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Business Information: key web resources


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Edited version of the slides prepared for the business information workshop organised by TFPL and held in London on 19th April 2013.

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Business Information: key web resources

  1. 1. Business Information: key web available at:, London, 19thApril 2013
  2. 2. Fact sheetsFact sheets and articles on search strategies are available at sheets are free of charge– Search Strategies - Top Search Tips– Search Strategies - Selected Google Commands– Search Strategies - Google Search Tips– Search Strategies - Search Tools Summary and Comparison 2
  3. 3. What is business information?Companiescompetitors, suppliers, customers, potential partners,potential employer, joint venture, takeover target,investmentIndustry sectors, marketsStatisticsLegal and regulatory environmentNews, social media, rumour, gossipAnything that is needed to conduct business20/04/13 3
  4. 4. Why not just “Google”?Content of many business resources not searched by Google, Bing etc.- information held in databases- may be password protected even if free- priced services not accessible to most search engines- many news services going behind a pay wallBest source of information may be way down your results listGoogle personalises content depending on your location, computer,browser, past searches, your social network.... and anything else it canthink ofWe are all Google’s lab ratsGoogle automatically looks for variations on your terms and dropsterms from your search20/04/13 4
  5. 5. Google VerbatimForces Google to run your search exactly as you have typed it inRun your searchOn the results page select Search tools, All results, Verbatim20/04/13 5
  6. 6. intext: to force an exact match for one termTo force an exact match and inclusion of a term in a search prefixit with ‘intext:’UK public transport intext:biodiesel statistics“..” around terms does not always work20/04/13 6
  7. 7. Assessing quality/relevanceName of organisation/person clearly statedScope of informationCan you easily contact the “owner”Date published or updatedPrimary or secondary sourceRepackaged information e.g. Companies House dataCoverage (industry, time span, geographical spread)Type of website e.g., ac.ukWho owns the domain name20/04/13 7
  8. 8. Who owns a website? good starting point for identifyingwho owns a domain name but....– may be hiding behind an agent– may be using a service such as Privacy Protect (– if in the UK and an individual with a personal page then contactdetails other than name are not publicly available (DataProtection)Run a Google or Bing search on the ‘registrant’ or agent and seeif you can find out anything more about them20/04/13 8
  9. 9. Free vs. FeeFreeBasic company information, contactdetails, sometimes full accounts,search for companies byname/number one at a time, simpleprint outAnonymous statistics, totalmarket/industry figuresCurrent news - free text searching,many key industry publications notfree, difficult to focus searchMay be limited in coverage, timespanFeeFull company accounts, historicaldata, search by multiple criteria,analysis and report featuresDetailed market share bycompany name, product/brandIndexed content, easier to searchfor historical information by eventtype, more flexible search andprint optionsMore likely to be comprehensiveand have more extensivearchives20/04/13 9
  10. 10. Social media and professional networksWhere people and organisations share, discuss, comment andask questionsIt is where the conversations are happeningIt is where a lot of marketing takes placeUse for research, competitor intelligence, reputation monitoring,how are companies presenting themselves and interacting withcustomersGoogle and Bing automatically incorporate information fromsome social and professional networksMany business information resources encourage logins withsocial media accounts20/04/13 10
  11. 11. General starting pointsBusiness Sources on the Net - Business Essentials on the Web– “a one-stop shop for website listings for entrepreneurs and SMEs covering....‘business planning’, ‘grants and finance’, ‘marketing and PR’ as well as industryspecific pages.”British Library Business & IP Centre in London Industry guides & Information Service ICAEW (Scottish Business Information Service) – federated search – discussion list for business librarians and researchers– (login required)– FAQs at 11
  12. 12. Company informationOwnership, structure, accounts, activities, newsAvailability depends on– type of companysole traderpartnership“privately” ownedlimited liability e.g. Ltd, LLPcompanies with publicly traded shares e.g. PLC– business size (large, medium, small)– countrystate or region within the country20/04/13 12
  13. 13. UK Companies Act 2006Some of the main changes– memorandum of association now only needs to state that thefounders of the company wish to form a limited company– directors no longer need to apply to withhold their privateaddress, for example if they believe they may be targeted byactivists. Can now choose to supply a “service address”– requirement to have a company secretary removedUK Companies House–– details of registration and filing requirements– examples of documents– search for companies for free, some information free, accountsand other documents priced– free Disqualified Directors search20/04/13 13
  14. 14. Businesses to be cut free from company red tape - Pressreleases - Inside Government - GOV.UK 14
  15. 15. ExemptionsFor UK small and medium sized enterprisesMay prepare and file abbreviated accountsMust fulfil at least two of the following conditions to qualify20/04/13 15Exemptions not available to public companies, banking,insurance or shipping companiesSmall MediumTurnover not exceeding £6.5m £25.9mAssets/balance sheet notexceeding£3.26m £12.9mAverage number of employees 50 250
  16. 16. UK filing requirementsSmallcompaniesMediumcompaniesLargecompaniesBalance sheet Abbreviatedbalance sheetwith notesFull balancesheetFull balancesheet signed by aDirectorProfit and loss Not required Abbreviated profitand loss accountFull profit andloss accountTurnover Not required Not required RequiredAuditor report Special auditorreport if requiredSpecial auditorreportRequired andsigned by anauditorDirector report Not required Required Required andsigned by anofficer of thecompanyNotes to theaccountsNot required Required Required20/04/13 16
  17. 17. UK Companies House–– free, subscription, and document pay per view options– documents £1 each20/04/13 17
  18. 18. Company Check companiesUses Companies House dataProvides 5 years of figures and graphs for Cash at Bank,Net Worth, Total Current Liabilities and Total Current Assetsfree of chargeDownload accountsSome info free, some free with login, some pay as you goMonitor company for financial changes and when newaccounts are filed – email alerts (free)Lists directors of a company– links through to Company Director Check– 18
  19. 19. 19
  20. 20. 20
  21. 21. DUEDIL 21
  22. 22. DUEDIL 22
  23. 23. DUEDIL 23
  24. 24. DUEDIL 24
  25. 25. Official company information – other countriesLists of official company registers– Official Company Registers– Company registration around the world– Companies House Links – listed companies– SEC Edgar IDEA – Interactive Date Electronic Applications - listed companies– SEDAR 25
  26. 26. OpenCorporates 26
  27. 27. Corporate Sprawl Sketch Trawls Using OpenCorporates |OUseful.Info, the blog... 27
  28. 28. More open data but.....Raw data – no pretty visualisations, you have to do that!Data may need weeding and cleaning before it is usableMay have to do a LOT of work on the data to get anythingsensible out of itTo see what you could be letting yourself in for look at TonyHirst’s blog postings on open data at 28
  29. 29. European Business RegisterGateway to official company information in 26 European countries– http://www.ebr.orgUK distributer is GBRDirect – priced service– 29
  30. 30. 7side serviceUK companies and documents, directors information, insolvencyreportsCredit reportsInternational registry and documents service– 1 hour registry and documents– translation service available– have agents "on the ground", can quickly tell you what isavailable in that country and what may not be available20/04/13 30
  31. 31. Company information priced services7 side – van Dijk (BvD) and Bradstreet UK Emerging Markets Research, News, M&A, Statistics,Economic Indicators, Islamic Finance Information - Reuters - 31
  32. 32. Types of companies & company - Company Extensions and SecurityIdentifiers– of business entity – Wikipedia– Formation Survey– Business - Measuring Business Regulations - World BankGroup– 32
  33. 33. Publicly traded companies – share pricesFree– current share prices delayed by 15-30 minutes– real-time prices if you have a share dealing account with abroker e.g. TD Direct Investing (– only cover companies currently listed on the exchange– some historical data as charts or figures (e.g. Yahoo Financeand Google Finance)– Yahoo and Google cover major stock markets– go direct to the stock exchange web sitePriced– for more detailed analysis– full historical data– stocks no longer traded or merged with another company20/04/13 33
  34. 34. Share pricesYahoo Finance (major stock markets only)– finance (US, UK, Canada, some European stockmarkets, Australia, Hong Kong, China)–– – Markets, Equities sectionPriced services – Reuters, Thomson Reuters DataStream,Bloomberg20/04/13 34
  35. 35. Yahoo Finance20/04/13 35
  36. 36. Google Finance20/04/13 36
  37. 37. Databases for information on smaller companiesConfirm contact details using telephone directories– Mint Free Directory search–– only basic contact details free of charge, additional informationpricedDirectories such as– Applegate– Europages– solusource– Kompass
  38. 38. Databases for information on smaller companiesFITA– and select Really Useful Links from the lefthand menu and then Business Directories and Trade InformationImport/export directories– Sometimes have more information about small companies thanofficial company registers• size, number of employees and turnover• contact names e.g. marketing director, sales director, exportdirector• export markets, sectors/products exported– Search using export directory combined with country and/orindustry sector• e.g. export directory switzerland20/04/13 38
  39. 39. Mailing listsRBA Direct Marketing––– free searching of lists– can test out a list by selecting first 50, 100 etc.– pay as you go20/04/13 39
  40. 40. Statistics and industry dataFree– government statistics– industry overviews– executive summaries– press releases– trade press - possiblyPriced for– industry specific market shares– named companies– brand names– detailed rankingsWhen carrying out research often have to use data from differentsources20/04/13 40
  41. 41. Bits and pieces from everywhere?Is there a problem?Not necessarily but– must be aware of the context• why and how was the original research conducted• what sources were used• when was the data gathered– free resources may take information out of context• press releases and news articles focus on single issues• background and methodology often missing• may be several times removed from original research or datacollectionMultiple free sources are often used to build a picture of amarket piece by pieceNot comparing like with like20/04/13 41
  42. 42. Think file format– PDF for research documents, government reports, industry papers– ppt or pptx for presentations, tracking down an expert on a topic– xls or xlsx for spreadsheets containing dataUse the advanced search screen or the filetype: commandUK waste vegetable oil energy generationfiletype:pdfUK waste vegetable oil energy generationfiletype:pptUK waste vegetable oil energy generationfiletype:pptxUK waste vegetable oil energy generationfiletype:xlsUK waste vegetable oil energy generationfiletype:xlsx20/04/13 42
  43. 43. Site searchFor searching single large sites, or groups of sites by type forexample academic, governmentUse advanced search screen or site: commandcar ownership UK ownership UK ownership UK site:gov.ukcar ownership UK ownership UK site:ac.ukCombine commandscar ownership UK filetype:pptxSearch in both Google and Bing for a comprehensive search20/04/13 43
  44. 44. Statistics and industry dataGoogle Numeric range search– can be weights, distances, years, prices– use Advanced Search screen– or the search box on the Google home page– search term(s) first value..second value unit of measurement– examples:• beer per capita consumption uk 2008..2012• TV advertising spend forecasts 2012..2020Looking for experts on a topic, presentations, generalbackground on a subject, information on an organisation?– advanced search ppt or pdf format– Slideshare– search within Slideshare or use site: search– biofuels uk public transport 2009..2013site:slideshare.net20/04/13 44
  45. 45. Google Reading levelChanges the type of material that is returnedNothing to do with publishers’ assigned reading ageRun the search and from the menu above the results selectSearch tools, All results, Reading level20/04/13 45
  46. 46. Google Reading level20/04/13 46Basic Advanced
  47. 47. Translated foreign pagesFor information on an industry, government policies, businesspractices in other countriesFor a different perspective on a topic20/04/13 47
  48. 48. Translated foreign pages20/04/13 48If your preferred language isnot in the list click on ‘Addlanguage’ and select from thelist. Then click on the numberof results to the right thelanguage you want to use.Google translates your search intothe selected language, runs thesearch and translates the resultsinto your own language.Warning: machine translation!
  49. 49. Starting points for statisticsStatistics Sources Statistics on the Web National Statistics Publication Hub for National Statistics Government | Statistics Assembly Government StatsWales 49
  50. 50. 50
  51. 51. Office for National Statistics 51
  52. 52. 52
  53. 53. 53
  54. 54. all of the data on this site is open data – may be restrictionson useDownload links sometimes take you to the wrong datasetDownload links sometimes completely brokenIt’s all or nothing! Have to filter the datasets for the informationyou want and produce your own graphs and chartsVariety of formats20/04/13 54
  55. 55. European Union - Open Data Portal launches public beta of its open data portal– 55
  56. 56. Guardian Data Store 56Data and analysis on topics that are in the newsSome datasets created from information obtained via FoILinks to the original datasets are provided
  57. 57. Dog bites data: how likely are you to get bitten? 57
  58. 58. Zanran – great for data in tables, charts and graphs 58
  59. 59. Google Public Data Explorer of Googles best kept secrets!20/04/13 59
  60. 60. Statista“The Statistics Portal for Market Data, Market Research and MarketStudies”– 60,000 topics from over 18,000 sources–– some information free, registration (free) required– Chart of the Day20/04/13 60
  61. 61. Datamarket portal to datasets worldwide and market researchCreates visualisations of the data20/04/13 61
  62. 62. Business Essentials on the Web - Industries also 62
  63. 63. Finding market research - aggregatorsPull together reports from many publishers and make themsearchable through a single interfaceCan purchase reports through the one serviceAggregators may not be comprehensive– publishers may embargo reports for weeks or months– publishers may withhold some reports from aggregators– check the publisher’s own web site or email them to see if thereis additional or more recent research available– may get a better deal by going to the publisher direct– use aggregators as an index to see who is publishing on yourtopic20/04/13 63
  64. 64. Examples of aggregatorsAlacrastore– Emerging Markets–– - Market Intelligence– Buyer– and Markets– 64
  65. 65. Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)Search free news on the web (e.g. keywordsDetailed information on rumours, deals in progress andcompleted deals usually pricedMergers and Acquisitions–’s Mergers and Acquisitions Portal–– news, features, summaries and basic deal information are freeof charge– free reports reviewing recent activity in M&A– free reports discussing industry sectors where there is increasedactivity– links into the Zephyr database – full reports on deals are priced.20/04/13 65
  66. 66. NewsMost newspapers and magazines are on the webFree services– may not be complete publication– may not have archives– search facilities may be limited– print stories one by oneMany news and trade press titles are free but some are pricedOfficial company press releasesStock exchange listed companies– major news, developments and changes affecting their operationshave to reported to shareholders via the stock exchangeannouncements for example UK Regulatory News Service– Various sources e.g. FE InvestEgate | Company Announcements 66
  67. 67. NewsFor tracking down individual newspapers–– News– latest free news– advanced search options limited and not always reliable– no source list and sources frequently change– key industry publications may not be included and definitely notincluded if subscription– older and Archive News may be pricedUse Google news and web search to identify specialist newsportals or aggregators for your subject and monitor those direct20/04/13 67
  68. 68. DateRestrict your results to information that has been publishedwithin the last hour, day, week, month, year or your own daterangeSearch tools, Any time and select an option20/04/13 68
  69. 69. daterange:Date restriction does not work with any of the ‘All results’ optionssuch as Verbatim or Translated Foreign PagesUse daterange: command insteadUses Julian date format (fractions omitted)Julian Date Converter– for example pages mentioning Cameron and housing benefitsbetween June 20thand June 26th2012daterange:2456098-2456104 housing benefitsCameron20/04/13 69
  70. 70. daterange: the easy wayThird party tools for the daterange: search, for example then apply“Search tools” option to results20/04/13 70
  71. 71. Google News 71Can personalise news contentwhen signed in to a Googleaccount.Hidden underneath the cog wheelon the news home page.Change your location(automatically identified byGoogle), topics covered, sourcesand frequency of articles fromsources.
  72. 72. Google News – advanced search20/04/13 72Hidden under thearrow in the searchbox
  73. 73. Google News20/04/13 73Can limit results to atime period.Time options don’talways work in the‘Archives’Older material may bepricedCan create email and RSSalerts for a search butunreliable
  74. 74. Google can seriously damage your newsExperiment by Mary Ellen BatesIs Google really filtering my news? - Librarian of Fortune– can seriously damage your news–– More than a quarter of the stories showed up in only onesearcher’s results– Almost one in five searchers saw a story that no one else saw– Only 12% of searchers saw the same three stories in the sameorder20/04/13 74
  75. 75. Priced servicesThe Times and Sunday Times– Times (priced for full access)––– subscription service, prices on applicationFactiva–– subscription service, prices on application– also a pay as you go option20/04/13 75
  76. 76. Google Video20/04/13 76Not the same as YoutubeGoogle VideoYouTube
  77. 77. VideoBing VideosVimeo.comDailyMotion.comBlinkx - April 2013 Karen Blakeman 77
  78. 78. Blogs and TwitterMany experts, academics, researchers, industry gurus haveactive blogsGreat way to tap into expert knowledge especially with new andinnovative technologies and industriesEssential for competitive intelligence and reputation monitoringTwitter up to the minute but skewed view of what is happeningBlogs – or use click on Morein the menu above your results and then Blogs20/04/13 78
  79. 79. Social media & professional networks20/04/13 79
  80. 80. 20/04/13 80
  81. 81. FacebookBusiness and commercial pages on FacebookOvert promotion and market researchCompetitive intelligenceHow are companies using it?"Anti" groups and pages20/04/13 81
  82. 82. LinkedIn.com20 April 2013 Karen Blakeman 82
  83. 83. More on searching LinkedInBoolean Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting Ellen Bates Ten Top Tips for Searching LinkedIn 83
  84. 84. Topsy.com20/04/13 84
  85. 85. whostalkin.com20/04/13 85
  86. 86. Icerocket.com20/04/13 86
  87. 87. UK Government Web Archive | The National Archives by category or choose your organisation from an A-Z listChoose the date of the archived version of the website you wantto view20/04/13 87
  88. 88. UK Government Web Archive | The National Archives 88
  89. 89. 89
  90. 90. Wayback Machine 90
  91. 91. Digital Education Resource Archive (DERA) 91
  92. 92. Free alerting servicesGoogle email and RSS alerts are seriously broken– do not alert you to everything that is new– alerts sometimes ‘die’– often bring up old material that you’ve already seen– duplicate informationEmail alerts becoming a rarity– some web sites and blogs offer email subscription to newcontent – often use RSS to email conversion tools such asFeedburner (how long will that be around?)RSS feeds on news sites often all or nothingNeed an RSS reader e.g. Netvibes, Feedly, FeedReader– Phil Bradleys weblog: 20 Alternatives to Google Reader– 92
  93. 93. My own RSS reader – RSSOwl (desktop only)20/04/13 93
  94. 94. Talkwalker 94
  95. 95. - create your own newspaper20/04/13 95
  96. 96. – keyword 96
  97. 97. – company20/04/13 97
  98. 98. Keeping up to dateInside Search Google Blog : Engine Land Engine Watch in the Library Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting Blakeman’s Blog Bradleys weblog 98