Challenges of Finding Quality Business Information

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Presentation given at the Online Information exhibition, Olympia, London. 1st December 2010.

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Slide 1: 

This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License The challenges of finding quality business information in a rapidly changing world 1st December 2010 , Karen Blakeman Karen.Blakeman@rba.co.uk twitter.com/karenblakeman http://www.rba.co.uk/ Presentation available on: http://www.slideshare.net/karenblakeman/ and http://www.authorstream.com/User-Presentations/karenblakeman/

Deluge of information! : 

Deluge of information! Web sites, blogs, wikis, Twitter........ Government open data Re-use of information encouraged Mashups galore Social media becoming commonplace as a means of gathering and providing information, and marketing a new company or product New and innovative technologies in all sectors More scams both personal and business oriented in the current economic climate 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 2

Slide 3: 

If the offer is so good that you can at last chuck in your job and chill out in [insert exotic location of your choice]..... 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 3

Authenticity and trust : 

Authenticity and trust Is it official information? Are there definitions and scope notes? Look at the biography or profile of the author or publisher, if there is one. Check previous work, postings, tweets etc. Who is linking or referring to the article and what are they saying about it Is the source of the information given and is there an explanation of how the information has been processed? If information has been “published” via social media or social/professional networks: who are they? who else is part of their network? look at the whole conversation timeline who else is contributing Look for clues, what isn’t there? 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 4

Company information : 

Company information Check the official company register for the relevant country Official Company Registers http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/registers.htm You know it makes sense! “I have a certificate from Oober Doober Magnificent that will give me a free iPad but I have to pay them £15 admin fees. The company registration number on the certificate is 597365. are they legitimate?” Company registration number does not exist Company does exist but not with that registration number Do a basic Google search including the terms hoax or scam! Run a “whois” search on their web site http://whois.com/, http://whois.domaintools.com/ 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 5

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“I am involved in foreign merger with a take-over from a Japanese company taking over a American company. The regulators dealing with the merger are called eastern equity division who look after mergers and acquisition. They have told me now to acquire my funds for the sale of the shares i need to pay first a 28% offshore withholding tax is this correct in a take over situation? thanks.” 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 6

Slide 7: 

03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 7 Basic Google search usually works. In this case number 3 in the list - a page from the Japan Financial Services Agency - reveals all. Learn how to read URLs. This is a go.jp site - Japanese government and therefore official and genuine.

Slide 8: 

03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 8 A search on whois.com shows that the owner of the boiler room scam web site is hiding behind a “privacy protection” domain name registration service. 170 decibel klaxon alarms should start ringing in your head!

Business Essentials on the Web : 

Business Essentials on the Web http://bl-business-essentials.wikispaces.com/ 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 9

Scottish Business Information Service : 

Scottish Business Information Service http://www.scotbis.com/ 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 10

http://www.offstats.auckland.ac.nz/ : 

http://www.offstats.auckland.ac.nz/ 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 11

Opening up government data : 

Opening up government data http://data.gov.uk/ 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 12

Guardian Databloghttp://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog : 

Guardian Databloghttp://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 13 Mostly related to hot topics covered in the current news – sources and scope of data usually stated in the blog

http://www.flickr.com/groups/guardiandatastore/pool/ : 

http://www.flickr.com/groups/guardiandatastore/pool/ 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 14 Check the descriptions with the Flickr image for information (if any) on data sources used

Blogs : 

Blogs Many experts, academics, researchers, industry gurus have active blogs Great way to tap into expert knowledge especially with new and innovative technologies and industries But who are they? Standard quality checks apply! 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 15

Disclosure : 

Disclosure Professor Chris Rhodes is my husband! 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 16

Energy Balance http://ergobalance.blogspot.com/ : 

Energy Balance http://ergobalance.blogspot.com/ 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 17 Follow links provided by the author on their blog to their profile or “about” page

Quality of comments : 

Quality of comments 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 18 Who is commenting? Are they sensible and informed comments and questions? Are there active discussions?

Where else are they active? : 

Where else are they active? http://scitizen.com/ 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 19 Quality of other columnists? Are there reviewers and who are they?

Slide 20: 

A Forbes blogger? http://blogs.forbes.com/energysource/ 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 20 By invitation only and articles are reviewed (some rejected)

#uksnow UK Snow Twitter Mashup – original maps : 

http://uksnowmap.com/ 9.55 am 2nd February 2009 Google Earth & Twitter hashtag #uksnow Tweeters asked to include first half of post code and give the snowfall marks out of ten e.g. #uksnow RG4 3/10 Potential quality issues: geographical location of tweeters awareness of how to enter uksnow details in a tweet different perceptions of heaviness of snow uksnow boredom update frequency 03 December 2010 Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk 21 #uksnow UK Snow Twitter Mashup – original maps

#uksnow Map - UK Snow Twitter Mashup (updated & improved version) : 

#uksnow Map - UK Snow Twitter Mashup (updated & improved version) Taken at 8.49 am, Wednesday 1st December 2010 03/12/2010 22 www.rba.co.uk Guidance on how to assess heaviness of snow

#uksnow – other issues : 

#uksnow – other issues Only records current snow fall No indication of existing snow on the ground Need a separate map for depth of snow on the ground? 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 23

Google Maps – The Star Inn, Caversham (oops) : 

Google Maps – The Star Inn, Caversham (oops) 03 December 2010 Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk 24 The Star Inn is actually here But it isn’t Google’s fault! This is a private residence!

Yell.com/Multimap – Star Inn : 

Yell.com/Multimap – Star Inn 03 December 2010 Karen Blakeman www.rba.co.uk 25 Need to know which sources are used in mashups and visualisations so can check where where errors are occurring. Could the process of mashing the data lead to additional problems? Wrong location in Yell.com

A typical news story! : 

A typical news story! Essential background information missing What information do you need to assess the usefulness of this story? “40% surveyed say Belgium makes the best chocolate Switzerland comes 2nd and the UK gets only 11% of the vote” Belgium Switzerland UK

Slide 27: 

Which country makes the best chocolate http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2009/12/15/which-country-makes-the-best-chocolate/ 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 27 Who has conducted the survey? (Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services) Definition of “best”? Any type of chocolate? Country where chocolate actually manufactured or where the manufacturing company has its HQ? How was data collected? (Twtpoll, publicised on Twitter, Facebook and blog) Number of responses? (47)

Slide 28: 

Tracking down the truth behind Twitter stories Same rules apply Ask the usual questions and try and put the information into context by tracking down the timeline of the conversation 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 28

Slide 29: 

03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 29

Slide 30: 

03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 30 This story was the result of a tweet from ceoSteveJobs Story was removed soon after publication and when problems with the source were pointed out!

Slide 31: 

03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 31 iPhone 4 to be recalled: it’s true – the Daily Mail says so http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2010/06/27/iphone-4-to-be-recalled-its-true-the-daily-mail-says-so/ Phil Bradley's weblog http://philbradley.typepad.com/phil_bradleys_weblog/2010/06/fair-play-to-richard-ashmore.html

Slide 32: 

Email: karen.blakeman@rba.co.uk Web site: http://www.rba.co.uk/ Blog: http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/karenblakeman Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/karenblakeman Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/karenblakeman authorSTREAM http://www.authorstream.com/User-Presentations/karenblakeman/ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karenblakeman or just Google “Karen Blakeman” 03/12/2010 www.rba.co.uk 32

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