1 What is Competitive Intelligence - Muni

previousdankishΛογισμικό & κατασκευή λογ/κού

25 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 6 μήνες)

199 εμφανίσεις

MASARYKOVA UNIVERZITA

FILOZOFICKÁ FAKULTA

Ústav české literatury a knihovnictví

Kabinet knihovnictví














Internet
-

and Computer
-
aided Tools and
Methods for Competitive Intelligence


Master

thesis












Autor práce:
Bc.
Katarína Rantová
, DiS.


Vedoucí práce: Mgr.
Břetislav Šimral



Brno 2007

Bibliografický záznam

RANTOVÁ, Katarína.
Internet
-

and Computer
-
aided Tools and Methods for Competitive
Intelligence
.

Brno: Masarykova univerzita, Filozofická fakulta, Ústav české

literatury a
knihovnictví
,

Kabinet knihovnictví,

2007
.
13
0

s.

Vedoucí diplomové práce Mgr.
Břetislav Šimral
.


Anotace

Magisterská práce „Nástroje a metody Competitive Intelligence se zaměřením na
Internet“ pojednává o oblasti Competitive Intelligence (CI) a zaměřuje se na způsoby

a
možnosti využití moderní komunikační a informační technologie


zejména počítačů a
Internetu v tomto dynamickém oboru. Nastiňuje rozdíl v praxi CI před nástupem moderní
technologie a po ní, a zaměřuje se na konkrétní příklady využití moderní technologie

v
jednotlivých fázích CI cyklu. Práce osvětluje principy fungování a předkládá praktické
příklady softwaru pro sběr informací, organizaci, ukládání a vyhledávání informací, pro
analýzu, spolupráci a counterintelligence. Poslední kapitola se zabývá doporuč
eními a
hodnotícími kritérii pro výběr optimální softwarové podpory pro efektivní výkon CI.


Annotation

Master thesis “Internet
-

and Computer
-
aided Tools and Methods for Competitive
Intelligence” examines the usage of modern communication and information t
echnology
such as computers and Internet in the dynamic field of Competitive Intelligence (CI). It
outlines the character of CI conduct before and after the coming of modern technology
and focuses on examples of technology usage in the individual phases of

the CI cycle.
Methods and software examples are given for phases of information acquisition,
information organization, storage and retrieval, analysis, collaboration and
counterintelligence. In the last chapter, the guidelines and evaluation criteria for
the
choice of CI software are discussed.

Klíčová slova

Competitive intelligence, konkurenční zpravodajství, knowledge management,
komunikační a informační technologie, Internet, competitive intelligence software,
competitive intelligence cyklus, softwarov
é aplikace
.


Keywords

Competitive intelligence, knowledge management, communication and information
technology, Internet,
competitive intelligence software, competitive intelligence cycle,
software application.




















Prohlášení

Prohlašuji, ž
e jsem předkládanou práci zpracovala samostatně a použila jen uvedené
prameny a literaturu. Současně dávám svolení k

tomu, aby tato diplomová práce byla
umístěna v

Ústřední knihovně FF MU a používána ke studijním účelům.


V

Brně dne 27
.

června

200
7



Kata
rína Rantová



























Poděkování

Na tomto místě bych ráda poděkovala
Mgr.

Břetislavu Šimralovi a

Jiřímu Tillnerovi,
B.A. za laskavou ochotu a pomoc při psaní této práce.

C
ONTENTS


INTRODUCTION

................................
................................
................................
.............

1

1 WHAT IS COMPETITIV
E INTELLIGENCE

................................
..........................

3

1.1

CI

E
THICS

................................
................................
................................
...............

4

1.2

T
HE
F
OUR
-
P
HASED
CI

C
YCLE

................................
................................
..............

6

1.3

T
HE
V
ALUE
-
A
DDED
P
ROCESS

................................
................................
............

14

2 HISTORICAL OVERVIE
W

................................
................................
......................

18

2.1

C
OMPETITIVE
I
NTELLIGENCE
B
EFORE
T
HE
C
OMING OF
I
NTERNET

................

18

2.2

B
RIEF HISTORY OF COMP
UTERS

................................
................................
..........

23

2.
3

B
RIEF
H
ISTORY OF
I
NTERNET

................................
................................
.............

24

3 CI AND THE INTERNE
T

................................
................................
..........................

26

3.1

A
CQUISITION OF
I
NFORMATION

................................
................................
...........

31

3.1.1 Accessing CI Information
-

Web Searching

................................
.....................

32

3.1.2 Accessing CI Information
-

Pre
-
Paid Services and Information Vendors

.......

38

3.1.3 Monitoring CI Information

................................
................................
..............

44

3.1.4 Proactive Methods

................................
................................
...........................

50

3.2

O
RGANISATION
,

S
TORAGE
,

R
ETRIEVAL

................................
..............................

50

3.2.1 Document and Content Management

................................
...............................

52

3.2.2 Text Discovering, Analyzing and Structuring

................................
..................

55

3.2.3 Aggregating

................................
................................
................................
......

56

3.2.4 Personalizing

................................
................................
................................
...

57

3.2.5 Multipurpose Portals

................................
................................
.......................

58

3.3

A
NALYSIS

................................
................................
................................
...............

60

3.3.1 Data analysing and mining

................................
................................
..............

61

3.3.2 Text mining

................................
................................
................................
.......

68

3.3.3. Web mining (Web Content Mining)

................................
................................

74

3.3.4 Web Link Analysis (Web Structure Mining)

................................
.....................

77

3.3.5 Web usage mining

................................
................................
............................

79

3.3.6 Strategy and Simulation

................................
................................
...................

81

3.4

C
OLLABORATIVE
I
NTELLIGENCE

................................
................................
.........

84

3.5

C
OUNTERINTELLIGENCE

................................
................................
......................

87

4 HOW TO CHOOSE THE
RIGHT TECHNOLOGY FOR

CI

................................

92

CONCLUSION

................................
................................
................................
.............

112

REFERENCES

................................
................................
................................
..............

118

BIBLIOGRAPHY

................................
................................
................................
.........

122



1

Internet
-

and Computer
-
aided Tools and Methods
for Competiti
ve Intelligence.



Introduction


In our everyday life we norm
ally do not realize to what extent

modern
information and communication
technology (ICT) changed our liv
e
s. And
yet it includes recent

inventions
mostly

devis
ed during the last century.
W
e use te
lephones, mobiles, faxes, computers, etc. without stopping to
think how the world would
look

without them.
T
he newest invention
e
specially
-

the Internet
-

has spread super fast and its popularity soars
every day.
N
ew ways of using this technology are
bein
g
emplo
yed and
new applications based on using the Internet

are launched.
It would be
interesting to examine how computers and the Internet changed our
lives, entire industries and influenced the way we work. However, I have
turned my attention
to
a highly

dynamic field which is to a great extent
fused with modern technology
-

the field of CI


Competitive intelligence (CI) is a field where information and its timely

dissemination always played an

essential role. As
with
many modern
practices it is
often
qui
te hard to i
magine how the conduct of CI could
work

before
the
coming of the modern technology. On the other hand, it
is equally interesting to explore how the modern technology and its latest
development contribute to the
CI process. This paper
address
es

these
issues.


Following the

initial definition

describing competitive intelligence
, based
on
professionals’ opinions,

a brief historical overview of both, the CI and
the technology


computers and Internet

is given
. The
main focus of this

2

paper is

how
mod
ern technology (paying

particular attention to
the
Internet)

can enhance the conduct of to
day
’s

CI. The field of CI has
changed hand
-
in
-
hand with the development of information technology.
Each step of the CI process benefits from the usage of ICT. This pa
per
offers a close look on the individual steps such as Acquisition of
Information, Organisation, Storage and Retrieval of Information,
Analysis, Collaborative Intelligence, and Counterintelligence.

This should
provide basic overview of how the modern tech
nology can be effectively
used to enhance the process of CI. This paper does not aspire to describe
every piece of software and all computer
-

or Internet
-
aided methods and
techniques that exist. Rather, it tries to outline the possible ways in
which ICT ca
n enhance the CI process. This is supported by practical
references to specific software applications.


This paper also addresses the problem of choosing the right technology
for the CI. It looks at ways of assessing and evaluating the CI software
with foc
us on the evaluation criteria.




3

1

What is Competitive I
ntelligence


It is not easy to find just one all
-
encompassing definition of Competitive
intelligence (CI). This may be due to relatively short history and high
diversity of practical application
wit
hin

this field.


The Society for Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) says:

“CI is a necessary, ethical business discipline for decision making based
on understanding the competitive environment.”

(SCIP
2
)


“Competitive intelligence (CI) is informa
tion that’s been analysed to the
point where you can make a critical decision. Driving that information to a
decision point is where the value lies.”

(J. P. Miller, 2000, p. 1)


“Intelligence is more than reading newspaper articles; it is about
developing

unique insights regarding issues within a firm’s business
environment.”

(J. P. Miller, 2000, p. 13)


“Competitive intelligence is defined as the process of developing actionable
foresight regarding competitive dynamics and non
-
market factors that can
be u
sed to enhance competitive advantage. … Competitive intelligence
moves beyond traditional environmental scanning and market research by
focusing on all aspects of the firm’s environment (i.e., competitive,
technological, social, political, economic, and ec
ological) and at various
levels of the firm’s environment (i.e., remote, industry, and operating).
Competitive intelligence delineates between information and its analysis to
produce intelligence.”

(Prescott, 1999, p. 42
-
43)


4


“Competitive intelligence is t
he process of monitoring the competitive
environment. To be more exact, CI is a systematic and ethical program for
gathering, analyzing, and managing information that can affect a
company's plans, decisions, and operations.”

(Kahaner, 1996 cited in S. H. M
iller
,

p. 1
-
2)


“To summarize the commonalities, CI is defined as an information
-
gathering process involving the analysis of a company’s external
environment, including its competitors, in order to remain competitive.”

(Bouthillier and Shearer, 2003, p. 29
)


As we can see
,

most definitions are related to
the
business field.
Although CI techniques and methods are
also
used in military, research,
politics and, basically, in all fields that are based on competition and
advantage


business CI is well researche
d, widely used and discussed
and probably most published. CI is designed to help the subject
(company, organization, etc.) to beat the competition by analysing legally
obtained information about external environment and competitors in
particular.


1
.1 CI
Ethics


A great emphasis is put on ethics, since ethics and legal conduct is what
makes
the
difference between CI and espionage, hacking, sniffing,
digging through one’s garbage and other unethical methods of gathering
information. The Society for Competit
ive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP)
has addressed this issue at large e.g. by giving presentations on CI ethics
at their conferences, publish
ing

a book called
Navigating the Grey Zone

and compil
ing

a
Code of Ethics

propagated through their web page.


5


“SC
IP Code of Ethics for CI Professionals



To continually strive to increase the recognition and respect of the
profession.


To comply with all applicable laws, domestic and international.


To accurately disclose all relevant information, including one's
ide
ntity and organization, prior to all interviews.


To avoid conflicts of interest in fulfilling one's duties.


To provide honest and realistic recommendations and conclusions in
the execution of one's duties.


To promote this code of ethics within one's com
pany, with third
-
party
contractors and within the entire profession.


To faithfully adhere to and abide by one's company policies,
objectives, and guidelines.”

(SCIP
1
)


John E. Prescott in his
article in Proposal Management M
agazine gives
some guidelines o
n how to establish and conduct CI within an
organisation. Part of these guidelines is also a need for each organisation
to establish a Code of Ethics concerning CI activities. He gives
the

core
principles for developing such Code in the following table:



6


(
Prescott, 1999
, p. 10)


This table gives us specific idea as to what practices and methods are
unacceptable
. It is clear that in order to adhere to the first rule of the
SCIP’s Code of Ethics
-

to always try to increase the recognition and
respect of the

CI profession


employment of the inappropriate CI tactics
and methods (such as stated above) must be avoided.


1
.2 The F
our
-
Phased CI C
ycle


The CI woks with information trying to
arrive

from data to knowledge.
This is a complex process involving basic
concepts such as data,
information, intelligence and knowledge. Bouthillier and Shearer (2003)
argue, that good understanding of these concepts, their meanings, the
differences and links between them are crucial for successful conduct of
CI.


7


(Bouthilli
er and Shearer, 2003, p. 6)


According to Bouthillier and Shearer the following picture depicts the
links between the above mentioned concepts:


(Bouthillier and Shearer, 2003, p. 7)


8


CI cycle recounts the main steps that take place in CI. It is divided i
nto
four steps and since it is never actually done and finished but rather it
repeats itself continually


it is called the cycle.


“The four phases of the intelligence cycle include:


Identification of key decision makers and their intelligence needs


Colle
ction of information


Analysis of information and upgrading it to intelligence


Dissemination of intelligence to decision makers”

(J.P. Miller, 2000, p.

14)


Although some alternations by various authors occur (
see chapter 4 of
this paper, or
see

a comparati
ve chart by

Bouthillier and Shearer, 2003,
p.

40), the basic structure of the cycle can be stated as follows:



(
Bout
hillier and Shearer, 2003,

p. 43)


According to Bouthillier and Shearer (2003, p. 44) the correct handling of
the first step “
Identificati
on of CI needs
” is crucial for
a

successful and
e
ffective CI process. Great care should be used to identify the key
decision makers and their specific information needs. No less important
is to choose the right methods and tactics for collection of informa
tion,

9

and the right choice of
the
way in which the information
is going to be
presented to its

acceptors so that it is comprehensible to them.
T
he first
step
involves

a kind of planning, outlining, or mapping the whole process
of CI cycle with the goal of
providing the most relevant CI product
intelligible to the right decision makers. Though this first step of CI cycle
might seem less important than the others, CI specialists deem it
the
foundation of successful CI conduct.
“Without a road map, the process

rumbles.”

(J.P. Miller, 2000, p.15). Since the identification of CI needs is
complex and often demanding in
the
ever
-
changing competitive
environment, it is vital that it is being carried out on
a
regular basis
(Bouthillier and Shearer, 2003).

After ident
ifying the CI needs, CI professionals can move onto the second
step


collection of information
. Here again some planning concerning
the sources of information takes place. Bouthillier and Shearer (2003, p.
47) tell us that there are two important kinds of

information sources


internal and external.
Internal information

comes from inside of the
company or organisation


e.g. internal documents such as reports,
circulars, records, databases, employees, etc.
External information

sources come from the outside

of the organisation


e.g. analyst reports,
newspaper articles, employees of other companies. According
to
the
authors (Bouthillier and Shearer, 2003) in practice the managers and CI
specialists focus more on the external sources, but both, internal and
e
xternal sources should be taken into account when collecting CI
information. To identify valuable internal sources an
Internal
Information Audit

is carried out. In fact, the author recommend
s

to
employ the Internal Audit prior to beginning the information
acquisition
process. The authors point out that according to many studies the
majority of information needs can be satisfied from within the
organisation. Besides internal documents,
company’s

own employees as

10

well as senior management who deal with custom
ers and suppliers on
a
daily basis and can provide valuable insights and information.

Furthermore, t
he sources of information can be divided into primary and
secondary. We could characterize the
primary source information

as a
first
-
hand information, comi
ng right from its producers. These can be
e.g. financial reports, staff members, suppliers. According to J. P. Miller
(2000, p. 15),
“Managers regard primary sources quite highly due to their
uniqueness and the likely competitive advantage that the informa
tion may
provide


unlike secondary print and electronic sources that are non
-
proprietary and readily available.”

Secondary source information

is usually intermediated by someone
outside the organisation
-

e.g. by journalist, analyst, or database editor.
T
hey
“…provide the background information to support the insights that
are gained from primary sources.”

( J. P. Miller, 2000, p. 15). Among
secondary source information typically belong newspaper articles,
industry analysts reports, public or commercial da
tabases, etc. We can
speculate that secondary source information is probably better accessible
than primary source, since it is usually publishe
d and widely available.
Whereas the

vast volume of primary source information tends to be more
accessible
intern
ally

from within the organisation.

The process of
information
collection employs many methods and
techniques. Two main strategies of information acquisition are stated in
Bouthillier and Shearer (2003). It is either
targeting

a specific
information and con
centrating on acquiring it, or
monitoring

internal
and external environment, gathering all relevant pieces of information
which might be useful, but weren’t previously identified. It is clear that in
the process great volume of information is collected. It

is necessary to
clean and
filter

the collected information of all redundant or irrelevant
data


to trim it down to its most relevant corpus that will be further
analysed. To ensure the analysis will not go astray the supply of collected

11

information shoul
d be accurate and true. Collected information should
be, therefore,
assessed

concerning its validity. This can be e.g. done by
assessing the credibility of the information source, or by checking its
consistency throughout varied sources.

After relevant, cr
itically assessed information was collected the CI system
will need to store it to be available for further analysis.
The
organisation, storage and retrieval

of information is an important part
of the CI process. Information is typically organised into top
ic
-
groups. It
needs to be indexed according to pre
-
set indexing rules responsive of CI
needs and stored for future retrieval. It is clear that the better and more
extensive the indexing of the information the more successful retrieval
can be expected. Stor
age and retrieval of information occurs throughout
the CI process. Not only collected information is stored, but so are also
the outcomes of analysis and various stages of information processing.
“It is difficult to draw line between where the ‘organizatio
n and storage’
function ends and ‘analysis’ begins in the CI process.”

(Bouthillier and
Shearer, 2003, p. 51). The history of the stored information can show
development which can be used as a part of prediction methods. Only
meticulously organized collect
ion is of any value as good organisation
and indexing of information is in direct line with the successful retrieval
which is vital.
“As with any information system, the inability to find stored
information can have severe consequences to an organisation.”

(Bouthillier
and Shearer, 2003, p. 51). Also the ability to store the information in
different multimedia formats (text, picture, sound) is emphasised
(Bouthillier and Shearer, 2003).

Analysis

of the collected data and information is often described as t
he
process of transformation of information into intelligence (Bouthillier and
Shearer, 2003). According to J.P. Miller (2000, p. 15) by analysis
“…intelligence professionals identify significant patterns and trends. They
seek unique insights and unforesee
n relationships in data.”

And further

12

he says:
“The analysis phase can require a scientific research approach:
formulating a proposition, and determining the validity of assumptions as
well as the probability of the upcoming impacts.”

(J.P. Miller, 2000, p
p.
15
-
16). Bouthillier and Shearer (2003) also include the above stated
methods of scientific approach into analysis process, but note that some
specialists emphasize the link of
hypothesis

to a recommendation for
action. They maintain an opinion that CI a
nalysis should b
e

action
-
orientated
. The authors give
the
following examples of the two
approaches:


Hypothesis
-
oriented:

“If we lower the price of our product, how will our competitors react, and
what impact might their reaction have on our organization?”

And they go
on to state:
“In fact, analysis involves asking questions and developing
hypotheses about the answer for each question.
” (Bouthillier and Shearer,
2003, p. 52).


Action
-
orientated:

“Based on the competitor profiles we have established, we shou
ld lower
the price of our product.”
(Bouthillier and Shearer, 2003, p. 52). The
authors explain that for this kind of analysis an expert system with a
built
-
in knowledge base is necessary. This base would include
knowledge from management, psychology, law
, finance, etc. and should
be very large and complex. It is a system in which
“the inputs are the
competitive conditions, and an inference mechanism uses the built
-
in
knowledge base to make a decision about what kind of action should be
taken.”

(Bouthillie
r and Shearer, 2003, p. 52).


Among most common analysis techniques belong Benchmarki
n
g, SWOT
analysis, Growth
-
Share analysis, Profiling, Patent analysis, War Gaming,

13

and many more. The choice of the methods depends on the information
needs and analysed ob
ject or situation. Ideally
,

a

mix of two or more
methods ar
e used to draw the full picture

since each of the methods
focuses on different aspects.

A value added in this (analysis) stage of the CI cycle is the key to the
transformation process


the proces
s where information transforms into
intelligence. As Bouthillier and Shearer (2003, p. 55) argue:
“Because
information in this step is manipulated, examined, condensed, or
expanded


to a large extent to add meaning and inference


it is
transformed into i
ntelligence. I
t

has, after this process, a significantly
higher use value for the company.”

The overall e
ffectivity and success of CI service depends greatly on the
ability of CI professionals to get their findings across to the decision
makers who will f
urther utilize them.
Dissemination of intelligence
products

takes place through various means
:

from face
-
to
-
face
conversation, written reports or hand
outs, to personal presentation i
n
staff meetings, emailing, to postings on Intranet. It is desirable to ch
oose
the means of dissemination according to the current situation, CI
content and the preference of the target audience. Together with the
ability to determine the target audience goes hand
-
in
-
hand the ability to
choose appropriate means of dissemination
of CI products.


All the above mentioned parts of the CI cycle are not separate actions. As
the word ‘cycle’
implies

it is a never
-
ending process, where the individual
phases are intertwined and react
to

each other as well as
to

the dynamic
competition en
vironment. For example the first step the ‘identification of
CI needs’ should be checked

for changes constantly through
out the
whole process and adaptations should be made. Only this way we will
ensure the CI products will address the current situation
and

answer the
CI needs to the highest degree. During
the
analysis phase, for example,

14

questions may arise and we may need to go back to the previous phase
and search for more information. All in all, the CI cycle should be flexible
and operational, always ch
ecking it addresses the right issues, keeping
pace with the changing competitive environment as well as with he CI
needs of the receivers of CI services.


1
.3 The Value
-
Added Process


As an e
ffective and valued service, CI must create value. It is not
a
m
ere
collection of freely available pieces of information, but rather it
encompasses
“series of value
-
added processes”

(Bouthillier and Shearer,
2003, p. 16). In literature,
Taylor’s

(1986)

concept of value
-
added
processes in information systems is widely u
se
d for outlining the
individual
value
-
added processes in CI. According to Bouthillier and
Shearer (2003, p.

16) who also build on Taylor’s concept,
“...value is
added

when the information is made more useful to the users by enabling
them to make decision
s or to clarify problems.”

In Taylor’s theory,
emphasis is put on the
human

user

and on
the information use
environment
.
“An information message is given value by the person who
"uses" it and systems should be designed and built based upon estimates
of fut
ure information use by current or potential users. This user
-
driven
approach for system design takes into account the information use
environment within which the person operates. This includes the physical,
cognitive, political and emotional work environm
ent which establishes the
conditions of information flow and determines [t]he criteria by which she or
he will judge the value of information messages.”

(Goodman, 1994).

The information use environment is an expression coined by Taylor. It
suggests that i
nformation is always used in context and there is an
information background attached to it. In information systems and

15

services
-

this information use environment should always be taken into
account.

In Taylor’s theory, there are six broad categories that
stand for the value
-
added processes in information systems:

1

Ease of use

2

Noise reduction

3

Quality

4

Adaptability

5

Time savings

6

Cost savings

Therefore
, we can assume that

any system or service that can enhance
the performance in any of these six points adds valu
e. As Goodman
(1994) states:
“Value added activities support decision, judgmental,
analyzing and organizing processes,”

which are vital for any well
-
functioning body or organisation.

The six above stated categories devised by Taylor give us
a

more specific

idea about how value
is
added in information systems
-

i.e. also in CI
processes. Enhancing the
ease of use

of the information system
encompasses
a
great range of activities: from mere collecting of pieces of
information thus concentrating the scattered p
otentially useful pieces of
information into one access point; organising them for retrieval
-

to
creating special user interface or educating users in the usage of such
system. Modern information technologies contributed profoundly to the
“ease of use” fe
ature in many ways. They enabled us to browse through
the information hits on
-
screen, to sort information by selected criteria,
quick extract and re
-
formatting of information, fast automated access
(e.g. online databases), etc.

Noise reduction

b
asically fi
lter
s any

unwanted information and ensur
es

the system will return correct, complete and accurate search results.
This is achieved mainly t
h
rough techniques of summarising, indexing,

16

filtering and vocabulary control. Indexing
usually
requires intellectual
i
nvolvement in name
-
tagging and subject description of individual
information entities. Indexing must be precise and consistent to ensure
the correct search function. By selecting keywords
the user
will be able
to narrow down his/her search. By creating a l
ink between search
keywords within the system, pointers are set up from one information
entity to another (or others). Through linkage of such keywords the user
will then be able to navigate through the search process.

Quality

is probably the most complex
and most sought after category of
information system. Quality is manifested through several properties
such as accurate (i.e. error
-
free) transmission of information,
comprehensive, current and valid answers to the search queries, and
reliability of the sy
stem. User should be able to gain trust to the system
based on its error
-
free, consistently reliable functioning; on the system
providing consistently up
-
to
-
date information and the user to be able to
rely on the validity of the retrieved information. Qual
ity in information
systems is ensured through processes such as
“quality control, editing,
updating, analyzing, and comparing results.”

(Bouthillier and Shearer,
2003, p. 19).
Adaptability

of the system is the degree to which the
system is able to answer t
he particular information needs or problems of
the user. That is whether the system can react in
a
dynamic way quickly
adapting itself to both, the ever
-
changing information environment and
the information needs of the users. The flexible information syste
m will
also allow combination of several approaches to retrieve the desired
information.

Time and cost saving

are, perhaps, the most recognised values of
information systems. These values consist mainly in speed with which
information can be retrieved. Fa
st information retrieval and usage can
mean an advantage that might lead to financial gain. An integrated and
well maintained information system will provide the needed piece
of

17

information quickly without the need of investing much time and energy
into th
e search itself.
“Processes such as reducing processing time and
lowering costs connected to the system are central to its value.”

(Bouthillier and Shearer, 2003, p. 19).

All of the above mentioned values apply for
the
CI system. However, as a
system desi
gned to support decision making, it should also add a higher
level of understanding and insight
-

creating an intelligence.

“There are number of ways of adding value to information. At the first
level, value can be added through basic information process,

such as
alphabetizing, indexing, filtering, and comparing. At the second level, value
can be added through applying context and meaning to information,
transforming it into intelligence. [...] CI, whether conducted by humans or
mediated by a CI system, is

a business function that requires value to be
added at both of these levels.”

(Bouthillier and Shearer, 2003, p. 21).



18

2

Historical O
verview


From the advent of computer and Internet technology, there is a long line
of groundbreaking inventions that led
to the current state of IT
technology. It is worth noticing however, that the line is stretching across
a relatively short time. From a simple structure of
interlinked

calculators,
through computers operating on vacuum
-
tubes and taking up the space
of a hu
ge room to today’s common use of Internet and modern desk
computer, laptops, and even pocket computers
-

it all took just over
seven decades. In the following chapters, the major inventions of the
field, as well as the pre
-
internet history of CI are outlin
ed.


2
.1 Competitiv
e I
ntelligence
B
efore
The C
oming of Internet


The practice of information acquisition e.g. in form of exploration or
espionage can surely be traced deeply into our history. The historical
roots of Competitive intelligence (CI) lie probab
ly in military and national
security field, since
the
concerns in these areas traditionally belonged to
those with the highest importance. One of the fist sophisticated
reference
s

can be found in Sun Tzu’s collection of essays written about
500 B.C. It is
an essay about
a
military strategy called
The Art of War

which inspired the future developments of military intelligence. This
ancient work includes premises that are still alive in modern CI:
“One
will not be in danger in a hundred battles if one knows hi
s enemy and
himself.”

(Bouthillier, 2003, p.

24).
“One cannot use spies without
sagacity and knowledge, one cannot use spies without humanity and
justice, one cannot get the truth from spies without subtlety. This is a very
delicate matter indeed.”

(Pressc
ot, 1999, p.

38
).
An early and well cited
example of industrial espionage that had its place in the CI history came
about a thousand years later. Around 550 A.D. two Nestorian monks

19

smuggled silkworm eggs out of Ancient China which had a silk
production mo
nopoly and strictly guarded its now
-
how. Chinese
authorities even punished the attempts to reveal the secret to the outside
world by death. Although industrial espionage played its role in the
history of CI
today
it is regarded as unethical method

(see cha
pter 1.1)
.


In 15
th

c
entury Germany existed a House of Fugger based in Augsburg

which produced and sent

manuscript letters to the important officers of
its time. These letters provided
a
steady flow of confidential political and
economical information.


18
th

c
entury German intelligence explored the countries of Europe and
picked up some information about foreign technologies. They were able
to
utilize this by applying the

acquired knowledge to their own industrial
processes and discovered that this gave Ger
many considerable advantage
in economic competition with other countries such as Britain or France.
By the end of 19
th

Century Germany owned many internationally
recognized patents.


Also
, similar effort can be seen in

the 19
th

Century Japan
when it opened

to the world
and the emperor Meiji introduced

a policy of nationalism
and modernization of Japan. His goal
was

to put Japan in the lead in the
world’s economic competition by absorbing the most successful practices
from all over the world.


The term “Int
elligence” is linked heavily to the military field. Military
typically employed practices such as espionage, reconnaissance or
scouting. It is a historical fact that the German military used a famous
cipher
machine known as Enigma to send cruc
ial strategic

information to
it
s troops during the Second World War and a great effort was put into

20

intercepting these messages and breaking the code by the allied forces


spies. Similarly the secret services have been used during the Cold War.
Japan

simply used as bas
is for it
s early economic intelligence system its
former military intelligence. After the Second World War
,

Japan
developed an ec
onomic intelligence and sent it
s market researchers into
the world. Japan focused on
the
photography industry and managed to
re
ach the leading position in this field.


Prescott’s

(1999)

characteristics of a pre
-
1970s CI gives us some idea
about
what the CI looked like before the Internet:
“Prior to the end of the
1970s, CI can be classified as fundamentally involving the collectio
n of
competitive data. Leading
-
edge firms’ use of CI could be described as
follows: Competitive intelligence was primarily a library function although
market research with an orientation towards customers was well
established. There was little in the way o
f a formal CI process or network
established throughout the firm. CI was done on an ad hoc basis involving
limited (if any) analysis. Overall, there was a generally low level of top
management involvement and relatively little input into the decision
makin
g process. […] The firms collected data and created files on their
competitors and industry structure. The analysis, if conducted, was static.
The primary skills of CI personnel were oriented towards the “finding” of
information.”

(Presscot, 1999, p.

39).


From what was said, we can draw a picture of pre
-
Internet, pre
-
computer
state of CI practice. It had mostly a library or archive character. It was
focused on finding, collecting and storing information so it was available
if needed. We can imagine sheets
of paper with typed out texts being
stored in filing cabinets in the offices. The age of typewriter does not
facilitate an easy access for analysis: excerpts and synopsis had to be
typed
and
, unlike today, figures in tables could not be instantly sorted

21

ac
cording desired criteria

or otherwise
adapted
. Instant formulae of
today’s table processor p
rogram
s were not available.
A f
urther constraint
to active analysis and information processing was
the
insufficient
incorporation of CI within a company or organisa
tion. CI was not
included into

company’s strategic planning and was used more often for
isolated tasks. CI of that time was lacking cohesion and deeper analysis
as well as support from the top management. CI processes were carried
out on
an
informal level.


As very few companies had
their

own CI departments new companies
providing CI services emerged


e.g. Washington Researchers, Fuld and
Company, or Find/SVP. These sp
ecialised CI services resembled

new
spaper
-
clipping services. Orien
ted on information gath
ering,
cataloguing and information brokering
“…their underlying assumption
was that intelligence is only as good as the data on which it is based.”
(Presscot, 1999, p.

39).


During
the
60s and 70s
,

attention of academics turned to the CI and
many studies a
nd academic pape
rs were written about CI and it
s
potential (e.g. Pinkerton (1969), Guyton (1962), Kelly (1965), Wall (1974),
Montgomery & Weinberg (1979) as stated in Presscot, 1999, p.

40).
These studies were orien
ted primarily on marketing intelligence,

but
managed to provide research results and show in empirical data what
consequences CI ha
d

for a company and how the companies
could

benefit from it.
The c
om
m
ercial sector begins to recognize t
he

potential of
CI and given all the information the CI resea
rch and case
-
studies
brought into light many companies and organisations are moved to
establish their own in
-
house CI departments and included CI into their
strategic planning and decision making. The very term “Competition
intelligence” was coined in the
80s by Michael E. Porter who used it in

22

his book “Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and
Competitors”. His book won an international recognition in the CI field.
The 80s era and Porter’s book mar
ked a breakthrough for CI on its way
f
r
o
m emerging practice to well established and recognized profession.


(Presscot, 1999, p.

39)


By the end of
the
80s
,

modern information and communication
technology (computers and Internet) became available. It has brought
considerable changes and influ
enced many professions. CI was able to
take advantages of this technology and further promote its prestige.
From the
Presscot’s

(1999)

table we can see a shift

of key issues

from
mere collection of information towards CI analysis and complexity of CI
proce
sses during the 80s when computers penetrated the working
environment. Further developments toward
s

sophisticated
analysis ca
me

during
the
90s when Internet was

launched. To this day
,

CI processes
are divided into two basic areas: data collection and analy
sis. As will be

23

shown, computers and Internet played a significant role

in both this
areas
.


2
.2 Brief history of computers


In 1936, a
t the dawn of the Information Technology age
,

a young student
Claude Shannon
wrote

his master’s thesis about “A Symbolic
Analysis of
Relay and Switching Circuits”
thus

laying theoretical grounds for the
development of computers. In the same year in Germany, a young
construction engineer Konrad Zuse builds Z1


the
first programmable
computer. Z1 merely consisted of a linked
automatic calculators of
Zuse’s provenience, that were able to store partial results for further
calculation. Automatic calculator had a control, a memory and an
arithmetical calculator. As he progressed in his inventions, the Z2 in
1939, and Z3 model in 1
941 eventually included punched cards
programming, floating
-
point arithmetic, and input/output devices. In
1943
,

there was the technology of vacuum
-
tubes used in Colossus


a
huge programmable logic calculator. It was operating in Britain and was
used to b
reak Nazi codes. Vacuum
-
tubes were replaced by the invention
of transistors in 1947. Newer technology of “The Integrated Circuit”
(Chip) emerged in 1958. From the size of the room f
ull of metallic parts
and weigh
ing about thirty tons of the first electroni
c computer EINIAC
(Electrical Numerical Integrator And Calculator) in 1946, the newer
technologies enabled the computer to take on smaller proportions. In
1964
, Douglas Engelbart invented the

mouse to be used with the graphic
user interface (GUI). This bro
ught the computers closer to normal users,
in contrast to computers of previous times that were specialised
machinery only a trained specialist could use. 1971 brings new
inventions of Intel microprocessor and floppy disk technology. Since
1974
-
75, persona
l computers are being advertised for home and office

24

use. By the end of the 70s ancestors of today’s well established software
of spreadsheet (VisiCalc, 1978) and word processor (WordStar, 1979)
were developed. First laptop computer was designed also in 19
79. In
1981 an operating system MS DOS was launched by Microsoft. In 1984 a
CD
-
ROM was introduced and in 1985 Microsoft marketed the first
version of Windows.


2
.3 Brief H
istory of Internet


The first successful experiment

with linking computers into simpl
e
computer
-
network took place in the USA at the turn of the 60s and 70s
under The U.S. Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In
1973, it was clear there was need to find a way for various separate
networks to be able to communicate. Transmissi
on Control Protocol and
Internet Protocol (TCP/IP protocol) was developed. The U.S. National
Science Foundation (NSF) created the NSFNET in 1986. It is still today a
key communication line of the Internet. NORDUNET and other bigger
networks gave life to ma
jor European Internet backbone. The late 1980s
brought an international expansion of the Internet and it began to be
used also by the

commercial sector. Further growth of the Internet
occurred by 1991 when 5 thousand networks were already implemented.
The
number of user
s

grew to 4 million in almost forty countries. The
father of the first functioning hyper
-
text system is Douglas Engelbart,
although the concept was first introduced by Ted Nelson as early as in
1960s. World Wide Web protocol emerged in Europe

in 1980s and spread
quickly around the world.

The education and public institutions such as schools and libraries
played
a
key
-
role in broader public Internet usage. Popularity of the
Internet and computers soared with the decreasing prices of the

25

applian
ces and availability of affordable Internet connections offered
mostly by local telecommunication companies.


Since those times, these new and still relatively young technologies
touched significantly almost every scientific or professional discipline and

thanks to
today’s

mass
-
spreading of computers and Internet, also many
households.


26

3

CI and the Internet


In the CI field today, we can consider the usage of modern information
and communication technologies a matter of principle. CI is supported
and pro
pelled by technology (Rouach and Santi, 2001).
“For the first time,
all kinds of information: numbers, text, sound and video, can be put into
digital form that any computer can store, process and forward. We have
infused our organisations with a new level
of electronically
-
based
intelligence.”

(Gates, 1999 in Rouach and Santi, 2001, p. 554)


Information
retrieval becomes fast and easy

with the Internet, which
gives the companies and organisations who use it a certain competitive
advantage as opposed to thos
e who do not use it. Many of the traditional
CI activities are now carried
-
out with some facilitation of the Internet.


(Cronin et al., 1994, p. 205)



27

While some activities such as visiting trade fairs require personal
involvement,
the
vas
t

majority of ab
ove stated activities can be carried
out through the Internet to speed u
p the process and increase the
e
ff
iciency
. An e
-
mail can be used to contact consultants, to debrief
employees; competitor’s web pages can be checked for advertising
strategy, obtaining

financial reports or review competitor’s employee
-
hiring advertisement. Daily newspaper and tr
ade press can be found
online;
specialised databases (toll
-
free or pre
-
paid) can be search
ed

online for information about finance
-
, personal
-
, structure
-
, stock
-
related
information as well as for patent search and many others. Information
obtained from an online environment comes in electronic text which
facilitates instant copy and paste as opposed to re
-
typing of older periods
and fast word
-
search which was impo
ssible before computers came into
existence. This all makes the gathering of c
ompetition information faster,
e
ffective and more accessible than ever before. Various reports and
analys
e
s can be supplied in electronic text. Table
-
processor c
omputer
programs
(e.g. MS Excel)

enable us to sort data according to any possible
criteria within mere seconds, thus facilitating fast analysis of the data.
Emails and short messages systems help to speed up and enhance the
organisational communication.


According to some
authors (e.g.
Hamilton, 2005
),
a
total of 80%
-

90% of
all commonly available information is accessible through the Internet. CI
uses open
-
public Internet sources, but it also uses pre
-
paid Internet
databases and services. The pre
-
paid databases may provid
e information
that is not widely available (such as company reports or circulars, and
other internal documents). Professional databases also usually provide
more accurate and up
-
to
-
date information that was cleaned from all
irrelevant bits. It serves as an

access
-
point to information amassed from
different sources and usually provides a tool to sort the search
-
results

28

display. Implementation of computers into CI enabled better ways of
sorting and management of information.
The c
oming of the Internet
allowed

faster, easier, and more democratic access to information. CI
doesn’t abandon the traditional information resources for
the
sake of new
online media, rather it uses
a
combination of all available sources to
cover its field of interest as exhaustively as
possible. The shift towards
the Internet can be seen generally in more and more information
providers going online to ensure the maxim
um number

of their
customers can reach them twenty four hours a day (e.g. many of the
traditional press media such as
The

Guardian, The Economist, or The
Times have an online version and
some
can also offer a searchable back
-
issues database). Also, web pages offering a certain degree of information
pre
-
processing
have been

developed (e.g. Clari.news, Clari.biz). It all
makes

it easier to use the Internet for the routine CI research.




29

(Cronin et al., 1994, p. 222)


The i
mpact of the Internet is notable in almost all CI processes and
activities. Also, the traditional CI tactics and tools nowadays use the
Internet and the mode
rn information and communication technologies.
The basic CI processes have been derived mainly from the four
-
phased CI
cycle:


Four
-
phased cycle:

1.

Direction

2.

Collection

3.

Analysis

4.

Dissemination

(
Dirk Japp Vriens, 2004, p. vi
)


Competitive intelligence process:


Identification of CI needs


Acquisition of information


Organisation, storage, retrieval


Analysis of information


Development of CI products


Distribution of CI products

(
Bouthillier, Shearer, 2003, p. 92
)


Competitive intelligence includes:


Accessing informa
tion


Monitoring information


Aggregating information


Personalizing information


Collaborative Intelligence


30


Counter
-
intelligence

(
Stephan

Spencer
)



(Fuld & Company, 2006, p. 2)


Also other variations and modifications are popular in the literature,
especial
ly concerning knowledge management (e.g. Tom Davenports’
work). The above stated models of the CI cycle were carefully chosen in
regard to our topic and serve as solid bases on which we can build.

We
will now look at some of these CI processes more closely

and will try to
determine how modern IT technology is used to support and facilitate
them.


Before we embark onto exploring an acquisition technology, I feel
the
need to explain why the first phase of the CI cycle
-

Identification of CI
needs
-

is not inc
luded in this overview of CI technology. The reason for
this is that in this first step there is little routine tasks to be substituted
by technology. Rather it is complex, sophisticated intelligence of a
human professional who will by a series of well aim
ed questions refine

31

the search topic(s) and determine what kind of information, in what form,
and in what volume needs to be supplied.
“This step resembles what is
accomplished by a librarian when conducting a reference interview. The
librarian, without n
ecessarily being an expert in the field, helps to
translate the information problems of a client into information needs and
requirements by taking into account the client’s context, background,
constraints, and preferences.”

(
Bouthillier, Shearer, 2003, p.

66
).
Although the technology in its current state cannot yet substitute for
human intelligence in the identification of CI needs process, it may be
used in
a
limited way to aid the professional to organize requests for
information to overcome the physical

distance of a client and CI
professional. Companies and organisations providing CI services and
dealing with many requests every day may incline to devis
e

a complex
questionnaire for their clients to specify their search requirements. Such
questionnaire
s

can be quite extensive and
are

carefully composed to
guide the client through the identificat
ion
-
of
-
CI
-
needs process and use

multiple confirmation mechanisms to ensure the CI professional will
know exactly what the client
is
looking for. Needles to say, th
at in

the

case of CI commercial services a written contract or any written
documentation about a transaction between the company and client has
its value. Such questionnaire method can, nevertheless, be accompanied
by phone calls or personal meeting
s
.


3
.
1

Acquisition of I
nformation


Acquisition of information is carried out in many different ways. We will
focus on ways in which ICT technology such as computers and Internet
play an important role. Nowadays, the modern software used to gather
information doe
s not usually represent just one single function (e.g.
search engine, monitoring, alerting, indexing), but rather it incorporates

32

several functions into one package to provide complex service. Even
though we are going to discuss the individual functions in

the next
chapters, they rarely exist on their own. More often, as we will see, the
sophisticated software operates a number of functions making it, more or
less, impossible to place into just one of the bellow stated categories.



3
.1.1 Accessin
g CI Infor
mation
-

Web S
earching


The World Wide Web represents
a
huge information resource. Due to its
informal, un
-
structured, and vast nature it maybe extremely difficult to
locate the desired piece of information quickly and efficiently. That is why
search engin
es and Internet directories became so popular. Even though
we can hardly take search engines and directories for a specialised, high
-
tech CI technology, they prove extremely useful for acquiring information
from the Internet. Search engines are working day
-
and
-
night digging
through the Internet, indexing individual sites. This is done
automatically by employing so called “crawlers”. Crawler is
a
so
ftware
programmed to search for

and index Internet sites by using
mathematical algorithms based on mapping the
linkage between the
sites. Although it can process an impressive volume of online documents
(e.g. Google has over 8 billion documents indexed), none of the search
engines can explore the entire Internet. This is why it is impossible to
rely on
a
single sea
rch engine, especially when conducting exhaustive
search of
a
particular topic.







33

Examples of general search engines

Site Name

Web address

Google

www.google.com

Ask Jeeves

www.ask.com

Lycos

www.lycos.com

AlltheWeb

www.alltheweb.com

Overture

www.ove
rture.com

Altavista

www.altavista.com

Wisenut

www.wisenut.com


Examples of specialized search engines

Subject

Site Name

Web address

Business

Business.com

www.business.com

Medicine

MedNets

www.mednets.com

News

NewsPage

www.newspage.com

News

Internet
News

www.internetnews.com

Contacts

Switchboard

www.switchboard.com


The whole directories and indexes listing various search engines can be
found on the Internet. These will give a summary of all popular or
significant search engines in an accessible way
.


Examples of directories and indexes of search engines

Site Name

Web address

Beaucoup

www.beaucoup.com

Hotsheet

www.hotsheet.com


34

SearchengineCollossus

www.searchenginecollossus.com


Sites providing information about search engines

Site Name

Web addre
ss

Searchengine Watch

http://searchenginewatch.com

SearchengineShowDown

http:// searchengineshowdown.com


Search engines are very helpful in case you already know what exactly to
look for. But when we start searching for a broad or vaguely defined topic

-

Internet directories help us to navigate. In fact, search engines are often
combined with Internet directory to enable both search approaches
-

keyword search or category browsing. Directories are also managed and
controlled by human creators, carefully

processed and placed into
categories. This ensures high relevancy of the search.


Examples of Internet directories and indexes

Subject

Site
Name

Web address

Business

Brint

www.brint.com

General

Yahoo

www.yahoo.com

General

MS
Network

http://msn.com

General

Google
Directory

http://directory.google.com

Computers

Computer
Science

http://library.albany.edu/subject/csci.htm



35

As a reaction to the problem of the search engines’ inability to search
through the whole Internet “meta search engines” came into existence.
These meta engines provide unified

interface to several different search
engines. We don’t need to search in each of the engines individually. We
just enter the keyword and the meta search engine will execute the
search across all included engines. It is necessary to note, however, that
in
dividual engines do not overlap tightly concern
ing

Internet contents.
The exhaustive search cannot be therefore guaranteed using a meta
search engine neither. It is always recommended to search through
several information sources (search engines, databases
, newspapers,
etc.
)

rather than to rely on a single one.


Examples of Meta Search Engines

Site Name

Web address

Includes

Metacrawler

www.metacrawler.com

Google, Yahoo, Ask.com,
MSN

Dogpile

http://www.dogpile.com

Google, Yahoo, Ask.com,
MSN

Webcrawler

http://www.webcrawler.com

Google, Yahoo!, MSN
Search, Ask.com,
About.com, MIVA,
LookSmart

Zapmeta

www.zapmeta.com

AlltheWeb, MSN, Hotboot

Jux2

http://www.jux2.com

Google, Yahoo, and MSN


Even though all the effort is
made

to index

all

Internet documents for
retrieval, there is still
a
vast amount of docume
nts that cannot be
‘crawled’. Another way how to tackle the problem
is
represent
ed by

the
“invisible web” or the “deep web” search services. These sites offer the

36

search of
hard
-
to
-
reach data that could not be indexed by search
engines. Why is it that some

Internet documents escape the crawlers and
remain ‘invisible’ to a search engine? It can be for various technical
problems connected to the way how crawlers work. For example
,

the
Internet document can be in a format which the engine doesn’t support.
Simi
larly, if

there are no links leading to and from such documents
-

since the crawler examines the net of links, such documents
may

go
unnoticed.
This is especially true for
the
so called dynamically generated
sites.
It may also be

documents and information
that are not online, but
rather exist in internal databases or intranets, are published on paper or
some other way outside the Internet. The area of the Internet indexed by
search engines is commonly referred to as “the surface web”. The part of
the Intern
et
that cannot be
reached by common search engines is called
“invisible web” or also ‘the deep web’.
The part of Internet that is
reachable through the common search engines is called “the surf
a
ce
web”.
It is estimated, that the deep web is about 500 times

bigger than
the
surface web (
Michael K. Bergman, 2001).

“Searching on the Internet today can be compared to dragging a net across
the surface of the ocean. While a great deal may be caught in the net, there
is still a wealth of information that is deep,
and therefore, missed. The
reason is simple: Most of the Web's information is buried far down on
dynamically generated sites, and standard search engines never find it.”

(Michael K. Bergman, 2001). If the deep web information cannot be
crawled, how do the

invisible web services index their sites and sources
of information?
While many of the web visibility constrain
t
s can be
removed by site owners, deep web search engines use automated
algorithms to retrieve data from the dynamically generated sites.
Visibi
lity constraints that can be eliminated by the sites’ owners or
operators include change of data format to one supported widely by
common search engines, securing links leading to their web pages



37

simply displaying data that are accessible to search engin
es. Deep web
search engines on the other hand tackle
for example
the indexing of the

dynamically generated sites. Such sites are generated after entering a
direct search query which searches through a database. Searching the
contents of such database would

require a multiple search requests (one
at a time) and would therefore
be
very time consuming. Deep web search
engines are capable of placing such multiple search requests
simultaneously and automatically, making retrieving and indexing very
efficient.


E
xamples of invisible web sites

Site Name

Web address

Complete Planet

http://aip.completeplanet.com

Direct Search

www.freepint.com/gary/direct.htm

TURBO 10

http://turbo10.com

Invisible web

www.invisible
-
web.net


The Internet represents a huge amount of

information resources
searchable

usually free of char
g
e, via various search engines. Anyone
with an Internet connection can use
free
search engines for
a
web
search. The more
one

know
s

about search techniques and
the
right
choice of search engine, the mor
e can
one
benefit from a web search.
When web search is so easy to do and free, why would anyone like to pay
for information from pre
-
paid databases and information vendors?

From the nature of the Internet
,

information placed on the Internet is
unstructur
ed and, on
a
greater scale, unmanaged. Although free and
easily accessible the main disadvantage for professionals is

probably

the
low level of relevance of
such

Internet search. The Internet search
engines as technical applications cannot use semantic rel
ations within

38

the search query. With general search engines encompassing multiple
subject areas the relevancy level further decreases since the keyword is
not related to specific field or subject. The Internet is

a

free and
independent medium where anyone
can publish almost anything.
Therefore n
o guara
n
tees concerning
the validity, accuracy or currency
can be provided. For all these reasons
,

pre
-
paid information supply
services may be attractive for many.



3
.1.2 Accessing CI I
nformation
-

Pre
-
P
aid
Services

and Information
V
endors


Human
-
processed information that is being offered for money should
provide reasonable level
of
validity, accuracy, relevancy and currency.

Human
-
controlled verifying and indexing is very demanding and costly
but can provide much b
etter search results. That is why professionals
may (and usually do) incline to use paid
-
for information from various
information vendors, brokers and information aggregators.
Also these
professional and paid
-
for information resources exist, unlike informa
tion
on the Internet, in
an
organised structure. Such structured information
is for example databases.

Searchable databases based on
professional
and commercial resources are being offered for money since 1960s.
Today
,

there are two major ways how to acces
s these commercial
services: through optical media (such as CD
-
ROMs or DVDs) or through
the Internet

or other networks (e.g. telecommunications’ lines)
. Usually a
commercial contract is signed by both parties, the vendor and the
client
,
before the actual s
ervice is being provided. Also
,

the means of payment
for the service are specified in the contract.
Frequently, c
ommercial
vendors have several payment schemes at
the
ready. The client can be
charged
via


39


membership or registration fe
es


subscription (paymen
t in advance) or pay
-
as
-
you
-
go


conne
ct
-
time fe
es (
client is charged for the time spent connected to
the service)


result
-
display fees

(number of hits displayed

in full

on screen,
printed or downloaded)


combination of the above mentioned


Commonly
,

discounts

are available e.g. for non
-
profit organization,
frequent users.

These professional databases often employ various kinds of specialized
search
-
tools and a specialized query language. To conduct search
successfully and in
the
shortest possible time (a clien
t may be charged e.
g. by connection time) a good knowledge of search tools and techniques
is needed.
Every such service can have its own special tools and
language.
Normally, a
How
-
to
-
use
tuition is offered by a database vendor.
This tuition may be free
-
o
f
-
charge or it may be charged and its price
translated into free credit for the database
session
.

One way or another,
such tuition always pays off in connection
-
time or download payments
compared to unskilled, untrained user attempting trial and error
oper
ations. Another way how to handle the specific search environment
of different databases is outsourcing. Hiring an information broker who
is skilled in search techniques and trained in specific requirements of
database search environments (formalized query

language, etc.)

can
prove beneficial especially if we need to conduct search across several
various databases.







40

Examples of Database Centres

Name

Web address

DIALOG

www.dialog.com

LEXIS
-
NEXIS

www.lexis
-
nexis.com

DIMDI

www.dimdi.de

GENIOS

www.genios.de

Q
u
estel

www.questel.com

STN International

www.stn
-
international.de

OCLC

www.oclc.org


Databases can be divided by various criteria

such as

suggests e.g. Petra
Šedinová (29.9.2006):


Nature of processed information


Profes
sional

(according to a field, e.g. Chemistry, Agriculture,
Law)


General

(multiple fields and subjects)


Specialized

(e.g. database of the Grey Literature, Articles,
Patents)



Time criteria


Current

(contemporary documents)


Retrospective

(documents published
in a certain historical
period of time)


Perspective

(information about documents that are being
prepared for print



e.g. information from ISBN agency
)



Type

of information


Bibliographical



41


Full text


Factual

(e.g. directories, statistics)

(Adapted from Pet
ra
Šedinová, 29.9.2006)


The last division


according to a type of information included in a
database


is
often

used in the literature concerning databases as
information resources. It may be based on the fact that for a researcher it
is very important t
o know what type of information he or she is going to
obtain before the start of the actual search process. Hardly anybody is
willing to invest time and money into a search and only get e.g. a
bibliographical reference when what they need is full text.


P
hDr.
Richard Papík
,

Ph.D., the director of Institute of Information
Studies and Librarianship at Charles University in Prague specializes in
the field of information retrieval. He
also adopts this division of database
types (Papík, 2002) and
defines
biblio
graphical databases

as
databases
that provide mainly accurate and complete bibliographical references
.

Also abstracts, descriptors or keywords are usually available.

Library
catalogues, for example, meet all the characteristics of such database.
But, of co
urse, commercial
bibliographical databases exist

offering
almost inexhaustible volume of the most up
-
to
-
date resources in different
subjects.

The primary document to which the database refers can be obtained
traditionally by means of Document Delivery Ser
vice (DDS)
which
represents one of the library services of

most

today’s

libraries. Papík also
points out the modern version of DDS


an Electronic Delivery Service
(EDS) which supplies the client with full text
of the
primary documents
in electronic format
s rather than
on

traditional hard
-
copies. Electronic

formats enable the document to be sent by Internet, so the client can
receive it in
a
matter of seconds. Beside the considerable time saving,

42

multiple copies
can be

made instantly in
the
electronic envir
onment
implying

many clients can receive the same document at once, there is
no need
to
queu
e

for it.



Examples of Bibliographical Databases

Name

Web address

AGRICOLA

www.stn
-
i
nternational.de/stndatabases/databases/agricola.html

ANABSTR

www.stn
-
international.de/stndatabases/databases/anabstr.html

AEROSPACE

www.stn
-
international.de/stndatabases/databases/aerospac.html

INSPEC

http://library.dialog.com/bluesheets/html/bl0002.html

LISA

www.csa.com/htbin/d
brng.cgi?username=masa&access=

masa12&cat=lisa


Databases providing full texts

represent

according to Papík (2002) a
dynamic trend of the recent past.
Since we can display or download
complete text through this type of database there is little need for
or
dering the primary documents via DDS or EDS. Unless, how Papík
(2002) points out, the original document includes some form of non
-
textual information (e.g. photographs or complex visual data) that some
databases may exclude from their coll
ection to save sp
ac
e and loading
time.

Using a full text database is the fastest way to the complete text of
any documents. Another advantage of electronic full text is that it
facilitates the search function. With full text databases, however, usually
a special query lang
uage
and special search tools are

used.




43

Examples of Full Text Databases

Name

Web address

LexisNexis

www.lexisnexis
-
online.cz

LLIS

http://
vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com/hww/jumpstart.jhtml

ScienceDirect

www.sciencedirect.com

LNCS
-
online

www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=105633

PCTFULL

www.cas.org/ONLINE/DBSS/pctfullss.html


Factual databases

hold specific information in text
-

or numeric format
s

(or combination of thereof). Papík (2002) states
,

that
e.g.

different kind
s

of stati
stics is a good example of factual information that these databases
build on
.
Factual information in itself is meaningful and there is usually
no need for any primary documents. On the other hand, the author add
s
,
that sometimes
there
may be

some bibliogra
phical
information

included
that will refer the user to further resources.

Into factual databases can
probably
be
included different directories and lists of information such as
telephone or business directories.

Examples of Factual Databases

Name

Web addr
ess

DiscoveryGate

http://gateway.discoverygate.com/

Knovel

http://www.knovel.com/knovel2/library/default.jsp

BEILSTEIN

www.beilstein.com

ASMDATA

www.stn
-
international.de/stndatabases/databases/asmdata.html



44

The above
mentioned database types do not exist solely
in one type
definitions. Database services can offer a mix of types
in

which perhaps
the combination of full text and bibliographic
al

type is the most common.

Examples of Combined
-
Type Databases

Name

Web address

Proquest5000

www.proquest.com/pqdauto

Ingenta Connect

www.ingentaconnect.com

SourceOECD

www.sourceoecd.org



3
.1.3
Monitoring CI I
nformation


Besides searchi
ng for the information actively we can also use services
offering
profiling/push technology

or
alert

service and be briefed
every time there is new information of our interest being published.

Th
ese notification

system
s

are

useful for monitoring new inform
ation
that is being created


monitoring the new messages, the new
development of issues. It helps considerably by automating the
process, thus saving time and effort.

J. P. Miller (2000, p. 145) gives
the
following description of profiling:
“Profiling is
an established
process that provides real
-
time running of user interest profiles against
streams of incoming text, often from multiple sources, including
newswires, information providers, intranets, the Internet, and internal
databases. This service is org
anized on a subscription model where
profiles can be changed, added or

deleted at will.”

This software may be
both

an independent service or it can be
a mere
feature provided within the scope of bigger and more complex services
of some information vendors.

It can be free or paid for. Or it can offer
free search but
will
ask to pay for the download of full texts. It usually

45

works through system of profile
-
subscriptions where the client
specifies the profiles of interest, keywords or business fields. Once the

profiles are set, the system starts
“pushing”

the information

through

to the client on regular basis (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.).
The feed of
information can be supplied in previously arranged formats such as
fax, emails or customised web page, etc.


Ex
amples of PUSH
S
ervices

Name

Web address

ROCKETinfo

www.rocketinfo.com

N
excerpt

www.nexcerpt.com

PoinCast

www.pointcast.com


A
lert services

also watch for the information we want. We can set it
to look for the newest info across the media published about our own
company or our competitors and alert us to the latest news. Main
purpose of this service is to keep the client informed

to help him/her
to be in the picture
. Alert system may also be called “current
awareness” or “selective dissemination of information” (SDI). They are
typically
part of some bigger service such as LexisNexis or Dialog.

Examples of
Alert

S
ervices

Name

Web a
ddress

CyberAlert

www.cyberalert.com

News Now

www.newsnow.co.uk

LatinClips

www.latinclips.com/index.php


Alert and

PUSH systems are great to keep us up
-
to
-
date and in
-
touch
with the latest news.
Indeed, according to Stephan Spencer the main

46

objectives of monitoring CI information are to
“get late
-
breaking news,
stay informed, watch for trends”
.

Spencer further points
out that it is
not only newspaper that we can (and should) monitor online.