Newsletter No. 5
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Free Pint Helping you find quality information on the Web ISSN 1460-7239 8 January 1998 #5 > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Happy New Year and Welcome to Free Pint Number Five! As usual we have packed in lots of practical advice and hints. The Tips and Techniques section this issue is a compilation of the top sites of 1997 as listed by a variety of information professionals. The Feature Article is written by a top IT consultant who describes how and where to find the best IT and Telecoms based resources on the Web. We now have a new area on the Web site called the "Free Pint Forum". This has been developed to allow subscribers to Free Pint to post questions, feedback, and comments about the newsletter and other useful resources on the Web. If you have something you would like to say or want answered then please do visit the Forum at: http://www.freepint.co.uk/ You will also find the archive of past issues on the site, and this is now fully searchable. Keep spreading the word about Free Pint. We now have over 2300 subscribers and the newsletter is proving to be very popular. Please do remember to contact our sponsors though (and tell them where you saw their advert). With support from our subscribers and sponsors we can ensure that Free Pint continues to go from strength to strength. Therefore, please read on and enjoy. William Hann Editor firstname.lastname@example.org PS: If you do not already receive Free Pint automatically, then register to receive your free fortnightly copy at: http://www.freepint.co.uk/ You may find it easier to read and use if you print it out first. > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = IN THIS ISSUE TIPS AND TECHNIQUES "Top Five Web Resources of 1997" by William Hann et al. FEATURE ARTICLE "Finding IT on the WWW" by Martin White LETTERS > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = TFPL, the premier training organisation in business information, presents the following courses: Introduction to the Internet 13 January Internet for Business Information 15 January Internet for Legal Information 22 January Internet for Environmental Information 29 January For further details please contact email@example.com or visit our website http://www.tfpl.com/ or telephone 0171 251 5522 > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =[tf51] TIPS AND TECHNIQUES "Top Five Web Resources of 1997" by William Hann et al. How would you like to know the top five resources of 1997 as voted for by a variety of information professionals? Well, so would I. Therefore, since we have recently waved goodbye to 1997, I thought I would ask five prominent information professionals to list their top five most useful and most used Web resources of last year. The information professionals come from a wide spectrum across the industry: - a university lecturer & researcher in information retrieval - an information consultant - the head of an information centre - a university academic services manager - a Web resource developer & entrepreneur Therefore, please find here their personal top five Web resources of 1997. This will then be followed by a summary (using the favourites listed) of the "Top Five Web Resources of 1997". Dr Anne Barker. Lecturer and researcher in information retrieval (focusing on online and Internet searching) in the Department of Information and Library Studies at the University of Wales Aberystwyth. 1) AltaVista http://altavista.digital.com Still one of the top four Internet search engines and as good a place as any to start searching. 2a) British Library OPAC97 http://opac97.bl.uk Comprehensive catalogue of the British Library's collections, mainly from 1975- or 1980-. ... joint second place with ... 2b) Consortium of University Research Libraries OPAC http://curlopac.ac.uk/copac/ Single, integrated catalogue of some of the largest UK research university catalogues; 10 at present including Oxford, Cambridge and London, 12 more to be added. 3) Business Researcher's Interests http://www.brint.com/interest.html Links to contemporary business, management and technology issues (American). 4) New Scientist http://newscientist.com A treat for scientists, especially the "Physics of Star Trek" pages! 5) Search engine watch http://searchenginewatch.com/ Quick guide to how search engines work and latest developments. Karen Blakeman, Information Consultant, RBA Information Services 1) Yahoo! http://www.yahoo.co.uk/ Good starting point for searches on the web, particularly company home pages, with UK sites listed first. 2) Internet Resources Newsletter http://www.hw.ac.uk/libWWW/irn/ Excellent monthly current awareness services on Internet sources of information. 3) Hotbot http://www.hotbot.com/ My favourite search engine, despite the dayglo colours. 4) Search Engine Watch http://www.searchenginewatch.com/ Invaluable source of information, search tips and up-to-date news on what's going on in the search engine world. 5) Business Information on the Net http://www.rba.co.uk/categories.htm Sorry to include one of my own pages, but I do use this myself as a regular jumping-off point for business information when I don't have access to my bookmarks. Marc Arenstein, Head, Information Centre Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Haifa and Northern Israel 1) Profusion http://www.designlab.ukans.edu/profusion/ "The Best Results from the Best Search Engines", which is set as the default homepage in my browser. 2) Kompass http://www.kompass.com You won't find search engine links elsewhere to the 1.5 million directory listings here, some of which contain substantial international company information. 3) The (almost) Complete Guide to WWW in Israel http://gauss.technion.ac.il/~nyh/israel/ Sometimes it's just as hard finding local information. 4) Kapitol International Telephone Directory http://www.infobel.be/infobel/infobelworld.html Contains links to some of the best national business directories. 5) TPC.INT http://www.tpc.int/verify.html Verify international fax number coverage and continue on to send. Alison McNab, Academic Services Manager, Pilkington Library, Loughborough University 1) NISS Information Gateway http://www.niss.ac.uk/ A "one stop shop" for UK higher education - links to essential resources to support teaching, learning and research. 2) Internet Resources Newsletter http://www.hw.ac.uk/libWWW/irn/irn.html Monthly current awareness service for UK academics and students. 3) Argus Clearinghouse http://www.clearinghouse.net/ A central collection of topical subject guides which identify and describe Internet resources. 4) Universities Worldwide http://geowww.uibk.ac.at/univ/ A searchable database of university websites covering 89 countries, and over 3,000 institutions. 5) BUBL Information Service http://bubl.ac.uk/ Complements the NISS Information Gateway - the BUBL UK section is particularly useful for reference enquiries. Tim Dunton, CEO Global Gold Internet Services and InterlinkUK Called "Britain's Answer to Bill Gates" by The Guardian and The Times 1) Yahoo http://www.yahoo.com Not just the search engine but massive weather information, the amazing Free My Yahoo, Stock Quotes and Company Profiles. 2) Netcraft http://www.netcraft.com/ Useful for analysing other sites and domain naming status. 3) MacCentral http://www.maccentral.com Up-to-date information about the Macintosh Community. 4) Infoseek http://www.infoseek.com Excellent search engine which allows you to do a search and then search through those results many times. 5) News http://www.news.com Information about the entire Computer Market updated every hour. "Top Five Web Resources of 1997" ------------------------------- Well, here they are, the Top Five Web Resources of 1997 ... ... OK, I'll come clean. I can't tell you which are the best resources of 1997. That depends on your personal interests, current projects and so on. Only you know which sites suit your needs best, and which ones you use regularly. However, I hope that by finding out what sites are preferred by the professionals then we may have given you some new ideas. We may even have confirmed that the sites you have been using are the ones which information professionals rely on every day. William Hann > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - William Hann is the founder of the Internet consultancy "Willco". The company provides Internet training, consultancy and Web site services. Full details can be found at http://www.willco.co.uk/ > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Free Pint: what do you like and dislike? Let us know on the Forum at http://www.freepint.co.uk/ > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = *** Interlink UK Free Banner Exchange *** InterLink UK is now, thanks to you, the largest UK Banner Network. We are now able to give away 200 free banner exposures to any new user who joins. We also now offer Daily Statistics, Quick Stats (for easy checking of Statistics) and IP/URL tracking to find out exactly who has clicked your banner. If you would like to sign up with a free account please visit our web site at: http://www.interlinkuk.com/ > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =[il52] Advertising in Free Pint is extremely effective See the advertisers page at http://www.freepint.co.uk/ > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = SUE HILL LAUNCHES SUE HILL RECRUITMENT & SERVICES LTD A high level and comprehensive service recruiting key information sector professionals at all levels. Plus ad hoc services to answer information market needs in a fast and flexible way'. Sue Hill Recruitment & Services Ltd, Tel/Fax +44 171 732 6718, 71 Montpelier Rd London SE15 2HD email: SueHillRecruit@compuserve.com > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =[sh53] FEATURE ARTICLE "Finding IT on the WWW" by Martin White Historically finding information on the computer industry was a nightmare. The best industry information was compiled by major research companies such as International Data Corporation and Dataquest and distributed in annual subscription services. Books were out of date before they were published, and much of the computer press was (and indeed still is) driven by the need to generate income from advertising, not from subscriptions. The good news is that the WWW has changed all that. The bad news is that finding information on the WWW can take a great deal of time just because of the volume of information. In the last year AltaVista added over 800,000 records to its files that contained references to PCs or personal computers. In a short article such as this it is not possible to cover every nuance of IT information retrieval, so I will concentrate on three topics. * meta sites * getting the best out of search sites * a few interesting/useful sites, including some specialising in Year2000 information. Meta sites In my view the best meta site without doubt is the Telecoms Virtual Library compiled by Analysys Ltd at http://www.analysys.com/vlib/. (Note the spelling of the company name carefully) . This site has around 30 main categories, from Associations to Videoconferencing including a colossal manufacturers listing. Each site has a brief two line description. Don't be put off by the 'telecoms' term, as we are in the age of the networked computer, which means that most computer vendors are listed. The site is especially good for locating trade, industry and research associations, and the up-dating is pretty good. Especially good are the trade associations such as the Frame Relay Forum or the ADSL Forum, which have excellent white papers and lists of hyperlinked members. The Analysys site also lists other virtual libraries, but probably the only one that comes close for the computer industry is the Virtual Computer Library, set up by the University of Texas at http://www.utexas.edu/computer/vcl/. Although not in the same class as the Analysys site, it still contains a very useful collection of links to other sites, and seems to be cared for quite lovingly. Search sites If you don't find it in these two sites, then a search site may be called for. I find that the AltaVista/Yahoo combination is as good as any. Yahoo makes quite a good attempt with its Computer and Internet heading, which has about 40 subheadings, including a very useful list of over 200 magazine sites, and a very large section on operating systems. The LookSmart option in AltaVista complements the Yahoo indices. Some of the headings are more useful, but I find a higher level of less-than-useful sites. In the UK the options you get under LookSmart are World and UK. Frankly you won't find much under UK. Stick to the World unless you really want to find local UK resources, and even then there are probably better ways such as the UK computer magazines and Yellow Pages! If this doesn't work then going for a text search needs very careful preparation. The IT industry is fraught with acronyms, some of which mean two totally different things. For example ATM = asynchronous transfer mode or automated teller machine FM = frequency modulation or facilities management PC = personal computer or politically correct! There is also some significant differences between US and UK/European practice. A 2Mbit/sec leased line in the USA is called a T1 circuit, but in Europe is known as a E1 circuit. The GSM mobile telephony standard is not used in the USA, so information on the US mobile telephone market has to be found under CDMA or TDMA, which are the US standards. As a consequence you will almost always need to use quite a complex search strategy, and even then be prepared for a high percentage of irrelevant hits. Given the amount of US information on the WWW it is essential that you ensure that you are using current US terminology. Many of the irrelevant hits will come from glossaries and other lists, and it is worth making a note of some of these so that time is not wasted working through them. At least have a look through some periodicals from both sides of the Atlantic before starting. Glossaries If you do want to check out the meaning of technical terms the most comprehensive list is to be found on the Sun site at http://www.sun.com/glossary/glossary.html. The ETHOS project of the European Commission has also published a Handbook of Telematics Terms (http://www.tagish.co.uk/ethos/tap/ethosdel/ )which gives quite detailed descriptions of about 300 terms, including how the technology can be applied, and often links are provided to useful sites. I know it's good because I designed the concept and checked each term though the research was carried out under contract to TFPL by Tagish Ltd., of which more later. Site warnings Just a couple of words of caution about IT sites. The first is that most are built and managed by the US offices of IT companies, and it can be quite a challenge to find any information on them about European subsidiaries. The second is that they can change very radically overnight, literally. If you find something interesting, such as a paper explaining some piece of technology, file it in print or digitally, because the chances of a) finding it in the same place or b) ever finding it again, are remote. Some recommendations. Here are a few sites that I use on a regular basis. Http://www.data.com is the site of McGraw-Hill's Data Communications magazine, which has excellent international coverage and publishes very good articles on all aspects of data communications Http://www.computerweekly.co.uk contains the column written by Glyn Moody each week, in which he comments on new or revised WWW sites in a column entitled Siteseeing. It's well worth getting Computer Weekly just for this column. For some reason the archive of the Siteseeing articles is not currently available. I think someone forgot the links! Http://www.tagish.co.uk/ethos/ is the site of the European Telematics Horizontal Observatory Service. This site contains a news database on a wide range of IT and communications topics, and Technical Briefings which outline the basic operation and applications of many current technologies. Each briefing includes a list of WWW sites. http://www.newsdesk.com is where most IT companies publish their press releases. You have to register for the site, but there is no charge. You can select the topics or companies you want to monitor, and the latest press releases are listed out for you when you log on. It is an excellent way of tracking down PR companies and departments. Http://www.zdnet.com is the master URL for the Ziff Davis site, which is probably the best for PC-related information, and also internet information. In particular look at http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/ for the latest information on all aspects of the PC industry and technology. Incidentally the content of the US magazine is very different from the UK version you can get from your local newsagent! The Year 2000 problem Finally a list of the best of the sites providing advice on the Y2K problem, as it is often referred to. All are good, and offer useful links to other, specialised, sites. Http://www.software.ibm.com/year2000 Http://www.support.intel.com/support/year 2000 Http://www.open.gov.uk/ccta/mill/mbhome.htm Http://www.cssa.co.uk/cssa/new/millen.htm Http://iee.org.uk/2000risk/ Http://www.ncc.co.uk/y2k.html Http://www.bcs.org.uk/millen.htm Martin White > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Martin White is a Principal Consultant with TFPL Ltd., where he advises electronic information publishers on product and marketing strategy. Before joining TFPL in 1995 he had spent the previous decade providing market planning services to the IT industry whilst working at International Data Corporation, Logica and Romtec. At TFPL he has been closely involved with the ETHOS project referred to above. Martin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and information about TFPL Ltd. can be found at http://www.tfpl.com/. > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Link To Us And Win Free Advertising! Follow the link on the homepage to enter our competition http://www.freepint.co.uk/ > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = RBA Information Services For publications and training on how to use the Internet more effectively, contact us at RBA. Topics that we regularly cover in our workshops and seminars include Internet search tools, using the Internet for business information, beginners guide to the Net, choosing the right software, how to avoid and get rid of junk mail. Tel: 0118 947 2256, E-mail: email@example.com http://www.rba.co.uk/ > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =[rb54] LETTERS Once again we have had some wonderful letters of support from our readers. We have published a letter this issue which points to a very well written and useful review of AltaVista software. As mentioned at the beginning, we have developed the "Free Pint Forum" which is a discussion/feedback area on the Web site where you can post your questions and comments and interact with other subscribers. Why not visit now at http://www.freepint.co.uk/ If you would like to send a letter instead, then please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that we will not publish your letter if you do not want us to. Any that we do publish may be edited for content or length and we cannot guarantee a reply. > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Dear William, In the third issue of Free Pint I was struck with the following in the letter by reader Ran Hock, where he wrote: "Your short article on capitalization was great. I also liked your article very much. As I know very well from the seminars I do on Web searching, the need for understanding more about the intricacies of search engines is just beginning to be realized." I couldn't agree more on this. A while ago there was a discussion on the Web4Lib discussion list on the poor information that Search Engines are providing. This summer I evaluated a copy of AltaVista' s free "personal" indexing software. Building on some of the things I noticed when I evaluated this software, I wrote an article which is online at my homepage at: http://www.ping.be/dirk_van_eylen/avrank.html I'd be very glad if you'd do me the honour of reading the article as I'm sure you would find it interesting. Yours sincerely, Dirk van Eylen Student in Library and Information Sciences http://www.ping.be/dirk_van_eylen/ Editor of the Dutch literary magazine *De Brakke Hond* http://www.dma.be/p/amphion/brakke-h/ Founder/co-editor of "Letters" - Dutch literature email newsletter http://www.writersblock.net/letters/ Documentalist at IWT (Flemish Institution for the Promotion of Research in Science and Industry) > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Promotional gifts supplied by Riverside Promotions Tel: 01784 454785 Fax: 01784 466157 > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =[rp21] Well, we hope you have enjoyed this issue of Free Pint. There are going to be more subject-specific Feature Articles coming soon, including medical resources, engineering and current awareness. If you know someone who would want to read these, then why not forward them this email? Don't worry if you're not interested in these subjects because Free Pint will always also contain the Tips and Techniques section, along with all the other useful information. Remember to visit us at the Forum, we would like to hear from you. Kind regards, William Hann, Editor email@example.com (c) Willco 1997 http://www.freepint.co.uk/ ISSN: 1460-7239 > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 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 on the Web at http://www.freepint.co.uk/ Please note: The newsletter is published by the information consultancy Willco (http://www.willco.co.uk/), and the publishers will NEVER make the subscriber list available to any other company or organisation. The opinions, advice, products and services offered herein are the sole responsibility of the contributors. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the publication, the publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. This publication may be freely copied and/or distributed in its entirety. However, individual sections MAY NOT be copied and/or distributed without the prior written agreement of the publishers. All rights reserved. > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = > = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
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