Welcome to Online Insider ...
... the editorial blog by Marydee Ojala, Editor of ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals. ONLINE Insider intends to extend the reach of the print publication, presenting a more timely commentary on the products, people, and events that shape today's online world. It explores new technologies as they impact the working lives of information professionals, explains resources for specific topic areas, and expounds on information management tools and techniques.

Tripped Up By Acronyms

Marydee Ojala @ 9:55 am

OK, this made me laugh. So I thought I’d share. The subject line of an email from a PR firm that just hit my inbox was "AACR Implements Collexis’ Reviewer Finder and Journal Dashboard." How, I wondered, could the Anglo American Cataloging Rules implement something from Collexis? Much as I admire Collexis and their technology, I just couldn’t put cataloging rules in the context of finding peer reviewers for academic, scientific and professional journals.

It helps to read the full text of press releases, not just the subject line. The AACR referred to here is the American Association for Cancer Research.

When I see him in Scottsdale (at Buying & Selling eContent), I’ll have to ask Darrell Gunter, Collexis EVP/CMO, if he’s ever tried using his product to review cataloging rules.

Data Overload

Marydee Ojala @ 9:58 am

Nice article in the January/February 2009 issue of CIO Insight by Edward Cone on "Dealing with Data Overload." I particularly liked the comment from the CIO of Energen who credits his corporate library with getting "the right information to the right people in the most efficient way possible." He says it’s worth the cost and mentions that his librarian has an MLS. One minor issue, when I searched the SLA membership directory, there’s no one listed as working at Energen. Somebody sign that librarian up as a new member!!

Prospectus Spying?

Marydee Ojala @ 2:29 pm

The lead story in the March/April 2009 Industry News section of ONLINE details the M&A activities during 2008 of Morningstar. It goes like this:

 Morningstar, a leading provider of independent investment research and famous for its five-star ranking system, has been busily acquiring other companies. It began 2008 by buying Hemscott from Ipreo Holdings. Hemscott covers U.K. investment instruments. September saw the acquisition of Financial Computer Support, Inc. (FCSI), a company that provides practice management software for independent advisors. In November, Morningstar reached out to South Africa, acquiring InvestData (Proprietary) Limited, a provider of fund information for the southern African region. Its December acquisition of U.K.-based Tenfore adds real-time market data and financial data workstations to Morningstar’s repertoire. It ended the year with the acquisition of privately-held 10K Wizard, which provides sophisticated, full text searching and data mining of SEC documents.

Given that I’ve always thought of Morningstar in the most favorable of terms, I was surprised to pick up today’s Wall Street Journal and read that NewRiver, a company Morningstar was thinking of buying last spring, was suing Morningstar for espionage. Morningstar, a spy? NewRiver, based in Andover, Mass., accuses Morningstar of going to a secret web address, presumably password protected, then accessing it more than 134,000 times to download mutural fund prospectuses. It offered these documents for sale to NewRiver customers in an attempt to sign them up with Morningstar. NewRiver uses a patented process to search the SEC website , grabbing the prospectuses as they go online, and storing them in its own Prospectus Express data warehouse. NewRiver’s value proposition is the speed with which it can identify and supply these documents. According to NewRiver, it found out about Morningstar’s activities from its own clients, to whom it granted "significant pricing concessions" to ward off their defection to Morningstar. 
What the news story doesn’t say is whether access to Prospectus Express is continuing. If not, it’s hard to see how Morningstar could build a competitive business to NewRiver using old data from its warehouse. Prospectuses age quickly. The SEC information is freely available. If Morningstar develops a data mining technique not reliant upon NewRiver’s patent, it could be a real threat to NewRiver’s business. Without any need for espionage. And, remember, after the deal with NewRiver didn’t materialize, Morningstar bought 10-K Wizard. If memory serves, its technology is pretty darn good at data mining real times SEC filings, including prospectuses.

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