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                             FreePint
         "Helping 65,000 people use the Web for their work"
                     http://www.freepint.com/

ISSN 1460-7239                              11th December 2003 No.150
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           ALTERNATIVE NEWSLETTER FORMATS AVAILABLE AT:
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/111203.htm>

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                           IN THIS ISSUE
                           -------------

                             EDITORIAL

                       MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                        By Veronica Bezear

                           FREEPINT BAR
                    In Association with Factiva
                   a Dow Jones & Reuters Company

                               JOBS
                       Policy Advisor - FOI
                 Financial Services Sector Analyst
                        Information Officer
                    Information Systems Manager
                    Information Liaison Manager
                   
                           TIPS ARTICLE
       "Taking a look at media information professionals and
            asking: what makes a successful conference?"
                         By Annabel Colley

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
"From Fortune 500 to Handelsblatt's European 500 two years on - a final
        look at some useful European and International Rankings"
                          By Helen Clegg

               EVENTS, GOLD AND FORTHCOMING ARTICLES

                        CONTACT INFORMATION

             ONLINE VERSION WITH ACTIVATED HYPERLINKS
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/111203.htm>

                      FULLY FORMATTED VERSION
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/111203.pdf>


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                    --- GLEN RECRUITMENT ---
Glen Recruitment is a leading independent Employment Consultancy
dealing in the recruitment of Information Specialists, Knowledge
Professionals, Business Analysts, Researchers and Librarians.
We provide both permanent and temporary staff at all levels from
senior managers to recent graduates. Our client list could not be
more exceptional and includes prestigious organisations of all sizes.
For more details call 020 7745 7245 email info@glenrecruitment.co.uk

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                     >>>  ABOUT FREEPINT  <<<

FreePint is an online network of information searchers. Members
receive this free newsletter twice a month: it is 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
a substantial archive of articles, reviews, jobs & events, with
answers to research questions and networking at the FreePint Bar.

Please circulate this newsletter which is best read when printed out.
To receive a fully formatted version as an attachment or a brief
notification when it's online, visit <http://www.freepint.com/member>.

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                             EDITORIAL

I've been called a lot of things in my six years with FreePint, but
'InfoPimp' is a new one. I suppose it is justified, considering our
appearance at the Online Information show last week in London.

Since we were launching the new business information publication 'VIP'
<http://www.vivavip.com>, our stand at this major information trade
show was themed around the 'VIP Lounge'. We alternated between blue
and red velvet suits and enjoyed flashing lights and dotty Dalmatian
drapes. If you couldn't attend, or haven't seen the photos yet, then
enjoy a quick browse: <http://www.freepint.com/portal/events/>.

The show marks the end of a very tiring but fulfilling year at
FreePint. We've been through a total rebranding of all our services
and FreePint's network of sister sites (including Willco,
ResourceShelf and KeepingLegal) has grown considerably
<http://www.willco.com/customers/>. We've welcomed new editors to
FreePint (Annabel Colley) and VIP (Pam Foster) and published a number
of popular reports, with more in the pipeline. We've launched the URL
shortening service DigBig.com and are lining up a number of virtual
'Exchange' workshops for the new year.

It's also exciting to have been involved in recognising achievement
around the information industry, with FreePint recently judging and
sponsoring a number of industry awards. These include the
'FreePint/Online Information Customer Service Award', whose worthy
winner is xrefer, for keeping members of its team and customers
closely connected throughout the support and development process. The
recipient of this year's 'FreePint/CILIP Online Community Award' is
AccountingWEB. They not only run a popular virtual community but have
made it financially viable too. Press releases and photos of all
awards are available online at <http://www.freepint.com/press/>.

In today's newsletter, FreePint's Editor Annabel Colley looks at two
recent information events and asks: what makes a successful
conference? There is also the annual update to our ever-popular
review of business rankings around the world. We'll be sending out the
latest FreePint Index shortly too, the popular quick-reference guide
to all the topics ever covered by FreePint.

As I hand over the editorship of FreePint, it's delightful to see
everything gradually falling into place. With such a great team and
continued support from our membership I think the FreePint family has
an exciting future lined up. I will, however, just point out that red
velvet isn't my regular office attire and that I'm not currently
lounging on the shagpile rug.

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

FreePint is a Registered Trademark of Free Pint Limited (R) 1997-2003

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            "Data Protection for Websites and Intranets"
                        ISBN 1-904769-02-0

This report provides an introduction to data protection issues as they
relate to websites, intranets and the online world. It draws attention
to areas of particular concern to website & intranet managers such as:
the use of cookies; entries in online directories; monitoring
employees' email and internet access; use of email for direct marketing.

              <http://www.freepint.com/shop/report/>

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                       MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                        By Veronica Bezear

* <http://www.christmas.com> - Particularly good sections under
  'worldview' on Christmas traditions around the world by country and
  a list of how to say happy Christmas in almost every language.

* <http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/odeng/modeng0.browse.html> -
  Fantastic list of online books from the Virginia State University's
  Electronic Text Centre. Includes the full text of Charles Dickens's
  "A Christmas Carol" online.

* <http://www.aaronshep.com/storytelling/index.html> - Free 'how to'
  resources on oral storytelling. Includes ready-to-perform stories to
  try out - seasonal ones include "The Bakers Dozen - A St Nicholas
  Tale" and "The Christmas Truce".

* <http://www.ingeb.org> - German site collecting words and midi files
  for songs from around the world. Follow the Christmas link from
  their home page and put together your own carol concert.

* <http://www.epicurious.com> - Magazine collecting recipes and food
  writing from around the world. Enjoy an armchair tour through their
  Christmas recipe list from Cuban suckling pig to Polish Wild
  Mushroom Pierogies.

Veronica Bezear is an Information Officer working for Surrey County
Council's Adults and Community Care service. She writes here in a
personal capacity.

Submit your top five favourite Web sites. See the guidelines at
<http://www.freepint.com/author.htm>.


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                   NEW WHITE PAPER FROM FACTIVA
Do you need to manage and organise large volumes of data? Are users
within your organization finding precisely the information they need?
Factiva's Taxonomy White Paper examines the value brought to our news
and business information service, to clients who license the taxonomy
as a fundamental component of their own Enterprise Information
Architecture. Download the White Paper at
 <http://www.factiva.com/redirects/whitepaper/register/freepint>

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       >>>  VIP - Business Information News and Reviews  <<<

         Register for VIP, a new publication with business
           information product reviews and news analysis.

   Find out more about the range of free and fee-based services:

                     <http://www.vivaVIP.com/>

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                            FREEPINT BAR
                    In Association with Factiva
                   a Dow Jones & Reuters Company

We welcome the special edition postings from Gary Price, Editor of
ResourceShelf.com, and the interesting item about the economic value
of the British Library <http://www.freepint.com/go/b26890>.

There's a valuable thread about the renewal policies of a number of
large information vendors (yes, names are named). If you have anything
to do with signing agreements with organisations like Lexis Nexis,
Factiva and Dialog, then I would recommend a read
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b26765>. Of course, this is a topic we
know a bit about since we've published a report on negotiating licenses
for electronic products <http://www.freepint.com/shop/report/>.

Having talked about things like intranets for so long, it's refreshing
to get back-to-basics questions. It's a good reminder that many people
are just starting out on the development road. So, perhaps you can
share your experience on whether to build an intranet yourself or buy
a package off-the-shelf <http://www.freepint.com/go/b26830>.

Can you help someone with budgetary concerns about a project they're
involved with, offering archival 3D digitization services to museums
and libraries <http://www.freepint.com/go/b26841>? How about evidence
to suggest that giving crimes publicity acts as a deterrent
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b26858>?

On the Webmaster front there's been just a little uproar
about recent changes to Google's site ranking algorithm
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b26641>. Sites that were in the top ten are
now not to be found. SearchEngine Watch have been keeping their eye on
things, with articles like "What happened to my site on Google?"
<http://digbig.com/3hcg> and "What happened to my searches on Google?"
<http://digbig.com/3hch>. It makes interesting reading for anyone
concerned about their Google ranking, and you can check out the
seasonally topical 'Scroogle' and 'The Filter Test'. ResourceShelf
also points to an interesting piece about a possible Google IPO
next year, entitled 'Can Google Grow Up?' <http://digbig.com/3gec>.

              William Hann <william.hann@freepint.com>

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The FreePint Bar is where you can get help with your tricky research
questions, for free! <http://www.freepint.com/bar>

Help with study for information-related courses is available at the
FreePint Student Bar <http://www.freepint.com/student>.

Twice-weekly email digests of the latest postings can be requested
at <http://www.freepint.com/member>.

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                   INFORMATION PROFESSIONALS --
         STAY INFORMED WITH THE INFORMED LIBRARIAN ONLINE

    ALL of your professional reading in one place, at one time
        - now available as a FREE newsletter and web site!

        Subscribe to the free INFORMED LIBRARIAN ONLINE at
                <http://www.informedlibrarian.com>

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                           FREEPINT JOBS
                   <http://www.freepint.com/jobs>

FreePint Jobs -- the best place for information vacancies.

*  VACANCY SEARCHING -- Free search and sign up to the Job Update.
*  VACANCY RECRUITING -- Complete the form and advertise a vacancy
   for just GBP195 <http://www.freepint.com/jobs/submit/overview.php3>.
   50% discount for registered charities. 10% discount for agencies.

This week's selected listings are below. All new jobs are posted to
the Bar and Bar Digest (circulation 12,000+) and sent to the 1000+
subscribers to the Job Update.

Here are some of the latest featured jobs:

Policy Advisor - FOI
  Prestigious media org needs Policy Advisor for FoI and other areas,
  challenging role & excellent 
  Recruiter: Sue Hill Recruitment
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j2839>

Financial Services Sector Analyst
  Senior Financial Services Researcher for top consultancy.
  Excellent client facing and project management skills. Top salary.
  Recruiter: Glen Recruitment
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j2890>

Information Officer
  Information professional with an interest in health information 


  with good interpersonal skills.
  Recruiter: Multiple Sclerosis Trust
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j2891>

Information Systems Manager
  Exciting opportunity for experienced knowledge/information systems
  developer to join a key Government Department.
  Recruiter: Intelligent Resources
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j2892>

Information Liaison Manager
  A key role with responsibility for co-ordinating knowledge and 
  info management initiatives throughout a complex organisation.
  Recruiter: Intelligent Resources
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j2893>

[The above jobs are paid listings]

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

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                            TIPS ARTICLE
         <http://www.freepint.com/issues/111203.htm#tips>
       "Taking a look at media information professionals and
            asking: what makes a successful conference?"
                         By Annabel Colley
                         
This week, the information industry is talking about the Online
Information exhibition and conference which FreePint attended last
week. Exhibiting at the show this year was particularly successful
for us, giving us the chance to build our brand and meet and
greet readers, advertisers and authors at the FreePint stand.
Although it seems to get smaller each year, it's still a major event
in the information industry calendar, attracting an international
audience of around 750 delegates to the conference with 250 companies
exhibiting.

From a large conference to a much smaller one. Last month, I was
invited to the conference of the Association of UK Media Librarians
(AUKML) <http://www.aukml.org.uk>. The AUKML creates links between
librarians and information workers in all areas of the media industry.
Members come from newspaper and magazine publishing, broadcasting
organisations and academic institutions, mainly in the UK, but they
particularly welcome international members. Around 50 delegates
gathered for a friendly conference held, this year, at the London
Television Centre. The theme was "Conquering the Past: Embracing Our
Future." Topics included: providing information at times of national
crisis; picture research in the digital age; new library jargon in
recruitment (ever heard of a 'data warrior'?); and managing legal
risk areas in news archiving.


Impartial briefings for parliament
----------------------------------

A highlight was Carole Andrews' and Tim Youngs' relevant and engaging
talk on the work of the House of Commons research and library services
<http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/g18.pdf>. The library
provides an impartial and confidential information and research
service to members of parliament and their staff. Tim Youngs, senior
research analyst in international affairs and defence, explained how
when he had joined the House of Commons Library in 1997, he knew he
would be responsible for writing briefings on issues relating to the
Middle East, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia and
arms control. However, nobody could have predicted that he would have
had such a crucial role -- to react quite so quickly to so many
international crises -- in such a short time. He explained that although
the government (rather than parliament) takes the lead in making a
decision to commit forces to war, MPs need independent sources to make
their own minds up. This is where the impartial House of Commons
research and briefings come in <http://digbig.com/3gwe>. I certainly
found these briefings invaluable when I was researching for current
affairs programmes at the BBC and it was good to meet the author of so
many of them.


News libraries - newspaper morgues no more
------------------------------------------

Charles Oppenheim, Professor of Information Science at Loughborough
University chaired the conference and gave the first Justin Arundale
memorial lecture. Justin Arundale, who died prematurely last year, was
one of the first qualified librarians to work in Fleet Street (the
historic birthplace of journalism in the UK). The professional status
now enjoyed by librarians in the media and the shift in focus of
newspaper libraries from 'morgue' to 'profit centre' owe much to
Justin's influence and his pioneering work at The Independent. The
changes to news librarianship, internationally, since the 1970s have
been phenomenal.

Gone are the 'news morgues' - cuttings libraries with librarians as
the gatekeepers. What are emerging are 21st century news librarians 
who train journalists in Internet research, procure multi-user
licences of electronic databases for corporate intranets and run Web
sites. It's a picture familiar across many other sectors of the
information industry. Oppenheim stressed the importance of a close
working relationship between journalists and information professionals
working in the media.

As a former media librarian and journalist myself, I must agree with
him. In a 2002 article for the then Library Association Record (now
CILIP update) <http://digbig.com/3gwf> I reviewed the changes in media
libraries during the time that I was a chair of the AUKML. The issues
of computer-assisted journalism and the move out onto the editorial
floor of librarians remains a challenge. It is an issue with which
members of the News Division of the SLA also continually wrestle
<http://digbig.com/3gwg>. The AUKML and The News Division of the SLA
maintain close links.

If you work, teach in, or study the media, joining the mailing lists
of the AUKML or the NewsLib, means you may never be stuck again for
obtaining crucial research when deadlines press. Information on how
to join both of these is available on their web sites. Finally, the
SLA News Division's International List of Newspaper Archives is an
essential source for all News Librarians, since it lays out exactly
how far back free archives of newspapers on the web go
<http://digbig.com/3gwh>.


Online and on deadline
----------------------

The technology may change, but what never changes in news
librarianship is the urgency of deadlines and the importance of
editorial judgement: getting to the story first; but getting it right.
As information is so widely available on the Internet, arguably
deadlines have become even more pressurised as user expectations have
increased. Katharine Schopflin of the BBC and chair-elect of the
AUKML, gave a refreshingly sceptical presentation on evaluating news
sources at Online International. Gary Price, always a popular speaker
where ever he goes, is a big fan of news librarians, and he makes it
his business to maintain links with both the AUKML and the SLA News
Division. His News Center
<http://www.freepint.com/gary/newscenter.htm> and Speech and
Transcript Center <http://www.freepint.com/gary/speech.htm> are
increasingly popular with journalists who, until they discover new
resources, may be 'googleaholicks'.


Small is beautiful
------------------

Although the AUKML is small (around 170 members) it is important for
two key reasons. Firstly, it embodies the strength of a niche
community. Its events and meetings involve lots of peer-to-peer, fun
networking. Secondly, it understands journalism and what makes
journalists tick. Larger professional bodies like the SLA and CILIP
can draw on the AUKML's expertise to help develop more visibility in
the media. To quote Charles Oppenheim, AUKML conference chair, AUKML
people are 'proactive lively ravers' and anyone who has been to their
conferences will certainly agree. Based in London, their recent
conference was very well organised with social visits to the
Globe Theatre, and the Guardian newspaper. Drinks were
held at the Guardian newsroom <http://www.guardian.co.uk/newsroom/>
which is an archive and visitor centre that preserves and promotes the
histories and values of the Guardian and Observer newspapers through
archive, education and exhibitions. A celebration of liberal
journalism, the current exhibitions, like the papers themselves, are
unique. The current 'Orwell Observed' exhibition
<http://digbig.com/3gwj> includes the first ever display of Orwell's
infamous list of fellow writers and journalists whom he considered to
be crypto-communists, and held by the UK Government until recently
recovered.


Newspapers for historical research
----------------------------------

The Guardian was founded the day Napoleon died and the Observer
the week Mozart died. For those interested in using newspapers
for historical research, there is an archive dating back to 1899 
<http://www.guardiancentury.co.uk/>. According to Mark Holland of
Thompson/Gale, another speaker at the AUKML conference, students are
increasingly being asked to work with primary sources and his
demonstration of the Times Digital Archive was fascinating. Available
on subscription, <http://www.galeuk.com/times/tda_fact.pdf> and using
the latest digital and film reproduction technology, researchers can
search and access full-page facsimiles of every page from the Times
from 1785-1985.

To find out more about life as a media information professional, take
a look at 'Deadline', the journal of the AUKML. You can read about the
contrasting days in the lives of the busy chief librarian at Time Out
magazine in London <http://www.aukml.org.uk/deadoct03.htm#art8> and at
the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London
<http://www.aukml.org.uk/deadoct03.htm#art6>. The article entitled
'September 11: three accounts from newsrooms in Pakistan, UK and
Canada', is also very revealing
<http://www.aukml.org.uk/deadnov01.htm#art2>.


Niche associations at the Online Information exhibition
-------------------------------------------------------

There are lots of niche and smaller associations in the information
world. Some are sub-groups of larger bodies, but quite a few
choose to remain independent because they think it is beneficial to
do so. In addition to the AUKML, at Online this year were speakers
and events on behalf of AIIP <http://www.aiip.org/> (the Association
of Independent Information Professionals), CIG
<http://www.cityinformation.org.uk/>, the European Association of
Information Services, <http://www.eusidic.org/> and the National
Federation of Science Abstracting and Indexing Services
<http://www.nfais.org/>. Other popular sessions were by Cynthia Shamel,
President of AIIP, on how to set up as an independent information
broker, and David Gurteen on how to use knowledge cafes. Case studies
have revealed that using knowledge cafes can help to break down the
'silo' mentality in very large companies <http://www.gurteen.com/>.
Sheila Webber also gave a truly international update on information
literacy <http://digbig.com/3gwk>.

This was the first year that Online ran a separate 'associations
room'. These were fairly successful, but early feedback revealed that
if events in the associations room had been marketed alongside the
free exhibition hall seminars, attendance would have been better
for some of the sessions.


Globalisation of information
----------------------------

The broad themes of the Online Information conference this year were
Communities of Practice, Information Architecture and Content
Management. The strength of Online Information is that it is
international, with sessions held in five languages. As executive
director of the SLA Janice Lachance said at a breakfast hosted by
the European Chapter of the SLA, "Information knows no boundaries,
there is no mountain range, ocean or border that can stop the flow of
information". Surely rather idealistic for so early in the morning?
But librarians, so strong on communication, are often weak on
aspiration. A visionary and global view is what is needed now from an
organisation that had in the past been accused of being too US
centric. The feeling from the European Chapter was that this was a
good omen.


Maintain the human touch
------------------------

At times it felt like many of the speakers on the themes of
communities of practice, KM and content management, were giving us new
spin on old themes. Many delegates I talked to found the practical
approach of the free exhibition hall seminars the most useful.
Ultimately, what it always seems to come back to is communication.
However big you grow, it is important to maintain the human touch. 
Managing and building personal relationships face-to-face, peer-to-peer
is the key.

Well-run conference and exhibitions, big and small, facilitate this in
the best way. Delegates at both the AUKML and Online Information
conferences, despite their difference in size, came away with ideas to
reshape business, increase productivity or just with a handful of tips
and web sites, relevant to their organisations. Richard Mcdermott, the
keynote speaker on Communities of Practice at Online Information,
thinks that one of the most important components in making a community
successful is "finding people who are passionate about their topic,
giving them the right amount of structure and support and then
allowing them to flourish". Often smaller and niche groups flourish
independently and feed back into the bigger picture. Let passionate
people talk, then provide a social space for debate and networking, and
you have a successful conference.

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Annabel Colley is editor of FreePint. Details of her previous career
are at <http://www.vivavip.com/people.html>. She is currently
running a training course on 'News And Media Information on the
Internet' <http://www.aslib.com/training/1/media.html>.

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Related FreePint links:

* 'Information and Libraries' articles in the FreePint Portal
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/p69>
* Post a message to the author, Annabel Colley, or suggest further
  resources at the FreePint Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar>
* Read this article online, with activated hyperlinks
  <http://www.freepint.com/issues/111203.htm#feature>
* Access the entire archive of FreePint content
  <http://www.freepint.com/portal/content/>

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                    What is the ResourceShelf?
                   <http://www.resourceshelf.com>

ResourceShelf is a free daily update containing news of interest

to information professionals around the world.

Topics include the latest news with web search engines, research
tips, new web resources, and much more.

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            >>>  Online Community Hosting = Willco  <<<

FreePint's sister company Willco hosts a large number of online
communities, many of which you may already be familiar with.

Find out more about Willco Modules for hosting newsletters and
forums, and read testimonials from current customers:

                     <http://www.Willco.com/>

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                           FEATURE ARTICLE
         <http://www.freepint.com/issues/111203.htm#feature>
"From Fortune 500 to Handelsblatt's European 500 two years on - a final
        look at some useful European and International Rankings"
                          By Helen Clegg


Introduction
============

In issue 120 of FreePint, which appeared on September 5th 2002, I
reviewed my original article on rankings and noted that there seemed
to be a stealthy move to classify rankings as premium content rather
than making them available for free on the Internet. In this article,
I take a final look at the European and international rankings I
reviewed last year, noting any changes and conclude with a brief
overview of some useful eastern European, globalization and
world-competitiveness lists.


Western Europe
==============

UK
--

The Financial Times Global 500 ranking appeared as scheduled in May
2002 <http://www.ft.com>. Like last year, the Global 500 is still only
available to subscribers of FT.com and therefore premium content. As a
non-subscriber, I wasn't able to review it for functionality and
content, but the Financial Times is an excellent and authoritative
source and one of the best places to start if you're looking for
rankings. This year's Global 500 has rankings on the US 500, including
Latin American and Canadian tables, the UK 500, including European
tables, the Japan 500, including the Asia 100 and also lists top
companies in Eastern Europe, the Middle East as well as sub-Saharan
Africa. If you don't want to subscribe to the FT.com site and don't
subscribe to the Financial Times either, my suggestion is to remember
that the Global 500 ranking is scheduled to appear sometime during the
second week of May each year and just buy the newspaper when the
ranking is published. A useful ranking if you're looking specifically
for Scottish companies is a Top 500 ranking published by the Business
Insider website <http://www.insider.co.uk>. This was recommended
to me by a FreePint reader last year. Companies included
in this ranking must generate 90% of their turnover in Scotland. You
can choose to rank companies by turnover or alphabetically.


Germany
-------

WirtschaftsWoche, one of Germany's weekly business magazines,
published its rankings again this year <http://www.wiwo.de>. You'll
find the rankings mentioned on the homepage under the hyperlink "Die
500 Groessten Unternehmen Europas". The ranking is much the same as
last year's, in that it is dynamic and you can rank by turnover,
number of employees, market capitalization and profit. Or you can
choose an industry sector and combine this with a country to make your
own ranking. This year, the ranking has been expanded to cover Poland,
Russia and Hungary. I searched on the top Russian companies ranked by
turnover and according to Wirtschaftswoche, Gazprom is number one,
Lukoil number two and Unified Energy System number three.

Manager Magazin's rankings haven't changed much in a year either
<http://www.manager-magazin.de>. The business magazine produces the
E-100, a ranking which notes how well German companies are integrating
internet technology into their businesses as well as a Euro 500
ranking, which lists the top publicly quoted European companies. The
E-100 ranking is under the E-business + Medien hyperlink at the top of
the homepage. The dynamic ranking lets you sort by industry sector,
but as this is a qualitative rather than a quantitative ranking, you
can't really rank by anything, so the listing is alphabetic. However,
it's easy to work out which company has the most integrated internet
technology by reading the description of its e-business strategy in
the right-hand column. I searched on the retail sector and found that
Otto Versand, the largest German mail order company, appears to be the
number one when it comes to internet technology. The Euro 500 ranking
is under "Geld + Boerse", just as it was last year. Again, it's a
dynamic ranking, so you can choose to rank by a number of criteria
including turnover, turnover growth, turnover, market capitalization
or number of employees. An additional criterion by which to rank is the
"MM Bewertung" - this is basically a rating given to each company by
Manager Magazin.


France
------

No changes to the French rankings this year. You'll find the company
ranking provided by Les Echos, one of France's leading business
newspapers, on its website at <http://www.lesechos.fr>. To get to
them, choose one of the industry sectors listed on the left-hand side
of the homepage; choosing one of these categories takes you to a page
dedicated to that particular industry, then just click on the
"Classements CA" hyperlink. The functionality of these French industry
rankings is much the same as last year. You can rank by turnover, net
profit, export value or number of employees. By checking out the
"Dynamisme" hyperlink, you can find out the number of companies that
have been created or that have collapsed in a particular industry
within a particular department of France or within France as a whole.
For very detailed ratings, I still recommend the Coface Group website,
to which I drew attention last year <http://www.cofacerating.fr>.
Another site worth checking out for French rankings is that of the
business magazine L'Expansion <http://www.lexpansion.com>. L'Expansion
does four rankings and apart from the fact that there are less
companies in its lists this year, the rankings remain the same:

* Les 1152 groupes industriels et de services (Top 1152 industrial
  and service companies)
* Les 140 entreprises commerciales (Top 140 commercial organizations)
* Les 95 banques et institutions financieres (Top 95 banks and
  financial institutions)
* Les 36 compagnies d'assurance (Top 36 insurance companies)

To navigate to these rankings from the homepage, click on the
"Entreprises/High Tech" hyperlink and then on the "Fiches entreprises
1000". You can also generate your own ranking list by choosing an
industry sector, a region of France and by specifying your own ranking
criteria from a predetermined list. For example, the top three French
companies ranked by turnover in the publishing/communications sector
are Vivendi Universale, Publicis Group and Havas.


Luxembourg
----------

Luxembourg's official statistics office produces useful rankings of
Luxembourg companies. The only drawback is that the rankings are by
number of employees rather than turnover. You'll find them at
<http://statec.gouvernement.lu>. To locate them, navigate to the
site map and choose "Download files" where you'll find two rankings
in PDF format:

* 2003 Les principales entreprises par taille (Top companies ranked
  by number of employees)
* 2003 Les principales entreprises par secteur (Top companies by 
  industry sector, ranked by number of employees)

Rankings for the two previous years are also listed and available for
download.


Spain
-----

Actualidad Economica is the place to find comprehensive rankings on
Spanish companies <http://www.actualidad-economica.com>. The hyperlink
to the ranking is right at the top of the homepage under "Base de
datos". As with previous years, these rankings are classed as premium
content. For EUR 60 you can get access to "Las 5000 Mayores Empresas"
- Spain's Top 5000 companies.


Sweden
------

Last year I found some useful Swedish rankings on the website of
Affarsvarlden, one of Sweden's leading business magazines. This year I
couldn't find them at all. While searching for them I came across a
2003 ranking for Norway's Top 500 companies instead.


Norway
------

A ranking of Norway's Top 500 companies is published annually by
Dagens Naeringsliv, a leading business newspaper in Norway. The
easiest way to find the rankings is to type "Norges 500" into Google
and scroll down until you see a url which ends in dn.no. Otherwise,
try typing in the following url to your browser: 
<http://arkiv.dn.no/dn/avisen/500%20stoerste/500.asp>. The ranking is
all in Norwegian. It ranks Norway's top companies by 2002 turnover. A
nice find!


Switzerland
-----------

Handelszeitung <http://www.handelszeitung.ch> published its annual
ranking of Swiss companies this year, but it remains classified as
premium content and is in database format. Follow the hyperlink "Die
groessten Unternehmen in der Schweiz" which is under "Management" on
the left-hand side of the homepage. The database classifies companies
into 70 sectors. As well as creating your own ranking, you can also
buy predefined rankings, such as the Swiss Top 500, the Swiss Top 1000
or Top 30 Banks. Costs for the predefined rankings range from CHF 5 to
40. Subscribers to Handeslzeitung get a better deal.


International
=============

USA
---

For the last two years, Fortune's rankings have been free at
<http://www.fortune.com>. This year, Fortune has classified many of
its rankings as premium content, so you have to be a subscriber to
retrieve them, which is a shame. However two rankings which are free
are:

* 100 Fastest Growing Companies
* Small Business 100

Fortune's premium content rankings include:

* Fortune 500
* Global 500
* 100 Best companies to work for
* America's most admired
* Global most admired
* 50 Best for minorities
* Best of 2003-11-30

If you only need the names of the top 50 Fortune 500, you can get
these by clicking on the Fortune 500 hyperlink.

Last year, I noted that you had to register with Forbes to get access
to the Forbes rankings. This year, you don't need to register at all
and all the rankings are available for free at <http://www.forbes.com>.
They are easy to find under the "Lists" tab at the top of the
homepage. Forbes's lists include:

* 200 Best small companies
* 400 Best big companies
* Forbes 500
* Forbes International 500
* Global 200
* Largest private companies
* 100 Top celebrities
* Executive pay
* World's richest people

The Forbes rankings are dynamic. With the Forbes International 500 you
can rank by company, industry, revenues and enterprise multiple; with
the Forbes 500 you can sort by rank, name, sales, profits, asset,
market valuation or number of employees. Also worth noting is that
historical rankings from 1997 are available on the website. Some
interesting free rankings for the USA can be found on the Bizminer
website <http://www.bizminer.com/free.asp> - a site recommended to me
by a FreePint reader earlier this year. The Bizminer Vitality Review
publishes a ranking each month, for example the top high growth firms
in January 2003 and the top new branch development rankings for major
industries in July 2003.


Australia
---------

Business Review Weekly is the place to find authoritative rankings on
Australian companies. Last year the rankings were available for free
at <http://www.brw.com.au>. This year however, Business Review Weekly
seems to be following the trend to classify its rankings as premium
content so they're only accessible to subscribers. There don't
seem to be as many rankings as last year either, for example I
couldn't find a separate list for New Zealand's biggest companies or
the list of Australia's best and worst performing industries. BRW's
rankings include:

* 2003 BRW 1000
* 2003 Top public companies
* 2002 Top law firms
* 2003 Young Rich
* 2002 Top 50 Sport earners


Eastern Europe
--------------

With more and more companies doing business in Eastern Europe, I
decided to see what rankings there were available on Eastern European
companies. The most obvious place to start was the Financial Times,
which looks at the top companies in Eastern Europe. However, it's
always good to see if there are any rankings produced by domestic
publishers, as these may often include more companies and give more
detailed information. The disadvantage is that the rankings will very
likely be in the country's mother tongue, so if you don't speak an
Eastern European language, you'll have to find someone who does.


Hungary
-------

Figyelo is a Hungarian magazine that publishes an annual Top 200 of
Hungarian companies based on turnover. You'll find the Top 50 for 2002
at <http://www.fn.hu>, the homepage of Figyelo. To locate the
rankings, type the word "top" into the search box at the very top
right-hand corner of the homepage. This retrieves a number of hits
containing the word "top". The first hit is a hyperlink entitled "Top
200 gala". This hyperlink takes you to another webpage. Here, click on
the Top 200 hyperlink, which you'll find under the heading
"Alrovatok". This page lists all the rankings available - in Hungarian
of course!


Czech Republic
--------------

There are two good sources for Czech company rankings. The first is a
ranking published annually by the Czech Top 100 Association at 
<http:///www.czechtop100.cz>. Follow the hyperlink on the left-hand
side of the homepage "100 Nejvyznamnijsich". You can then choose which
year you're interested in - there are tables from 1994 to 2001. The
neat thing about these rankings is that they are all available for
download in Excel format. Ranking criteria includes profitability and
productivity. The second source for Czech company rankings is Top
Press, available at <http://www.toppress.cz>. Follow the "100 nej"
hyperlink to get to the rankings, Top Press publishes annual rankings,
including the Top 100 Czech companies. However this is another
publisher which classifies rankings as premium content and therefore
only makes a selection of its rankings available for free on its
website. All the selections are in PDF format - for example you can
download the top 30 companies in 2001 ranked by turnover. If you want
the complete rankings for 2001 though, you have to purchase them.
Again, this website is all in Czech.


Russia
------

Last year I  mentioned a website which gave comprehensive rankings for
Russia  that I found at <http://raexpert.ru>. The site is compiled by
the Expert RA Ratings Agency based in Moscow. Here you'll find the 9th
regular rating of the Top 200 Russian industrial companies both in
Russian <http://www.raexpert.ru> and in English 
<http://www.raexpert.ru/ratings/exp200>. Scroll down to "baza dannych
- rejting upravlajushikh kompanij" on the left-hand side of the
homepage to get to the ranking in Russian. The easiest way to get to
the same ranking in English is to click on the "English" hyperlink at
the top of the homepage, then follow the link to the "Expert 200 -
industrial companies" ranking. The table ranks Russian companies by
net sales in Roubles and also gives growth rate, pretax profit, net
profit, net margin and labor productivity per person. Figures are in
Roubles and US dollars.


Poland
------

A reliable source for Polish company rankings is Rzeczpospolita. This
business newspaper publishes an annual ranking of the Top 500 Polish
companies, ranked by turnover. Again, the ranking is classified as
premium content and only accessible once you have registered with the
website and are prepared to pay. The best way to locate the list is to
search in the archive using the search term "Lista 500".


Globalization
=============

The international management consultancy AT Kearney produces a
magazine called Foreign Policy on a regular basis. This year, Foreign
Policy teamed up with the Center for Global Development to produce the
first ever "Commitment to Development" index. According to AT
Kearney's website, this index ranks 21 rich nations on whether their
aid, trade, migration, investment, peacekeeping and environmental
policies help or hurt poor nations. You can navigate to the ranking
via AT Kearney's website at <http://www.atkearney.com>, following the
hyperlink to the Foreign Policy magazine, or go direct to 
<http://foreignpolicy.com>. It's an interesting ranking and has some
interactivity too. In the overall ranking for example, the UK scores
11 out of 21. For peacekeeping, it scores 3.6, trade 6.9, investment
3.4, environment 5.0, aid 3.0 and migration 3.1.

Globalization is much talked about these days. AT Kearney's Foreign
Policy Magazine has produced a Globalization Index - the best way to
find it is to type the words "globalization index" into the search
function at the top of AT Kearney's homepage
<http://www.atkearney.com>. This index ranks 50 countries based on
their levels of economic, social, technological and political
integration with the rest of the world. The latest ranking is for 2003
and can be downloaded in PDF format. You can also download the
previous year's ranking for comparison. This year, top of the
globalization ranking was Ireland, followed by Switzerland and Sweden.
The website also includes information about the methodology and data
used to construct the index.


World Competitiveness
=====================

If you're looking for rankings on world competitiveness, then check
out the website of IMD, one of Europe's leading business schools based
in Switzerland. IMD publishes an annual world competitiveness ranking
which in 2002 covered 49 countries and this year covers 59 countries.
The ranking is published in the World Competitiveness Yearbook, but is
made available on IMD's website <http://www01.imd.ch/wcy/ranking/>.
Economies are ranked from most to least competitive. The ranking is
divided into two parts - countries with a population of more than 20
million and countries with a population of less than 20 million. The
drawbacks of the ranking are that it is static and alphabetic. In
2003, the USA was the most competitive country, followed by Australia
and Canada. Past rankings from 1999 are available from the website and
you can download all of them in PDF format. there are also hyperlinks
to the criteria and methodology used by IMD.


Conclusion
==========

There are lots of rankings available on the Internet and it would be
an impossible task to evaluate them all in one article. As I
mentioned in last year's article, a great place to start looking is
Gary Price's List of Lists which you can now find at 
<http://www.specialissues.com>. This list does a fantastic job of
collating many rankings, but does tend to have a US bias. In this
article I have looked at some of the rankings available on Western
European companies and also looked at a few for Eastern Europe. No
doubt as globalization continues, there will be more eastern and
central European company rankings and it is very likely that they will
be increasingly available in the English language. It's a shame to
note that authoritative publishers are continuing to classify rankings
as premium content, but this is also a trend that is likely to
continue. As global competition continues, publishers must find as
many ways as possible to increase their revenues.

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

Helen Clegg is Senior Marketing Analyst with RR Donnelley in London.
She holds the Advanced Certificate in Marketing from the Chartered
Institute of Marketing and an M.Sc in Library and Information Studies.
She is a Board Member of the European Chapter of the Special Libraries
Association of America. Helen writes here in a personal capacity.

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