INDEPENDENT NEWS

SCOOP ADVISORY: Scoop Keeps Getting Better

Published: Tue 23 Nov 1999 11:16 AM
While it is not immediately apparent on the surface - given the focus on bringing you breaking news before the traditional media - Scoop is actually a fully featured free electronic library as well as a news site.
You will notice now that on the right hand side of the Scoop front page there is a series of new indexes.
Click on one of these indexes and you will see how Scoop is getting smarter and more helpful for you.
Using the latest XML technology Scoop has developed d a new-generation search tool designed by news researchers for news research. I.E. designed to find answers.
When did the Beverly Bouma homicide happen? Did the Greens issue a statement on the subject? What has Michael Cullen said on tariffs? When did news of the missing Sounds teenager break? How did Radio New Zealand develop the story? How many National Party press releases mention netball? How many mention rugby? What has Pete Hodgson said about the ECA? What has Bill English said about Peter Hodgson and the ECA?
If you have a question about news, Scoop will quite probably know the answer.
SCOOP'S NEW GENERATION SEARCH TOOL
Search engines are normally designed to deliver material on the based of weighted boolean logic search algorithms. Though they are getting better they are still, in Scoop's experience, often frustrating.
The results from these search tools are usually either very large lists - which you need to scroll through to find what you want - or a fairly chaotic stream of partially relevant documents.
Scoop's search tool is simpler. It just finds what you are looking for.
It works in the same way that you use a library. First find the vicinity of a news event, person subject - then hone in on more detail if you need it.
For example you can search Government Press Releases only for references to Jim Anderton - or Alliance Releases only for references to electricity - or TV3 news monitor reports only in November 1998 for news about Iraq etc.
HOW THE SEARCH ENGINE WORKS
The search engine returns the first 200 matches it finds for all the words you search for - and arranges them chronologically with the most recent first. Boolean expressions do not work any "ands" and "ors" will be simply ignored by the engine.
The search engine compensates for this by allowing you to narrow the focus of when - and where you search. Giving you easy access to all the information.
WHAT YOU SEE ON AN INDEX PAGE
At the top of each index page is a chart showing the number of items in each index by month over the past three years - since Scoop began compiling material online. Each number in the chart shows how many items there are under that subject area/category in that month.
Underneath this is a search tool. This allows you to search the whole database.... - Select Search - Any Category - Any Time
Or narrower components of it.
The default setting is the current month - current category.
Using the tick boxes you can select to search +/- 1 month or +/-2 months or anytime. You can also choose to search the current category, or all categories.
If you want to search a different category you need to go back to the front page and select a new category.
Scoop would be delighted if its readers pass this message on to anyone who may find its contents useful and would be interested in feedback on the usability of the news search and navigation tools.
Send your comments to editor@scoop.co.nz
The Scoop Team....
Alastair Thompson
Scoop Publisher
Alastair Thompson is the co-founder of Scoop. He is of Scottish and Irish extraction and from Wellington, New Zealand. Alastair has 24 years experience in the media, at the Dominion, National Business Review, North & South magazine, Straight Furrow newspaper and online since 1997. He is the winner of several journalism awards for business and investigative work.
Contact Alastair Thompson
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