Dirt Diggers Digest No. 42

September 16, 2003

Editor: Philip Mattera

1. Database documents scientists'  ties to industry

2. How to search 11 billion web pages

3. Valuable information source for electric utilities

4. Corporate campaigners conference set for October

5. The holes in EPA's ECHO database

6. Compendium of advertising industry data


1. Database documents scientists'  ties to industry

In Dirt Diggers Digest No. 40 we reported on a study by the Center

for Science in the Public Interest about the links between non-profit

organizations and the food and drug industries. CSPI has now

converted its research on the subject into an online resource called

the Integrity in Science Internet Database. Searchable by name, topic,

university or company, the database describes the ways in which

corporate interests fund (and presumably influence) scientific

research. The information comes from sources such as scientific

journals, press releases, websites, resumes and conference programs.

It can be found at http://www.cspinet.org/integrity/database.html.


2. How to search 11 billion web pages

The Internet Archive <www.archive.org>, a 100-plus-terabyte archival

collection of webpages also known as the Wayback Machine, has

introduced keyword searching for the first time. The Recall feature

<http://www.archive.org/web/web.php> will initially search 11 billion

of the 30 billion pages contained in the Internet Archive. Search

results include a graph showing the distribution of hits over time.

The Internet Archive is now even more useful for things such as

showing changes in the content of a corporate website over time.

Speaking of search engines, the web research world has been abuzz

recently with the revelation that Google has a feature called a

Supplemental Index that is apparently searched only when the search

engine does not find adequate results. As Danny Sullivan, editor of

Search Engine Watch points out in a recent article


the existence of this two-tier index raises questions about Google's

implicit claim on its home page that it searches more than 3.3 billion



3. Valuable information source for electric utilities

As a result of the recent blackout, electric utilities are much in the news

these days. This gives somewhat more significance to the recent

announcement by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it

has upgraded its online archive of company filings and changed the

name of that archive from FERRIS to eLibrary. The archive -- which can

be accessed at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp -- contains

a variety of filings, but the most useful is probably the Form 1, the annual

report that must be submitted by major electric utilities. Form 1 contains

much of the same financial information that a publicly traded utility would

file in its 10-K, but it has much more extensive data on operations and

details on items such as tax payments and credits that do not appear

in 10-Ks.


4. Corporate campaigners conference set for October

The Empowering Democracy conference for corporate campaigners,

originally scheduled for last June in Arkansas, will now take place

October 9-11 in Oakland, CA. The event brings together campaigners

from a variety of movements (environmental, labor, anti-globalization, etc.)

for networking, discussion and skills training (including a workshop on

corporate research). For more details and registration forms, see



5. The holes in EPA's ECHO database

Last December, in Dirt Diggers Digest No. 25, we reported that the

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had finally put compliance

information online in a database called ECHO (Enforcement and

Compliance History On-Line). That was welcome news, but a feature

on the recently revamped website of the Working Group on Community

Right to Know <www.crtk.org> points out that ECHO has some holes.

CRTK says: "Because states are not required to report all enforcement

activities to EPA, ECHO is incomplete for many smaller facilities.  For

example, ECHO does not include violations, enforcement actions, or

penalties for more than 130,000 'non-major' dischargers under the Clean

Water Act." CRTK provides a table showing the types of data missing from

ECHO: <http://www.crtk.org/detail.cfm?docID=671&cat=information%20reform>.


6. Compendium of advertising industry data

Advertising Age, the bible of the consumer manipulation business, publishes

an annual compendium of data on the industry. The 100 Leading National

Advertisers is a directory of major corporations, outlining the extent of each

one's spending broken down by brand and by medium. The 2003 version of

this useful information can be found in a 73-page PDF file at:




Philip Mattera

Director of the Corporate Research Project

Good Jobs First