RMIUG Meeting Minutes - Using the Internet
to Find Information
The 20th RMIUG meeting, October 1995,
started at 7:00 with Dan Murray welcoming
over 100 people in the audience. This addressed
using the Internet to Find Information.
There are currently 961 members of the
rmiug-announce, 642 members of the rmiug-discuss,
and 467 members on the rmiug-jobs mailing
Announcements from the floor:
- Art Smoot (email@example.com)
is handling the RMIUG library. There are
several new books this month and people
are encouraged to check out books. Many
thanks to O'Reilley and Associates for
their generous donations. We are also
looking for someone to step up and become
the librarian, remember the librarian
has first choice of the new books.
- Dan Murray (firstname.lastname@example.org) announced
the desire of the RMIUG committee to include
an addition to the RMIUG web page providing
information on Internet training locations.
He asked for a volunteer to provide the
same service Tom Bresnahan provided when
he built the "Tom's Internet Providers
List". Alan Fleming volunteered after
the meeting to put this list together
and publish it on our web page.
- Randy Holt (email@example.com)
announced the December meeting as a panel
of "expert" members, and how they are
connected to the Internet. The idea is
to include people using various methods
to access the Internet and present a panel
discussion to help other members initially
connect, or change their connection method.
If you are experienced in a personal Internet
connection and want to share your experiences
with others, please send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The citizens for Slow Growth announced
their web page location. They can be found
- A member announced his delight with
a new Java based search engine. This engine
searches other search engine databases.
Check it out at http://metacrawler.cs.washington.edu:8080/
- A free Internet newspaper, "Internet
news" is now available, and will appear
every other Monday with 8,000 copies distributed
to 200 high-traffic locations throughout
Boulder County. Contact email@example.com
or Market2@ix.netcom.com for more
- Dan Murray announced that he is looking
for HTML designers to work at Customer
- Dan Murray presented the idea list for
future RMIUG meetings and asked for suggestions
from the members. Immediately following
is the list presented followed by the
ideas suggested at the meeting. If you
see a subject you would like to address,
or if there are any ideas you find interesting,
please send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Current Cache of Member Meeting
- Elements of Good Web Page Design.
speaker: William Horton
Political/freedom of info/privacy/etc.
City-oriented Internet Initiatives
Transactions on the Internet (Visa/MC/Netscape/DigiCash/E-cash,...).
WWW Search Engines.
Political Initiatives on the Net.
CARL on the Internet.
Education on the Internet.
Healthcare on the Internet in CO.
The Spot (www.thespot.com),
- Ideas Brought up at Meeting
- Financial information on the Internet
How to write HTML
How to perform legal searches using
Legal liability of Internet providers
News Groups; what they are and how
to use them effectively
How to configure mailboxes
What browser should I use and which
one will be the most popular
How do copyrights affect what is on
Dan introduced the first speaker:
Susan Brandes - email@example.com
Susan has her MLS (Masters in Library
Science) from DU and her MBA from University
of Colorado at Denver. She has twenty years
experience as an information professional
in medical libraries, and in 1993, founded
her own company, InfoEdge. Accessing both
commercial databases and Internet resources,
she specializes in on-line research covering
such topics as market research, competitive
intelligence, and business. Susan's presented
her information taking the tact of "searching
for business intelligence" and how to find
information like a company's market data,
executive information and import/ export
Susan offered the following search tips
and search engines she finds useful.
- Know what to spell what you are looking
for. You can waste a lot of time if you
do not have the exact spelling of a search
- Know something about what you are looking
for. If you are looking for the Firestone
winery it is important to know they are
a different company than the tire company.
- There are some search engines that charge
a fee. Some for searches and some for
access. Usually the information provided
by a fee based search engine is more up-to-date
and thorough. You get your money's worth.
- Keep track of where you have been. If
you find a web page that is useful make
a hotlist or bookmark entry. Finding it
again can be very time consuming. Also
keep track of less than useful web pages
and don't waste time going there again.
- Check on the update status of the information.
Some web pages are not updated very often
and the information presented may be out-dated
- Once you find the geographical location
of a company you are researching, look
to a local publication for more thorough
information. There is usually access to
full text newpapers columns available
and you will find information not available
in national publications.
- Do not overlook Gophers, FTP sites and
newsgroups. There are often real gems
Favorite Search Engines:
- Infoseek (http://www.infoseek.com/Home)
WWW Worm (http://www.cs.colorado.edu/home/mcbryan/WWWW.html)
Categorical Catapult (http://www.clark.net/pub/cargui/lins.html)
WWW Virtual Library: Subject Catalog (http://www.w3.org/hypertext/DataSource/bysubject/Overview.html)
Internet Public Library - Reference Center
Internet exploration Page (http://www.amdahl.com/internet/meta-index.html)
Savvy Search (http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~dreiling/smartform.html)
Our second speaker was Debra Davis
Debra Davis is a special librarian by
profession, and has worked in the biomedical
and business information fields for over
17 years. She redefined her career as a
librarian in 1990 when she founded her information
retrieval and training business "Knowledge
Brokers". Debra describes her relationship
with clients as that of an "Intelligent
Agent" or "Knowbot": she retrieves information
for people who lack the time, expertise,
or resources to find it themselves. Debra's
philosophy is to "think outside the box",
and to be on the cutting edge of information
retrieval technology without falling in
front of the blade. Debra's presentation
was based on a search for Chronic Fatigue
Debra offered the following search tips
and search tools.
- Determine what type of information is
needed, a list of experts and possible
articles. The time spent off-line will
save on-line charges and make the search
- Make sure your search terms are put
together efficiently. Looking for information
on AIDS; make sure you use capital letters.
If you enter the search term "aids" you
will receive hundreds of result hits with
nothing to do with "AIDS".
- Check your source quality, and check
what is being searched. The quality of
the information provided is important
when trying to perform an efficient search.
If your data turns out to be inaccurate,
and you noted the database searched, you
will save time during your next search
by not using the same database.
- Most search engines will be easy, time
efficient or cost efficient. You can usually
- Frequency of searching is important.
Frequent searches results in high skill
level using search engines and not a lot
of retraining. In-frequent searches result
in relearning search techniques and can
cost money depending on the search engine.
Medical Material Engines:
- Clinical Medicine Resources (Umbrella
site U. of Kansas and updated) http://www.kumc.edu/mmatrix
- US Dept of Health and Human Services
(FDA and Disease control) http://www.os.dhhs.gov
- Center for Disease Control http://www.medscape.com
- Pharmaceutical Information Network (generic
drug search) http://pharminfo.com
Other Medical Resources:
- National Library of Medicine 800-638-8480
Knight Ridder 800-334-2564
STN International 800-753-4227
OVID Technologies 800-950-2055
Our third speaker was Barbara Wagner
Barbara was trained as a biologist and
librarian and has worked in specialized
libraries most of her career. In recent
years, she has directed the Colorado State
Publications Library and the Environmental
Protection Agency Region 8 Library. Currently
Barbara is the Director of the U.S. Geological
Survey Library in Denver. She started her
company, The Access Point, in 1981. Barbara
has been finding computerized information
for over 22 years, and has been exploring
the Internet for the past three. Barbara
presented general information to making
your on-line search more efficient
Plan 2 hours preparation for each hour on-line.
Define information wanted: narrow/broader
categories. Learn types of sources: Usenet,
Sites/Nodes, Specific files and Web Sites.
Assess probable payoff from each: match
with info. wanted?, current?, valid? What
are you looking for: opinion, facts, data,
documents - verbatim or summary news. Check
Alternative sources, reference book call
an expert and check libraries. Decide cost/benefit
tradeoffs - how much of your time: what
else could you be doing? Out of pocket -
dollar cost. Opportunity cost - not doing
Use search engines: WWW, older tools: e.g.
gopher, offbeat sources: e.g. phone books.
Found what was wanted? Value, Cost
Compare results with library research:
As Robert Runyon said: "A couple of hours
on the Internet can frequently save a couple
of minutes in the library." [Runyon is Director,
University of Nebraska Libraries]
Q: Why have more than a couple search
A: Data if available to different organization
at different prices and is organized differently.
Q: There has to be a better way of identifying
what is available on pages
A: Noticing trend of data becoming more
organized and indexed
Q: How do you know costs ahead of time
A: Several part answer
- Some engines are good at identifying
costs ahead of time
- Some systems give cost by output and
allow you to decline information
- Some allow you to manage costs by limiting
- Experience gives best idea of what a
search will cost
Q: How worried about credit are you?
A: Usually call ahead of time with Card
Q: How about if a customer loses money
because of inaccurate or incomplete information
A: Several part answer
- Usually discussed ahead of time about
possibility of error in data provided
- Disclosure statement up front
A few reasons to use an Information Broker
- organized, systematic and experienced
- research and analysis for relevancy,
organizing & repackaging, delivery in
a timely way
- Usually a free initial consultation,
discuss project & plan strategy upon hiring,
consultant & client work as partners,
and you are in "driver's seat" for cost
- alternatives - consultant recommends:
search strategies, specific sources on
topic or consultant teaches how to do
RMIUG wishes to thank Internet One of
Boulder for sponsoring the refreshments,
NIST for the use of their meeting room,
and XOR Network Engineering for maintenance
of RMIUG's WWW site and email lists.
Suggestions/comments/feedback are always
welcome - please email these to firstname.lastname@example.org.
RMIUG has 3 email lists for its members.
Send an Email to email@example.com
for an auto-reply message with more info
We have a "hole" on our schedule, and
are scrambling a bit to put together a job
hunters panel for our November 14th meeting.
This will be geared toward showing people
how to find a job using the Internet. If
you have any suggestions/comments/questions,
pls send this to firstname.lastname@example.org