized method of developing Web sites began to be
developed.  Out of this chaos grew the field of Information
Architecture or IA. IA was not born solely from the development of the
Web; human-computer interaction and usability issues had existed for
some time.  Information Architecture became prominent when Louis
Rosenfeld and Peter Morville published their tome "Information
Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites",
O'Reilly, 1998, ISBN 1-56592-282-4.

Webmasters, Web designers and Web managers now had an actual field in
which to place themselves.  No longer were they simply writing Web
pages with HTML; they were 'architects' organizing information,
improving navigation, creating user-centered and user-designed Web
sites.  The work involved creating structures and maps while utilizing
concepts and techniques from library and information science,
cognitive psychology, mental models, HCI, graphic design, and several
other subject areas.

There is now an abundance of information on the Web related to the
growing field of Information Architecture.  Tutorials and courses are
available for those interested in breaking into the field, informative
meta-sites exist to provide a jumping-off point, organizations are now
supporting the field, and personalities are available for further
insight, analysis, and opinion.


Information architecture draws from a variety of skills and areas.
Human-computer interaction, visual design, user-centered design,
cognitive science, and even library science are all topics that
converge within information architecture.  Interested individuals have
a variety of options for becoming more acquainted with information
architecture by taking one of the many courses and tutorials that are

An excellent tutorial that introduces the concepts of IA can be found
at the WebMonkey site from John Shiple of Squishy Designs.  This 5-
lesson tutorial covers Defining Your Goals, Audience and Competitors,
Site Content, Site Structure, and Visual Design.  Each lesson works
towards the creation of a design document for your site.  See the
Information Architecture Tutorial at

Educorner by Addwise is an interactive tutorial site that provides an
interesting Introduction to Information Architecture that includes
brief readable text, interactive exercises, and relevant examples.
The tutorial consists of 6 lessons; Introduction, Architecture,
Organization, Navigation, Labeling, Process, and Examples.  Separate
pop-up windows contain the syllabus, recommended readings, a menu of
the available activities, and a concise glossary of terms.  It
can be found at <>.

If you want more than an introductory tutorial, extensive classes are
available for a fee from eSocrates
<> and User Interface
Engineering <>.  eSocrates is
an online learning community that offers 3-credit courses (through
Elizabethtown College) on a variety of management and technology
topics.  They offer five classes on information design: 'Introduction
to Information Design', 'Information Design in Three Dimensions',
'Text and Audio Information Design', 'Information Design for
Interactive Media', and 'Information Design in Advertising and
Entertainment'.  A description, objectives, and design of the course
are available prior to purchase.

User Interface Engineering provides a selection of architecture and
usability courses.  The courses available are 'Web Sites that Work:
Designing with Your Eyes Open', 'Product Usability: Survival
Techniques', and 'Designing for Dollars: Discover How People Buy
Online'.  These one or two day courses focus on site design using
information gathered from real usability studies.  Detailed
descriptions are available for each course.

Kent State University is offering a newly created Information
Architecture and Knowledge Management masters-level degree program
found at <>.  The program cuts
across six departments; Communication Studies, Journalism and Mass
Communication, Library and Information Science, Management &
Information Systems, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Visual
Communication Design.  The goal is to offer a truly interdisciplinary
program to provide the graduate with a strong foundation in areas 
that they will come into contact with as they move on in their career.


Information architecture touches upon issues of Web writing, user-
centered design, usability issues, knowledge management and
organization, information mapping, and human/computer interface
concepts.  A growing collection of meta-sites provides a jumping-off
point for research into the topic of IA and usability.

The best site to start with is UsableWeb <>
maintained by Keith Instone.  This site is a collection of over 1200
links organized by Topics, Destinations, Authors, and an alphabetical
index.  UsableWeb is an incredibly rich site for usability,
information architecture, web design, and related topics.  Each link
is briefly abstracted and classified by the three areas above.
Internal links to more general or more specific topics are included
with each site/resource. One interesting feature is the What's Popular
section which displays what links have been selected the most by

InfoDesign is a portal for the information design community.  Found at
<> it contains fewer total links
than UsableWeb.  It does provide a wider array of information in its
seven primary categories: Job Opportunities, Online Resources,
Information Design Organizations, InfoDesign Archive, Relevant
Publications for Information Design, Information Design Companies, and
Directory of Information Designers.  An excellent feature is the
Upcoming Events calendar for information design-related conferences
and workshops.

The demise of Argus Associates <> was a
shocking blow to the information architecture community; the Argus
Center for Information Architecture <> lives on
as a valuable resource for the IA community.  Primary sections include
Events, People, Survey, Content, IA Guide, Community, and Employment.
The Community <> section is
particularly useful with information on IA-related discussion lists
and professional associations.

Served from the National Cancer Institute is the site
<>.  This site is a rich resource for
usability resources.  The emphasis and purpose of the site is for
improving health and patient-related Web sites.  However, the
information provided is certainly applicable to a variety of Web site
genres.  Organized into ten sections: Usability Basics, Methods for
Designing Usable Web Sites, Guidelines & Checklists, Lessons Learned,
Links to Other Usability Sites, Accessibility Resources, Server Log
Analysis, Statistics & Market Research, Events & Meetings, and
Newsletters & Current Publications.  Of particular note on this site
is the Guidelines & Checklists and specifically the Researched-based
Web Design and Usability Guidelines found at
<>.  This section
contains approximately 60 specific guidelines, each with clear
commentary on the guideline and a bibliography of relevant articles
supporting the guideline.

An interesting site that bills itself as "daily links to strategic Web
design news" is Tomalak's Realm <> maintained
by Lawrence Lee.  The content consists of abstracted articles from
across the Web making this site an excellent current awareness tool
for Web design issues and news.  A companion e-newsletter is

The mission of IA is to provide for a central
clearinghouse to coordinate and focus developing efforts to create
standards for the information architecture field


Information Architecture is a growing and developing field of study
and employment.  It is also a growing community of individual
companies and individuals.   These can often be interesting and unique
sources of opinion, commentary, and current awareness.

One interesting company is Xplane, a visual thinking company that
specializes in creating highly informative graphics for clients and
publications.  Their case studies are definitely worth a look for
brainstorming ideas.  They also provide access to a Web log on
information architecture at
<>.  This irregularly
updated log contains an abundance of interesting resources not always
found elsewhere.

Christine Wodtke maintains an IA focused Web log at
<>.  She's got plenty of commentary, not
all of it on IA, and plenty of excellent and unique links to IA and
related sites.

Peter Merholz, another Web designer like Christine can be found at
<>.  This is another Web log with his comments and
opinions on Web design, usability, and related topics; again lots of
interesting unique stuff here.

The Webdesign section of <> is
managed by Jean Kaiser, a Web designer.  She provides commentary and
links to a wide variety of Web design, IA, and graphic design

Jesse James Garrett runs an interesting site at <>.
He provides a great page on IA resources as well as an interesting
"Visual Vocabulary for Describing Information Architecture and
Interaction Design".

Noted Usability personality Jared Spool is the principal of User
Interface Engineering <> mentioned above
in the Courses section.  The company's site contains some great
articles on usability testing and Web design.

And finally there is Jacob Nielsen's site <>.
It is the home for his bi-weekly column on Web design and usability. 
The site is rich with articles, reports, and commentary on IA and


Courses, meta-sites, companies, and individuals involved in
information architecture and usability are readily available on the
'Net.  Every one of these sites will unavoidably lead you to other
sites, other resources, and often to some of the other sites within
this article.  Information architecture is an interesting and growing
field with plenty of opportunities.  The above sites and resources are
an excellent place to start exploring.

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Hal Kirkwood is an assistant professor of library science at Purdue
University's Management & Economics Library.  He has written articles
for the Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, Information
Outlook, and Online.  Prof. Kirkwood is editor of the Talking Business
Information column in Bulletin, Business & Finance Division; Special
Libraries Association.  He has presented at the SLA Annual Conference,
Online World and Internet Librarian. His research interests are in
Web-based business information and academic Web-site design.  He can
be reached at <>.

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Related Free Pint links:

* "Information and Library" articles in the Free Pint Portal
* Read this article online, with activated hyperlinks
* Post a message to the author now at the Free Pint Bar
* Access the entire archive of Free Pint articles and issues

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    Free Pint Jobs has rapidly become THE place for advertising
         and searching for information-related vacancies.
   Visit today to search for your dream job, set up your profile,
       or even advertise vacancies within your organisation.


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                        FREE PINT BOOKSHELF

  "The Invisible Web: Searching the hidden parts of the Internet"
                      Reviewed by Helen Clegg

Anyone wanting to know more about the invisible web would do well to
read this handy little guide by Paul Pedley.

The Invisible Web is the latest addition to the series of Know How
guides published by Aslib, the UK Association for Information
Management. Although this series of guides is primarily aimed at
people working or teaching in the field of library and information
services, the book is suitable for any web enthusiast or searcher, who
wants to better comprehend the significance of the invisible web.

The invisible web is made up of content that search engines can't or
won't index, for example material that is hidden in searchable
databases.  As web developers are increasingly using dynamic databases
to create web sites, the invisible web is growing faster than the
visible web.  Knowing how to mine the invisible web, which often
contains higher quality information and understanding its background,
is therefore a must for searchers.

This guide is divided into nine short chapters.  Is there so much to
cover on the subject of the invisible web?  The short answer is yes,
if you want a comprehensive but succinct overview, which this book

The first three chapters put the invisible web in context, explaining
the different concepts of web "visibility", commenting on the speed at
which the web is growing and describing, with examples, types of data
which constitute the invisible web.

In Chapter Four, the author outlines a number of workarounds for
indexing web sites created by dynamic databases.  Whilst some
searchers may find that this goes into too much detail, the chapter is
important because it highlights the reasons why millions of
informative web sites and web pages are never indexed by search

Readers of this guide will perhaps find Chapters Five and Six the most
useful, as they include a directory of 56 invisible web search tools
plus a selective list of invisible web resources.  As well as some of
the more well-known search tools, like Gary Price's DirectSearch,
Bullseye and Gnutella, the directory contains many more, such as
Citeline and CompletPlanet.  The guide is worth reading for this
section alone!

For less experienced searchers and those of us who stick to tried and
tested search strategies, there are four worked questions in Chapter
Seven, which show how the invisible web can be used to answer
inquiries more accurately than the visible web.

Finally, web enthusiasts and searchers who want to read other experts'
views on the invisible web will find the references and further
reading lists in Chapter Nine an excellent starting point.

This Know How Guide is easy to read, well researched and comes in a
nice slim, paperback format. Paul Pedley has succeeded in making the
invisible web visible!

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Helen Clegg is Market Analyst with RR Donnelley Europe, in Amsterdam.
She holds an M.Sc. in Library and Information Studies and has worked
for a number of organizations in Europe including Bain & Company, BNFL
plc and AT Kearney Ltd.  Helen can be contacted at
.  She writes here in a personal capacity.

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Related Free Pint links:

* Find out more about this book online at the Free Pint Bookshelf
* "The Invisible Web: Searching the hidden parts of the Internet".
  Details: ISBN 0851424619 published by Aslib and written by Paul 
* Read the first chapter on the Aslib Web site at
* Read customer comments and buy this book at
* Search for and purchase any book from Amazon via the Free Pint
  Bookshelf at <>
* Read about other Internet searching books on the Free Pint Bookshelf

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

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  The Free Pint Student Bar is YOUR forum for meeting peers around
 the world, finding out about funding, or tapping into the wealth of
knowledge of Free Pint's extensive membership for help with projects.

 It's YOUR resource to help YOU with YOUR studies. If you need some
help then post a message today at <>

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                          FEATURE ARTICLE

                        "Summoned by Bells"
                          By Zena Woodley

How come I was 'summoned by bells'? It's a story too long to relate
here - perhaps over one of William's famous pints. Once I'd started,
I quickly got hooked. I'd like to encourage you, too, to become
addicted - but first, some background.

England is the only Western country that has a music system directly
related to that of Asia and the Far East. This musical tradition is
the more remarkable for being completely unknown: there are many
people who consider themselves authorities upon music who are
completely ignorant about this. And yet English bell ringing survives
- think about it! Nowadays, it is done voluntarily. But in the 18th
century, ringers were paid - there is a parallel here with the Morris
dance tradition, for up to the 19th century at least, Morris dancing
was done at the appropriate times of the year as a necessary ritual -
and the dancers were paid accordingly.

Change ringing came in just before the Great Rebellion (1642, for
those who aren't historically retentive) but the English way of
bellringing dates from a century or so before that. As in all music
outside the European classical tradition, it relates to number,
pattern and ritual. If you think of this as an indigenous folk art,
based on minimalist principles, you have some idea of what it's about.
The Gamelan tradition in the Far East might be considered a
parallel...(and if you don't believe me, check out
<> or
<> is a rare UK site on gamelan; very
interesting it is too...I digress!)

Everyone has heard bells ringing - you may not know what they are
doing, but you surely know if they 'sound good' or not! It all comes
from the bells being rung in sequence, from lightest to heaviest,
highest note to lowest note, in strict rhythm - after every other
sequence, there is a pause.  Are you with me so far? The effect of
this is an extremely characteristic sound, although it is complex to
define in strictly musical terms.

For example: on five bells, the basic sequence of rounds - lightest to
heaviest, highest note to lowest note - would be represented by the
figures 1 2 3 4 5. With the traditions of the rhythms of ringing, this
takes the form of a bar of music that would be represented with a time
signature of 11/4. This represents 1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5-
pause-1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5-pause, and so on.

What makes ringing interesting is the way the bells are rung, which is
not at all straightforward. Far from merely being struck with hammers
at the appropriate time, the bell themselves are swinging, and rotate
through a full circle for each stroke. This means that the note
produced is a full, rich sound, as the clapper flies across the bell
whilst it is still moving. Controlling the bell is by rope and wheel.
To the headstock on which each bell is hung is attached a wooden
wheel, the design of which has remained unchanged for three centuries.
To this is connected the rope, which the ringer manipulates -
'handling', as ringers say, which is a task of skill and some
complexity. Added to which, the bells themselves are possessed of
personality, individuality and sometimes downright cussedness, and you
begin to see why it can be addictive.

<> will give you
an idea of what should be happening!
offers reasons why this is a worthwhile hobby. It keeps you fit
physically and, once you've mastered the intricacies of handling, you
discover a rich seam of mental exercise which forces you to
concentrate on what you're doing - there isn't (at least, to start)
room in the brain to think about work. A marvellous way to unwind
after a stressful day. Some ringers claim to enter a Zen-like state of
consciousness: those I ring with would be alarmed if I were to do

Once ringers have moved past the 'rounds and call-changes' level, a
large number of methods can be learned. No, we don't have little music
stands in front of us while this is happening: it's all memorised (or
not!). A quick glance at any of these shows that they would be
completed in a relatively short time: to extend them, calls are
inserted at particular points. The calls are known as 'bobs' and
'singles'; put sufficient of these, in the correct order, into a
method, and the sequence will last for 5,040 changes - a peal.

This takes around three hours to ring continuously, depending on the
number of bells and the method selected, and no change (or line of
numbers) can be repeated. A less tiring alternative is a quarter-peal,
composed of 1,260 changes. Ringers even have their own journal: the
Ringing World, where details of peals, quarters, and news of peal
restorations, etc. can be found <>.
Campanophile <> is a popular online

Ringing for an extended period of time is thoroughly enjoyable: with a
fixed pattern in the mind, the ringer is free to focus upon good
striking of the bell, which should be a paramount aim at all times. At
a recent discussion (at the pub after practice, of course), one of my
fellow ringers said that the interval between each bell being struck
can be measured in thousandths of a second: the brain employs ears and
hands to achieve this. And one has to accommodate everyone else within
the band, while retaining the rhythm of the piece!

For those of you who have had their interest whetted, try these sites:
<> gives a good introduction,
while the parent site is typical of many Association Websites
<> is a staggeringly
full resource. Put together by a top-flight ringer, you should be able
to find information on ringing all around the UK, and other areas of
the world where change ringing is practised.
The towers where I ring are part of the London Docklands Ringing
Centre - see <> for more details.

Why Do It?

What does ringing promote?

Firstly, teamwork! The rewards of ringing a method with a group whom
you may not know well, but each accommodates, with infinitesimal
alterations, the others within the band. Together, you create
something that is well struck, and a delight to listen to. Controlling
a 'difficult' bell brings its own satisfaction. It's not always easy,
but it is great fun.

Secondly, satisfaction is a two-way street. You gain this when
someone else attains a target for the first time, perhaps by ringing
something new to them - and you get self-satisfaction when you achieve
a goal you've set yourself. It's such a very positive hobby.

Thirdly, in keeping with a worldwide hocketing tradition; you end up
in the pub afterwards! There must be teetotal bell-ringers, though
I've yet to meet any. And for a full definition of hocketing, see <>

It is a marvellous hobby if you move around the country with your
work - you can walk into any tower on a practice night, and you can be
assured of good company. All the ringers I know are very lively

You, too, can be a part of great events in Britain - when Diana,
Princess of Wales, died, we muffled our bells that Sunday morning as a
mark of respect. Many people told us later that the first they'd
realised something out of the ordinary had occurred was because of the
different sound of the bells.

You don't have to be very strong: you do have to have good hearing,
have a good sense of rhythm, and a reasonable memory.

You don't have to go to church - I do - but it's not obligatory. The
parish's bells happen to be in the church tower: the bells belong to
whoever hears them. They are there to celebrate civic events, and
secular ones - not just ecclesiastic ones!

What other hobby offers you an opportunity to visit some of the
loveliest cathedrals and churches, and to explore parts of these
buildings that 'normal' people never get to see?

Those outside England may accuse me of 'campanilismo' (an extremely
parochial attitude). I learned to ring in south Wales, and it's true
that England and Wales have most peals of bells - Scotland has some,
but not as many. Overseas, peals of bells proliferate in what were
once those pink bits on a world map - Australia, New Zealand, South
Africa. They're also being installed in growing numbers in the U.S. as
groups there discover just what fun ringing is.

So next time your local tower awakens you on a Sunday morning, why not
give in and join them? Who knows, it could be the start of a life-long

A footnote for those lucky enough to have Palms:
<> will get you a
download of methods for your Palm, for less than the price of a round.

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Zena Woodley is currently working for a retail-oriented market
research organisation. She began her information career with INMOS,
and still retains a deep interest in semiconductors. She can remember
accoustic couplers, and was familiar with email back in the mid 80s!
She has worked in organisations connected with hydrology and
construction: she was also Information Manager at Aslib for four
years. Apart from bell-ringing, her passion is classical music.

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Related Free Pint links:

* "Music" resources and articles in the Free Pint Portal
* Respond to this article and chat to the author now at the Bar
* Read this article online, with activated hyperlinks
* Access the entire archive of Free Pint content

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                     >>>  FREE PINT FACT  <<<

We've only been selling UK company reports since the beginning of 
year and so it's too early to spot any real trends yet, but ...

We've sold twice as many reports so far this month (half way through
July) than we did in the whole of May. So, it's definitely proving to 
be a hit with members. Why don't you try a search for a UK company
today at <> and see what you can dig up?

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                         FORTHCOMING EVENTS

July and August are sleepy months on the information conference and
exhibition circuit it seems. However, there's still time to book your
visit to the "DVD PRO Conference" for all things DVD, in Monterey
California at the end of the month. Or how about the annual conference
and council of the International Federation of Library Associations
and Institutions (IFLA) entitled "Libraries for Life: Democracy,
Diversity, Delivery" in Glasgow, UK, this time next month?

September is a much more lively month for things to see and do, so
we'll bring you more about those events in the next Free Pint.

Details of these and many other forthcoming conferences and
exhibitions in the online-information and Internet industries can be
found on the Free Pint Events page <>.
If you're organising an event then submit details via this page.

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                           FREE PINT GOLD

A journalist once said about Free Pint that "You won't find a lot of 
this stuff elsewhere folks!". This was certainly true this time last
year when we ran an article about animation resources on the Web.
This ran alongside a particularly popular look at sites of interest
to people with handheld computers. Perhaps of even more relevance now
that Psion are getting out of the PDA game.

* Free Pint No.67, 20th July 2001 "Puppetry and Animation Sources on
  the Web" and "Web resources for handheld computers".

Coincidences do happen. Two years ago Hal Kirkwood wrote for us on 
full text sources online about the technology industry, and we're 
honoured to welcome him back again in today's issue. Another well
repected author, Jonathan Eaton, also wrote about Intranet toolkits.

* Free Pint No.43, 22nd July 1999 "Full Text Online?" and "Intranet
  'Toolkits' for Integrating Online Services - a world of
  possibilities". <>

Three years ago, when there was no Free Pint Bar, Jobs, News, 
Events, etc., there was time to dream of holidays and look at travel
information sites. Getting listed in search engines was also covered.

* Free Pint No.19, 23rd July 1998 "Wish You Were Here ... Travel and
  Tourism Resources on the Web" and "First Amongst Equals".

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            * UK Charity Information Jobs * Railways *
      * Legal Sources * Climate Change and Emissions * WAP *
   * Academic, Economic and Social Science * Virtual Reference *
   * Plastics and Rubber * Latin America * Technology Transfer *
   * The 3 I's of Information * Effective Problem Solving * B2B *
     * Women in Business * Further Voluntary Sector Resources *

If you have a suggestion for an article topic or would like to write
for Free Pint then please contact me or sign up for the monthly Author
Update on the Web site at <>.

                Rex Cooke, Editor <>

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Many thanks for reading today's Free Pint and I hope you picked up
some details of new sites to explore.

Watch out for my invitation which will be arriving by email over the
next few days, and I look forward to welcoming you as an official Free
Pint Regular <>.

                       See you in two weeks!

             William Hann, Founder and Managing Editor

(c) Free Pint Limited 1997-2001

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                        CONTACT INFORMATION

William Hann BSc MIInfSc, Founder and Managing Editor
   Email: <>  Tel: +44 (0)1784 455435

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   Email: <>    Tel: +44 (0)1865 434143

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 registered trademark of, and published by,
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Latest: No.526 12th September