Tag Archives: web searching

How to do an effective web-search

Or notes on finding out who distributed a film in Australia.

Normally, IMDB is a great source of movie-related information, quickly followed by Wikipedia, Although, both these were not effective in easily finding out who the Australian distributor of a film was (or it or will be depending on the case). So a bit of a web search led to a few interesting finds. With no instant solution, but a two-step solution which was ok for this because it was only a few.
The first part was the AustralianClassification government website, which has a useful searchable online catalogue. Looking at the applicant gives the company that is trying to get it through the Australian <strike>Censors</strike>, *cough* sorry, Classification. If you’re lucky it will be the local distributor, such as Roadshow Entertainment or Amalgamated Movies. (They’re the two largest BTW).
However, if they give you no joy, then there is the Australian Film Societies Federation‘s list of film distributors. They focus on allowing locals to show a particular film as a film society, not commercial cinemas. Although this is the Internet, who knows if they can be trusted? So onwards the contact information they provide about many distributors is worth investigating. Roadshow Entertainment only had a phone number and email. Amalgamated Movies had a link to the website, and Joy Oh Joy, the website had an online catalogue of the movies they distributed for “Non Theatrical Film Distributors”.
So combining the AustralianClassification listing and the list of film distributors from Ausfilm, and comparing this with the Amalgamated Movies online catalogue. Barring things like data entry errors, random transmission malfunctions, acts of god(s), and such, I was able to judge the first to be mostly trustworthy.

So to summarize what steps did I follow to conduct this web search and verify that what I found was of any use whatsoever?

  1. Engaged general knowledge to look at IMDB and Wikipedia, but (and this is important) did not use them as a source. I can not trust Wikipedia because of its general nature and multiple editors, and I’m just not sure about IMDB.
  2. Then using Google tried a couple of searchers. australian movie distributors, Australian film distributors, and the like. Trying to use the keywords to narrow down the pages returned.
  3. Skipping past the ads at the top and side. I investigated the most likely sites from the list looking for government sites, organisations, not for profits, because they are more likely to provide unbiased information. A business will usually talk about their products or services and ignore their opposition, so I can rely on what they say.
  4. Skimmed the site for relevance, and if it was useful then scanned it for the useful data I wanted. (Yes you could say I had a quick look and a guess, but there is more to it than that)
  5. Now the critical step is, I verify the information provided from one website against another. Now my tolerance for looking at this kind of information is fairly high. If it was something like ‘best armies for Warhammer 40K’, or ‘Best place to buy a flux capacitor’, then I would spend more time reading to build up a broader basis of knowledge from which to judge the useful of the cr@p. The only way this is achieved is through reading many websites to judge the content, its age, relevance, etc.