Laura Olsen Dugan has been a library and information professional for the past six years. She has managed law firm and corporate libraries and published articles on technology, law library management, and non-traditional roles for law librarians. She has also guest lectured on online research at the University of Wisconsin and numerous law-related conferences and seminars. Laura received a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin. Recently, she returned the law firm environment as Special Projects/Technology Specialist at LaFollette Sinykin, LLP in Madison, Wisconsin, where she is working in the areas of information technology solutions, research, and marketing.
(Archived June 1, 1999)
Last year, after having managed a law firm library for over five years, I made a career transition to working in a trade association library. Having worked in a law firm environment straight out of graduate school, I was curious about other types of special libraries and information agencies. I assumed a position managing the Cheese Resource Center at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Working outside the legal environment over the past year provided me with the opportunity to learn about research tools and online services not often utilized in the legal workplace.
Working in a different segment of special librarianship gave me the chance to evaluate and implement online services that meet general business, competitive intelligence, and current awareness information needs. I implemented two Web-based online services at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board to satisfy our information searching needs: Dow Jones Interactive and InSite Pro, now InSite 2. I was so very pleased with these online research tools that I wanted to share what I learned about them with the legal research community.
Clearly, Dow Jones Interactive and InSite 2 are not aimed at the legal researcher. They do not provide state and federal case law, law review articles, or public records. They do however serve as a valuable source for critical business, news, trade, and financial information. The purpose of this article is to review these two online services, compare and contrast them to online services traditionally utilized in law libraries, and suggest examples of how these services might be used in law libraries, corporate libraries, and by savvy end users in a variety of business settings. This review is not intended to be comprehensive. Rather, it is designed to serve as an overview of two online services that may be overlooked by information professionals in legal settings.
Dow Jones & Company is a leading publisher of business news and financial information. Dow Jones Interactive (DJI) is Dow Joness web-based online business news and research tool, featuring information from over 6,000 sources. It is important to note that DJI is not typically marketed to legal information agencies, as the Dow Jones content is available through Westlaw.
DJI Primary Components
The DJI online service features six primary components: Business Newsstand, Publications Library, Dow Jones Web Center, Custom Clips, Company and Industry Center, and Historical Market & Data Center.
- Business Newsstandprovides daily leading news wire stores and current issues of leading newspapers and business magazines, such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Business Week, Fortune, and Forbes. Business Newsstand cumulates headlines for one-stop-shopping for timely international and business news full-text articles are just a click away from the headline page. It is optimal for satisfying your daily news fix. As an information professional, I found this component useful for my daily review of leading news stories, to help anticipate patrons information needs related to current events.
- Publications Libraryis the backbone of the DJI service, with searchable content from over 6,000 national and global newspaper, newsletter, news wire, magazine, journal, and other sources. The search interface is forms-based and allows users to search using four templates: words/phrases (traditional Boolean search), company, industry, and person. While this search interface may leave the information professional a bit unsatisfied, it is ideal for the end user. Although I did not find the level of search precision I am used to with command-based searching, I found the system incredibly easy to use.
In addition to word/phrase searching, searches can be limited by date range, publication title, publication subject category, and so forth. Searches can also be limited to specific portions of the document, such as headline and lead paragraph. Field searching can be done using field prefixes for ten or so categories. Beyond this, there is not the level of search specificity that information professionals are used to with Westlaw, Lexis-Nexis, and Dialog, but again this is a product ideal for the end user. There is some ability to customize the publications library, for example, with links to frequently-used databases and news sources.
While legal publications are not largely covered on DJI, the trade, industry, advertising and marketing, technology, and business management areas are extremely well represented. I used the DJI Publications Library to do research for systems planning on such issues as employee recruitment and retention, fringe benefits, human resource policies, and information policies, just to cite a few examples. I also found the service invaluable for researching customers, clients, and competitors.
- Custom Clipsare very similar to Westlaw Westclips, Lexis-Nexis Eclipses, and Dialog Alerts. Using the Custom Clips feature users create customized news folders to track critical news and financial information on clients, customers, cases, or issues. Immediate notification of new on-point articles is available via an e-mail feature. I found the e-mail feature too disruptive for most circumstances, and opted for the online delivery option. If one chooses not to be notified via e-mail of new articles, the new articles remain in a virtual topic folder on your customized DJI page. The system tracks articles you have viewed and flags new items waiting to be read.
- Historical Market Data Centerfeatures up to 25 years of historical pricing on thousands of financial issues from around the world, including securities and dividends. It also allows research of exchange rates for more than 150 currencies.
- Dow Jones Web Centeris a forum in which DJI integrates free web content to compliment its value-added content. The Web Center is an intelligent search engine providing links to quality business Web sites evaluated by DJI editors. While this feature is probably not necessary for search-savvy information professionals, it is useful for the beginner or intermediate web end user. Essentially, this feature sifts through much of the "junk" on the Internet and extracts solid sites of value for business and news research.
- Company & Industry Centerincludes thousands of in-depth company, industry, and country reports, including primary market research reports.
DJI Intranet Toolkit
One of the unique features of DJI is its Intranet Tooklit (ITK). This feature is a set of applications that enables information professionals to integrate DJI content directly into a corporate Intranet site. Using ITK, organizations can leverage the power of a corporate Intranet with DJI information. To use the ITK one must install the software on a web server and configure news profiles and other links. Articles are delivered in XML format and are stored directly on the corporate LAN. The ITK can be used to integrate news and stock quotes, competitor and client company profiles, and links to specific DJI search pages for end user searching. The DJI ITK is not unlike the Westlaw, Lexis-Nexis, or Dialog Intranet applications. For a review of Wests and other online vendors Intranet applications, see Susan Charkes review previously posted on LLRX.
External news and information is a strong compliment to internal content, and serves as a great lure to attract staff to regularly visit their corporate Intranet site. With new content added on a continuous basis, ITK allows you to keep a corporate Intranet fresh and current; hence keeping users coming back for more. This form of push/pull technology helps heighten staff awareness as to client, customer, and industry news, events, and developments: information critical to maintaining a competitive edge.
Recommended DJI ITK Applications
- Leading state, national, and international news headlines
- Selected stock quotes
- Client, customer, and competitor profiles and news
- News on recently released state and federal judicial opinions and legislative/regulatory activity
- Litigation news
- News and events tied to specific practice groups, cases, and matters
- Links to customized search pages and templates
DJI offers two pricing structures: standard pricing and enterprise pricing. The Intranet Toolkit is priced as a separate add-on feature. Standard pricing is based on the traditional online transactional pricing structure. An annual password fee of covers the Dow Jones Web Center, the Wall Street Journal Interactive Version, and searching and browsing headlines and lead sentences in the Business Newsstand and Publications Library. Additional charges accrue, such as $9.95 for a company executive report, $2.95 for each full text article retrieved, $4.00 for article images (in PDF format), $9.95 per month for each Custom Clips folder, and anywhere from $5.95 to upwards of $250.00 for detailed company reports.
Enterprise pricing includes a wide array of flexible pricing plans customized for corporate customers, including monthly flat-fee plans. As is common with many flat fee licensing agreements, the initial charge is based on an estimate of monthly usage, based on data collected during an initial trial period. Future charges are also based on a calculation of average usage. We all know that flat-fee pricing can be a double-edged sword, but it is beneficial for budgetary planning purposes and allows users to fully maximize on content, without undue pricing concerns. Special DJI programs and uniquely tailored packages are available for four primary user groups, including information professionals, companies, public and academic libraries, and news rooms. A client and project module is available to track charges by cost center.
DJI Customer Support
Excellent support documentation is available through the web-based Ask Dow Jones Support Center. I received superior and responsive customer service from both my account representative and the technical support department. Assistance in configuring Custom Clips folders is available via DJIs "Clip Desk," and specialized ITK technical assistance is available as well.
InSite 2, introduced in March 1999, is the Information Access Companys latest Web-based online business intelligence service. In 1998, Information Access Company (IAC) merged with Gale Research and Primary Source Media to form The Gale Group, a Thomson Corporation. InSite 2 was preceded by an end-user product, InSite, and an information professional targeted product, InSite Pro. InSite 2 is an amalgamated and enhanced version of InSite and InSite Pro, designed for a broad range of searchers, from novices to experts. It has wide application in the fields of strategic planning, marketing and product management, research analysis, sales, public relations, and business development.
InSite 2 offers authoritative business information in a web-based online service, centered around company, industry, people, and product information. Because IAC is an aggregator, many duplicate hits commonly encountered on other online services are eliminated. InSite products have long been regarded for their strong indexing. This indexing, manifested in the form of margin links, is one of the unique features of InSite 2. Margin links, also known as the "more like this" feature, appear at the margin of search results screen, linking the user to related information. Linked information is broken down by subject and topic, and serves to help guide the user to related information. It is not unlike a traditional "see" and "see also" references commonly found in indexes, or the ".more" command on Lexis-Nexis.
Insite 2 Content
The core of InSite 2 is based on the following seven large databases:
- PROMTis a comprehensive source for monitoring companies, their products and services, and corresponding market shares and trends through over 1,000 sources.
- The Trade & Industry database offers cross-industry coverage, competitive intelligence, and corporate snapshots through 1,000+ sources.
- The Newsletter database is comprised of over 500 industry and company newsletters.
- The Computer database includes in-depth coverage of the computer, electrical, and telecommunications fields through 100+ core industry publications.
- The Health & Wellness database covers 170 professional and general health publications, plus selected core medical reference publications and hundreds of U.S. government health pamphlets.
- The Magazine database features over 350 general newsstand publications, ideal for research consumer preferences and attitudes, trends, public opinion, and popular culture.
- The Competitive Intelligence database provides directory information on over 100,00 U.S and 45,000 international public and provide companies, with links to related articles.
InSite 2 Digests
A new feature on the InSite 2 product is the digest feature. Digests were designed to help searchers combat information overload and quickly locate relevant answers online. Three digests are available on InSite 2: company digests for research on companies, industry digests for research on industries, products, services, and analysis, and people digests for research on business leaders, politicians, and media personalities. A search in a digest presents the user with a results screen with links to relevant hits broken out by categories, such as industry articles and analysis, news and key events, newsletters and opinions, analyst repeats, SEC filings, and so forth. In addition, margin links appear at the side of the screen, linking to "see also" information on related companies, industries, and topics. Based on IACs robust indexing, digests are logical content groupings arranged topically. The digesting function collocates information based not on source, but rather on subject. This approach is similar to the topical case law databases on Lexis and Westlaw.
The results of my sample searches in the People Digests area were rather hit and miss. People Digests appeared for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, computer guru Steve Jobs, and filmmaker Spike Lee, but not for Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, legal scholar Arthur Miller, or the CEO of the nations largest food company, Kraft Foods. A sample search in the Company Digests for Oscar Mayer Foods yielded a company profile, industry analysis and articles, plus a margin link to the Industry Digest for "Sausages and Other Prepared Meat Product." This direct link allowed me to do background research on the industry, which in turn links to news and information about major competitors. This linking demonstrates the value of IACs strong cross-indexing. The digests allow for easy, automated, one-stop information shopping.
InSite 2 represents a new generation of IACs family of online business research tools. It is a "best of breed," combining the end-user based InSite with the librarian-based InSite Pro, under a common interface. Two configurations of the web-based InSite 2 product are available an end-user version and an information professional version, although they search the same content and use the same interface. The information professional version provides users with the level of search control we demand, while the end-user version simplifies and automates the search process.
InSite 2 Searching
Four searching modes are available to suit most searcher needs. The quick search mode is a fast and easy search mode that searches article titles, summaries, index terms, and the first 50 words of each article. The power search mode offers precise and complex search parameters through a fielded, forms-based input screen. The command search mode is nearly identical to the power search mode, allowing searching of over 20 fields through a traditional command line search statement. The prospecting search mode allows for searching on a specific company name, or for a set of companies that match given criteria ideal for identifying sales and marketing leads. A new alerting service, unveiled with the new InSite 2 product in March 1999, is similar to Westclips, Eclipses, Alerts, and Custom Clips. Alerts cover news, industry articles, and related analysis, and are delivered via e-mail or held on the online system for pick-up.
InSite 2 Pricing
InSite 2 s a truly flat fee online service. A single annual subscription price, based on the number of users, covers all costs without hidden or incremental fees, including the automated alert feature. A charge codes feature allows the user to track search activity by project, client, or department, and usage reports can be generated online with a 2 day delay period.
The InSite 2 base pack covers trade, industry, trend, market, and business intelligence sources essentially the PROMT and Trade & Industry databases. The Newsletter, Computer, Consumer, and Health & Wellness databases can be added at an additional charge.
InSite 2 Customer Support
In the tradition of IACs strong indexing, online help is cross-indexed by both topic and need/question. The help pages feature numerous value-added extras, such as free information industry news, white papers, and much more. The online help pages at InSite 2 even suggest recommended applications tied to specific job functions. These include recommended uses, sample searches, and search strategies for the types of online research typically done by product development, marketing, information technology, competitive intelligence, and sales professionals. Search assistance is provided by professional librarians, and a technical issues mailing list is available as well. I was equally pleased with the customer, sales, the technical support I received from IAC.
DJI and InSite 2 Nuts and Bolts
Although there are numerous differences between DJI and InSite 2, many of their nuts and bolts are similar. Both services are accessed via the web, with users simply logging on with a user id and password. The interfaces with both systems are very logical, and offer multiple levels of functionality without being overly complex. Printing on both systems is done via the browsing software, and items are printed either by linking directly to each desired document, or by placing a mark in a checkbox for each desired document, with batch printing done at a later time. At present, these systems to not offer the wide array of output options offered by Westlaw, Lexis-Nexis, and Dialog. As with any web-based product, I found these services slower than traditional dial-up services using proprietary software, but web-based delivery seems to be where the online industry is heading. I found myself sometimes impatient waiting for new screens to load, but was able to use the time wisely by multitasking. Despite these few drawbacks, common to all web-based research tools, I was quite pleased with both services.
DJI and InSite 2: Recommended Applications
Online services commonly found in law libraries, such as Westlaw, Lexis-Nexis, and Dialog are the clear front-runners in serving the ongoing legal research needs. DJI is positioned as a strong source for news and financial information; while InSite 2 is targeted to suit competitive intelligence, market, and industry information needs. DJI and InSite 2 can be utilized in a variety of ways in corporate library settings and in specialized law firm departments, such as marketing and information technology departments. DJI and InSite 2 can also be used as viable alternatives in legal settings for specialized non-legal information needs, such as market, client awareness, general, financial, and industry-specific research.
Dow Jones Interactive and InSite 2 have great utility in a variety of law firm, corporate, and other business settings. Possible user groups and uses include:
- marketing and market research specialists for primary and secondary market research
- corporate information professionals for competitive intelligence gathering
- law firm librarians for trade and industry research to support specific cases, matters, or new and developing client bases
- information technology administrators for late-breaking technology news and product reviews
- web masters for a corporate Intranet news feed
- librarians for environmental information scanning (aka selective dissemination of information)
- human resource departments for research on personnel-related issues (e.g. compensation, retention, fringe benefits, performance appraisals)
- corporate development directors for best practices and business/strategic management research
- research specialists for customized research services offered directly to clients
- law firm librarians and marketing coordinators for client awareness-related research
- conflicts checking personnel for researching parent-subsidiary company relationships
- sales force personnel for customer awareness and prospect research
- executives for understanding new trends, developing strategic alliances, and leading news
- savvy end users in organizations without libraries, information agencies, or information professionals
Working in a non-legal setting allowed me the opportunity to see the professional and library world from a different vantage point. It opened my eyes to different research and information gathering strategies I had not encountered in law libraries. While in the end I realized how very much I missed the legal profession, I valued the time I had to experience a different field of special librarianship and learn about alternative research tools and online services. I found Dow Jones Interactive and InSite 2 to be valuable online business research services, perfect for locating information to support the informed strategic decision-making process in a variety of professional environments.
Special thanks to Laura Jablonski of Dow Jones Interactive Publishing and Ann Wagner of Information Access Company/The Gale Group for complimentary online passwords for purposes of writing this article.