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                             Free Pint
         "Helping 44,000 people use the Web for their work"
                     http://www.freepint.com/

ISSN 1460-7239                              29th November 2001 No.101
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                           IN THIS ISSUE

                             EDITORIAL

                       MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                          from Sam Vaknin

                    FREE PINT BAR & STUDENT BAR
                    In Association with Factiva
                   a Dow Jones & Reuters Company
                     Reviewed by Simon Collery

                                JOBS
    Researcher, Research/Library Services, Information Analyst
           Information Officer, Information Professional

                        FREE PINT REGULARS

                           TIPS ARTICLE
              "Picture This: 'Free' Photos on the Web"
                         By Patrick Hartary

                             BOOKSHELF
   "The Extreme Searcher's Guide to Web Search Engines" (2nd Ed.)
                     Written by Randolph Hock
                     Reviewed by Duncan Parry

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
                     "Communities of Practice"
                          By Martin White

            FACT, EVENTS, GOLD AND FORTHCOMING ARTICLES

                        CONTACT INFORMATION

             ONLINE VERSION WITH ACTIVATED HYPERLINKS
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/291101.htm>

         ADOBE ACROBAT VERSION WITH NEWSLETTER FORMATTING
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/291101.pdf>


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                               KnowUK
                Easy answers to everyday questions
Combining the latest editions of over 80 of the United Kingdom's
leading reference publications gives users of KnowUK unparalleled
insight into the people, places, organisations and institutions of the
United Kingdom. KnowUK covers every subject pertinent to life in the
UK, including healthcare, education, community, travel and heritage.
For more information, visit http://www.knowuk.co.uk

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                      >>>  ABOUT FREE PINT  <<<

Free Pint is an online community of information researchers. Members
receive this free newsletter every two weeks packed with tips on
finding quality and reliable business information on the Internet.

Joining is free at <http://www.freepint.com/> and provides access to
the substantial archive of articles, book reviews, jobs, industry news
& events, with answers to your research questions and networking at
the Free Pint Bars. Free Pint Regulars (paid-up members) also receive
a weekly current awareness newsletter, discounts and publicity.
Please circulate this newsletter which is best read when printed out.

To receive the Adobe Acrobat version as an attachment or a brief
notification it's online, visit <http://www.freepint.com/subs>.

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                             EDITORIAL

You know it's nearly Christmas when two things happen. One, the
christmas trees and lights are bolted to the outside of our new
offices by the local chamber of commerce (they look very nice
actually). And two, it's the unmissable Online Information conference
and exhibition at Olympia here in London next week.

We're really looking forward to our regular catch-up with Free Pint
members on our stand, where there will be discount vouchers and plenty
of freebies. These include thousands of the newly designed Free Pint
beer mats, and some useful gifts from Free Pint Bar sponsors Factiva.
Thank you to them as always for their invaluable support.

We'll also be chairing a number of "Information Masterclasses" with
search supremo Gary Price. So, it's looking like it's going to be
another great show and conference, especially with the move to the
larger 'Grand Hall' at Olympia. We really hope you can come as there
will be plenty going on. Find out all about it and get your free
exhibition tickets at <http://www.online-information.co.uk/>.

Among other things, we'll be promoting the recently launched UK
company director reports at the show. These are proving extremely
popular and are a great supplement to the company reports we've been
selling for a while. If you want to find out all about a UK company
director (such as their address, birth date, and details of all live
and resigned directorships with basic financial information for each
company) then try a free search now at <http://www.freepint.com/icc/>.

A regular search request at the Free Pint Bar is where to find free
photos on the Web to enhance reports and presentations. Today's tips
article brings you a range of resources. In today's feature, Martin
White talks about communities of practice. In a way, the Free Pint Bar
and Bar Digest (now sent to 7,000 people three times a week) could be
called a community of practice. Members help each other find the best
information resources in response to requests for research assistance.

I really value your feedback on today's issue, either directly by
email to me or publicly at the Bar. Do pop by and say hello if you're
at the show next week, and pass this edition on to your colleagues.

Best regards
William

             William Hann, Founder and Managing Editor
      Email: <william@freepint.com>   Tel: +44 (0)1784 420044
Free Pint is a Registered Trademark of Free Pint Limited (c) 1997-2001

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Online Information 2001: Worldwide answers to your information needs
         4-6 December 2001, Olympia Grand Hall, London, UK
                http://www.online-information.co.uk

HAVE YOU REGISTERED? Meet hundreds of content providers, publishers,
  solutions vendors. Exploit professional know-how in free expert
seminars. Find more new ideas in one day at the show than in weeks of
                    fact finding at the office!

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 >>>  HATE PLAIN TEXT? PREFER A PROPERLY FORMATTED NEWSLETTER?  <<<

       A fully formatted version of the Free Pint Newsletter
      is available online now in Adobe Acrobat format. Visit
    the archive at <http://www.freepint.com/issues/issues.htm>

      To have it emailed to you automatically every two weeks
    modify your account online at <http://www.freepint.com/subs>

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                       MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                          from Sam Vaknin

* <http://www.bookcrossing.com/> - Members register their books,
  obtain a BCID (BookCrossing ID Number) and then give the book to
  someone, or simply leave it lying around for a stranger to find.

* <http://www.realsci.com/> - Having (freely) registered as a member,
  a scientist or a scholar can publish their papers, essays, research
  results, articles and comments online.

* <http://www.plagiarism.org> and <http://www.Turnitin.com> - A
  statistics-based technology which creates a "digital fingerprint"
  of every document in its database. An instructor, teacher, or
  professor can then use the report to prove plagiarism and cheating.

* <http://www.doi.org/> - An exciting digital content numbering and
  classification system. The interesting feature of the DOI (Digital
  Object Identifier) system is its ability to resolve to multiple
  locations and media (URL's, or data, or content).

* <http://www.ideavirus.com> - In Seth Godin's words: "Marketing by
  interrupting people isn't cost-effective anymore. Instead ... ignite
  consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk."

Sam Vaknin is an economic and political columnist and a published and
awarded author of short fiction and reference books. He is the author
of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" and "After the Rain -
How the West Lost the East". <http://www.geocities.com/vaksam/>

Tell us about your top five favourite Web sites. See the guidelines at
<http://www.freepint.com/author.htm> and email <simon@freepint.com>.

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 GET MORE FROM INFORMATION BY USING FACTIVA'S NEW KNOWLEDGE NETWORK
This new community has resources that illustrate how various types of
  knowledge workers, including information professionals, can use
 Factiva content more effectively.  Knowledge Network also provides
professional development tools, information on understanding today's
technology and product tips on using Dow Jones Interactive, Reuters
Business Briefing and Factiva.com more effectively. Sign up for free
    monthly updates at <http://www.factiva.com/knowledgenetwork>

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  >>>  NOT HAVING ANY LUCK FILLING YOUR INFORMATION VACANCY?  <<<

  Free Pint Jobs is a proven way to fill any information-related
      vacancy quickly and cost effectively. Is there a bigger
       information network you can use to promote your job?
                   <http://www.freepint.com/jobs>

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                           FREE PINT BAR
                    In Association with Factiva
                   a Dow Jones & Reuters Company
                           
                     Reviewed by Simon Collery
          <http://www.freepint.com/issues/291101.htm#bar>


Free Pint Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar>
-------------------------------------------

   [Note: To read a posting enter the message number in place of
     XXXXX in the address http://www.freepint.com/go/bXXXXX ]

One of the primary aims of the Free Pint Bar is to be a place where
people can start looking for good online resources and I'm glad to see
it's been doing a pretty good job of that. Those looking for
biographies (14205), patents (14068), news feeds (14026),
pharmaceutical data (14014) and articles (13950, 13948) have all
received a generous response.

In addition to this, I reviewed a site on European financial data
(14091) and a periodical historical atlas of Europe (14292). And a
Free Pinter has posted up a notice about her recently launched site on
global trade, aimed especially at small businesses (14279). I've
noticed quite a number of postings on this subject and I'm sure you'll
find this site useful.

The Bar is also good for the various questions that arise in day to
day business, about writing legal disclaimers without the need for a
lawyer (14270), targeting and email marketing (14095), Austrian
company data (14001), bank details (13955, 13986) and writing tenders
(14253). Then there are things like production processes (14126),
sales data by country (14081), specific types of company (13954) and
registered company information (14130).

Some of these business questions have been about financial matters.
People have been looking for a list of investment analysts (14120),
details of recently launched incubators and investment trusts (14169),
financial data on libraries and information centres (14058), UK
mortgage rate trends (13975) and the meaning of the term ISS in
relation to investment banking (13934).

And it's an ideal place to ask for pointers when you are researching
something online. Free Pinters have been researching the role of
utility companies in development and regeneration (14139), machine
readable cataloguing (14176), the European mushroom industry (14125)
and the evolution of Quality Management Systems or QMSs (14037).

Others have been researching news alerts by text message or SMS
(14180), routing public enquiries to the right staff (14035),
evaluating research articles (13976), companies using AS/400s (14254)
and the number of murder cases that have gone to trial where no body
has been found (14154).

Being an online resource, the Bar is especially useful for technical
questions. There are bound to be tipplers who know about memory
problems (14098), multimedia applications (14104), email problems
(14050, 14002), training needs analysis software (13985), Web
acceleration software (14009), alternatives to Gator (14011) and
unified access to a number of different databases (14211).

And the list goes on. People have been asking about alternative
notable dates for MS Outlook (14200), library cataloguing software
(14290), library automation systems (14192), VCP/monitor combis
(13957), mass document conversion from Lotus AmiPro to WordPro
(14022), email notification of site changes (14113) and keyword
generators for assisting with Web searches (14021).

Job searchers have been asking about working online (14032, 14117) and
others have been looking for job profiles for a "knowledge steward"
and "content manager" (14239), contact details relating to setting up
an online employment advice service (14084), statistical data on
director level recruitment in the UK (14087) and the numbers of
certain types of professional working in London and the South East
(14006).

Sometimes issues can outstay their welcome in the Bar and I think that
is now the case for the one about Women Empowering Women and related
Multi Level Marketing schemes (14100). If people are interested in
such things they should research them as they wish, but the present
exchange of views is unlikely to be of interest to many Free Pinters.

I think the same can be said for the Nigerian Bank con and related
scams (14202, 14304). Aside from the fact that this one's been around
for several years, I have only recently reviewed a site where you can
check such things up .

Other miscellaneous issues have been about gaining first aid
qualifications (14206), Latin phrases (14137, 13974), assessing risk
(14128), comic songs (14119), the role of Jews in Victorian literature
(14112) and questionnaire response rates (13939). What more could one
ask of a Bar?


Free Pint Student Bar <http://www.freepint.com/student>
-------------------------------------------------------

   [Note: To read a posting enter the message number in place of
      XXXX in the address <http://www.freepint.com/go/sXXXX>]

In the Free Pint Student Bar people have been researching the chemical
elements in the human body (1992), the WiseNut search engine (2004),
Dialog (2012), Orwell on totalitarianism (2015) and reference
materials for the study of history (1987).

They have also been looking into one of Virginia Woolf's essays
(1988), competitive intelligence in the UK (2011), knowledge
management ethics (2022), the relative merits of different kinds of
graduate degree (2006), free accounting and financial case studies
(2010) and market entry strategies for South East Asian countries
(2020).

      Simon Collery, Content Developer <simon@freepint.com>

If you have a tricky research question or can help other Free Pinters
then do post a message at the Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar> or
the Student Bar <http://www.freepint.com/student>.

To have the latest Bar postings sent to you every other day, log in to
your account online or send an email to <digest@freepint.com>.
For the Student Bar Digest contact <studentdigest@freepint.com>.


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    >>>  PUB CRAWL = PUBLICATION CRAWL = CURRENT AWARENESS  <<<

      Every week we scan the Web sites of many information and
   Internet publications for free full text articles of interest
    to the Free Pint readership. We summarise each article and
    publish the results as the "Free Pint Pub Crawl" newsletter.

     If you don't have time to keep an eye on the trade press,
         then allow us to do it for you. Sign up today at:
                 <http://www.freepint.com/regular>

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                           FREE PINT JOBS
                   <http://www.freepint.com/jobs>

Free Pint Jobs is THE place for information-related vacancies.
Whether you're job searching or have a position to fill, you should
be making the most of Free Pint Jobs.

Here are some of the latest featured jobs:

Researcher <http://www.freepint.com/go/j1472>
  Exciting opportunity to provide synthesis & interpretation of
  branding & media analysis data for international media company.
  Recruiter: Recruit Media Limited

Research/Library Services <http://www.freepint.com/go/j1473>
  We are seeking experienced Research/Library Services specialists
  for various legal sector clients seeking to recruit early 2002.
  Recruiter: R&B Group

Information Officer <http://www.freepint.com/go/j1497>
  Top Reigate based Management Consultancy seeks candidate with 1-2 years
  previous Business Info. Research experience (Lexis-Nexis, RBB, etc.).
  Recruiter: Glen Recruitment

Information Professionals <http://www.freepint.com/go/j1474>
  We are seeking experienced information professionals to work in a 
  variety of industry sectors.
  Recruiter: R&B Group

Information Analyst <http://www.freepint.com/go/j1492>
  Financial Information Analyst required for Top-5 firm, using KM
  skills to collate, analyse and update corporate information.
  Recruiter: Sue Hill Recruitment and Services Limited
  
                [The above jobs are paid listings]

Candidates: It is free to search Free Pint Jobs and you can set up a
profile to be notified weekly by email of relevant new vacancies.

Advertisers: List your vacancies and receive significant publicity.
Match your job against the 400+ stored job seeker profiles.

       Find out more today at <http://www.freepint.com/jobs>

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      >>>  RESEARCHING UNINCORPORATED UK ENTITIES? EASY!  <<<

        Free Pint's UK company research service has details
         of over two million unincorporated organisations.

    Just tick the "Unincorporated" box when doing a free search:
                   <http://www.freepint.com/icc>

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                        FREE PINT REGULARS
                 <http://www.freepint.com/regular>

[Note: This section is primarily aimed at Regulars, paid-up members of
the Free Pint community. Regulars receive the weekly "Pub Crawl"
current awareness newsletter, discounts and publicity. The Pub Crawl
archive is available at <http://www.freepint.com/regular>]

Until now, it's only been possible to browse the Directory of Regulars
by one letter of the alphabet at a time. On the request of a Regular,
we've now made it possible to view the entire list of Regulars by
surname, or the full list of organisations they work for. See the
announcement at <http://www.freepint.com/go/b14243>.

We're really keen to keep enhancing the Directory of Regulars to give
you even better promotional coverage. Therefore, if you have a
suggestion of how to enhance it and make it more widely known and used
then please do let me know. A current example is where we link to your
Directory entry from any Bar postings you make. Have you any other
ideas? <http://www.freepint.com/portal/regulars>

All Regulars should now have received their pack of goodies through
the post and we hope you find them useful. Don't forget to use your
Voucher Code when you get your colleagues to sign up as a Regular -
they'll get a bonus free month, and so will you.

       William Hann, Managing Editor <william@freepint.com>

[If you are not currently a Free Pint Regular and would like to find
out more about the benefits of membership, then please visit the
Regular homepage at <http://www.freepint.com/regular>. Regular
membership is just 60 pounds per year (US$85, AUS$169 or 97 Euros).]

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 >>>  ARE YOU ORGANISING AN INFORMATION-RELATED GET-TOGETHER?  <<<

          Submit details on the Free Pint Events page and
            we will help publicise your event for free:
                 <http://www.freepint.com/events>

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                           TIPS ARTICLE
         <http://www.freepint.com/issues/291101.htm#tips>

              "Picture This: 'Free' Photos on the Web"
                         By Patrick Hartary

Introduction
------------

Whether you work with print or online material, nothing makes your
information look better than photographs. For today's content
developers, there are dozens of enterprises on the Web where you can
search, sample, and download all the stock photographs you could ever
need. The downside is, you gotta pay to use them.

If you're looking for pictures for non-commercial use, here's some
good news: there are a lot of high quality 'free' photos on the web
you can use. You just need to know where to find them. Below is a
collection of hyperlinks to some of the best 'free' photo
galleries on the Web.


Photo Galleries
---------------

DHD Photo Gallery <http://www.hd.org/Damon/photos/>
  Quantity: ~ 8,000 images
  Categories: Many
  Search engine: No
  Terms: Free for personal and commercial use. Read terms and 
  conditions <http://www.hd.org/Damon/photos/terms.html>.
  Notes: The site contains images from the World Trade Center terrorist
  attack.

U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency Photo Library
  <http://www.fema.gov/library/photo.htm>
  Quantity: Hundreds of images
  Categories: Disaster sites
  Search engine: Site search engine available
  Terms: Read photo use agreement <http://www.fema.gov/fema/phuag.htm>.
  Notes: The site contains images from the Pentagon terrorist attack.

Lockheed Martin Digital Photo Collection
  <http://www.photos.external.lmco.com/>
  Quantity: ~ 1,000 images
  Categories: Military and defense technology, aviation, aircraft
  Search engine: Yes
  Terms: "All images in this collection are copyright Lockheed Martin
  Corporation and are intended for non-commercial use only excluding
  those identified in the non-Lockheed Martin categories."
  Notes: Most images are available in both low and high resolutions
  on this site.

NASA Photo Gallery <http://www.nasa.gov/gallery/photo/index.html>
  Quantity: Thousands of images
  Categories: Astronomy, earth, flight vehicles, mission patches,
  robotics, solar system, space shuttle
  Search engine: No
  Terms: Read guidelines for proper use of NASA emblems and images
  <http://www.nasa.gov/gallery/photo/guideline.html>.
  Notes: The site contains additional links to NASA Research Center
  sites with photo galleries and non-NASA sites with space or
  aeronautics images. There's even a link to get hard copies of
  electronic images. In addition, there's another NASA site called 
  NASA Image Exchange that's trying to centralize all NASA photos. 
  It can be found at <http://nix.nasa.gov> but was not functional
  the last time I visited the site.

Freefoto.com <http://www.freefoto.com/>
  Quantity: 20,000 +
  Categories: 40 main sections, with 600 subsections
  Search engine: Yes
  Terms: Free to private non-commercial users and for sale to
  commercial users. Read rules.
  <http://www.freefoto.com/pictures/information/rules.asp>.
  Notes: You can browse by category in this gallery, which makes
  searching very easy and quick.

Freeimages.co.uk <http://www.freeimages.co.uk/>
  Quantity: Hundreds. Most images are 1152x864 or 1200x1600; all are
  24-bit maximum quality jpeg. File size ranges between 100k and 1000k
  Categories: Topical, technology and transport, backdrop, objects,
  buildings, home, sports and games, light, nature, food, workplace,
  and many others.
  Search engine: Yes
  Terms: "If you use our images a credit to this site is required."
  Read user license.
  Notes: The site shows the top three galleries on its home page. It
  also has a search engine.

Freestockphotos.com <http://freestockphotos.com/>
  Quantity: Hundreds
  Categories: Lots of outdoor scenery and wildlife
  Search engine: No
  Terms: Read restrictions at the bottom of the home page.
  Notes: The site contains links to other sites offering copyrighted
  photography free for personal use.

U.S. Department of Energy Digital Archive
<http://www.doedigitalarchive.doe.gov/>
  Quantity: Thousands
  Categories: All things energy related
  Search engine: Yes
  Terms: "Please be advised that DOE images generally are not
  copyrighted. Copyrighted images will credit the specific
  photographer. You may use DOE images for educational and
  informational purposes. If DOE images are to be used for commercial
  purposes, these must not explicitly or implicitly convey DOE's
  endorsement of commercial goods or services. Should these images
  include an identifiable person, using the image for commercial
  purposes may infringe on that person's right of privacy, and
  permission should be obtained from that person." Read legal notes
  <http://www.doedigitalarchive.doe.gov/legalnote.cfm>.
  Notes: You may need to create a free account to use this site.

istockphoto.com <http://www.istockphoto.com/>
  Quantity: Thousands
  Categories: Urban hip, New York, skating, men and women, everyday
  objects, and many more.
  Search engine: Yes
  Terms: Read licensing agreement.
  Notes: This site may soon charge a yearly fee for unlimited use of
  images. You can search for new releases and get a listing of the
  most downloaded images.

Philip's House of Stock Photography <http://www.photo.net/stock/>
  Quantity: 6,000 +
  Categories: Many
  Search engine: Yes
  Terms: Read copyright notice.
  Notes: This site contains extensive links to other photo galleries.


Conclusions
-----------

The bottom line is, you have to read and abide by each gallery's terms
and/or conditions statements. Federal agency galleries, like NASA's,
allow just about any type of use. Others allow only non-commercial
uses.

Someone once said a picture is worth a thousand words. In my mind, a
'free' picture is worth a lot more.

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Patrick Hartary is a senior technical writer for a non-profit
technology transfer organization based in the United States. As the
editor of an award-winning newsletter highlighting innovative military
technology with strong commercial promise, he is always on the look-
out for 'free' photos to accompany his articles.

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Related Free Pint links:

* "Webmaster" articles and resources in the Free Pint Portal
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/p183>
* Read this article online, with activated hyperlinks
  <http://www.freepint.com/issues/291101.htm#tips>
* Post a message to the author, Patrick Hartary, or suggest further 
  resources, at the Free Pint Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar>
* Access the entire archive of Free Pint articles and issues
  <http://www.freepint.com/portal/content/>

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           >>>  WHERE DO YOU START WITH FREE PINT?  <<<

   It can be overwhelming if you're new to Free Pint to find out
  all that's available. 12,000+ questions and answers at the Bar.
   200+ in-depth research articles. 100+ book reviews, etc. etc.

  Therefore, visit the Free Pint Help page. It has a site map and
    site summary. A new quick tipple and testimonial each time.
  Background to the Free Pint team and answers to your frequently
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                        FREE PINT BOOKSHELF
                <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf>

   "The Extreme Searcher's Guide to Web Search Engines" (2nd Ed.)
                     Written by Randolph Hock
                     Reviewed by Duncan Parry

Search engines are one of the great contradictions of the Internet:
they can provide quick, easy access to exactly the information you
want within seconds - or frustrate you with hundreds of completely
irrelevant results until you give up.

Randolph Hock aims to provide a reference handbook that covers the
major search engines and guides the user through their individual
features, strengths and weaknesses.  His aim is to aid the 'extreme
searcher' - the searcher who utilizes the strengths of particular
engines and their advanced features - to find the information they
seek quickly and efficiently.

He starts with a brief introduction to the history of searching
Internet based resources (from gophers to WWW based engines) and
continues with a description of the different elements of a search
engine - useful as understanding a little of what's 'under the hood'
of an engine can help determine its usefulness for different searches.

An explanation of the different search options that are commonly
available (Boolean operators etc.) follows.  Eight well known engines
are then individually profiled in their own chapters, followed by
examinations of several meta search and software tools.  Finally there
are details of sources of search engine information - including a
certain site called Free Pint!

The value of this book lies in the chapters on individual engines and
several tables which compare their different search features -
invaluable in finding the right engine for a specialist search.  Each
chapter starts with a useful list of the engine's strengths and
weaknesses - e.g. Northern Light's "Special Collection" of proprietary
publications -  and a description of the features it offers.  Details
of how the engine spiders web pages and some indication of how often
is included, as well as a useful list of the advanced search features
of the engine and details of any additional databases it searches
(e.g. Lycos' multimedia database).

One of the problems with different search engines is that they offer
different advanced search options, and treat similar options
differently.  Usefully, each chapter details how the engine treats
these operators, lists how to use them with examples and discusses how
results are presented with indications of any useful options (e.g.
"Facts About" on Altavista).  There are also comments on other
features like web directories or personalization options.

Even if you use several different search engines and are familiar with
their advanced features this book is of value - I learnt about several
useful options on engines I normally do not use - and the tables
comparing different search options strike me as a particularly useful
reference source.  Usefully the website that accompanies the book -
<http://www.extremesearcher.com> - provides indications of changes and
brief overviews of new engines.

If you spend a lot of time searching the web and want a reference
source comparing the different engines, or if you are looking for a
book that introduces you to more than just simple keyword searching,
this could be the title for you.

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Duncan Parry is a directory editor for Lycos UK, responsible for
Computers, Technology, Internet and Telecommunications.
<http://www.lycos.co.uk/>.  He also provides freelance site design,
promotion and writing services <http://www.digitalstrike.co.uk>.

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Related Free Pint links:

* Find out more about this book online at the Free Pint Bookshelf
  <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf/extreme2.htm>
* Read customer comments and buy this book at Amazon.co.uk
  <http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0910965471/freepint0c>
  or Amazon.com
  <http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0910965471/freepint00>
* "The Extreme Searcher's Guide to Web Search Engines" (2nd Ed.)
  ISBN 0910965471 published by CyberAge Books and written by
  Randolph Hock
* Search for and purchase any book from Amazon via the Free Pint
  Bookshelf at <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf>
* Read about other Internet searching books on the Free Pint Bookshelf
  <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf/searching.htm>

To propose an information-related book for review, send details 
to <bookshelf@freepint.com>.

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  >>>  DON'T KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. TELL THE INFORMATION WORLD  <<<

    If you've got something to say, then say it with Free Pint.
It's your direct link to information professionals around the world.

       Find out more about the benefits of advertising here:
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                          FEATURE ARTICLE
        <http://www.freepint.com/issues/291101.htm#feature>

                     "Communities of Practice"
                          By Martin White

A community of practice is a way of developing best practice in a
given area, established by members who wish to develop their specific
expertise through open participation in the creation and exchange of
knowledge. Of course best practice changes with time and with business
circumstance, and so these communities will also need to adapt. The
American business commentator Tom Stewart sums them up well in these
words in his Leading Edge column in Fortune for 28 May 2001
<http://www.fortune.com> (Go to Leading Edge in the drop down menu
under Columnists).

"Communities of practice are groups that emerge around a discipline or
problem - a work-related subject like graphic design or the behaviour
of derivative financial instruments. They have no agenda; they are
defined by the subject that engages them, not by project, rank,
department, or even corporate affiliation. They are where learning and
innovation occur ... Learning is social, we have learned. Managers who
focus on communities and teams can improve performance ... Bosses used
to try to break up the gang by the water cooler. Now they support them
with web sites".

Communities of practice have long existed in the physical world, using
meetings, reports and memos to exchange best practice. Indeed they
have their origins in the medieval guilds, of which the most
sophisticated were the stone masons.  More recently emails, instant
messaging and collaborative workspaces have been used to an increasing
extent to support communities of practice.  Now we have reached the
stage where we have moved to the development of online, or virtual
communities, where the primary collaboration tools are all digital,
and where the physical meeting is an exception, rather than the rule.

Etienne Wenger, along with Jean Lave, developed the concept of a
community of practice whilst working at the Institute for Learning in
Palo Alto in the mid-1980s, an organisation closely linked to the
Xerox PARC research centre, first using the term in a book they
authored in 1991. Wenger, Lave and William Snyder have been at the
forefront of research into communities of practice for the last
decade. Wenger and Snyder wrote an influential article on communities
of practice in the January - February 2000 issue of Harvard Business
Review. Entitled Communities of Practice: The Organisational Frontier,
they set out a useful comparison in this very readable paper between a
community of practice, a formal work group, a project team and an
informal network. (Can be downloaded for a small fee from
<http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/products/hbr/>).

Another pioneer of communities of practice was John Seely Brown, and
the history of his involvement with the work at Xerox can be found in
the November 1995 issue of Fast Company at
<http://www.fastcompany.com/online/01/people.htm>.

To be successful, online communities must show prompt and relevant
benefits to both the employer and the employee.  Communities
constantly evolve and must be managed to keep them fresh and alive.
Every community has a life cycle of infancy, maturity and death. It is
possible however with good community management to prevent the death
of a community by constantly evolving it with the changing needs of
its members, and introducing new functionality, topics or subgroups.

It is only over the last few years that the benefits and issues of
communities of practice have started to be explored, probably as a
result of the widespread adoption of intranets, which can provide a
good platform for these communities. Two organizations that have been
at the forefront of these developments have been the World Bank and
BPAmoco. An example of a World Bank community (which is much wider
than the Bank itself) can be found at
<http://www.worldbank.org/devforum/comm_partnering.html>. The BPAmoco
experience is well documented in Learning to Fly by Chris Collison and
Geoff Parcell, published by Capstone Publishing in March 2001
<http://www.capstone.co.uk> but now owned by John Wiley and Sons
<http://www.wiley.com>.

The range of web sites covering the development and management of
communities of practice is still fairly limited, with the usual
problem of what seem to be good sites not being maintained after the
early enthusiasm, and a fair degree of overlap between sites.

Although not strictly a web resource, do look out for a literature
review on Communities of Practice and Organisational Learning by
Elisabeth Davenport and Hazel Hall which will be published in Annual
Review of Information Science and Technology, Volume 36. ISBN
1-57387-131-1  Information Today Inc. New Jersey.
<http://www.infotoday.com>. The publication date is Spring 2002, which
means that the review will have been published about a year after
compilation. Hazel Hall has also published a very interesting paper on
Social Exchange for Knowledge Exchange, based on her doctoral thesis
and this can be downloaded from
<http://www.bim.napier.ac.uk/esis/about_us/hazel.html>. Another
interesting paper is Information Exchange in Virtual Communities: A
Typology by Gary Burnett, published in Information Research, Volume 5
No. 4, July 2000 at <http://informationR.net/ir/5-4/paper82.html>
which has an excellent bibliography including many web references.

There is a Yahoo Groups site on Communities of Practice at
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Com-Prac>.

I have divided the following resources into General Sites (for want of
a better word), Consultants, Software/Systems Providers, and Other
Sites.


General Sites
-------------

The Google Web Directory at "Reference>Knowledge Management>Knowledge
Flow>Communities" of Practice is not a bad starting point, but misses
several sites that appear in this review. However, the classification
is a reminder that many of the knowledge management sites do cover
community of practice issues
<http://www.intranetfocus.com/Knowledge_Management/knowledge_management.html>
but there is also overlap into human resources management.  One
of the best community of practice listings on a KM site can be found
at <http://www.knowledgebusiness.com>. The page on communities of
practice is an ASP file and is best found under the News section as
the URL may not be persistent.


American Productivity and Quality Centre
<http://www.apqc.org/km>

APQC has long had an interest in knowledge management, and has also
published a number of briefing papers on communities of interest. In
April 2001 APQC published a book entitled Building and Sustaining
Communities of Interest by Richard McDermott, Carla O'Dell and Cindy
Hubert.


Department of Computer Science, University of York
<http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~kimble/index.html>

Chris Kimble and his colleagues have been researching various aspects
of communities of practice for some years, and their personal site
(not the main University site) contains a wealth of information,
including a good set of links to related sites at
<http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~kimble/teaching/hi-2/topic_8.html>.


IBM Institute for Knowledge Management
<http://www-1.ibm.com/services/kcm/kcm_ikm.html>

The IBM Institute for Knowledge Management is at the centre of
research into communities of practice. That is the good news. The not-
so-good news is that membership of the IKM will cost you $75,000 U.S.
a year. However there is an excellent collection of articles on
communities of practice and on other knowledge management issues in
the IMB Systems Journal, Volume 40 No.4, 2001. Individual articles can
be downloaded from <http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj40-4.html>
or the entire issue can be purchased online for around $40 U.S.
depending on your location.


Knowledge Community
<http://www.voght.com/cgi-bin/pywiki?KnowledgeCommunity>

My thanks to Hazel Hall at Napier University Business School for
pointing out this site, which has a good list of links, but without
any annotations.


Consultants
-----------

There are still relatively few consultants working in this area, but
those that are have also made useful contributions to spreading the
word through their web sites.  These are arranged in surname order.


Fred Nickols
<http://home.att.net/~discon/KM/CoPs.htm>

Some of the material on this site is a little dated, but of particular
value is a list of most of the key early books and articles on the
subject at <http://home.att.net/~discon/KM/CoPReadings.htm>.


McDermott Consulting
http://www.sinclair-thomson.com>

A UK consulting practice which provides a good set of links, including
one to a project that the company seems to have been carrying out for
the UK Department of Trade and Industry. This project is also
documented at <http://www.kmu.org.uk/our_projects.html> in a paper
authored by Pat Langford which is a little different to the version
linked to from the CKE site.


John D. Smith
<http://home.teleport.com/~smithjd/CP_bib/>

This is a list of references to communities of practice.


Etienne Wenger
<http://www.ewenger.com>

As you will have read above, Etienne Wenger is one of the founders of
community of practice consulting. His site also announces the
establishment of CPsquare, a practitioners' consortium on communities
of practice which Wenger has set up with Bill Snyder and Richard
McDermott <http://www.ewenger.com/ewprospectus.html>.


Systems and Software Suppliers
------------------------------

The overlap between consulting and systems provision can be
substantial, and all the companies listed below have put some effort
into their sites.


Sift <http://www.sift.co.uk>

Sift are the leading UK company in the provision of a range of
services to support online communities. I will declare an interest
here, as Sift commissioned me to write a briefing paper on Employee
Online Communities earlier this year. Their site has an excellent
range of briefing papers and presentations.


TCM <http://www.tcm.com>

This site has an excellent array of resources and links, including a
very comprehensive list of books
<http://www.tcm.com/hr-books/copbooks.htm> that opens up the relevant
page in Amazon <http://www.tcm.com/trdev/morecops.htm>. It lists 252
references from a search carried out on the Copernic site, but it is
not clear when the search was conducted and posted.


ToMoYe <http://www.tomoye.com>

An intriguing name for this Canadian consulting and systems
integration company. Not one of the best sites but worth a look.


Other sites
-----------

Community Intelligence Laboratories
<http://www.co-i-l.com>

In the past I have found this site to be a useful resource on
communities of practice, and it is referred to extensively from other
sites listed above. However, whilst finalizing this article I was not
able to gain access to the site for several days, and therefore have
placed it in this Other category just in case there is some longer
term problem.


Communities Online
<http://www.communities.org.uk>

This is slightly outside the communities of practice area, as it deals
with social and neighbourhood communities, but the range of resources
on the site might well be of interest to anyone contemplating setting
up a community of practice in an organizational setting.


Communities-of-Practice
<http://communities-of-practice.pagina.nl>

This is a Dutch language site which offers a wide range of links, some
with Dutch titles but a number are in English, including a list of
case studies. Worth buying a dictionary!


European Forum for Teamwork
<http://www.efteam.org>

This organization is concerned with some of the wider aspects of team
working.


Infonortics
<http://infonortics.com>

Infonortics is a UK company which organizes excellent conferences on
virtual communities, and the next event takes place in London on 17-18
June 2002. Presentations from previous conferences can be downloaded
from the site. The coverage is broader than just communities of
practice, but there are many first class papers.


International Association for Human Resources Information Management
<http://www.ihrim.com>

Given the convergence between HR, IT and communities of practice this
is a site that is worth watching, though at present there is not a
great deal of content specifically on communities of practice.

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Martin White is Managing Director of Intranet Focus Ltd.,
<http://www.intranetfocus.com> a UK company specializing in intranet
strategy and deployment. The company's client list includes Hull City
Council, the National Farmers Union, The Bank for International
Settlements in Basel, and the International Monetary Fund in
Washington. Martin writes a monthly column on intranet topics for
EContent magazine <http://www.econtentmag.com> and is Chairman of the
International Online Information Conference. Comments on this article
can be addressed to <martin.white@intranetfocus.com>.

Martin is a Free Pint Regular <http://www.freepint.com/go/r21970>.

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Related Free Pint links:

* "Finance and Business" articles and links in the Free Pint Portal
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/p50>
* Post a message to the author, Martin White, or suggest further 
  resources, at the Free Pint Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar>
* Read this article online, with activated hyperlinks
  <http://www.freepint.com/issues/291101.htm#feature>
* Access the entire archive of Free Pint content
  <http://www.freepint.com/portal/content/>

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                     >>>  FREE PINT FACT  <<<

The location of Free Pint's new offices has been described by some
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Car, plane or train. Three convenient opportunities for daily delay
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The big event next week of course is the Online Information
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The City Information Group have their Christmas party in London at the
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Staying in the UK, the World Trade Group have their third annual 
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                           FREE PINT GOLD

This time last year we looked at rail industry sites (very topical
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* Free Pint No.76, 30th November 2000 "Britain's Railway Industry Web
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In Free Pint two years ago there was a unique look at the range of
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* Free Pint No.51, 2nd December 1999 "UK Help and Welfare Information
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Three years ago we ran one of the most popular Free Pint articles
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* Free Pint No.27, 26th November 1998 "Business Management Case
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Four years ago, I talked about how to use CAPITALISATION in search
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* Free Pint No.2, 20th November 1997 "CAPITAL Punishment in Search
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                              GOODBYE

Many thanks for reading today's edition of Free Pint and we hope you
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> = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 

Free Pint (ISSN 1460-7239) is a free newsletter written by information 
professionals who share how they find quality and reliable information
on the Internet.  Useful to anyone who uses the Web for their work, it
is published every two weeks by email.

To subscribe, unsubscribe, find details about contributing, 
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