TOURBUS archives -- May 1999, week 1 (#1)

Date:         Tue, 4 May 1999 20:07:15 -0400
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
From:         Bob Rankin <bobrankin@ULSTER.NET>
Subject:      TOURBUS - 04 May 1999 - Search Tips: Part I
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

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TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: Search Tips & Tools - Part I

Greetings Riders - today we'll be starting a fascinating three part series on Internet searching tools and techniques, with Guest Driver Tara Calishain. I asked Tara to do this special series, because she is author of the book "Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research", plus some other books, and she has a really wonderful Irish name. :-)

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INTERNET SEARCHING - PART I ---------------------------

The research we do on the Internet almost always involves some aspect of the "real world." Never is that more true than when you're trying to follow up on a news story -- you thought you saw an article in the newspaper, or a mention on the news, but can't quite remember the name of the event or idea in which you were interested. What to do?

Start looking! There are lots of places on the Web that archive and index news; even a "news flash" usually makes it on to the Internet very quickly.

Start Big (AP Wire Service) After the Wire (Tracking Services and Meta-Sites) I Still Can't Find It! (Archive Collections Online) Nope, Nope, This Isn't It -- (Pay Services)

Start Big

If the news in which you're interested is at all national, you can start with the AP Newswire at . From the front of this page choose the gateway to the wire at . You'll be given a choice of lots of different gateways to the wire service, broken down by state. Once you've picked a wire gateway, you'll get a chance to browse by subject or search a week's worth of stories. If you're looking for the "big stories" or are trying to find out how a story of national interest evolved over several days, the AP wire will get you a lot of information.

If you're looking for a story of local interest -- a state senate's wrangling over their budget, for example - be sure to pick a wire service in the state in which you're interested. Often newspapers which carry the AP wire break out the stories by state and topic, which makes things really easy to find.

When you're looking for wire and large-scale news stories, don't forget to check out Yahoo! News at . YN carries news from AP, Reuters, National Public Radio, and more. They carry ten days' worth of stories, so there's not a lot of depth to the archive, but when you're looking for something that happened recently, it's a good bet.

After the Wire

You didn't find what you needed through the wires? You're not finished yet.

Check out Newstracker at . It currently indexes over 300 publications and offers them for free lookup. ( You can get the source list at ) Newstracker also tracks particular news topics of interest -- the Year 2000 presidential campaign, for example. For more esoteric concerns, you can create your own free "clipping service" which will track keywords you specify.

If you like Hotbot, Newsbot at will look very familiar to you. It's got a pull-down menu interface very much like Hotbot. Newsbot ( ) has only about two dozen sources, so try NewsTracker first, and use NewsBot when you're trying to learn about a really BIG story that's showing up everywhere, and you need to search a few large news outlets instead of several outlets of varying sizes.

NewsHub, at , adds content every fifteen minutes. Its sources do not seem to be as extensive as Newstracker, but it lists the number of updated stories on its front page (very handy if you're following a breaking story) and has an interesting "MiniHub." The MiniHub is simply a floating Netscape window that lists the latest stories in a particular area of interest (there are several areas to choose from, from tech to entertainment.) They also offer Newslens, a free newsletter service.

TotalNews ( ) is a little overwhelming at first (it's got bunches of categories ) but becomes a nice search engine once you get the hang of it. This site doesn't have an extensive clipping service, but it does seem to contain a deeper archive than you might find other places (I found a USA Today story that was over a year old, and an ABC News story that was over a month old.)

NewsTrawler, at , is a little different. It's a search engine of news sources, but it's divided out by region and by topic. You can mark checkboxes to indicate which resources you want to check. This is an excellent source if you're looking for information from one particular geographic area.

News Index, at , does not archive news -- they only index current news. However, since they claim over 300 sources this is a good way to do a broad check for current news or ongoing news stories. You can get a partial source list at: .

If you want to do a fast news search of Infoseek News,, Newsbot, NewsTracker, and Yahoo! News, try the SavvySearch News category at:

Looking for really really really targeted news? Check out E&P's directory of syndicates and news services at

I Still Can't Find it!

You still can't find what you're looking for? Okay, you might have to go rummaging around in the available online archives.These are archives that contain really old news -- some of these archives go back over a decade.

Go over to Newshunt at . They have links to 72 archives. They also have search forms on-site so you don't have to go back and forth.

You can also check Mario's Cyberspace Station News Search Page at . While not as extensive as the Newshunt page, the search forms have extensive information on how to build queries. If you need to do very targeted archive searching, this is the place to go.

Isleuth ( ) is another "forms-on-the-page" site. It's not very extensive compared to some of the other resources listed in this article, but it has lots of other information relevant to when you're searching for news.

The News Division of the SLA (Special Libraries Association) has their own archives at . It's a good list but be careful; free and pay search sites are listed together. This list is updated often and is a good place to keep up with news archives online.

Nope, Nope, This Isn't Doing It...

Still can't find that elusive news story? Well, okay. Time to trundle out the power tools -- which means you're going to have to PAY SOME MONEY! (Eeek!)

But relax. I'm not talking about DIALOG or anything. There are plenty of pay services online that are thorough without being expensive.

The best news archive available for a cost reachable by your average Internet researcher is probably the Dow Jones Publications Library, at . You'll get search access for free if you subscribe to the online version of the Wall Street Journal. This gives you access to a HUGE database of information. Two caveats: 1) It might take you a little while to learn your way around the search options. 2) If you actually want to retrieve an article it will cost you above and beyond your subscription fee. That having been said, you can get a lot of information out of just searching, without downloading the entire article.

Cheaper but less extensive than the Dow Jones PubLib is NewsLibrary at . Searching is free, retrieving will cost you, but these are DEEP archives of over five dozen newspapers.

If you're more interested in business, Newspage at is another bargain. It archives a variety of magazine and wire service information, and offers a clipping service so you can see exactly what you're interested in without having to wade through a bunch of other stuff. Most of the stories are free with subscription (there are some news stories which charge a premium, usually vertical market publications.)

If you don't mind mixing your research tools, Northern Light, at , is a good bet. On one hand, it's a search engine. On the other hand, it offers a "special collection" that it searches at the same time as its Web page database. This is an extremely interesting metaphor that comes in very handy sometimes. HotBot is doing some of the same kind of thing with its search link to Electric Library --

Happy Searching! --Tara

VISIT TARA ONLINE -----------------

Find out more about Tara Calishain at her Coppersky Research website, visit ResearchBuzz (which is a great site she was too modest to mention) or send an email to say "Thanks, Tara!"

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<A href=""> Tara Calishain - </A>

That's all for now - see you next time! -- Bob Rankin

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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