Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
SLA Report: John Piety
Gumshoe Librarians and the Grey Matter of the Internet: Resources and Concepts for Web Research
Gary Price led off with a few pointers on keeping up with research on the Web. Everything on the Web is not free. Web collection development is as important as library collection development. There is an invisible Web, not touched by any of the major Web search engines, which can help locate useful sites. One way to locate sites is by using DirectSearch, listed on Price's site, the Gumshoe List (http://gwis2.circ.gwu.edu/~gprice/sla2000.htm). It is a good resource for esoteric information. Price mentioned some of the people he looks to for advice: Danny Sullivan, Chris Sherman, and Diane Botluk. Their sites are found at the Gumshoe List.
After that introduction, topics were brought up quickly and in profusion. One important topic is to keep track of current URLs. A freeware program, C-4-U, can scan sites in a bookmark list and identify changes. Eomonitor and Dailydiffs are other free tools that also scan for changes. To keep current with search engine changes, check Danny Sullivan ( http://www.searchenginewatch.com), Chris Sherman (Web Search @ about.com), and Greg Notess (Search Engine Showdown). Free Pint lists a huge number of business resources worldwide and gives access to newsletters. Price mentioned an add-on called iharvest that helps organize all these resources. In summary, the presentation showed a number of sites and tools that were new to me. His Web site gives full information on all of them. He finished by saying he would be adding more to the site.
Connie Kaplan, of Kroll Associates, described ways to use the Web to trace people, transactions, company data, and just about anything else. Resources included familiar ones like Northern Light, AUTOTRACK XP, Dialog/ Datastar, Factiva: Dow-Jones & Reuters, and Lexis-Nexis. She then went into Artquest (for artworks in various mediums), Bloodstock, Coles, Disclosure, Bloomburg, and Public Data Corp, that lists automobile registration records and bar owners, among other information. These are places she searches for assets of an individual or a corporation that may be hiding some facts. Kaplan mentioned some non-Web resources: CD-ROMs like Deathmaster for obits from the entire USA; Phone Disc for its reverse directory capacity; and Locate Plus-MVRs for motor vehicle records. Her secret weapons reference manuals in print tools, such as social registers, encyclopedias of associations, and old reverse directories. On the Internet, she finds company.sleuth.com/index.cfm?refid=3 a useful starting point, and uses a number of other tools, like www.anybirthday.com and www.safetyalerts.com, as well as www.quackwatch.com, for some medical claims, and www.guidestar.org, for information on charities. Specialized sites included www.arnet.gov/epls/, which can identify outfits prohibited from government contracts, and www.military-network.com for army records on an individual, as well as one we have heard of, www.activemostwanted.com. The main technique for success is to know the content or unique data within each file. For example, Superior Information Services has a comprehensive file on individuals and corporations in Pennsylvania. How current and how far back do online archives go? She showed how to retrieve information on an individual even with a misspelled name. A file on "forensic accounting" provides old bankruptcy filings and judgments. Trusted sources provide her with tools and techniques, www.sec.gov over www.wyx.com, or the technique of push technology-setup tracerlock, i.e. www.peacefire.org/tracerlock. The site www.allexperts.com has more than 1,500 people who can answer specific questions use real people if needed. Finally, be skeptical check the network news on www.newswatch.org, and see if they went overboard. Kaplan concluded an entertaining and informative session by mentioning some cases Kroll has handled, such as the Texas A&M Bonfire investigation and unrecovered assets of Baby Doc Duvalier.
Clicks and Daggers: Competitive Intelligence on the Web for Advertising and Marketing
Helene Kassler works at Fuld & Company, a consulting company for unpublished material. First, says Kassler, try creatively mining the Internet. Start with a home page, like www.companyname.com, and, if that does not work, try Websense Company Locator (www.netpart.com/locator.htm) or http://companiesonline.com For company overview information, try the following: www.ceoexpress.com, www.corporateinformation.com, www.sec.gov/cgi-bin/srch-edgar, www.hoovers.com, www.corptech.com For Canadian companies, try www.sedar.com To order annual reports, go to www.prars.com To check out news sources, start with www.amcity.com, which covers 41 business papers across the country, with free archives; or try www.totalnews.com, which covers print and broadcast sources both, as does www.newslink.org/menu.html For alerting services, try www.scoop.com, known for low-cost, complex keyword searches, or use www.individual.com, for free service on pre-selected industries and companies. For current news stories, use www.newsalert.com or www.moreover.com Two free alerting services are www.companysleuth.com and the mind-it feature of www.netmind.com
Kassler then covered major search engines. First, know all the capabilities of the search engine. Two sites that can help are Searchenginewatch and searchengineshowdown. Using all the abovementioned tools, check out unique items, such as suppliers, client lists, résumés, and job postings. Steps in competitive intelligence are as follows:
1) gather data;
2) analyze data;
3) look for a pattern.
It is wise to check for local press stories, often getting detail not covered in the wire or national stories. Even SEC reports can be analyzed for the unique items. Nowadays, audio and video clips are available on many company sites; for example, a clip could contain a speech by the CEO about the future direction of the company. Check it out see what you can glean from the public words. If need be, check online chat rooms or message boards used by employees of the company you are researching to see what you can find out. Use an alerting service to check on your own outfits' press coverage. When using Hot-Bot and several other search engines, remember to use their reverse link look-up to find relationships not otherwise publicized. Patent and trademark registrations can show the direction of a company's work. There are three good places to seek patent and trademark information: www.uspto.gov, for free full text in many cases; www.patents.ibm.com, for US, European, and Japanese patents; and http://ep.espacenet.com/, for some European and international patents. Two sites specifically tailored to competitive intelligence are www.scip.org, the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals, and www.fuld.com/i3, which includes hyperlinks to over 600 industry-specific sites on the Internet. Finally, having located a number of useful sites, bookmark them, organize your bookmarks, and back them up. Also, check them at reasonable intervals to see if there are major changes or relocations.
Academic Science-Technology Librarians Roundtable
Jennifer Kostleman moderated and directed the discussion. Seven topics were up for debate:
1) E-journals are on my mind; do we need both print and electronic versions?
2) netLibrary: is this a major deal in Sci-Tech?
3) Instruction in libraries: does anyone attend?
4) Is information or instruction provided on the library Web site?
5) Consortia: should we join or not?
6) Vendor jumping from one to another, based on price or other factors?
7) Reference service on a 24/7 basis?
Time limited our discussion to five.
The group started with number 7. Loyola University of Chicago is considering 24/7 reference, while Purdue and University of Chicago are trying a version of it. Can we have Australian universities handle questions at night, and we in turn do theirs? A Webline grant in California will try the concept of 24/7. UCLA and University of California (UC)-Irvine are talking about it. Can expert systems handle some of the questions, since we cannot add any staff for the added hours. At University of California-San Diego (UCSD) they note that fewer people visit the library between five and ten at night, so they may cut staffing at those hours to free staff for other times.
Back to number 1: Do we keep print subscriptions after we subscribe to the electronic version? Drexel University is canceling the print journal in all cases if it is available electronically. Most academic libraries are keeping all print volumes on hand. However, Drexel is subscribing to new journals only in electronic form, if available that way. The ACS Web of Science will be available only four years back, plus current year. No one has covered after care for e-journals. Must we do it for the publishers? Some libraries and consortia are keeping one paper copy for future interlibrary loan even if all copies are voided. OhioLink has archival electronic rights to some journals.
About number 2: netLibrary and ebooks are worth looking at, but no conclusions have been reached yet. Mdconsult and textbooks on portable units may be worthwhile right now. UC-Berkeley and UCSD are checking with O'Reilly and MIT Press about new ebook releases. Simultaneous users are currently a problem. OhioLink uses netLibrary and IT Knowledge. netLibrary has simulations and added-value issues.
About number 3: Library instruction: does anybody attend, and why? Where it is required to graduate, it seems successful. It is also easier to fill classes with upper-level and graduate students.
About number 4: Information or instruction via library Web page? UC-Irvine and others have some preliminary interactive instruction, often based on the old paper handout on information literacy. Sometimes a PowerPoint presentation works, according to some participants. Note: The University of Chicago Library has a great introduction to Beilstein searching, we hear.
John Piety is the Science Librarian at John Carroll University Library. email@example.com