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... 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.

EU Investigates Thomson Reuters

Marydee Ojala @ 5:12 pm

During a speech on March 8th, at the European Competition and Consumer Day in Copenhagen, European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia announced that the Commission had opened an anti-trust investigation into Thomson Reuters. A press release contains his full speech, but this is the part that mentions Thomson Reuters:

” … we have launched an antitrust investigation in the Thomson Reuters case, involving one of the major financial information providers. We want to make sure that undue restrictions on the provision of financial information do not hamper the healthy development of financial services.”

“We have concerns that Thomson Reuters has potentially abused a dominant market position by restricting the usage of its identification codes RICs (Reuters Instrument Codes), thereby limiting the ability of its customers to switch to competing data providers.”

This is of concern, not just in Europe, but for online researchers worldwide. Most notably, Factiva removed all RIC codes from its database in December 2011. The RIC codes were originally implemented in Factiva when it was a joint venture between Reuters and Dow Jones. Now that it’s owned solely by Dow Jones and Reuters became part of Thomson, Factiva had to ditch the RIC codes, which is a great shame, as it eliminates an important access point for searching for company information.

SLA in the Big Easy

Marydee Ojala @ 9:11 am

SLA (aka Special Libraries Association) is holding its 101st annual conference in New Orleans. Attendance is nowhere near the numbers we saw in Washington DC, which will have some serious impacts on the financial condition of the association. We’ll hear more about that at the annual business meeting this afternoon.

It’s a shame, really, because SLA members who are here are learning a lot and the exhibitors had so much to demonstrate. From the still-warm beignets at the Financial Times booth (fresh every day from Cafe du Monde!) to Factiva‘s “Factinis” (in a breathtaking shade of blue), exhibitors did their level best to entice SLA conference goers into their booths. The FT has a iPad version that is fascinating–and has just (on June 8th) won a design award from Apple for the app. This is a major accomplishment, as there were only 5 winners worldwide. Congrats, pink paper!

As for buzz at SLA, I’d have to say it was around platforms. Many vendors were showing either a new platform or a prototype for a new platform. Ovid has one, Dialog has one almost completed, and ProQuest‘s will follow Dialog’s.

Factiva has added many new sources and plans to expand its language capabilities from the 23 it presently has. Westlaw was showing its Westlaw Next product (reviewed by Amy Affelt in the May/June 2010 issue of ONLINE) and LexisNexis is rolling out its new Academic interface.

I could go on and on, detailing all the interesting and innovative products on display at SLA, but that laundry list would probably bore everybody to tears. The advantage to conferences like this one is the opportunity to see all these vendors in one place, be introduced to features and products with which you’re unfamiliar, get to know the people at the companies (which really gives you an edge in contract negotiation), and update yourself on what’s new that will benefit you and the organization you work for.

The exhibit hall closed yesterday but today there are still sessions, plus the annual business meeting and closing keynote by Nicholas Carr.

Say What?

Marydee Ojala @ 8:11 pm

With the announcement of Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo, the press seemed to come up with a generally recognized name for the newly merged company, should that ever actually happen — MicroHoo. A search on both Factiva and Nexis told me that there have been a couple of hundred uses of the term since that announcement. The reverse, YaSoft gleaned almost no hits. But think about potential other combinations:

NewsCorp buys Yahoo and names it NewsHoo. Or combines it with Dow Jones for DowHoo. Or with Factiva for FActHoo or HoosFacts?

Ok, maybe not.

But what if Thomson sells Dialog to NewsCorp, which combines it with Factiva. Then we might have DialFact or FactDial.

Or Yahoo actually is sold to an obscure Indiana company and becomes Yahoosier.

If any of this happens, I will be amazed.

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