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Searching for reliable business information: free versus fee


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Lezing door Karen Blakeman bij de VOGIN-IP-lezing, Amsterdam, 9 maart 2017

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Searching for reliable business information: free versus fee

  1. 1. Searching for reliable business information: free versus fee VOGIN-IP-lezing, 9 March 2017 Amsterdam Public Library Karen Blakeman RBA Information Services
  2. 2. Free versus fee Price is no guarantee of quality Official data and information versus the rest Official data and information – changing definitions (statistics), changing legislation (company information) Third party services repackaging free information - how do they make their money? Is Google really free?
  3. 3. 13/03/2017 3Google = $$$$$ 2016 Google Tracker: Everything Google is working on for the new year | Ars Technica working-on-for-the-new-year/
  4. 4. 13/03/2017 4 FAQ: All about the Google RankBrain algorithm all-about-the-new-google-rankbrain-algorithm-234440
  5. 5. Google (and Bing) personalises results Quickest way to “de-personalise” results is to use private browsing Chrome - New Incognito window Ctrl+Shift+N FireFox Ctrl+Shift+P Internet Explorer Ctrl+Shift+P Opera Ctrl+Shift+N Will not remove country personalisation, does not hide who you are or your IP address Not search engine specific, built into the browser Location of Incognito and private browsing on mobile devices varies 13/03/2017
  6. 6. NEVER trust Google’s facts, quick answers or knowledge graph 13/03/2017 6
  7. 7. 13/03/2017 7 No source given No source given [ NOTE: Wikipedia has updated its article and now shows the correct height]
  8. 8. 13/03/2017 8 Google automatically looks for variations on your search terms and drops terms from your search To force an exact match and inclusion of a term or phrase in a search prefix it with ‘intext:’ memorial garden intext:penryn heritage trail Use Verbatim (Woord voor woord) to search for all of your terms without any variations or omissions (but not reliable – may have to combine intext: and Verbatim)
  9. 9. Google Verbatim 13/03/2017
  10. 10. Verbatim – Woord voor woord
  11. 11. filetype: - works in most search engines 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 data electric cars forecast europe filetype:pdf electric cars forecasts europe filetype:ppt OR filetype:pptx 13/03/2017 11
  12. 12. site: command to search within a type of site or individual site “global oil supply” fustier Date - Tools (or Search Tools), Any time (Elke periode) and select an option (Note: Custom range (Aangepaste periode) not available for mobile users)
  13. 13. Date – Tools, Elke periode
  14. 14. Get it right! Do NOT capitalise the first letter of commands –all lower case Do NOT insert a space after the colon of a command. If you do Google will treat the command as a searchable word. Plus (+) sign before a word to force an exact match was discontinued in October 2011 Tilde (~) for synonyms – discontinued June 2013 The asterisk * is a placeholder for terms in a phrase e.g. “solar * panels”. It is NOT a truncation symbol. Google has NEVER supported full nested Boolean search. But you can use OR for alternative terms and the minus sign before a term to exclude documents containing that term 13/03/2017 14
  15. 15. Look beyond Google Searching for a paper by HSBC: Global oil supply. Will mature field declines drive the next supply crunch? Kim Fustier, Gordon Gray, Christoffer Gundersen, Thomas Hilboldt
  16. 16. Alternative search tools to try Bing Advanced Operator Reference [Slightly out of date] us/library/ff795620.aspx Yandex DuckDuckGo eTools Carrot2 Clustering Engine webapp/search 13/03/2017 16
  17. 17. Foam tree
  18. 18. Free versus fee business information resources
  19. 19. Company information Free Search one company at a time usually by name only Display/report options limited, service defined chart options No peer group/sector analysis Foreign company information usually in the local language Fee Search for groups of companies multi-criteria search Usually a range of reporting and charting options e.g BvD Peer group/sector analysis sometimes available Translation services may be available 13/03/2017 19
  20. 20. Company information free versus fee Free – information and data provided usually as filed, e.g. official registers Priced – accounts may be harmonised (e.g. length of reporting year, databases covering several countries may standardise heading, currency conversion) Advantage – can search across multiple countries Disadvantage - may need to see original documents (does the service provide this?)
  21. 21. Free services – elements of their service may not always be available
  22. 22. Statistics, industry and market data Free Government statistics and reports Anonymous aggregated data Industry overviews Executive summaries of priced market research Press releases, news stories, local news Trade bodies, professional associations, trade press Fee Detailed information on trends and market shares Forecasts Named companies Brand names and market share Detailed rankings 13/03/2017 22
  23. 23. Free open, official data Raw data, can be large files Format and structure variable Usability “as is” often poor Usually needs cleaning Tools needed to analyse and present the information
  24. 24. Companies House daily bulk data files Bulk data - large daily files available as zipped files No support provided – you’re on your own! 13/03/2017 24
  25. 25. Companies House free data 13/03/2017 25 Each file within the zipped file is a separate document. Note the uninformative file names!
  26. 26. What we should but don’t always do Statistics, and especially, official data - coverage and scope change over time so check the notes and definitions Take care when comparing data from different countries
  27. 27. Google Public Data Explorer - minimum wage Europe 2713/03/2017
  28. 28. What we should but don’t always do Statistics, and especially, official data - coverage and scope change over time so check the notes and definitions Take care when comparing data form different countries Viewpoint from other countries (use country versions of tools, translate search terms) Click on links in results, Facebook/Twitter links and read the full article – content may be different from the headline, misleading or a parody/spoof