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News and Current Events: Web Sites, Search Engines and Tools Presented by Kim Feltham, Derek Grasby Norma Godavari, Le

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UBC LIBR 557 Dr. Mary Sue Stephenson. News and Current Events: Web Sites, Search Engines and Tools Presented by Kim Feltham, Derek Grasby Norma Godavari, Lee Anne Smith November 15, 2002. Today’s Presentation. Characteristics of news and current events Three main Web news sources

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Dr. Mary Sue Stephenson

News and Current Events:

Web Sites, Search Engines

and Tools

Presented by

Kim Feltham, Derek Grasby

Norma Godavari, Lee Anne Smith

November 15, 2002

today s presentation
Today’s Presentation
  • Characteristics of news and current events
  • Three main Web news sources
    • Directories and Portals
    • Media sites
    • Search Engines
  • News Tools
  • Specialized News sites
other characteristics
Other characteristics


  • News in any subject
  • Current events in any subject
  • Politics, sports, health, business, entertainment

Issues in Content

  • Reliability - original reporting or third party
  • Advertising - how much where, what kind
  • Quality writing versus sensationalism
other characteristics cont d
Other characteristics cont’d


  • TV and radio
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Newswires
  • News Web Pages


  • Headlines, top stories
  • Short columns, features articles, reviews
  • Multimedia - videos, audio, photos, images.
other characteristics cont d1
Other characteristics cont’d


  • Local – Global Vancouver
  • Regional- CBC
  • International-World News


  • Breadth
  • Depth
  • Alternative/non-mainstream information

Denial of service

  • Malicious multiple requests - October 2002
  • Causes outages and slowdowns


  • Usually malicious
  • Can shutdown site, transmit to other sites, infect programs


  • Non-malicious
  • Simultaneous log on – 9/11
  • System crashes, display changes


  • E.g. - China’s block of Google and AltaVista

Editorial bias

  • Influence of sponsors and advertisers

Intellectual Freedom

  • Harassment of reporters or sites

Public scrutiny

  • Reporting practices


  • Search engines


  • Example of indexing (Killerinfo)

News Alerts

  • Push services with pre-determined profile


  • Big daily newspapers - 5 to 90 days usually free
  • Deeper content - pay per view
how to find news on the web

How to findNEWS on the Web

News Directories and Portals

Media Outlet Sites

News Search Engines

  • Selected Resources-avoid overload
  • Examples:
    • Sites by different compilers
      • News Specialists: Open Directory Project
      • Librarian: NewsCentre
      • Journalist: JournalismNet

To JNet

To portals…..

  • Quick reference for breaking news

Examples: Yahoo News, WorldNews,

      • Multiple news sources
      • Shows news source and time posted
      • Subdivided into subjects and regions
      • Some have advanced searching
      • Minimum 2 weeks free archive
      • Advertising is prominent
      • Related story links
web news comes of age
Web News Comes of Age
  • Death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 major global scale news event -triggered web news expansion
  • Since - interactivity greatly increased
  • Soon after terrorist planes hit on 9/11- Web became lifeline for people trying to contact others and find latest news
lycos search engine day of 9 11
Lycos search engineday of 9/11

Top ten search terms

  • CNN
  • News
  • World Trade Center
  • CNN News
  • ABC News
  • BBC
  • breaking news
  • world news

9/11 cont’d

  • CNN logged about 4.6 million unique visitors per day the week after attack
  • Emails flooded in -many posted
  • News sites offered audio/video coverage, but all major news sites drastically overloaded.
  • CNN, though servers ramped up for US elections, posted cut-down front page, temporarily removed video clips, ads and other stories-let users access news faster

9/11 cont’d

  • Users could not access news engines, portals
  • AltaVista first engine with relevant search results, within 2 hours-because it used news crawler Moreover
  • Others altered interfaces-putting links such as CNN on pages within 4 hours
  • Search results not up to speed until more than 6 hours after-databases not refreshed sooner

9/11 cont’d

  • Just after first attack, worldwide fall by about 10% in network traffic as people stopped trying to get immediate information online-turned to television and radio
  • Email, instant messaging, and web pages allowed communication when phone lines were jammed

9/11 cont’d

  • Since 9/11, surge in demand for Web world news has parallelled internet expansion and globalization
  • Shift from mainly western to worldwide news sites
  • Arab websites and alternative news websites have seen a surge in use

9/11 cont’d

  • Revival of reporting of foreign news and serious news
  • News sites are creating special archives
  • Articles about the affect of September 11 on news media
news media sites
News Media Sites
  • News coverage from one network
  • Minute by minute updates
  • In depth coverage, related stories, special reports, archives
  • Multimedia
  • Advertising
  • Examples: CNN, BBC, CBC

To Search Engines…

news searching
News Searching

When NOT to use a search engine:

  • If timeliness is an issue
    • breaking news
  • If geography is an issue
    • local news
idiosyncrasies of search engines
Idiosyncrasies of Search Engines
  • Searches
    • Default command AND or OR?
    • Boolean logic?
      • advanced searches are more specific
    • Case sensitive?
      • allows more specific results
    • Phrase searching?
      • allow more precision
idiosyncrasies of search engines1
Idiosyncrasies of Search Engines
  • Coverage
    • Dates covered?
      • how far back are the archives?
    • Update Frequency
      • how up-to-date are they?
    • Sources
      • news wires?
      • web sites?
      • news sources?
idiosyncrasies of search engines2
Idiosyncrasies of SearchEngines
  • Results
    • How are the results sorted?
      • relevancy?
      • date?
      • option to change order?
      • unknown?
    • News monitoring?
      • Will they send you news?
news tools specialized news

News Tools / Specialized News

  • Personalized News
  • News Alerts
  • News Magazines
  • Specialty News
  • Alternative News
personalized news
Personalized News
  • News sites that attempt to personalize the news
    • Gathers links according to criteria set into categories
  • Headlines listed as links
  • Rates importance of article
  • Remembers preference when changing computers
  • Use X to indicate no interest
  • Drawback - cluttered presentation
  • Summarizes news from various sources
news alerts push services
News Alerts/Push Services
  • CNN
  • New York Times
  • Washington Post
  • News alerts include
    • Breaking news
    • Newsletters
    • CNN specificity on programs – Crossfire, etc.
news magazines
News Magazines
  • Usually have a news specific audience providing commentary on news stories.
  • Examples Maclean’s and Time
    • limited access outside of vendor based systems
  • Provides full text access to thousands of articles
  • Contains articles dated back to 1998 from more than 300 magazines and journals (Gale Group provides content)
  • Accepts quoted phrases, +, -
  • Live search
specialty news
Specialty News
  • Sites focused at a specific group or clientele
  • Broad subject area entertainment, sports, etc.
  • E.g. Financial Site
financial news

-real time stock quotes,

  • IHT – Business Asia
  • Geographic separation of financial news and tools.
    • Currency conversion, search engine, good tools to visit top articles
alternative news
Alternative News
  • Credible stories outside mainstream media
  • Can be controversial, unexpected and often critical of governments
  • Digital Freedom Network
satirical news
Satirical News
  • Some details are true but the rest is embellished or fabricated
  • Intended to make a point and to provide humor relief
  • Broken news link