Here's your latest issue of Really Useful Sites for the International Trade Professional. This free bi-weekly newsletter reviews useful Web sites from the Web Resources database at FITA's International Trade/ Import-Export Portal at http://fita.org, an excellent source for trade leads, news, events, and a link library of 7,000+ sites related to international trade.
My name is John McDonnell, and for years I've been writing about useful Web sites for businesspeople, in various publications. Now I've focused on international trade, using my Web research skills to find sites that are useful for international businesspeople, and some sites that are just plain fun for anyone.
Here are the sites:
OUR FEATURED REGIONAL SITE -- MIDDLE EAST STUDIES PAGEhttp://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/mideast/cuvlm
Much attention has been focused on turmoil in the Middle East recently, but that's not the whole story of the region. The 20 countries of the Middle East also represent economic opportunity for anyone interested in international trade. A good place to research this promising market is Columbia University's Middle East Studies page at www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/mideast/cuvlm. Here you'll find links to a rich array of information about the Middle East. There are detailed reports about each country's economic and political situation, up-to-the-minute headlines, recipes for Middle Eastern food, maps of the region, historical information, a site about early Islamic coins -- even something called a Camel Researcher's Database. You could spend days at this site and not exhaust what it has to offer.
There are lots more links to the Middle East at the FITA site. Go to FITA's International Trade Web Resources at www.fita.org/webindex, click on Regional Resources and Multi-Lateral Trading Areas in the left column or "Search by Country or Region" in the right column, and then scroll down to "Middle East/Africa" and select a country or "Middle East" in the pop-up window . Or simply type "Middle East" in the search box at http://www.fita.org/.
There's nothing more stale than yesterday's news. I love NewsSeer at www.newsseer.com because it's a news site that lets me see how fresh the headlines are. NewsSeer lists the latest headlines, and tells you their age, whether it's minutes, hours, or days. It's an interactive site, because you can eliminate headlines you're not interested in, and click on the stories you want to read. Based on your choices, NewsSeer tries to predict which types of news articles you'll want to read, and it shows those topics every time you visit the site. You don't have to do anything but click on what looks interesting, and NewsSeer then develops a profile based on the computer and browser that you're using.
TOOL KIT FOR THE EXPERT WEB SEARCHERhttp://www.lita.org/committe/toptech/toolkit.htm
I think librarians are hip. In contrast to the image most people have of librarians as mild-mannered nerds who care more about books than they do about people, I see them as being on the cutting edge of Information Science. They're the pathfinders of the online world, and they share their expertise freely. As an example, Tool Kit for the Expert Web Searcher at www.lita.org/committe/toptech/toolkit.htm is a wery useful site from Pat Ensor, a librarian at the University of Houston. At this site Pat has selected what she considers to be the best search sites on the Net, and she describes them in simple, easy to understand language. This site is rich with useful links for whatever type of searching you're doing.
When my teenage daughter wanted information about how to combat acne, I sent her to MerckSource at www.mercksource.com. MerckSource offers a wide variety of health tools and resources, available 24 hours a day. Unlike a lot of other health sites, MerckSource is free, and it has no advertising. You get credible, unbiased health and medical information at your fingertips, along with the power to customize your experience through tailored news selections on topics that are important to you. You can also get the latest information on hundreds of medical conditions, scan breaking medical news, and prepare for a visit to your healthcare provider -- and these are just a few of the things you can do at this site.
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