Nick Tridea

Nick Tridea

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company on Monday announced the launch of “Facebook Marketplace,” a new, prominent feature that allows individual users to easily buy and sell a range of items, such as clothing electronics, household goods, furniture, jewelry, art and cars. To start, Marketplace is rolling out to users over the age of 18 in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand on iOS and Android over the next few days. Facebook plans to extend the service to its desktop site and additional countries over the coming months.

For now, Marketplace can be accessed by tapping a highly-visible shopping bag icon at the bottom of the app, alongside icons such as ”Messenger” and “Notifications.” Facebook’s massive 1.7-billion person user base and the new feature’s ease of use give it a good shot of competing with more established, peer-to-peer online marketplaces such as eBay and Craigslist. Facebook said the inspiration for Marketplace came from observing that a significant number of people were using Facebook to buy and sell products, especially within “Groups.” More than 450 million Facebook users visit Groups categorized as “buy-and-sell” each month to view items for sales from neighbors or collectors globally, the company said. For now, Marketplace is free for both buyers and sellers. 

“Marketplace is a single destination where people can discover, buy and sell things in their neighborhood and community,” said Facebook product manager Bowen Pan in an interview. “The feature will also surface the most relevant items when we don’t know what we’re looking for. It’s designed for people, not big businesses.”

A preview of an item for sale on Marketplace. (Courtesy of Facebook)

The feature has been in testing since late last year and was built to be mobile-first, Pan said. Marketplace items can also appear in the news feed or be posted within groups and pages. For now, Marketplace is only built for individual users, not a store front for companies — businesses can currently use pages for that purpose. In early tests of Marketplace, Facebook found that most users started browsing without having a specific item in mind. As a result, the company wanted to make browsing highly visual, Pan said. Testing also indicated that users who were most interested in buying items on Marketplace also wanted to sell items, which encouraged the company to make both buying and selling simple.

Marketplace currently prioritizes local purchases. When users open the app, they will first see for-sale items posted by people nearby. To look for specific items, users can use a search bar at the top of the app to filter by category, item or price. Users can adjust location to view items in a different region or city. Tapping on an item image will show users more information such as a product description, location and the profile of the seller. A “Your Items” tab can be used to keep track of a user’s saved items, items for sale and any buy-and-sell messages. Buyers can also view an estimate of how quickly a seller tends to respond.

To purchase an item, users can send an offer price with or without a more detailed message. Facebook said it currently does not facilitate the delivery or payment of items in Marketplace. The company said illegal goods will be monitored through a combination of user flagging and Facebook’s own automated systems.

A preview of a message screen from the point of view of the seller. (Courtesy of Facebook)
 

Facebook said it expects Marketplace to complement buy-and-sell activity that already happens in groups. For example, users posting an item for sale can choose to post the item in Marketplace as well as in a group at the same time.

Original Source of this article is forbes

The Internet is a necessity in the workplace, whether you work in a supermarket or in an office, there is a part of your job that will require an Internet connection. With companies becoming increasingly obsessed with ways to increase productivity, the most obvious way is to improve your connection speed.

If you count up the times you have waited for a page to load or a tutorial video to stop buffering, you’ll probably have spent hours if not days each year sat at your screen simply waiting.

In the following paragraphs we’ll cover what contributes to Internet speed and share some top tips on how you can speed yours up.

Internet speed is determined by a number of factors; some are completely out of your control, like where you live whilst others you do have control over.

Network structure

Perhaps the most important thing is the structure of your network. Whether you use a wired or wireless connection, if your system isn’t installed with bandwidth in mind you could be losing mountains of all-important speed. As a result, it is imperative that your business hires a structured cabling and wireless network professional to ensure that your network is in the best position possible to help you reach maximum Internet speed.

Clean your device

Have you ever wondered why the Internet on your laptop seems to move much quicker than on your PC, despite you being connected to the same network? Well a lot of this can be to do with your device rather than the network.

If you are trying to use multiple applications at once or your device is reaching its memory capacity, it will run much slower. As a knock on effect this means it will take longer for web pages to load.

Spend a few hours going through your computer and remove any unwanted applications. Don’t forget to perform regular virus scans as well because if your computer is infected it could make your Internet run at a snail-like pace. Here are a few more tips on how to clean your computer.

Check your browser

This is something that many people forget, but different browsers will have more of a strain on your computer and connection. For example, Internet Explorer is a popular browser but it does use a lot of resources, on the other hand you could find that using a more compact browser like Chrome will speed up your connection.

Download browser plug-ins

Most browsers now come with the ability to download plug-ins like dictionaries that allow you to hover over a word and instantly be presented with a definition.

There are many fantastic plug-ins that can help to improve your Internet speed. Popular ones include those which virtually disable ads from your surfing experience and with less flashing banners and pop-ups on your screen, you will have less elements to load and ultimately the content that matters should load much more quickly.

Most browsers now come with this ability built-in, like Safari will automatically disable all Flash elements unless you physically click on it and enable Flash.

Remove unwanted plug-ins

There are countless plug-ins that you can download so you’ll be forgiven for amassing a few over time. However, if you have plug-ins that you haven’t used in months, delete them. They’ll be running in the background and consuming bandwidth unnecessarily.

Close all unneeded tabs

Many webpages will now refresh automatically every few minutes, mainly news sites. So even if you aren’t looking at pages but have them open in tabs, they will be consuming bandwidth. If you are one of these people that likes to have unlimited tabs and browser windows open, think again if you are experiencing slow Internet speeds – closing them could have a huge difference.

Source : http://www.toptensocialmedia.com/social-media-technology-2/internet-reliance-improving-your-speed-at-work/

 

The internet is undoubtedly one of most important technical advances ever, but it's not always a very nice place.

It's the home of trolls and haters, a place where famous people and ordinary people alike are often subject to shocking threats, insults, and having their personal information published online (a practice known as doxing.)

It's a thorny problem for social-media sites like Twitter, which would rather protect free speech instead of police speech, and Facebook, where like-minded people can gather and affirm each other.

But Microsoft is taking harder stance against hate speech. On Friday it said it wants to make it easier for people to report online abuse in its consumer communities, which includes everything from Skype, OneDrive, and Outlook to gaming community Xbox Live.

"For many years we’ve sought to protect our customers by prohibiting hate speech and removing such content from our hosted consumer services. While neither our principles nor our policies are changing, we are refining some of our processes to make it easier for customers to report hate speech," explains Microsoft's chief online-safety officer Jacqueline Beauchere in a blog post.

To that end, Microsoft introduced a new form that makes it easier to report hate speech and a clear definition of the kinds of things that constitute hate speech. Anything that advocates violence or promotes hatred based on age, disability, gender, national or ethnic origin or race, religions or sexual orientation/gender identity is the kind of thing Microsoft will nix.

The new form also makes it easier for people to log a protest if their sites or posts were found to be in violation and blocked or removed.

Microsoft also recently joined other online firms to support the European Commission Code of Conduct countering illegal hate speech online, Beauchere says.

Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-tries-to-silence-internet-haters-2016-8

 

Mumbai, Jul 31 () Markets regulator Sebi has initiated the first phase of its new enterprise portal to facilitate accurate and timely dissemination of information to the watchdog's internal and external stakeholders.

The new portal, which would replace the regulator's existing portal in a phased manner, went live on July 29 and is being developed by IT major Tech Mahindra.

The first phase of the project provides the employees of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and some of its market intermediaries with an interactive portal. "Sebi started with development of its portal solution as a digital transformation program to exploit the potential of automation, rationalise its application landscape and simplify its technology infrastructure," Tech Mahindra said in a statement.

The portal provides an e-Platform to registered and prospective intermediaries to communicate in secure, simplified, transparent and paperless way with Sebi.

"The portal also provides refreshing UI (user interface) experience and a secure role based access and navigation to its Sebi staff across various departments," Tech Mahindra said.

"Thus it will enable significant collaborative and efficient communications between Sebi's internal and external stakeholders alike," it added.

The new portal would help create positive consumer experience as it aligns itself with emerging digital trends, Tech Mahindra, which had begun implementation of the project in December 2014, noted.

Sebi in early 2014 had invited proposal for supply, installation, design, development and implementation of Enterprise Portal Solution which included business Process Management (BPM), custom applications development, enterprise search engine, business intelligence and analytics, among other necessary IT infrastructure.

The project also includes migration of data, integration of enterprise portal with other internal applications. SSM ARS ABK ABM

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/First-phase-of-Sebis-new-enterprise-portal-goes-live/articleshow/53474923.cms

Wednesday, 03 August 2016 13:24

Search Marketing Is The Future, Right?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bing Network. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’ve always been fascinated by the constant evolution of search. It scares me to accept that I’ve never been able to get the full grasp of these changes. I couldn’t sit still.

My career was built on writing and consulting about SEM. I should be prepared for the future. I should know what’s coming next. But, I don’t.

The future of search has me in a constant spin cycle.

Do you feel this way? Bing has 133 million monthly searches. Google hit over 100 billion. That’s a lot to take in. The good news is this hasn’t stopped me (or others!) from digging into these changes.

This past year working at SEJ has allowed me to explore new strategies to help explain the future of SEM. I discovered that I’ve been looking at the future of search all wrong. And, I think a lot of us have.

What is the Future of Search?

I’ve worked on over 100+ SEM clients. The majority of them focused only on increasing their rankings on Google.

This is where I went wrong.

I shouldn’t be focused on increasing rankings in Google, creating more content, or building more links. I should be focused on the user.

In 2016, we’re seeing marketers approach this in different ways:

Understanding searcher intent – Making it easy for searchers to get better search results by personalizing our content to answer queries and voice search.

Exploring multiple search channels – Building a search strategy outside of Google that reaches your target audience on the platforms they live.

Rand Fishkin has an amazing Slideshare on this:

The 7 Biggest Trends in SEO: 2016 from Rand Fishkin
For example, Confluent Forms worked with Michlin Metals to optimize for intent-based search. Confluent Forms altered the meta data and saw an upward spike in impressions, clicks and click-through rate, and position. And, they were even featured in a Google Answer Box. Optimizely increased conversions by 32% for Secret Escapes by matching user intent with expectation between landing page copy and PPC ads.

And, let’s not forget about the other search channels. Marin Software grew Sykes Cottage conversion volume on Bing by 259%. Hello Society increased referral traffic from 3,952 to 16,592 in one month on Pinterest.

All of this is how I now understand search will work in the future. Yep, I was missing the whole point all along.

In 2000, my main channels were paid search and organic search. Fast forward to 2016, to compete you must be on paid, organic, local, image, video, map, social, news, mobile, and voice search.

Whew! That’s a lot!

Does this New Way of Search Marketing Work for Big or Small Brands?

The short answer: Both.

Businesses spend thousands of dollars on PPC and SEO campaigns each year looking for the right audience. Utilizing tools like Bing’s Remarketing campaigns allows both big and small brands to benefit from targeting consumer buying behaviors for better ad conversions with minimal spend. AdWords also offers remarketing ads, so I’d analyzing both avenues before allocating your budget.

For me, smaller brands with a limited budget see greater success on Bing because the cost-per-click has been lower. WordStream also saw an average of 33.5% cheaper CPC on Bing.

In addition to advertising, businesses will also need to adapt to the new way users are searching. According to comScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Voice search uses a more natural tone, which changes the search results.

Tech Goliaths like Microsoft, Apple, and Google, are focusing on new digital assistants, like Cortana. Cortana (iOS, Android, Windows), has already seen 2.5 billion questions asked globally. Pretty crazy, huh? Digital assistants are transforming how searchers use mobile. Searchers are bypassing Google search and using apps or voice search for their queries.

This means more opportunities for marketers to influence consumers and measure the impact of search on other channels.

Takeaways

It seems to me that the next generation of search will rely on helping businesses personalize their brand to reach a very niche audience. There is a whole new side for SEM marketers to explore — and potentially some awesome benefits, too!

Brands can expand their reach by utilizing multiple search engines.
The content based on user intent and conversational language will have a greater impact.
Investing in personalized ad campaigns can bring in higher conversions.

For all the work we do with perfecting our strategies, perhaps these coming years bring us the opportunity to engage on a deeper level more meaningful level, not only with our audience but with our brands too.

I’d love your thoughts on this! Feel free to discuss in the comments or on Twitter.

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/search-marketing-is-the-future-right/169326/

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) wants to be a popular place to search for mentions of current news, in order, to get more public chatter, which normally is done on Twitter, says a report from TechCrunch. The social networking site though stumbled with its natural language Graph Search, refocused on keywords and is now seeing 2bn searches per day of its 2.5 trillion posts. In comparison, it was 1bn in September 2012 and 1.5bn searches per day in July 2015 – a 33% jump in just 9 months.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)

Facebook wants to rule chatting space

On the recent earning’s call, the Chief Executive – Mark Zuckerberg – said, “The growing way that people use search is to find what people are saying about a topic across more that 2.5 trillion posts. Now people are doing more than 2 billion searches a day between looking up people, businesses, and other things they care about.”

What the co-founder did not say, but certainly indicated was that the social network thinks the people should talk about things on its site because their words will find new audiences thanks to its massive user base and powerful search engine, the report says. This chatting space is actually ruled by Twitter, but since launching public post search last year, Facebook Inc(NASDAQ:FB) has been attempting to dominate the space.

Through paid search ads, the social media giant could open up new monetization opportunities if it can keep generating more search queries. However, the CEO cautioned that it was not going to happen overnight.

How it plans to do it?

Initially, Facebook’s search engine primarily focused in assisting the user find people they had met in real life and add them as friends. Then in 2013, the social network touted its semantic Graph Search engine as the third pillar of its service alongside the profile and feed. The users were, however, confused by the complex search queries required.

Eventually, the tech giant retreated the Graph Search, and released the true keyword search in late 2014 to allow users find posts by them or their friends. Later, the firm expanded that to include all 2 trillion posts on the social media.

For Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), it was a huge turning point because it pitted its search engine finally against Twitter. The main aim of the social network is to underline why people should talk more on its network. For this, the social media giant built a special sports chatter feature called Stadium, and also focused on Facebook Live for citizen journalism.

Zuckerberg, on being asked about monetizing commercial searches, did hint of keeping the search business model for later. Even though this announcement was about search, its Twitter who should be concerned not Google.

On Wednesday, Facebook shares closed up 1.75% at $123.34. Year to date, the stock is up over 16% while in the last one-year, it is up over 27%.

http://learnbonds.com/130381/facebook-battles-twitter/

Struggling internet search engine Yahoo is bought out by US telecommunications giant Verizon in a deal worth $6.5 billion.

The deal sees Verizon pay $US4.83 billion ($6.5 billion) for Yahoo's core business, excluding its successful Asian ventures - a 15 per cent stake in the Chinese online marketplace Alibaba and its 35 per cent holding in Yahoo Japan - as well as some patents.

The value of those remaining assets is estimated at around $US40 billion ($55 billion).

Verizon is expected to combine the business with the internet firm AOL, which it bought last year for $US4.4 billion ($5.9 billion).

AOL's chief executive Tim Armstrong told Bloomberg that his company had been considering a tie up with Yahoo for some time.

The logic behind the deal is to build scale to take on the might of Google and Facebook.

"We talked about ways to combine on scale, through content and ad inventory," Mr Armstrong said of his discussions with Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer in 2014.

"We were at about 500 million to 750 million users then. Today we are at about 1 billion users and we want to get to 2 billion in the next four years."

Mr Armstrong also said the focus of the combined business would be building on its base of existing brands, not merging everything under one banner, meaning the key Yahoo brands are likely to stay.

Yahoo 'mercy killing'

Yahoo has been on the market since February.

The company was an early internet pioneer when it was founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo as an online directory and web portal 22 years ago, but it has struggled to keep up with younger and more nimble rivals such as Google and Facebook, and the advent of social media.

Roger Entner, an analyst with Recon Analytics LLC, told Bloomberg that Yahoo had run out of options for internal revival.

It's a mercy killing. They need to get some adults in the room to run the show at Yahoo.

"The most logical way to do that is within the AOL structure."

While the core of the business is going to Verizon's AOL, Ms Mayer said she will stay on to manage the still very valuable rump of Yahoo.

Ms Mayer was brought in from Google in July 2012 to turn Yahoo around after several years of turmoil in which it burned through five chief executives in as many years.

The company has been the subject of speculation about its future as far back as 2008, when Microsoft made an unsolicited bid to buy the firm for around $US44.6 billion ($60 billion), which was rejected at the time for undervaluing the company.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-25/yahoo-verizon-takeover/7658638

Encryption should become the default as study reveals millions of sensitive services are exposed to the internet, says Rapid7Millions of IT systems on the internet offer services that should not be exposed to the public network, a study by security firm Rapid7 has revealed.

The study uncovered 15 million nodes offering Telnet, 11.2 million nodes offering direct access to relational databases, and 4.5 million printer services, according to a report released at Infosecurity Europe 2016 in London.The researchers counted 7.8 million MySQL databases and 3.4 million Microsoft SQL Server systems, but did not include other popular database systems such as PostgreSQL and OracleDB.

 

The scan of 30 of the most prevalent services across the internet showed that 4.7 million systems expose port 445, which is one of the most commonly attacked ports used by Microsoft systems.The study measured the prevalence of cleartext, unencrypted services on the internet and their encrypted counterparts, by country, and used this ratio to generate an overall National Exposure Index score.

It found the most exposed nations on the internet today include countries with the largest GDPs, such as the US, China, France and Russia.Belgium was found to be the most exposed country, but researchers said the reason for that was not yet clear. The US was ranked at number 14, while the UK came in at 23.

“This is a foundational paper, intended to educate readers about the core principles on which internet-based services operate,” said Tod Beardsley, security research manager at Rapid7.

“It is aimed at decision makers, policy makers and chief information security officers, which is why there is a lot of explanation in the report of how things work. We are releasing all the data behind the report, so it is also aimed at researchers and data scientists,” he told Computer Weekly.

 

Encryption is essential

The report catalogues, for the first time, what is going on in the internet, providing the first service-level audit in an attempt to counteract the high level of port scanning being carried out by cyber criminals.

“We wanted to look at all the cleartext services versus their encrypted counterparts to see how that deployment is coming along, because encryption is important for properly securing the internet,” said Beardsley.According to the report, fully encrypted communication is important for overall internet safety, usability and sustainability.

 

“Today’s internet touches virtually everyone’s lives and is a critical component of economic security. Counter-intuitively, the adoption of fully encrypted protocols for core internet services has not scaled with our personal, national and global dependence on the internet,” the report said.Beardsley said most people treat the internet as if it were a secure, safe and stable machine, while in reality is it not engineered that way.

“In a way, the internet is not really engineered at all. It has grown and developed organically, and uses millions of insecure protocols like Telnet and FTP [file transfer protocol], which is not appropriate for the way we use the internet today. It’s 2016, but the internet still looks a lot like it did in 1996, just bigger,” he said.That is despite the fact that there are enormous security and functionality advantages to having encrypted services, he said, especially authentication that enables internet users to be certain about who they are talking to.

 

For example, the report shows that FTP, which dates from the very start of the internet and is rarely encrypted, is still the fourth most popular protocol, with 20 million FTP services being used to transport things like software security updates, customer data and even patient data.

“People tend to just use the internet and all they care about is that it works. But this study shows that we need to be a little bit more thoughtful, at least on a national and international level, about where we want the internet to go, because we are treating it as if were engineered one way, while it is actually built in an entirely different way,” said Beardsley.

Businesses should check their own networks, he said, because many of these ports are exposed unintentionally, and unbeknownst to the organisations concerned, by third-party contractors who set up the infrastructure.

 

“We also want to spark conversations about the whole notion of exposure, and raise awareness about things like the fact that one machine with five to seven services on it creates a whole lot more exposure or greater attack surface than having one to two services per machine,” said Beardsley.

“We would also like researchers and manufacturers to look at our data, which has been lacking until now, to see what they can come up with to help fill in the gaps, and to consider the advantages of encryption, which should now be the default,” he said.According to Beardsley, there is an urgent need for the same kind of effort that went into averting the Y2K crisis to go into averting a crisis around insecure connections on the internet.

“Failure to do the hard work now will result in a crisis due to the mass deployment of unencrypted services,” he said.Beardsley said individual businesses need to look at what they are doing on the internet, identify the most critical services, and then do whatever is necessary to keep these secure and prevent them from going down.

Source:  http://www.computerweekly.com/news/450297895/Millions-of-sensitive-IT-services-exposed-to-the-internet-study-finds

 

 

 

 

 

Parts of Britain are being left behind on access to online services, because of slow broadband, research suggests.

King's College London researchers said many of the regions with the worst internet access also used modern services the least.

The study compared online logs from half of the country's population with rates of use of the BBC's iPlayer.

One analyst said it raised questions about rural areas being "deprived of the full benefits of broadband".
According to the study, which was published this week, South Ayrshire, Ards and the Isle of Wight were among the areas where people used iPlayer the least.

They also named the East Riding of Yorkshire, North Down and Midlothian as areas of similarly low usage.
When they had compared the regional disparities with Ofcom data on broadband speeds, they had found a positive correlation, they said.

Similarly, areas that had used iPlayer a lot, such as London, south Gloucestershire and Bristol, had generally benefited from relatively fast broadband speeds.

Disparity

"It is clear that high-speed broadband is an important factor in the use of bandwidth-intensive applications such as BBC iPlayer," said Dr Nishanth Sastry, a senior lecturer at King's College London (KCL) and the lead researcher.

"With technological advancements, it is likely that more services important to daily life will move online, yet there is a significant proportion of the population with inadequate broadband connections who won't be able to access such services."

Ian Watt, a telecommunications consultant with the analyst Ovum, said the research highlighted the "need for ubiquitous high speed broadband access, including the extent to which some rural areas where broadband speeds remain relatively low are being deprived of the full benefits of broadband".

But he added that the disparity could be explained by people who did not want to use such bandwidth-intensive services not feeling the need to pay for faster broadband.

"It is also important to remember that, although the retail price of broadband is similar across different parts of the UK, the cost of providing it varies significantly, depending on household density," he said.
'Deprived'

Mr Watt said broadband speed was particularly important for households wanting to view high definition video and those in which many people wanted to use services simultaneously.

"Recent Ovum research indicated a speed of 25Mbps was an appropriate target access speed to provide a high quality experience for video services," he said.

But according to the KCL research, even the areas that used iPlayer were not benefiting from speeds of 25Mbps.

The researchers looked at records of 1.9 billion sessions on iPlayer by 32 million monthly users between May 2013 and January 2014.

They said they chose the service because it is funded by the TV licence and access to TV content is restricted to the UK, allowing them to isolate the domestic market.

Source:  http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36538439

Wednesday, 18 May 2016 11:26

Methods of Effective Internet Research

Whenever you have surfed the net chances are you either clicked here and there or followed a trail of what interested you. Have you at times had your search seem like a scavenger hunt consumed with finding facts in different spots?  If so, learning to use the Internet for research can be among the most useful skills that an individual can develop. To a beginner the Internet seems to be a large desert where it is difficult to find anything useful; however Internet Research can find an oasis on the desert. Once correctly utilized, Internet research can be used for a myriad of purposes such as: company research, research for a term paper or just getting essential information such as a weather forecast or local news. This article will outline some of the methods necessary to conduct an efficient, internet search quickly, and get the information you need.

 

 

The first step to an effective internet search is being familiar with the terms you are searching for. You search term should be as concise as possible, while still covering the area you would like to find. You should attempt to form keywords (main topic of research), phrases (avoid common phrases unless they are placed in quotes) and terms that describe your topic. The search should use nouns and pronouns as keywords when possible with the most important terms being placed first.  Many search engines operate by Boolean operators which are set theory based and include the terms and, or and but among other terms. For example, if you would like to find the current price of oil in the United States a search term of “Oil” would come up with too many responses, such as baby oil, many of which would be totally unusable. A good search should be stated in the terms that you are looking for. In this case “oil prices in the United States” would be a better search term. Placing the search term in quotes asks the search engine for a match ONLY based on the terms within the quotes. Unless the search engine selected can accept plain English (which a growing number of search engines can) searching a search term not placed in quotes would result in a search for EVERY term in the search box. This obviously would not lead to an efficient search.

 

 

A standard search engine such as Google, Yahoo and other popular search engines perform many functions. It may in addition to conducting searches look up phone numbers, create maps, give local news and other functions. In this sense this is type of search engine is the “Swiss army knife” of internet. As a rule the standard search engine performs searching at a poor to fair level. With a standard search engine you get searching capability from one source without any “bells and whistles” that are present from the more specialized search engines. A true professional researcher would avoid using this type of search engine and instead would use a more suitable search mechanism. In general searches using this type of search engine yield many results that are not particularly well organized, meaning if you don’t find what you need in the first few pages of results you will not have the time to go through hundreds of pages of results.



A Meta search engine such as ez2find or vivisimo differs greatly in both capability and usability from a general search engine. Although these search engines cannot perform all the functions of the “Swiss army knife” general search engine, what this type of search engine does do is conduct efficient searches. Instead of using a single search engine a Meta search engine uses several search engines and a filter to come up with the best results using ALL of the search engines. To illustrate some of the fundamental differences between www.Google.com and my top rated search engine www.ez2find.com I entered into both the same term “New York State tax increases” Google returned a whopping 525,000 hits for this topic many of which were off topic. www.ez2find.com with its superior filtering system returned 61 hits which were very much on topic. Obviously analyzing 525,000 hits would be a time consuming unnecessary task. In addition some Meta search engines such as www.ez2find.com and www.vivisimo.com have an important feature built in called clustering. In addition to filtering the results of the search these search engines show the exact subcategories of the search. In the example above if I only wanted New York City tax increases I could see there were 19 results out of the 61 total. This is a great time saver since I can use this method to zero in on my intended result quickly. In addition to clustering many Meta search engines also have relevancy rankings based on the accuracy of the source found to the question asked. For example if I asked “why does a dog bark” and the first hit was “cat meowing problems” the relevancy ranking for this answer is zero. This is a very helpful feature. Google does not have relevancy or clustering in their search engine.



Some search engines will search a space called the invisible web. The web itself is like an iceberg. Only 10% of the web is visible to most search engines. A full 90% is invisible to most search engines. An invisible web search engine such as www.incywincy.com searches both the visible web (this part is searched by large mainframes called bots) and the invisible web which is a non bot visible part of the web that tends to be unknown to most search mechanisms. Invisible web search engines are a bit quirky in there results. When they are effective they are unparalled in the quality of there searches. However when they are not effective the search results may seen totally off point. It turns out that most of the best sites for business based research are invisible web based. A good Meta search engine such as www.ez2find.com has some invisible web capability. Google and other standard search engines DO NOT have any type of invisible web capability.



In summary I will recommend when using search engines a good Meta search engine such as www.ez2find.com or www.vivisimo.com in conjunction with a good invisible web search engine such as www.incywincy.com. This should achieve the best overall search results in the least time possible.



Not all the useful information on the web is available through standard search engines. A large amount of useful information is available through specialized search mechanisms such as the US government search engine www.firstgov.gov . This search engine is the gateway to all of the websites that are operated by the U.S. Government. This underutilized gateway offers complete access to a myriad of free, easily available, and comprehensive government resources. I have found U.S. Government databases to be extremely useful. Among the recommended databases that can be reached through www.firstgov.gov are the following



1- The Library of Congress at www.loc.gov is a gateway into the one of the largest collections of data that varies from historical to governmental and economic material. Another excellent resource is www.fedstats.gov. A portal into over 100 Federal agencies that compile and release statistics on a variety of topics. Many of the statistics available on this database are unavailable on any other free resource.



2- The Gateway to the U.S. Department of Commerce at www.commerce.gov has proven to be extremely useful.



3- The U.S. Census Department at www.census.gov has a link to American Fact finder which gives the viewer the ability to get micro-based statistics such as demographic data by zip code. This data can prove extremely valuable to the small business owner who needs to know the demographics of an area before they consider opening up a business.



4- Also available to the small business owner is the site at the Small Business Administration, www.sba.gov. This site is full of excellent resources related to small businesses. A definite top tier site for people who are interested in starting or maintaining a small business.



5- The gateway into the Federal Job Center at www.usajobs.opm.gov is an excellent site which has a listing of almost all of the openings with the federal government. Jobs are posted here first before they are released to any other source.



6- The gateway into the Central Intelligence Agency at www.cia.gov . The CIA is not just for spies it seems. At this site the CIA publishes the excellent World Fact book which as a comprehensive summary of the declassified data on every nation in the world. This resource is an excellent source of data for information on other nations.



This list of sites is by no way totally inclusive but I believe the government has something on their sites to suit any researcher’s needs. I would also recommend a look at your State and Local sites for further data.



Another problem that internet researchers have is finding material on companies. It is at times difficult to know where to go to get good usable company information. The first point that must be considered is whether or not the company is publicly or privately held. If the company is privately held then it is extremely difficult to find reliable data on the company. A possible answer to the problem is the database Reference USA. This pay database has some information on most private companies and can be a good starting point for research. This database is available for FREE at www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org for all card holders. (A discussion of library resources will be included later in this paper).



For publicly held companies the research is much easier. ALL public companies except those on the Pink Sheets must file regular reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports that are the foundation of all company research are available at www.sec.gov. However the SEC site has these reports in there original format, totally unsummarized or commented on. I have found that unless you are a CPA or a SEC attorney you may have trouble reading these reports. I have put together a list of good sites that help to interpret and add to the data generated by the SEC.



1- The home site of MSN Money central at http://moneycentral.msn.com. This site not only has links to the SEC website but additionally has INDEPTH data on almost every public company. By going to the stock tab on the top of the site such data as a company report, financial data and insider trading can be seen. I have found this site an excellent source of data on publicly held companies.



2- The Business Week guide to company research at http://bwnt.businessweek.com/company/search.asp. This site which has information on about 4000 stocks not only draws from the business week database, but also draws from several other sites on the web.



3- The Multex Investor Homepage at www.multexinvestor.com. This site which was recently purchased by Reuters has an excellent company research area under the stock tab on the home page of the site. The data here is comprehensive and extremely helpful.



4- Hoovers Online at www.hoovers.com. Even though the best data on this site is pay only there is enough free data including some competitive analysis that makes this site worthwhile as a potential research vehicle.



5- The home site of SEC info at www.secinfo.com. This site not only has a listing of ALL SEC filings but they have included filings by type insider trading and other important data. ALL of the SEC reports are broken down into their subcategories so you do not have to read the entire document to get the data that you need. In addition the SEC file itself is cross referenced to allow for additional research. Possibly the best site for SEC info on the web.



6- The site of Mergent FIS Online. This pay site is the home of the Moody’s Investment Service; an extremely comprehensive and useful site. This site is also available through the home site of the Brooklyn Public Library at www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org. To all cardholders. A HIGHLY recommended site.



I will now describe some other search pages that can be of great assistance during your quest for information.



1- Magportal at www.magportal.com This is one of the most useful and versatile search pages on Internet. Magportal is a magazine search engine that allows a great number of sources to be searched. Magportal will search most magazines (including pay and obscure ones) for any topic and rank the results by relevancy. This first class resource finds information on topic when most other types of searches have failed. The results of the search may be examined and the article chosen can be printed out in its original full text form. A MUST HAVE resource.



2- The Business Publication Search Engine at www.bpubs.com. Have you ever needed to find an article in an obscure business publication? Bpubs searches these business publications for material that is unavailable in other locations. This is a good search engine for relatively hard to find research sources.



3- CEO Express at www.ceoexpress.com. Have you ever had NO IDEA what to look for and had no idea of how to start your search? CEO Express is a search page that is loaded with very useful links to other resources. Using this page you are bound to find a link that will either find the information you are looking for or at least put you in the right direction. This page is also a great resource for links to important websites.



4- If you need to follow news topics or a company you can get a free customized news service at www.individual.com. This full featured news clipping service, takes news items that interest you and collates them in a newspaper-like format. This format can be examined at either your page at the site at www.individual.com or the results can be e-mailed to you on a daily basis. As a rule news clipping services on Internet are very costly. This free site is as good as the pay sites and can be easily customized to meet your needs. Using www.individual.com is a snap. By using www.individual.com it is simple to follow any industry, company or trend.



5- Have you ever been in need of local information on an obscure country? At times it is necessary in order to get high quality information to have access to a locally based search engine. The website at www.searchenginecolossus.com has a listing of most major search engines organized by the nation of there origin. Many of these search engines are in English. This is a valuable source for difficult to find locally based information.



Another problem that plagues researchers is how do we find pay based databases for free? A few years ago everything on Internet was free and “ad based”. Now unfortunately, almost every commercial database is pay based. However there is a way to get high quality commercial pay databases for free. The “secret” is to get a local library card. Local libraries routinely subscribe to expensive, excellent pay databases that can be used online from home, for free by their patrons. Your library card number can then be used as a key to unlock the databases licensed to the library for home use. The bar-code on the bottom of the library card is the key that unlocks these databases (you thought it was only good for getting you to pay the $2 overtime fine you owed the library from last year). In fact many tens of thousands of dollars of commercial databases are offered for free by local library systems. As a sampling the following pay commercial databases are offered for at the Brooklyn Public Library site which is located at www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org.



1- ABI/Inform Dateline- This database has regional business news coverage of companies both large and small. This database is comprehensive and provides information not usually available elsewhere.



2- ABI/Inform Research- This database has a FULL text business periodical database of over 800 magazines and newspapers including the Wall St. Journal. AN EXCELLENT DATABASE.



3- Academic Search Premier- A FULL text, scholarly collection covering information in nearly every area of academic study. VERY USEFUL.



4- Accunet/AP Photo Archive- This database has in its library over 700,000 photos from the civil war to present.



5- Associations Unlimited- This is an online directory that covers over 400,000 worldwide not for profit associations in ALL fields.

6- Business Source Premier- This is a FULL TEXT resource of over 2470 scholarly business journals.



7- Corporate Resource Net- This is a database of FULL TEXT articles from more than 1,300 magazines and journals such as Fortune and Money. This database also includes detailed data for the worlds 5,000 largest companies.



8- Custom Newspapers- You can search a collection of over 150 newspapers from around the world.



9- Encyclopedia Britannica- This is the FULL pay version of the encyclopedia including continual updating. A FAVORITE DATABASE.



10- Ethnic Newswatch- A full collection of newspapers, magazines and journals related to ethic communities. May be searched in English or Spanish.



11- Learning Express Library- This provides preparation for texts in the academic, college prep, civil service and other fields. VERY USEFUL.



12- Masterfile Premier- This is a FULL TEXT database of over 2000 general periodicals in many disciplines.



13- Mergent/FIS Online- This groundbreaking database (which was mentioned previously in this article) gives full access to detailed information on more than 10,000 U.S. Companies covered by Moody’s Financial Services.



14- Newspaper Source- This database provides FULL text coverage of over 240 newspapers and other news sources.



15- New York State Newspapers- A database of 10 major newspapers published in New York State including the New York Times and the New York Post.



16- Proquest- A FULL TEXT searchable database of several newspapers including the New York Times that goes back about 2 years. Several other libraries subscribe to Proquest Historic Newspapers which gives FULLTEXT access to the New York Times back to 1850. AN EXCELLENT DATABASE.



17- Reference USA- Yet another excellent database (this database was also profiled earlier in this article) that has basic business and residential listings. Covers over 12 million U.S. Businesses. VERY USEFUL and COMPLETE.



18- Regional Business News- A database covering 75 business journals and newswires.



19- SIRS Researcher- This database has citations for thousands of FULL TEXT articles on a number of issues selected from over 1200 sources.


These are just some of the databases available at the Brooklyn Public Library site under electronic resources. I estimate the value of these resources to be in excess of $25,000 a year. In addition, the Queens Library at www.queenslibrary.org has some of these databases with one notable addition: bigchalk/eLibrary. This database which has several billion citations in many categories such as newspapers, books and TV shows is FULL TEXT. It is also searchable by plain English searching (a growing trend). In the past, I have found that this database can get information that is hard or impossible to find in other locations. Even though at times, results with this database tend to be strange, it is a MUST HAVE resource.



As a resident of certain areas you can apply for and receive one or more library cards. In New York City, a resident can apply for up to 3 library cards (Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan) and receive access to all of these library systems. Since the available resources differ somewhat from library system to library system I STRONGLY encourage readers to get ALL of the library cards that they are entitled to including any college or other systems they may be enrolled in.



In addition to all of the aforementioned resources there are other tools available that can provide assistance to an internet researcher. One of my favorite tools is Newsnose, available for download at www.bangstudios.com. This fantastic resource, once installed, provides FULL TEXT access to news stories around the world. The program, which is easy to use, allows search by up to 3 parameters. This MUST HAVE program is an excellent way to get current news articles on ANY subject. Another excellent tool is the Vivisimo Internet Explorer toolbar available at www.vivisimo.com. There has been a proliferation of toolbars available for Internet Explorer. This one at least, is backed by an excellent search engine and it performs the same functions as other toolbars such as pop-up blocking. Another useful internet explorer toolbar is Alexa available at www.alexa.com. This toolbar allows the user to see sites that are related to the one you are looking at. This allows for search webbing which in essence allows for the building of related searches based on your original web search. A MUST HAVE RESOURCE. Another available resource is the Copernic metasearch which is available for download at www.copernic.com. This clever little tool which resides in the user’s toolbar on the bottom of the screen allows the user to conduct a full high quality metasearch directly from the toolbar. This allows for search capability while performing any task on Internet even playing a game. Copernic is still one of the best search mechanisms available on Internet.

 

 

Even though I have a bias against paying for information I would like to recommend a pay database which gives you your money’s worth. This database available at www.questia.com (it costs $120 a year prepaid) is a one of a kind library of over 47,000 books and other sources that is not available anywhere else on the Internet. Questia allows for the searching and full text printing of the entire book. Questia will also search for, and highlight the section of the book that pertains to your search. Questia also adds to the search all the journals, magazines and newspapers that relate to your search term. The addition of these invisible web resources makes Questia a MUST HAVE database.

Finally I would also like to recommend two browsers that can be used instead of Internet Explorer to search the Internet. I have recently fielded many complaints about the speed, reliability and usability of Internet Explorer. It has become important to recommend potential alternative browsers that are more reliable than Internet Explorer. I will recommend two excellent alternative browsers both of which are available at www.download.com. The first Avant Browser is a full featured browser that is easy to use and is not a resource hog. This browser looks and feels like Internet Explorer. The second browser Myie2 is another excellent alternative browser that also looks and feels like Internet Explorer and is very easy to use.

 

Source:  http://depthome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/economics/internetresearch.htm

 

Whenever you have surfed the net chances are you either clicked here and there or followed a trail of what interested you. Have you at times had your search seem like a scavenger hunt consumed with finding facts in different spots?  If so, learning to use the Internet for research can be among the most useful skills that an individual can develop. To a beginner the Internet seems to be a large desert where it is difficult to find anything useful; however Internet Research can find an oasis on the desert. Once correctly utilized, Internet research can be used for a myriad of purposes such as: company research, research for a term paper or just getting essential information such as a weather forecast or local news. This article will outline some of the methods necessary to conduct an efficient, internet search quickly, and get the information you need.
 
The first step to an effective internet search is being familiar with the terms you are searching for. You search term should be as concise as possible, while still covering the area you would like to find. You should attempt to form keywords (main topic of research), phrases (avoid common phrases unless they are placed in quotes) and terms that describe your topic. The search should use nouns and pronouns as keywords when possible with the most important terms being placed first.  Many search engines operate by Boolean operators which are set theory based and include the terms and, or and but among other terms. For example, if you would like to find the current price of oil in the United States a search term of “Oil” would come up with too many responses, such as baby oil, many of which would be totally unusable. A good search should be stated in the terms that you are looking for. In this case “oil prices in the United States” would be a better search term. Placing the search term in quotes asks the search engine for a match ONLY based on the terms within the quotes. Unless the search engine selected can accept plain English (which a growing number of search engines can) searching a search term not placed in quotes would result in a search for EVERY term in the search box. This obviously would not lead to an efficient search.
 
A good starting point for effective internet research is finding an effective search engine. Many different types of search engines are available such as a standard search engine such as www.google.com , an invisible web search engine such as www.incywincy.com , a Meta search engine such as www.ez2find.com , or a specialized search engine such as www.firstgov.gov .
 
 
A standard search engine such as Google, Yahoo and other popular search engines perform many functions. It may in addition to conducting searches look up phone numbers, create maps, give local news and other functions. In this sense this is type of search engine is the “Swiss army knife” of internet. As a rule the standard search engine performs searching at a poor to fair level. With a standard search engine you get searching capability from one source without any “bells and whistles” that are present from the more specialized search engines. A true professional researcher would avoid using this type of search engine and instead would use a more suitable search mechanism. In general searches using this type of search engine yield many results that are not particularly well organized, meaning if you don’t find what you need in the first few pages of results you will not have the time to go through hundreds of pages of results.
 
A Meta search engine such as ez2find or vivisimo differs greatly in both capability and usability from a general search engine. Although these search engines cannot perform all the functions of the “Swiss army knife” general search engine, what this type of search engine does do is conduct efficient searches. Instead of using a single search engine a Meta search engine uses several search engines and a filter to come up with the best results using ALL of the search engines. To illustrate some of the fundamental differences between www.Google.com  and my top rated search engine www.ez2find.com I entered into both the same term “New York State tax increases” Google returned a whopping 525,000 hits for this topic many of which were off topic. www.ez2find.com with its superior filtering system returned 61 hits which were very much on topic. Obviously analyzing 525,000 hits would be a time consuming unnecessary task. In addition some Meta search engines such as www.ez2find.com and www.vivisimo.com have an important feature built in called clustering. In addition to filtering the results of the search these search engines show the exact subcategories of the search. In the example above if I only wanted New York City tax increases I could see there were 19 results out of the 61 total. This is a great time saver since I can use this method to zero in on my intended result quickly. In addition to clustering many Meta search engines also have relevancy rankings based on the accuracy of the source found to the question asked. For example if I asked “why does a dog bark” and the first hit was “cat meowing problems” the relevancy ranking for this answer is zero. This is a very helpful feature. Google does not have relevancy or clustering in their search engine.
 
Some search engines will search a space called the invisible web. The web itself is like an iceberg. Only 10% of the web is visible to most search engines. A full 90% is invisible to most search engines. An invisible web search engine such as www.incywincy.com searches both the visible web (this part is searched by large mainframes called bots) and the invisible web which is a non bot visible part of the web that tends to be unknown to most search mechanisms. Invisible web search engines are a bit quirky in there results. When they are effective they are unparalled in the quality of there searches. However when they are not effective the search results may seen totally off point. It turns out that most of the best sites for business based research are invisible web based.  A good Meta search engine such as www.ez2find.com has some invisible web capability. Google and other standard search engines DO NOT have any type of invisible web capability.
 
In summary I will recommend when using search engines a good Meta search engine such as www.ez2find.com or www.vivisimo.com in conjunction with a good invisible web search engine such as www.incywincy.com. This should achieve the best overall search results in the least time possible.
 
Not all the useful information on the web is available through standard search engines. A large amount of useful information is available through specialized search mechanisms such as the US government search engine www.firstgov.gov . This search engine is the gateway to all of the websites that are operated by the U.S. Government. This underutilized gateway offers complete access to a myriad of free, easily available, and comprehensive government resources. I have found U.S. Government databases to be extremely useful. Among the recommended databases that can be reached through www.firstgov.gov are the following
 
1- The Library of Congress at www.loc.gov is a gateway into the one of the largest collections of data that varies from historical to governmental and economic material. Another excellent resource is www.fedstats.gov. A portal into over 100 Federal agencies that compile and release statistics on a variety of topics. Many of the statistics available on this database are unavailable on any other free resource.
 
2- The Gateway to the U.S. Department of Commerce at www.commerce.gov has proven to be extremely useful.
 
3- The U.S. Census Department at www.census.gov has a link to American Fact finder which gives the viewer the ability to get micro-based statistics such as demographic data by zip code. This data can prove extremely valuable to the small business owner who needs to know the demographics of an area before they consider opening up a business.
 
4- Also available to the small business owner is the site at the Small Business Administration, www.sba.gov. This site is full of excellent resources related to small businesses. A definite top tier site for people who are interested in starting or maintaining a small business.
 
5- The gateway into the Federal Job Center at www.usajobs.opm.gov is an excellent site which has a listing of almost all of the openings with the federal government. Jobs are posted here first before they are released to any other source.
 
6- The gateway into the Central Intelligence Agency at www.cia.gov . The CIA is not just for spies it seems. At this site the CIA publishes the excellent World Fact book which as a comprehensive summary of the declassified data on every nation in the world. This resource is an excellent source of data for information on other nations.
 
This list of sites is by no way totally inclusive but I believe the government has something on their sites to suit any researcher’s needs. I would also recommend a look at your State and Local sites for further data.
 
Another problem that internet researchers have is finding material on companies. It is at times difficult to know where to go to get good usable company information. The first point that must be considered is whether or not the company is publicly or privately held. If the company is privately held then it is extremely difficult to find reliable data on the company. A possible answer to the problem is the database Reference USA. This pay database has some information on most private companies and can be a good starting point for research. This database is available for FREE at www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org for all card holders. (A discussion of library resources will be included later in this paper).
 
For publicly held companies the research is much easier. ALL public companies except those on the Pink Sheets must file regular reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports that are the foundation of all company research are available at www.sec.gov. However the SEC site has these reports in there original format, totally unsummarized or commented on. I have found that unless you are a CPA or a SEC attorney you may have trouble reading these reports. I have put together a list of good sites that help to interpret and add to the data generated by the SEC.
 
1-     The home site of MSN Money central at http://moneycentral.msn.com. This site not only has links to the SEC website but additionally has INDEPTH data on almost every public company. By going to the stock tab on the top of the site such data as a company report, financial data and insider trading can be seen. I have found this site an excellent source of data on publicly held companies.
 
2-     The Business Week guide to company research at http://bwnt.businessweek.com/company/search.asp. This site which has information on about 4000 stocks not only draws from the business week database, but also draws from several other sites on the web.
 
3-     The Multex Investor Homepage at www.multexinvestor.com. This site which was recently purchased by Reuters has an excellent company research area under the stock tab on the home page of the site. The data here is comprehensive and extremely helpful.
 
4-     Hoovers Online at www.hoovers.com. Even though the best data on this site is pay only there is enough free data including some competitive analysis that makes this site worthwhile as a potential research vehicle.
 
5-     The home site of SEC info at www.secinfo.com. This site not only has a listing of ALL SEC filings but they have included filings by type insider trading and other important data. ALL of the SEC reports are broken down into their subcategories so you do not have to read the entire document to get the data that you need. In addition the SEC file itself is cross referenced to allow for additional research. Possibly the best site for SEC info on the web.
 
6-     The site of Mergent FIS Online. This pay site is the home of the Moody’s Investment Service; an extremely comprehensive and useful site. This site is also available through the home site of the Brooklyn Public Library at www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org. To all cardholders. A HIGHLY recommended site.
 
I will now describe some other search pages that can be of great assistance during your quest for information.
 
1-     Magportal at www.magportal.com This is one of the most useful and versatile search pages on Internet. Magportal is a magazine search engine that allows a great number of sources to be searched. Magportal will search most magazines (including pay and obscure ones) for any topic and rank the results by relevancy. This first class resource finds information on topic when most other types of searches have failed. The results of the search may be examined and the article chosen can be printed out in its original full text form. A MUST HAVE resource.
 
2-     The Business Publication Search Engine at www.bpubs.com. Have you ever needed to find an article in an obscure business publication? Bpubs searches these business publications for material that is unavailable in other locations. This is a good search engine for relatively hard to find research sources.
 
3-     CEO Express at www.ceoexpress.com. Have you ever had NO IDEA what to look for and had no idea of how to start your search? CEO Express is a search page that is loaded with very useful links to other resources. Using this page you are bound to find a link that will either find the information you are looking for or at least put you in the right direction. This page is also a great resource for links to important websites.
 
4-     If you need to follow news topics or a company you can get a free customized news service at www.individual.com. This full featured news clipping service, takes news items that interest you and collates them in a newspaper-like format. This format can be examined at either your page at the site at www.individual.com or the results can be e-mailed to you on a daily basis. As a rule news clipping services on Internet are very costly. This free site is as good as the pay sites and can be easily customized to meet your needs. Using www.individual.com is a snap. By using www.individual.com it is simple to follow any industry, company or trend.
 
5-     Have you ever been in need of local information on an obscure country? At times it is necessary in order to get high quality information to have access to a locally based search engine. The website at www.searchenginecolossus.com has a listing of most major search engines organized by the nation of there origin. Many of these search engines are in English. This is a valuable source for difficult to find locally based information.
 
Another problem that plagues researchers is how do we find pay based databases for free? A few years ago everything on Internet was free and “ad based”. Now unfortunately, almost every commercial database is pay based. However there is a way to get high quality commercial pay databases for free. The “secret” is to get a local library card. Local libraries routinely subscribe to expensive, excellent pay databases that can be used online from home, for free by their patrons. Your library card number can then be used as a key to unlock the databases licensed to the library for home use. The bar-code on the bottom of the library card is the key that unlocks these databases (you thought it was only good for getting you to pay the $2 overtime fine you owed the library from last year). In fact many tens of thousands of dollars of commercial databases are offered for free by local library systems. As a sampling the following pay commercial databases are offered for at the Brooklyn Public Library site which is located at www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org.
 
1-     ABI/Inform Dateline- This database has regional business news coverage of companies both large and small. This database is comprehensive and provides information not usually available elsewhere.
 
2-     ABI/Inform Research- This database has a FULL text business periodical database of over 800 magazines and newspapers including the Wall St. Journal. AN EXCELLENT DATABASE.
 
3-     Academic Search Premier-A FULL text, scholarly collection covering information in nearly every area of academic study. VERY USEFUL.
 
4-     Accunet/AP Photo Archive- This database has in its library over 700,000 photos from the civil war to present.
 
5-     Associations Unlimited- This is an online directory that covers over 400,000 worldwide not for profit associations in ALL fields.
 
6-     Business Source Premier- This is a FULL TEXT resource of over 2470 scholarly business journals.
 
7-     Corporate Resource Net- This is a database of FULL TEXT articles from more than 1,300 magazines and journals such as Fortune and Money. This database also includes detailed data for the worlds 5,000 largest companies.
 
8-     Custom Newspapers- You can search a collection of over 150 newspapers from around the world.
 
9-     Encyclopedia Britannica- This is the FULL pay version of the encyclopedia including continual updating. A FAVORITE DATABASE.
 
10- Ethnic Newswatch- A full collection of newspapers, magazines and journals related to ethic communities. May be searched in English or Spanish.
 
11- Learning Express Library- This provides preparation for texts in the academic, college prep, civil service and other fields. VERY USEFUL.
 
12- Masterfile Premier- This is a FULL TEXT database of over 2000 general periodicals in many disciplines.
 
13- Mergent/FIS Online- This groundbreaking database (which was mentioned previously in this article) gives full access to detailed information on more than 10,000 U.S. Companies covered by Moody’s Financial Services.
 
14- Newspaper Source- This database provides FULL text coverage of over 240 newspapers and other news sources.
 
15- New York State Newspapers- A database of 10 major newspapers published in New York State including the New York Times and the New York Post.
 
16- Proquest- A FULL TEXT searchable database of several newspapers including the New York Times that goes back about 2 years. Several other libraries subscribe to Proquest Historic Newspapers which gives FULLTEXT access to the New York Times back to 1850. AN EXCELLENT DATABASE.
 
17- Reference USA- Yet another excellent database (this database was also profiled earlier in this article) that has basic business and residential listings. Covers over 12 million U.S. Businesses. VERY USEFUL and COMPLETE.
 
18- Regional Business News- A database covering 75 business journals and newswires.
 
19- SIRS Researcher- This database has citations for thousands of FULL TEXT articles on a number of issues selected from over 1200 sources.
 
 
These are just some of the databases available at the Brooklyn Public Library site under electronic resources. I estimate the value of these resources to be in excess of $25,000 a year. In addition, the Queens Library at www.queenslibrary.org has some of these databases with one notable addition: bigchalk/eLibrary. This database which has several billion citations in many categories such as newspapers, books and TV shows is FULL TEXT. It is also searchable by plain English searching (a growing trend). In the past, I have found that this database can get information that is hard or impossible to find in other locations. Even though at times, results with this database tend to be strange, it is a MUST HAVE resource.
 
As a resident of certain areas you can apply for and receive one or more library cards. In New York City, a resident can apply for up to 3 library cards (Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan) and receive access to all of these library systems. Since the available resources differ somewhat from library system to library system I STRONGLY encourage readers to get ALL of the library cards that they are entitled to including any college or other systems they may be enrolled in.
 
In addition to all of the aforementioned resources there are other tools available that can provide assistance to an internet researcher. One of my favorite tools is Newsnose, available for download at www.bangstudios.com. This fantastic resource, once installed, provides FULL TEXT access to news stories around the world. The program, which is easy to use, allows search by up to 3 parameters. This MUST HAVE program is an excellent way to get current news articles on ANY subject. Another excellent tool is the Vivisimo Internet Explorer toolbar available at www.vivisimo.com. There has been a proliferation of toolbars available for Internet Explorer. This one at least, is backed by an excellent search engine and it performs the same functions as other toolbars such as pop-up blocking. Another useful internet explorer toolbar is Alexa available at www.alexa.com. This toolbar allows the user to see sites that are related to the one you are looking at. This allows for search webbing which in essence allows for the building of related searches based on your original web search. A MUST HAVE RESOURCE. Another available resource is the Copernic metasearch which is available for download at www.copernic.com. This clever little tool which resides in the user’s toolbar on the bottom of the screen allows the user to conduct a full high quality metasearch directly from the toolbar. This allows for search capability while performing any task on Internet even playing a game. Copernic is still one of the best search mechanisms available on Internet.
 
Even though I have a bias against paying for information I would like to recommend a pay database which gives you your money’s worth. This database available at www.questia.com (it costs $120 a year prepaid) is a one of a kind library of over 47,000 books and other sources that is not available anywhere else on the Internet. Questia allows for the searching and full text printing of the entire book. Questia will also search for, and highlight the section of the book that pertains to your search. Questia also adds to the search all the journals, magazines and newspapers that relate to your search term. The addition of these invisible web resources makes Questia a MUST HAVE database.
 
Finally I would also like to recommend two browsers that can be used instead of Internet Explorer to search the Internet. I have recently fielded many complaints about the speed, reliability and usability of Internet Explorer. It has become important to recommend potential alternative browsers that are more reliable than Internet Explorer. I will recommend two excellent alternative browsers both of which are available at www.download.com. The first Avant Browser is a full featured browser that is easy to use and is not a resource hog. This browser looks and feels like Internet Explorer. The second browser Myie2 is another excellent alternative browser that also looks and feels like Internet Explorer and is very easy to use.
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