Tara Calishain is the co-author of Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research, 2nd Edition, and author or co-author of four other books. She is the owner of CopperSky Writing & Research.
In This Issue:
LLRXBu zz Research Tip Archives
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Learn Your Airlines!
If you’re trying to get information on airlines in different countries, but don’t know which airlines are in different countries, try this page: http://www.melair.com.au/ASP/lookup.asp . The page is bare-bones; enter an airline name, 2-letter code, 3- letter code, or country, and the site will look up the appropriate airlines. For example, you could enter ‘air’ in the airline name and get an enormous list of airline names that contain the character string ‘air.’ You could also enter ‘new’ in the country field and get airlines in New Guinea, New Zealand, etc. All this page will give you is the airline name, code, and country – – you’ll have to get details somewhere else. So check out http://www.chicago.com/air/carriers/ , which breaks out airlines by continent, http://www.4airlines.com/airline_intl_frame.asp?RLID= , which lists airlines alphabetically, and http://www.airwebtravel.net/airlines.html , which also lists airlines alphabetically.
Go Thou and Convert
The Scout Report serves up a good suggestion with http://www.onlineconversion.com/ . The site provides over a dozen categories of conversion, from length to fun stuff (discover how many seconds old you are, check your typing speed, etc. The typing speed one won’t work unless you click the “Done” key — don’t just hit enter after you take the test.) Each category contains several conversions you can use within your browser — for example, the Power category contains a calculator allowing you to convert several power measurements to each other. For example, you could convert horsepower to gigawatts.
If you like this site, you might want to check out http://www.acronymsearch.com/ , which looks like it’s by the same folks. Currently there are over 80,000 acronyms and abbreviations in this database.
Find Electronic Datasheets Information
Looking for electronic component datasheets? http://www.datasheetlocator.com/ helps you with a framed site that provides tons of links to manufacturer sites. The left side of the screen contains a list of links to manufacturers. Choose a manufacturer and you’ll be given an intermediate page where you can click a “Locate” button. Once you do that, you’ll be taken to the manufacturer’s page. Some of these pages provide component information that’s searchable by part number, and some don’t. If the site is searchable by part number, the intermediate page will have a part number search form. Many of the pages have their datasheets in PDF format so be sure you have the Acrobat reader before beginning search of this site. You can get it at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html .
It’s Not News, It’s Intelligence!
Stratfor ( http://www.stratfor.com/ ) provides “intelligence” about the world. Unlike news items, which you’ll see at outlets like CNN, Stratfor provides “situation reports” (which are very small summaries of situations around the world) and analyses, which are larger overviews of events. For example, one of the European analysis was titled: “G-8 Tells Russia: Manage Without Investment,” and one of the Middle East ones was “Greece and Turkey Place Caspian Gas Back on The Table.” The news is divided into geographical sections of the world; there’s also a HotSpots place at http://www.stratfor.com/hotspots/default.htm . In addition to these summary updates, Stratfor offers a free subscription to the “Global Intelligence Update” and several different fee-based services.
Google Offers Advanced Search Interface
Google ( http://www.google.com ) refuses to stand still. Their home page is getting even more minimalist, with a logo in the center of the page and the “About Google” and “Jobs @ Google” graphic buttons disappearing. Google’s also offering an advanced search page at http://www.google.com/advanced_search.html . For those of you who prefer fill-in-the-blank search interfaces, Google’s advanced search offers a set of pull-down menus that allow you to specify included and excluded keywords, which domains to include or exclude in the site, etc. Bear in mind that using link: with anything else still doesn’t work. For example, you can’t use the advanced search to say “all .edu sites that link to http://www.cnn.com .” Google will just give you the sites that link to CNN. You can, however, say “all sites that include the keyword CNN in the edu domain.”
Couple of other Google notes: Korean is a beta option in their language search. And they’ve FINALLY, FINALLY FINALLY revised their help pages! THANK YOU GOOGLE! Get the help pages at http://www.google.com/help.html . Their advanced search info is at http://www.google.com/help/features.html , where they finally cover getting maps from Google, caching (the cached pages don’t seem to have the cache date any more?) However, they still don’t talk about the site: special syntax or links to current news.(I don’t know if I missed this before, but Google also offers a meta-tag for users who don’t want their materials cached. Info: http://www.google.com/faq.html#cached )
New Headline Search Engine Available
Periodical and news search engines are getting more and more popular. The next big thing? Maybe; depends on how quickly people get into the idea of XML. But in the meantime, http://Bot007.com/ is a new headline search engine that claims to search over 50,000 headlines in five languages. Bear in mind that this engine searches only headlines, so you have to be careful in formulating a search query.
The advanced search query works a little differently than you might think; you’ll find it at http://Bot007.com/AdvancedSearch.jsp . If you look at this form and try to see the country and theme options, you’ll see that there aren’t any available. That’s because you haven’t specified a language yet. For example, say you want to get information about UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. In the search box you’d enter Blair (remember, you’re searching headlines only, so start with just a last name. If you get too many results you can search for a full name.) You have a Boolean box under the search box but since you’re only searching for one term, you can leave it at And.
Now, pick a language — English. When you do the page will reload and you’ll suddenly have several options in the Country pull-down menu — from Australia to USA-National. Choose again — United_Kingdom. The page will load again and you’ll have a choice of several themes (Business, Nation, Sports, etc.) Choose Nation and click Go, and you’ll get a page — or several pages — of results. The results seem to be arranged by date, and clicking on a headline opens an article in a new window. Because the site searches only headlines, its limited in its usefulness for all but general subjects. However, it’s a good counterpart to NewsTracker or NewsBlip when those resources are providing too many results. Worth a look.