How to count web links/mentions for a report
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: hlppls-ga
List Price: $30.00
04 Nov 2006 07:15 PST
Expires: 04 Dec 2006 07:15 PST
Question ID: 780014
I asked my first question about a month ago and checked in today because it was expiring and I hadn't had any email re: a response. Unfortunately, I hadn't realized that comments don't trigger an email ... so had missed the fact that a follow-up question had been asked. Oops! As a novice, I have no idea how to extend the time on my original question (which has now closed) but I still really want a response so I'm reposting - with an answer to that long-ago query - in the hopes that I can get an answer. [Apologies if I should have done this differently, but I'm still figuring out the system.] Thanks! --------------------------------------------------------------- Here's the original question (see http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=770791) I work for an organization that is trying to assess the reach of reports that we publish. We do this in many ways - media monitoring and counting downloads from our web site are just two examples. But we would also like to understand how widely our reports are referenced/cited on others' web pages (and be able to compare this to similar reports by others). All of the reports (ours and the comparators) can be downloaded for free on the web as either PDF or HTML files. At first, we thought that this would be as simple as running a web search using a major search engine for the title of the report and the organization name and counting how many times it comes up. But this appears to produce quite inconsistent results for different organizations or even ever-so-slightly different search terms. (Note: searching for links to the reports doesn't work since they tend to be posted on a few web sites or with a few URLs). Rather than scratching our heads for a very long time, I thought that we should see if someone else has already figured this out. Can anyone help? I would love a reference to a document/web page describing effective tracking strategies or just advice on how to accomplish this. ---------------------------------------------------------------- In answer to the subsequent question that was asked: Here's an example of a document that I would be interested in tracking: http://secure.cihi.ca/cihiweb/products/WaitTimesReport_06_e.pdf We ran a search with the title (in quotes) and the organization name. This gives you an estimated # of pages with the reference with duplicates suppressed. However, running the same search just a couple of hours apart produces quite different estimated #s of pages. (More that I would have thought could be explained by changes in actual references alone). Bottom line, there's undoubtedly a better way of doing this. I'm not necessarily looking for help with running this specific search, although I would never turn that down. Ideally, I'd like a link or reference to a document that describes robust ways of counting web links/mentions. Thanks!
Re: How to count web links/mentions for a report
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 05 Nov 2006 05:49 PST
hlppls-ga, Thanks for getting back to me. I was glad to hear the search I constructed returned pretty much the same results for you as it did for me. That's a good sign. As for the search itself, let's look it over in a bit more detail: [ "waiting for health care in canada" "what we know and what we" ] Basically, what I've done here is to break a long title into two discrete phrases, and omitted a potentially problematic term. You could, of course, simply search on the full title in quotes: [ "Waiting for Health Care in Canada: What We Know and What we Don't Know" ] and this will return many of the same results, and give you a good quick overview of what's out there. However, search engines sometimes have problems with lengthy phrases, probably having to do with the fact that long phrases often include a line break that complicates recognition. For that reason, I recommend breaking out a short, readily-recognized phrase for searching. However, a search for just [ "Waiting for Health Care in Canada" ] returns some spurious results, from other reports with a similar title, or simply from casual use of the same phrase. So adding a second term to the search helps pinpoint your report. I added [ "What We Know and What we" ] because I've noticed in the past that some search engines seem to have problems with apostrophe'd terms, especially in the context of exact phrases (ie, when quotes are used). To avoid any possible problems with this, I dropped the "...don't know" part of the title. If you follow those guidelines, you should be able to put together a reliable search on any title of interest. One more trick to be aware of...You can, if you want, eliminate results from your own website, if you only want to count hits from other mentions of your report. This Google search: [ "waiting for health care in canada" "what we know and what we" -cihi.ca ] returns 41 (rather than 54) hits. The last term instructs Google to ignore results from webpages ending in cihi.ca. =============== I also mentioned the automated search-and-notification feature, which is a great little tool. To set them up, simply head to Google Alerts: ://www.google.com/alerts and enter the search terms you are looking for in the search box (you'll have to set up a separate Alert for each search). Next, choose the type and frequency of search from the pull down menus. You can search the web, or news sources, or blogs, or groups, or all of the above. The alert will send you an email every time new material appears with your search terms. You'll probably get an initial email with all the results currently out there, i.e., a link to all 54 hits to your Waiting for Health Care report. But after the initial alert, you only get new alerts as new material appears. I hope I've provided some useful tools, and a clear explanation of how to put them to good use. But if there's anything else I can do for you, just ask, and I'm at your service. All the best, paf
Re: How to count web links/mentions for a report
From: answerfinder-ga on 04 Nov 2006 07:30 PST
hlppls-ga, "..as a novice". It's not your fault. The email notification system is not working at the moment. You have to keep looking at your question to see if it has been answered or commented on. Hopefully one of my fellow researchers will be able to help you on this question.
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