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Trade magazines, journals, and news sources

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Searching the open and free Web is rarely a good option when you need magazine and journal articles. 

An indexed database, whether you go through an online database service or a library, will virtually always offer better results. 

Although free to access, collections such as Findarticles.com have limitations, because their archives and titles are limited. 

You get what you pay for when it comes to searching magazines, journals, newsletters, trade publications, and news sources. 

Unless you know which publication you want to search, it is more cost-effective to use a value-added database such as PROMT or ProQuest, or an aggregator such as Factiva.

Searching the commercial fee-based services is a significant time saving strategy.  By using an online database service you can search hundreds of publications at once. 

For instance, is the best analysis of American Airlines’ position in its industry in Aviation Week & Space Technology, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, or the Dallas Morning News? 

Unless you know, you will need to search each publication individually – or you can search them all at once on Factiva. 

Although the current issue of many publications is available for free on the Web, increasingly publishers charge for access to archival issues. 

Additionally, most publication-specific sites have rudimentary search capabilities.  You may, therefore, waste significant time sorting through dozens of articles on dozens of Web sites of only marginal interest.

One could also ask, “Why should I pay for a subscription to an online database service when I can find thousands of documents by searching Yahoo or Google?” 

The answer is because your client needs reliable information on which to base an important decision. 

Web search engines do not discriminate – unless they accept fees for listings and placement in results lists. 

You may find articles from reputable publications and government documents through a search of the Web, but you will also find documents from special interest groups, undergraduate papers, individual opinions, and carefully disguised advertising.

Although everything published is not necessarily true, editors or reputable publications do make an effort to check the accuracy of articles submitted to them.  For much of the material on the Web there are no editors. 

You will find terrific, well-researched articles written by people with academic credentials with no discernable date. 

The article may be so old that the conclusions are no longer valid.  You will find papers presented at conferences with no indication of the sponsor or date of the conference. 

Before you let a client rely on any information you gather, you must be able to tell the client who wrote the article, when they wrote it, and why they wrote it. 

You do not want an investment decision, for example, to be based on the opinions of a biased salesperson whose only goal is to sell a new stock issue.

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