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Factiva

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Alternate/previous data source names: Dow Jones Interactive, Reuters Briefing, Dow Jones News/retrieval

Service description: Factiva is a joint venture, formed in 1999 by Dow Jones & Co. and The Reuters Group.

Its flagship product, Factiva.com, is the successor online service to Dow Jones Interactive (formerly Dow Jones News/Retrieval) and Reuters Business Briefing, both of which were known for their focus on international information sources.

Factiva.com now includes almost all of the content of both of its predecessors, along with capabilities and services not previously available.

Factiva contains four basic tabs: Search, Track, News Pages, and Companies/Markets, each of which is described in the Source Content section below.

The heart of Factiva is its collection of nearly eight thousand publications in twenty-two languages from 118 countries, and its emphasis on acquiring content directly from publishers whenever possible.

This enables the company to ensure that the updates are added as soon as they are available, and that the coverage of individual publications is as comprehensive as is feasible.

Factiva data includes current news, archived articles, company data, investment analyst reports, market data, historical stock price performance, and company financials.

Factiva content includes ten basic categories of business information:

1. Local and regional newspapers, including exclusive access to the Wall Street Journal
2. Trade publications
3. Business newswires, including exclusive access to the Dow Jones & Reuters newswires
4. Press release wires
5. Media transcripts
6. Selected news photos
7. Investment analyst reports
8. Country and regional profiles
9. Company profiles
10. Historical and intraday market data

The Search function includes expanded content from eleven thousand Web sites in twenty-two languages, all judged to be of particular interest to business searchers.

These sites pertain primarily to companies, newspapers, industry publications, government agencies, and trade associations.

Areas within these sites are crawled at least daily, if appropriate, to retrieve and index content that is not otherwise available on Factiva (“crawling” is the process employed to find and index Web sites).

The Search function also includes pictures from Reuters and Knight Ridder, with over four thousand images added weekly. Selected content is available in PDF format, and articles can be displayed and saved in rich text format (RTF) as well as in HTML and plain text.

Factiva has recently developed an indexing process called Factiva Intelligent Indexing, which assigns company, industry, regional, and subject codes consistently across all content in its Search and Track areas.

These codes are based on international indexing standards, such and NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization), and include up to five levels of hierarchy.

For instance, a search on the industry term Computers would automatically include all the more granular terms within the Computer industry hierarchy.

The advantages of Intelligent Indexing are that you can search non-English content by using the Intelligent Indexing terms in the language you wish to use.

Indexing terms are consistently applied across all content providers, and you can limit your search to a specific geographic region, to articles about a particular company – even if the name is misspelled (for example, it will find “DuPont” or “Du Pont”), or even to type of document (editorial, interview, or an overview of industry trends).

Pricing: Factiva offers several basic pricing structures, including flat-fee access and pay-as-you-go, transaction-based pricing.

Since flat-fee subscriptions start at $1,000 a month, low-volume searchers will probably want to use the Individual Subscription option, which offers articles at $2.95 each with an annual fee of $69.

Note that individual subscribers do not have access to the News Pages or Companies/Markets areas of Factiva.

Source content: Factiva offers four basic navigational tabs: Search, Track, News Pages, and Companies/Markets. (Note that News Page and Companies/Markets tabs are not available to Individual Subscription users.) Below is a detailed commentary on the content of each tab.

1. Search provides access to eight thousand publications and content from eleven thousand business-related Web sites. Factiva supports both free-text searching and searches with the Factiva Intelligent Indexing codes.

Although most researchers will use the free-text search box to construct their search, Factiva supports full Boolean logic, including the following terms:

• AND
• OR
• NOT
• ADJn – Two terms in this order, within n words of each other
• NEARn – Two terms within n of each other, in either order
• SAME – Two words in the same paragraph
• ATLEASTn – Frequency operator used to specify the minimum number o times (n) the search word(s) must appear in the text

There are a relatively small number of words that cannot be routinely searched for in Factiva.

These include and, or, not, same, near, and date. However, even these words can be searched for if enclosed in quotation marks.

The search phrase “to be or not to be” – consisting entirely of words that are unsearchable in most online services – is a valid search in Factiva.

Researchers can also limit the search by field; these include Headline, Lead Paragraph, Author, Word Count, Data, Publication Title, Language, and Intelligent Indexing term.

Most of the field restrictions can be indicated through pull-down boxes, with an option to add a custom list of fields from a collection of thirty specialized indexing fields.

The Factiva Intelligent Indexing terms are searchable through the links at the top of the Advanced Search page. Clicking on Company, Industry, Region, or Subject opens a new window to display the options available, as illustrated in.

Each of the hierarchical categories that appears can be expanded by clicking the Plus icon.

The default selection of sources to search is All Content, but sources can be specified by clicking the Source Browser link on the main search page which allows the user to build a custom source list by selecting publications organized by title, industry, region, type, or language.

Source lists can be saved for later use or selected for one-time searching. For an example of the Publication Type Source Browser.

After a search has been executed, the default search results screen displays the complete citation, word count, and least sentence.

Articles can then be displayed in full or in one of several other formats, and the researcher can also create customized display formats.

The results can be viewed and saved in rich text for at as well as plain text, they can be e-mailed to the researcher or a third party, or they can be placed in the “Briefcase,” which stores up to one hundred documents for thirty days.

2. Track is an alerting tool that monitors news from close to six thousand publications and 750 Web sites.

Track works continuously; the results can be viewed in the Track Folders, or they can be sent to an e-mail address, either throughout the day as articles are added or aggregated into a single e-mail once or twice a day.

The search logic is similar to that of Search; both free-text searching and queries using Intelligent Indexing are supported.

An interesting feature of the Track option is the ability to set the relevance level of the retrieved items to high, medium, or any degree of relevance.

The relevance level score is based on the number of terms in the search query and how many of the terms appear in a document.

The score also reflects the number of times a specific term appears in a document and the word count of the document. The score also reflects the number of times a specific term appears in a document and the word count of the document.

Searchers can use the relevance level setting to restrict the Track Folder to only articles that are directly about a particular topic or to expand the Folder to any articles that mention a topic or company, even just in passing.

3. News Page provides access to several content areas of Factiva from a single screen.

The default Factiva Pages include the top news from up to ten major news sources, based on the subscriber’s region; key stock market indices; and Editor’s Links to Web sites of topical interest.

Note that with the pull-down menu at the upper left of the screen, the Factiva Pages can be customized by geographic region and by industry category.

Other types of News Pages include Group News, set up by an organization’s administrator to provide customized current news for selected groups of users with the organization, and Personal News, which subscribers can set up individually to display the sources and sections from publications they want to monitor.

4. Companies/Markets provides access to detailed information on companies in seventy-two countries. The Companies/Markets area consists of five categories of content:

1. Financial data for 42,500 companies worldwide
2. 36.5 million Dun & Bradstreet records, with links to full Dun & Bradstreet reports
3. 30,000 investment analyst reports in PDF format
4. Stock quotes, often going back twenty-five years, on publicly traded securities
5. Company profiles, snapshots, and news

Subscribers can use the Companies/Markets area to build a list of companies that meet specific criteria, create charts of stocks, funds, and market indices, view investment reports on companies or industries of interest, and build customized company profiles.

The Company Quick Search feature, shown below for Johnson & Johnson, is particularly useful when one needs to pull together content from a number of sources and areas within Factiva.

Source evaluation: Factiva’s strength lies in its focus on business and industry information sources and in its global content.

It offers a powerful and flexible search interface, advanced search features, deep archives of content, and intuitive tools for pulling information together from a variety of sources.

Keep in mind that because of its focus on business information, Factiva is not a one-stop source for researchers who also need access to scientific-technical, medical, or legal information.

Factiva has recently made some significant improvements to its service. One such improvement is the box on the Search screen that allows users to exclude republished news (which is so common in newswire data sources) and other types of articles.

Intelligent Indexing is also an improvement over what Dow Jones had before, but it can be frustrating for professional researchers.

Another limitation is that when one is using the More Like This function, it is not clear which indexing terms the system is keying on.

The Help functionality could also be beefed up. When clicking on the question mark in the upper-right corner, you go to a very generalized Help menu and must scroll through to find what you need. Often you must go to the more detailed written guides on the Factiva site.

Through its partnership with Reuters and SunGard (Tradeline), Factiva has taken the integration of market data and business news to a new level, allowing users to see the direct effect of company news and announcements on stock price.

Factiva subscribers can drag a mouse over the performance line or bars in a company’s historical stock chart to see headlines that link to stories describing the cause in the rise or fall in stock price.

Factiva’s user interfaces are both feature rich and intuitive. Many of the default settings can be customized through the Preferences screen, which further enhances the usability of the interfaces.

The user interfaces are available in nine languages. Factiva offers several technical support and customer service options available through Factiva’s by clicking the Support icon. Support and service options include:

• A knowledge base of frequently asked questions, under the Find Answers tab

• Ask-A-Question via e-mail, with responses within one hours, during business hours

• Call-Me 24×7, through which a customer service representative calls the subscriber with an answer within ten minutes of an e-mail request, Monday through Friday, or within one hour during weekends and holidays. (This is not available to Knowledge Tier customers.)

Flat-fee subscribers can also call a toll-free number for live customer service and technical support. User documentation, case studies, reports, and white papers are also available online (http://www.factiva.com/collateral).

Some of these documents are available in multiple languages, including French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese.

Besides, Factiva offers free self-directed lessons and product tours, and online and face-to-face training sessions throughout the world. The schedules for these sessions are listed online (http://www.factiva.com/learning).

SOURCE VALUE RATING: All of the data source reviewers were asked to rate each source on the basis of the following eight categories, using “10” as the highest rating and “1” as the lowest (“80” being a perfect score):

1. Relative cost-to-value:   8
2. Relative timeliness of data:   10
3. Relative comprehensiveness of data:  10
4. Ease of use:     8
5. Search options available:   7
6. Level of support services:   6
7. Level of training offered:   6
8. Amount/kinds of special services offered: 6
Total Rating:     65

Source reviews: Factiva is one of KM World Magazine’s “Top 100 Companies in Knowledge Management” and part of EContent Magazine’s “Top 100 content companies to watch.”

Factiva is also recognized as a winner of the 2002 Software & Information Industry Association’s Codie Awards in the Best Online Business, Corporate or Professional Information category. Other reviews include:

Hane, Paula, “Serious About Customer Service.” Information Today 20, no. 3 (March 1, 2003). Interview with Clare Hart, CEO of Factiva.com in which she discussed the company’s products and plans, as well as trends in the information industry.

O’Leary, Mick. “Factiva.com: The New Dow Jones/Reuters Synthesis.” EContent 24, no. 5 (July 2001). This in-depth article discusses the formation of Factiva.com and introduces the major Factiva.com modules.

Wood, Anthony. “Factiva: The Way We Search Now.” Business Information Searcher 11, no. ¾ (February 2002). Extensive review of Factiva’s search module, its standard and advanced user interfaces, and output options.
Useful tips
• You can save frequently run searches by clicking the Save Search icon at the bottom of the Search screen.

• How-to-use guides are available from the Factiva Web site (http://www.factiva.com/collateral/download_brchr.asp?node=learning2). You must have Acrobat Reader software to access them.

• In the Search area, there is a pull-down menu that allows you to sort results by date (either chronological or reverse chronological) or by relevance.

Another pull-down menu allows you to select the format of the results. Using these display functions can save time.

• Factiva.com offers a number of preferences that can be set by the user, including the default search interface and date and language restrictions, and the format of search results. The Preferences link is in the top-right corner of the main Factiva.com screen.

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