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The changing landscape of search for business information


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

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The changing landscape of search for business information

  1. 1. The changing landscape of search for business information VOGIN-IP-lezing, 9 March 2017 Amsterdam Public Library Facilitator: Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services Twitter: @karenblakeman
  2. 2. 13/03/2017 2 Ever changing world, always new challenges Political changes, legal and regulatory environment, right to be forgotten, “fake” news, parodies/spoof news, misleading headlines, click bait, deliberate misinformation, incorrect use of terminology, misinterpretation, edited images, images unrelated to the story, disappearing pages/sites/datasets Mobile search and mobile friendly pages Google continually changing how it searches and displays results, rewrites searches
  3. 3. 13/03/2017 4 Brexit! Affects all countries not just UK Market research and industry reports produced before the referendum make assumptions based on the UK being part of the EU and, in some cases, that there is EU funding and support. All these reports will become obsolete. Will some international companies move their centre for European activities/production away from the UK? UK will no longer be included in official EU sources such as Eurostat (but will archival material still be included?) All bets are off with respect to forecasts written before the Brexit vote: manufacturing industry, research, international trade etc.
  4. 4. 13/03/2017 5 Context is important Government’s debt, deficits, austerity, spending cuts, economic slow down (despite what many of the headlines say) Misunderstanding and misuse of statistics Another worldwide financial crisis imminent? 2017: The Year When the World Economy Starts Coming Apart | Our Finite World year-when-the-world-economy-starts-coming-apart/ Resource depletion Ongoing energy crisis HSBC: Global oil supply. Will mature field declines drive the next supply crunch? Kim Fustier, Gordon Gray, Christoffer Gundersen, Thomas Hilboldt
  5. 5. “Right to be Forgotten” EU Data Protection Information is NOT removed from the web, only the link to information in the search results Not automatic – subject has to apply to have links that point to specific information about themselves removed from the results. Application may be rejected. Applies to all search engines with an EU/EEA presence, not just Google Links hidden from anyone who can be identified as being physically located in Europe (IP address) 13/03/2017 6
  6. 6. Google adds removal statement from all results for searches on personal names even if nothing has been removed. (Does not apply to public figures, famous people or celebrities) Avoid the ruling by faking your location? VPNs, anonymous browsing/networks, Tor? Know the sources that may have the information you need e.g. company and directors databases, insolvency sites, social media, professional/trade networks, news sites (but see next slide) 13/03/2017 7 “Right to be forgotten”
  7. 7. EU “link tax” – ancillary rights, neighbouring rights Media Publishers Action. Speak up against “ancillary rights” that hurt publishers and digital publishing The Spanish experience - doesn’t allow publishers to opt out as did German and Belgian legislation - Google closed down Google News Spain google-news-in-spain.html - publishers lost traffic and revenue policy/2015/07/new-study-shows-spains-google-tax-has-been-a- disaster-for-publishers/ Researchers have to locate and search sources individually 13/03/2017 8
  8. 8. 13/03/2017 9 Donald Trump’s Scottish welcome to be led by Begbie 3/02/donald-trumps-scottish- welcome-to-be-led-by-begbie/ Satirical/parody news sites Plenty of them - get to know the main ones. Spoofs are not always obvious in this increasingly bizarre world. Very different from deliberate fake news.
  9. 9. 13/03/2017 10 Misleading headlines An Independent article as seen on Facebook “Britain just managed to run entirely on renewable energy for nearly six days”
  10. 10. 13/03/2017 11 Click through to the original article Half of UK electricity comes from low-carbon sources for first time ever, claims new report electricity-low-carbon-first-time-report-drax-climate-change-environment- a7414936.html
  11. 11. 13/03/2017 12 Look at the source code of the page (Ctrl U): Uses an Open Graph meta tag (og:title) that is used by Facebook rather than the webpage title. Further details: How to write totally misleading headlines for social media | Karen Blakeman's Blog misleading-headlines-for-social-media/
  12. 12. Story appears in several news sources but hardly any give a link to the original report Most mention collaboration between Drax and Imperial College London A search comes up with a press release from DRAX now-low-carbon-according-ground-breaking-new-report/ Which in turn leads to Drax Electric Insights 13/03/2017 13
  13. 13. Research beyond the headline and PR All Dutch Trains Now Run on 100% Wind Power Photo attribution: I, Maurits90, Quote from a green group on social media: “If the Dutch can do it then so can the rest of Europe” Is the story genuine? What information is needed to assess whether it is achievable in other/individual countries? What questions do we need to ask? 13/03/2017 14
  14. 14. Confirm that in general story is true - are other reliable sources covering it? Is the energy used guaranteed to be generated from wind? Are all of the trains/tracks on the Dutch network electric? If not how much? Is all of the electricity generated by wind farms within the Netherlands? How much electricity is used by the Dutch rail network? Other countries? 13/03/2017 15
  15. 15. How much of other countries’ railway network is electric? How does the volume of traffic on the Dutch rail network compare with other countries? [Need to find out how this is measured by the rail industry – track kilometres, route kilometres, train kilometres, passenger kilometres] How much electricity in other countries is generated by wind? Where would they get any shortfall?
  16. 16. Do the Netherlands’ trains really run on 100% wind power? | Energy Matters trains-really-run-on-100-wind-power/ Energy accounting transaction Problem with intermittency of power generation by wind - Vindkraften i Europa | KLIMATSANS
  17. 17. The curse of the subeditor’s thesaurus! Terminology is important. Repeating the same word several times in a paragraph might be essential for accuracy. Everyday synonyms and alternative terms can have very different meanings in a scientific or technical context. energy is not just electricity bacteria are not the same as viruses an oil resource is not the same as a reserve
  18. 18. Statistics watchdog warns government over homelessness figures warns-government-dclg-homelessness-figures
  19. 19. Statistics Need to know what is covered by the dataset UK statutory definition of homelessness only includes people local authorities are obliged to assist does not include people given help by charities, homelessness prevention and relief schemes How has that changed over time? Political motivation and manipulation for example UK unemployment figures
  20. 20. Google Public Data Explorer
  21. 21. Views and interpretations from different countries Use country versions of search engines and tools to find “local” reports, views and interpretations of events, people, companies Country versions of Google give priority to local content (but in local language) Go to the relevant country version of Google, for example,, translate search terms using Google or Bing translate if you don’t know the language List of Google domains Country versions of Wikipedia for biographies of famous people, politicians - not the same article translated
  22. 22. Yandex International version at 13/03/2017 23
  23. 23. Seznam
  24. 24. “A picture is worth a thousand words” (and lies?) Where did that photo come from?
  25. 25. 13/03/2017 26 Is this really a photo of the UK House of Lords in 2015 debating the issue of a ‘pay NHS’ (note: the image has now been changed !) http://www.opendemocracy. net/ournhs/richard- grimes/government-moves- to-consider-nhs-user-charges
  26. 26. 13/03/2017 27
  27. 27. 13/03/2017 28
  28. 28. 13/03/2017 29 Option to sort by oldest
  29. 29. 13/03/2017 30 Best Reverse Image Search Engines, Apps And Uses (2016) Reverse image searching made easy... easy/
  30. 30. Disappearing documents, datasets, pages & websites
  31. 31. Can’t find a page or document that was there last week? If the link is still in the search results use the search engines’ cached page options Click on downward pointing arrow next to the result in Google, Bing or Yandex, and click on Cached or In Cache (Google) or Cached page (Bing, Yandex) Google Bing
  32. 32. Can’t find the link in the deluge of results? Or Google doesn’t find it at all? If you know the website it was on use the ‘site:’ command to focus your search (Google, Bing, Yandex) Google does not index everything, so if you can’t find it on Google try Bing and/or Yandex An example: Global oil supply. Will mature field declines drive the next supply crunch? Kim Fustier, Gordon Gray, Christoffer Gundersen, Thomas Hilboldt Difficult to find on HSBC site without the link – use site: command (see later)
  33. 33. Copies of documents may be elsewhere on the web. Legal (copyright)? Have they been altered?
  34. 34. Archives List of Web archiving initiatives - Wikipedia Internet Archive Wayback Machine - only archives web pages, not databases - no password protected or paywall sites/pages - website may block access - ideally need to know website - a page or document URL is even better 13/03/2017 35
  35. 35.
  36. 36.
  37. 37. Internet Archive’s Trump Archive launches today | Internet Archive Blogs trump-archive-launches-today/
  38. 38. Rogue Scientists Race to Save Climate Data from Trump | WIRED data-trump/
  39. 39. 13/03/2017 41 Mobile web browsing overtakes desktop for the first time | Technology | The Guardian web-browsing-desktop-smartphones-tablets
  40. 40. Mobile devices – results display Google’s “facts”, answers and knowledge graph usually fill the screen As these are sometime totally wrong it is vital that users make the effort to scroll down
  41. 41. 13/03/2017 43 Google's desktop search could be out of date compared to mobile results soon out-of-date-mobile
  42. 42. October 24, 2016 Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s 384th Birthday birthday
  43. 43. Google goes to great lengths to personalise your results according to your search history, contacts, what other people have searched and clicked on, location, device, phase of the moon.... Private Browsing, Go Incognito Google provides Quick Answers and “facts”, combines extracts from different websites in the knowledge graph 4513/03/2017
  44. 44. Private browsing - quickest way to “de-personalise”search Chrome - New Incognito window Ctrl+Shift+N FireFox Ctrl+Shift+P Internet Explorer Ctrl+Shift+P Opera Ctrl+Shift+N Does 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
  45. 45. Choosing your search terms Google automatically looks for synonyms and variations on your terms - biofuels will find biodiesel, biogas, bio-ethanol etc. - but you do not get the same results if you use biodiesel instead of biofuels - run separate searches using alternative terms The terms you use can radically change results even if they are synonyms. Look for terms that are subject/industry specific. 13/03/2017 47
  46. 46. 13/03/2017 48 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)
  47. 47. Google Verbatim 13/03/2017
  48. 48. Verbatim – Woord voor woord
  49. 49. 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 data Use the advanced search screen or the filetype: command creative upcycling UK filetype:pdf creative upcycling UK filetype:ppt OR filetype:pptx 13/03/2017 51
  50. 50. site: command
  51. 51. Found via Bing
  52. 52. Company Information 13/03/2017 54
  53. 53. Company information Ownership, directors, structure, share price, accounts, activities, news Availability depends on: type of company, sole trader, partnership, private, limited liability, companies with publicly traded shares e.g. PLC business size (large, medium, small, micro) country, state or region within the country 13/03/2017 55
  54. 54. Official company information Lists of official company registers Official Company Registers (currently being updated) Company registration around the world Companies House Overseas registries links registries#reg US – listed companies SEC Edgar IDEA – Interactive Date Electronic Applications Canada - listed companies SEDAR 13/03/2017 56
  55. 55. OpenCorporates :: The Open Database Of The Corporate World
  56. 56.
  57. 57. OpenCorporates 13/03/2017 59
  58. 58. OpenCorporates 13/03/2017 60
  59. 59. European Business Register Gateway to official company information in 27 European countries (24 online via EBR) Different suppliers depending on country of residence see distributors/ kompany - Register Report, Company Check, Credit Report – Instant Online Access Company Search | Primary source for KYC checks | Kyckr 13/03/2017 61
  60. 60. kompany Covers more than 100 million companies in 150 countries and jurisdictions Official registry information plus credit reports Need to sign in to view all of the free information 13/03/2017 62
  61. 61. Examples of problem areas for the researcher Switzerland only banks, insurance companies and companies traded on the Swiss stock exchange are required to provide financial statements Cayman Islands “The Registrar of Companies can only release the name and type of company, its date of registration, the address of the registered office and the company’s status. Disclosing any other information is prohibited unless requested by a law enforcement agency.” British Virgin Islands “A company is not required to file its register of directors, register of members, register of charges or an annual return with the BVI Registrar of Corporate Affairs.” 13/03/2017 63
  62. 62. Panama Papers 13/03/2017 64
  63. 63. Panama Papers 13/03/2017 65
  64. 64. Statistics, Industry and Market Data 13/03/2017 66
  65. 65. Official statistics OFFSTATS Google Public data Explorer Eurostat European Data Portal International organisations such as the World Bank, OECD, ILO 13/03/2017 67
  66. 66. 13/03/2017 68
  67. 67. Google Public Data Explorer One of Google's best kept secrets! Public data sets made available by Eurostat, World Bank, IMF, CSO Ireland, OECD, ITU, some national statistics offices (but not ONS), and many more. Source and date updated given. Charts and charting options can highlight oddities and missing data Look at the charts to see if there is a sudden change in the trends. 13/03/2017 69
  68. 68. Zanran
  69. 69. Zanran Searches graphs, charts, tables, PDFs, spreadsheets Title in results list is usually the title or caption to the table and not title of the document Hover over the thumbnail to see a preview of the table or page Click on the URL button next to the result to view the original URL of the document (not always possible) Click on the title of the result to see Zanran’s own copy (free registration usually required. Useful if document no longer available at it’s original location and can’t be found in any of the web archives 13/03/2017 71
  70. 70. Zanran 13/03/2017 72
  71. 71. Statista - The Statistics Portal for Market Data, Market Research and Market Studies – 60,000 topics from over 18,000 sources – – some information free, registration (free) required Chart of the day 13/03/2017 73
  72. 72. ReportLinker Searches free and priced reports and data Some information displayed free of charge To download or view the public reports there is a charge 13/03/2017 74
  73. 73. Spurious Correlations 7517/03/2015
  74. 74. Operation Catdrop 13/03/2017 76
  75. 75. Operation Catdrop 13/03/2017 77 Operation Cat Drop Operation Cat Drop: history or hoax? | The Sieve