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How to search in Stack overflow?


The most useful and well-known source for developers is Stack Overflow. It is used by millions of users every day to get quality answers to their questions. What makes Stack Overflow a special community is there active users who not only use Stack Overflow to solve their problems, but also help users who are having trouble finding a solution to their problems. By helping developers and technologists write a vision for the future this public platform is considered one of the most popular websites in the world. This article represents search possibilities of Stack Overflow.

To begin with, a user needs to enter the search term in the search box that appears in the center-left of the list at the top of each page and press Enter (www.stackoverflow.com). On a small screen, he may first need to enable the search button magnifying glass icon to show the text box.

Search in Stack Overflow

The best way to search for a question is by doing an advanced search and the way to do it is explained below:

  • To search within a specific tag (-s), it is needed to enter them in square brackets: [admin] seat searches for “seat” references within the “admin” tag;
  • To look for a precise expression, it is needed to enter it in quotation marks: “java”;
  • To limit the search to just the title of the question, it is needed to use the query title:  Java;
  •  Similarly, to find the body with the question, the query body (excluding title): “phrase here” is used;
  • To search inside a block of code, the query needed to be used is code: x=y-1;
  • To search only the code content, the query needed to be used is code: if (a==b);
  • To search a word in the code, it is needed to use the query “valid”;
  • To search for specific questions, this query is used user: java, that searches in all user questions for the word “java”;
  • To exclude a result from a tag/term/phrase in the search query a prefix is needed, for example, Java and Spring framework – Spring MVC, so this query is searching for questions related to Java and Spring framework without including one of the modules of Spring which is Spring MVC;
  • Also, another way to find a question is to use a wildcard search by adding an asterisk anywhere in the words exc*ion or fi*al.

So far, general information regarding advance search was explained. Every user should know this information to be able to find what they are looking for, but Stack Overflow also offers an even more advanced search option to help users to find the right question:

Range Operators

Users can enter top or bottom parameters or categories to search only for questions that fall into a particular category for a score, several answers, or several views. For example

score: -2 or score: -5 will both return only questions that have greater than or equal to -2 scores.

Another way is to find a question is by views: views: 5k…20k, this will find only those questions that are between this range of viewers. And the last way from this category is by using the answers: answers: 3, this query will find only questions which have 3 or fewer answers.


Similarly, to range operators, a specific date or date ranges can be used to find the question that the user is interested in. Also, it is possible to use the operators created and lastactive, whose function is understandable from the name. To use them correctly, it is necessary to enter the dates in the correct format:

By using absolute dates:

  • range of years created: 2020…2021 – this query will return all the questions that are created from 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2021;
  • only the year: created: 2020 – this query will return every question that was created during this year from 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020;
  • year and month created: 2020-04..2020-05 – this query will only return questions that were created from 1 April 2020 – 31 May 2020;
  • day, month, and year lastactive: 2020-04-03 – this query will return all questions that were the last active between 12:00 AM on April 3, 2020, and 11:59 PM on April 3, 2020.

     By using relative dates:

  • Users have the option to search back in time. If now is February 2021 and a user uses the query created: 1y, the query will return all the questions from the year 2020.
  • The concept is the same for the query created: 1m. It will return all the questions from January1-31 2021.
  • Furthermore, the query created: 1d will return all the questions asked yesterday.

One last thing to remember when using the dates is that the time is recorded in UTC.

User operators

By using these operators, the user will limit the search for the questions to one specific user only:

  • If a user wants to search his questions, the user can use this query user: mine or user: me, or in case the user wants to search for another user’s questions, he can use the query user: id and this will return all the questions that a specific user has asked.
  • If a user wants to search for a bookmarked question, the query inbookmarks: mine can be used and to search a specific user’s bookmarked question, the query needed is inbookmarks: id.
  • The last option is to use the tags. By using the query intags: mine, the user will get all the questions that will match his favorite tags.

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators have indeed a tremendous usage. These operators can be used with values (1/0 or true/false or yes/no). Regarding this report, the values that will be used are true/false.

  • To find all the questions which have an accepted answer (the user has an answer for his question), the query hasaccepted: true is used, and to get all the questions that have no answer, the same query is used with a false value: hasaccepted: false.
  • To find all the questions which contain code, it is needed to use the query hascode: true. If false, questions without code will be returned.
  • To find all the questions that have an accepted answer with at least one positive upvote (when other users give their vote, this usually happens when the same answer has helped them solve their problem), it is needed to use the query isanswered: true. If the value is false, the result will be all the questions which have an answer but don’t have any positive upvote.
  • To find all closed questions, the query closed: true needs to be used. If the value is false, all closed questions are excluded.
  • To find all the duplicate questions, the query needed to be used is duplicate: true. This returns all the questions which have been reported as a duplicate of another question. If it is false, those questions are excluded.
  • To find a question that has been moved to another site, it is needed to use the query migrated: true. If false, those questions are excluded.
  • To find all locked questions, the query locked: true needs to be used. If false, those questions are excluded. (Lock questions are questions in which no action is allowed (like edit, vote, answer, comment).)
  • To find the questions that have a notice, the query hasnotice: true is used. If it is false, the questions that have no notice will be returned.
  • To find the questions only from a Wiki, the query wiki: true needs to be used. If false, all the non-Wiki-community questions will be returned.

OR Operator

  • It is used to combine tags: the query closed: true or locked: true will find closed or locked questions.

Deleted Question

Stack Overflow uses a gamification system which sometimes is very important to gain different rights, as it is in the case of this operator. The user needs 10,000 reputations/points to use the queries below:

  • To find deleted questions, the query needed is deleted: 1.
  • To find deleted and not-deleted questions, the query used is deleted: all.
  • To find non-deleted questions, the query used is deleted: 0 but it is also possible to use the query user: me.


Overflow, S., n.d. stackexchange. [Online]
Available at: https://math.stackexchange.com/help
[Accessed 18 03 2021].

stackoverflow, n.d. How do I search?. [Online]
Available at: https://stackoverflow.com/help/searching
[Accessed 18 03 2021].

stackoverflow, n., n.d. stackoverflow.com. [Online]
Available at: https://stackoverflow.com/
[Accessed 25 02 2021].

The World Factbook: The US CIA’s Encyclopedia of Nations


What is The World Factbook?

The CIA world factbook is produced by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. The Factbook functions like an almanac or encyclopedia of nations. The information source provides “basic intelligence on the history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, terrorism, and transnational issues for 266 world entities” and the world’s oceans (CIA, World Factbook). The World Factbook was created to provide US government officials with a single authoritative source of intelligence about countries around the world. The Factbook was first published as a classified document in 1962 until the CIA began publishing an unclassified version in 1973. Since 1997 the Factbook has been available to the public online (CIA, History). Since 2010, the source has been updated weekly but has been criticized for some minor factual errors contained within it and outdated entries (Kim 2021).

Coverage and Content

The Factbook contains  information on countries, which is written from the perspective of the US government, meaning that place names are used based on official US policy. For example, the Factbook uses the Burma, intead of the UN-recognized name of Myanmar. The Factbook covers all of the countries recognized by the United States and some areas which are not formally recognized by the United States such as countries, namely Taiwan and Hong Kong, and Antarctica. Several other areas, such as North Cyprus, Palestine,which are not recognized by the United States are not included (CIA, Explore Countries). On the main page of the Factbook, there is a quick search bar for countries, quick several quick links to access information on oceans and country comparisons, and when was the latest website update (CIA, The World Factbook). The source itself is divided into the following tabs:

Countries: When selecting the tab “Countries”, it is possible to filter through the list of countries by their first letter. Each entry has several sections for the selected country. For example the entry for Czechia, contains sections for basic information, such as the country’s flag, maps, photos, background, geography, people and society, economy, energy, communications, Transportation, Military, and transnational issues. Each of these sections provides more detailed information for various  subcategories within the larger group. (CIA, Czechia).

Fig. 1: Selected portions of CIA World Factbook Czechia page (CIA, Czechia)

Maps: The Factbook contains several types of maps of different territories and countries it covers. Maps generally follow borders recognized by the United States. The maps are categorized according to world and regional maps, which can be further divided into political (borders, capital or major cities) and physical regional maps (size, geography, terrain). Additionally, there are CIA or location maps that more clearly define the transportation, regions, a physiography within a country. Specifically to the African continent, there are two additional categories of maps, NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) country maps and NGA population distribution maps (CIA, CIA Maps).

Fig. 2: Political Africa map (CIA, CIA Maps)

References: The “References” tab contains a Guide to Country Profiles, which lists the different categories, fields and subfields according to which the country’s profiles are organized. Besides the guide, the page contains different appendices, which explain the different codes, abbreviation, definitions, measurements, agreement and more. This helps the user to read the content of the source appropriately (CIA, References).

About: The “About” section provides the user some facts about the source and the most frequently asked questions. These are meant to clarify any potential uncertain information, such as when the data is being updated, or why certain territories are not listed as opposed to others or why certain data is not included. Moreover, there is access to archived World Factbook publications since the year 2000 (CIA, About The World Factbook).

Searching in CIA World Factbook

On the main page of the Factbook, there is a search bar, where free text can be typed, but it would only allow the user to select an exact match to a county. Some areas which are not countries are listed along with the countries, such as Antarctica, the European Union, and Puerto Rico.

Fig. 3: Search bar on the main page (CIA, The World Factbook)

Another way of searching for a particular country is going directly to the “Countries” tab and filtering results alphabetically. This type of filter is the most common throughout the different information categories.

Fig. 4: Explore All Countries filter options (CIA, Explore All Countries)

To illustrate further the search, let us assume that a user needs to obtain information about the GDP of Bahrain and compare its placement to other countries. In order to reach the data needed, the content category selected would be Economy, the user can press ctrl+F to find data related to GDP.

Fig. 5: Finding the Read GDP per capita for Bahrain (CIA, Bahrain)

For the purpose of the example, the GDP data selected is GDP per capita. On the country page, data is shown for between 2017 to 2019. When clicking on Real GDP per capita, all the countries are listed alphabetically with three values of GDP per capita data. However, in order to receive a better ranking view of the information, it is needed to proceed to “Country Comparison Ranking” (CIA, Bahrain).

Fig. 6: Accessing the Country Comparison Ranking (CIA, Real GDP per capita)
Fig. 7: GDP per Capita Ranking filtered to show Middle East only (CIA, Real GDP per capita)

On the ranking page, it is possible to filter by region in order to focus the results and find more easily the country’s position compared to the rest. Prior to the website update in 2021, it was possible to download the raw text file of the information directly from the page (CIA World Factbook for Country Information, 2017). However, it is possible to copy-paste the data directly to excel without formatting issues. 

Fig. 8: Country comparison table on the old website (CIA, The World Factbook)

Regions or oceans are not searchable using the search bar, but can be found when scrolling down on the main page. Information on regions of the world leads to a country list, which then leads to individual country profiles. Information on oceans can be compared, but it is not presented in a table form.

Fig. 9: Marine fisheries comparison (CIA, Marine fisheries)

Although “World Travel Facts”, “One-Page Country Summaries”, and “Flags of the World” are accessible directly from the individual country’s profile, they can be quickly accessed from the main page and redirected to the PDF document. This feature is useful when needing to obtain the same documents for multiple countries more quickly (CIA, The World Factbook).

Fig. 10: Quick links on the main webpage (CIA, The World Factbook)

If the user’s aim is to compare particular categories for multiple countries, going directly to “Country Comparisons” on the main page will lead to all the categories. When searching for GDP per Capita of Bahrain compared to other countries using the method of the initial example, it takes six clicks to reach the comparison table as opposed to three clicks when going directly from the main page.

Search outputs

The main outputs which can be obtained from searching and browsing the World Factbook are various data datasets from different geographical, social, governmental, economic and other indicators, travel facts, one-page country summaries, maps, different photos and archived documents. Some of the possible outputs have been described below:

Travel Facts: This document provides a quick overview of the US government travel advisory, visa requirements for US citizens and the location of the US embassy in that particular country. Despite the US-centric information, other countries’ nationals will find it useful as it contains information on the climate, currency, electric plug type, languages,, time difference, road driving side, cultural practices, area code and more (CIA, World Travel Facts).

Fig. 11: Bahrain’s travel facts (CIA, World Travel Facts)

One-Page Country Summaries: They contain a one page overview of the most important country facts, including the country’s flag, a map indicating the position of the country in the region and the size of the country compared to the US (CIA, One-Page Country Summaries).

Fig. 12: Bahrain’s one page country summary (CIA, One-Page Country Summaries)

Archived documents: The Factbook archives their publications as compressed .zip files, so that users can access older publications. However, country comparisons and indicators are not available for view in the file. In case multiple year comparison is needed to fill in a dataset, it is easier to access the old webpage through the digital archive of The Wayback Machine (Wayback Machine, 2021). As The Factbook has renewed their website in 2021, it would be necessary to input the old URL: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook, instead. The search methodology is slightly different from the new website, however it is more intuitive than searching through the available archived documents.

Fig. 13: Wayback Machine history browse (Wayback Machine, 2021)

As the Factbook is updated on a weekly basis, when selecting a date to go back to in the archive, it is best to select a similar day and month to the most current update. At the time of the review, the website was last updated on the 18th of March, 2021 and therefore the closest selected archived date with a similar day and month is the 21st of March, 2021.

Fig. 14: Selecting the date to go back to in Wayback Machine (Wayback Machine, 2021)
Fig. 15: Country Comparison GDP per Capita archived view on 21st of March, 2021 (CIA, Country Comparison)

In order to access the “Country Comparisons” in the old website, it will be necessary to go to the “References” tab, Guide to County Comparisons and select GDP – per capita (PPP).

Final remarks

Overall,  the CIA World Factbook is a good general resource for reliable information about the countries of the world. The Factbook likely contains some minor errors but these are rare enough that researchers do not need to double-check the information it provides. Individuals using the Factbook, to research politically sensitive issues should also be aware that listed information represents the US government’s official view which may not correspond with how the information would be written in a neutral encyclopedia. When planning for an international trip, the source is useful for accessing recommended travel guidelines quickly without any additional distractions. As the Factbook has made available its archived information from 2000, researchers can rely on the source to build datasets for various indicators. 


Works Cited

CIA. (n.d.). About. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/about/

CIA. (n.d.). Bahrain One Page Country Summary. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/static/0c698595c3065357ad154aa5db9d7e98/BA-summary.pdf

CIA. (n.d.). Bahrain Travel Facts. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/static/f3c769d8ff880f796d6ab3422a3d916d/BA-travel-facts.pdf

CIA. (n.d.). Czechia. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/czechia/

CIA. (n.d.). Explore Countries. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook

CIA. (n.d.). History. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/about/history/

CIA. (n.d.). Maps. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/maps/

CIA. (n.d.). Marine Fisheries. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/field/marine-fisheries

CIA. (n.d.). One Page Country Summaries. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/references/one-page-country-summaries/

CIA. (n.d.). Real GDP per Capita. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/field/real-gdp-per-capita

CIA. (n.d.). Real GDP per Capita Country Comparison. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/field/real-gdp-per-capita/country-comparison

CIA. (n.d.). References. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/references/

CIA. (n.d.). World Factbook. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook

CIA World Factbook for Country Information. (2017, August 3). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxCg5ufso3w&t

CIA. (n.d.). World Travel Facts. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/references/world-travel-facts/

Kim, T. (2021). CIA factbook full of errors about Korea. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://newsarticleinsiders.com/cia-factbook-full-of-errors-about-korea

Wayback Machine. (2021). The Wayback Machine. http://web.archive.org/

Globaleaks – Keep the next Edward Snowden safe

"C European Union 2014"

Mark Felt, Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, so many familiar names which the media put on the first pages of all newspapers, presented as true heroes. But, who are they?

Source: www.globaleaks.org


noun [c] /ˈwɪs.əlˌbləʊ.ər/

a whistleblower is someone who reports waste, fraud, abuse, corruption, or dangers to public health and safety to someone who is in the position to rectify the wrongdoing“[6]

Whistleblowers have become modern heroes, even more at the digital age, in disclosing information about wrongdoings that remain unknown to the wider population. Their names, faces, words travelled around the globe and were targets of the public attention and the media.

The disclosed information is, most of the time, classified as internal, confidential or in some cases Top Secret. This unauthorized discolure of information put the whistleblowers in very risky positions from a legal standpoint. As a consequence, there is a great need for technical means that safeguard their anonymity.

Globaleaks is a free, open-source and easy-to-use platform that answers this need for anonymity to whistleblowers. When set up, anyone can send documents through the platform and remain fully anonymous, protected by technical and cryptographic methods.

Supported by the Hermes Center for Transparencey and Digital Human rights, founded in 2011, Globaleaks has been developed by hacktivists, laywers and digital rights whose purpose is to advocate for freedom of speech, the human rights protection as well as personal freedom on the internet.


Globaleaks open-source platform is aimed at supporting non-technical users with a very easy-to-use implementation and web-user interface. The installation process only takes a few steps and the platform can be quickly set up without any prior programming or software knowledge.

Upon login, you are redirected to the home page of your whistleblowing platform. Everything is fully manageable from this simple web interface which supports more than 40 languages.

Globaleaks Web-Interface homepage

Customization is an important aspect of the platform’s mission to support whistleblowers. It relies on the idea that the whistleblowing depends on its context and environment. Therefore, the platform must reflect the cultural background of the field and create trust between whistleblowers and the organizations that provide the platform. Besides the possibility to change the key aspects of the website like the title of the homepage, it can be tailored to the needs of any organizations through custom CSS, Javascript files and still beneficiate from the technical support from the Hermes Center.

Globaleaks Web-Interface homepage

Questionnaires can be created and managed from the very easy-to-use interface. It enables the platform owner to know more about the leaked documents. For instance, information about the subject, or getting a complete description of the leaked information. Furthermore, the whistleblower can also select the receiving organization as an option.

Cases (submissions) can be easily managed from the web interface itself and tracked according to their status. The administrator can have a overview of the newly open cases and closed ones.

Globaleaks Web-Interface Case Management View

In order to further simplify the usability for its users, Globaleaks acknowledged the fact that using TOR network was a source of security issues for non-technical users who are struggling with configuring a secure working environment. Therefore, the system also gives the option to operate on HTTPS to enable accessibility to less skilled users.


When it comes to the disclosure of highly sensitive information that can put the whistlblowers in jeopardy, security is perhaps the most important feature. Globaleaks is built in a way to preserve the anonymity of users and features a very important security dispositive.

Firstly, the design of the software when it comes to privacy makes difficult to trace back the IP address of the whistleblowers. All submissions and elements that compose it (questionnaire, comments, attachments, correspondence and even metadata) are encrypted and protected. Nothing is stored in plaintext on the servers.

Secondly, Globaleaks added a feature that is strongly related to privacy and security concerns: a robust retention policity that deletes the submissions after a given period of time in order to reduce the risk of future security breaches.

Furthermore, security audits are regularly performed in order to identify and classify all risks. It is worth mentioning that the last audit was performed in 2018 with little risks identified which were since then corrected. A very active Github community is constantly improving the software which support the security of the platform.

Finally, no transfer of data occurs between the hosting organization and Hermes Center. The ownership of the data remains with the organization which operates the instance of Globaleaks.

Some real-world implementations

Source sûre –  Investigative journalism

Source: https://www.sourcesure.eu/

Usually, journalists are protected by law and some local regulations. However, these are often disrespected, even by authorities. In order to help whistleblowers having a safe and anonymous place to share information, four French-speaking newspapers, “Le Monde”, “La Libre Belgique”, “Le Soir de Bruxelles” and “RTBF” launched their whistleblowing platform for investigative journalism called “Source sûre”, “Safe source” in English. Wistleblowers can currently choose among eight available media, to which of them the information will be sent.


Prosecutor Office at the International Criminal Court (ICC)-  Human rights protection

Source: https://www.icc-cpi.int/carII

Globaleaks has been used since many years to report human rights violations by many international organizations like Amnesty International or the Prosecutor Office at the International Criminal Court. It facilitates the sharing of information between lawyers, organizations and witnesses of genocides, crimes against humanity and war crimes.



The most popular alternative to Globaleaks is Securedrop which is primarly intended to help journalists share documents in a secure and anonymous fashion and communicate with their sources. The main organizations using this platform are “The Guardian” and the “New York Times”.

Source: https://securedrop.org/

Securedrop focus on the security model rather than on the usability of the platform. Its configuration requires the intervention of advanced users that will need to set up a dedicated TOR connection for instance. Securedrop requires a larger IT architecture in which receiving servers aren’t able to open the uploaded documents. Only “air-gaps”, computer with no internet access, are able to decrypt the documents read on a physical storage like a basic USB key.

In terms of usability, Securedrop requires advanced skills in Linux system administration. When documents, information is submitted on the platform, recipients (e.g. journalists) have to download the encrypted documents and transfer it on the air-gaps for verification. This process described as “labour-intensive” is particularly subject to spam abuses.

How to get started?

Globaleaks serves as a customizable platform that can directly be downloaded from their website www.globaleaks.org and follow the installation procedure.

The software is only designed to run on GNU/Linux distributions and it is specifically developed and tested to run on Debian based systems.

Only a few quick and simple steps are required to install the software locally on your machine, informing your project name and creating your login credentials.

Extensive user documentation is available on their website addressing various types of users (administrators, users, developers).


  • Globaleaks is a digital platform providing anonymity to whistleblowers in just a few easy clicks.
  • It offers excellent useability for non-technical users, especially customization options and case management features without compromising on its security.
  • Main alternative is Securedrop which emphasizes on security rather than usability.


[1] Borland, J. (2017, June 3). Whistleblowing Rippling into New Corners. Wired. https://www.wired.com/2013/12/whistleblowing-rippling-new-corners/

[2] Digital whistleblowing with GlobaLeaks. (2015). International Journalism Festival. https://www.journalismfestival.com/programme/2015/digital-whistleblowing-with-globaleaks

[3] Jenkins, M. (2020, April). Overview of whistleblowing software. Anti-Corruption Resource Center, Transparency International. https://www.u4.no/publications/overview-of-whistleblowing-software

[4] Protecting whistleblowers – protecting democracy. (2020). European Digital Rights (EDRi). https://edri.org/our-work/protecting-whistleblowers-protecting-democracy/

[5] ReportLinker. (2020, October 20). Whistleblowing Software Market Forecast to 2027 – COVID-19 Impact and Global Analysis by Deployment Type ; Enterprise Size ; and Geography. GlobeNewswire News Room. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/10/20/2111359/0/en/Whistleblowing-Software-Market-Forecast-to-2027-COVID-19-Impact-and-Global-Analysis-by-Deployment-Type-Enterprise-Size-and-Geography.html

[6] The National Whistleblower Center. (2020, March 27). What is a Whistleblower? National Whistleblower Center. https://www.whistleblowers.org/what-is-a-whistleblower/

OECD iLibrary: the gate to OECD’s knowledge



In the digital world, information and data are pervasive and available to anyone at any moment. However, the amount of data makes it difficult to have relevant, reliable and traceable information stand-out. This is why quality data and processed information are so valuable, and the ones accessible through the OECD iLibrary are part of them. Indeed, the quality and relevance of all data and information accessible through this library are certified by the OECD.

About the OECD

The OECD iLibrary is an online source of information, books, papers and statistics. It belongs to the OECD and gives access to all data and analyses collected and published by the OECD. It is a great source for open-access studies, reports and data. As such, the OECD iLibrary has established as a major source of intelligence, accessible (for a great part of it) to anyone. It is thus used for informative purposes as well as accurate decision-making purposes by individuals, academic bodies, NGOs, businesses and governments.

Let’s focus on the OECD itself, in order to understand where the OECD iLibrary comes from. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) is an international organisation providing economic reports and economic data analyses. It is mainly composed of developed countries and all of its members have democratic regimes and free-markets economies. The OECD does not have any supranational authority over its members but mostly plays a consultative and advisory role.

In 1961, the OECD succeeded the OEEC (Organisation for European Economic Cooperation), which was created in 1948 following the Marshall Plan. Its aim was to favour the reconstruction and long-term development of European countries after World War II. Indeed, in the beginning, its purpose was to apply the Marshall plan and allocate its dedicated funds. The OEEC’s role started to become obsolete when the Marshall plan ended in 1952. Therefore, in 1961, the organisation expanded to non-European countries and shifted its mission to economic studies. In addition to the shift of its internal structure, it also created specialised agencies such as the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). In 1989, on the edge of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the OECD turned towards Central and Eastern Europe countries and accepted several new members before 2000.

Today, the OECD has 37 member states: 18 founding members (European and North American countries) and 12 other members spread across the world and added throughout the years. The organisation holds a forum through which member-governments can share issues and try to work together based on the intelligence provided by the OECD. The organisation’s objective is to understand what the main levers of economic, environmental and social evolutions are and to give governments relevant and actionable data: current and historical data with written reports and analyses, but also forecasts and estimates with analyses of future trends. The scope of the OECD’s studies is very wide; they range from macro-economic indicators to micro-focuses on individuals’ habits. After collection and analysis of data, a committees discusses policy matters and the OECD council eventually phrases recommendations intended to be used as consultative advice by members.

Overview of available content

The OECD iLibrary contains books, papers and data published by the OECD, or jointly published by the OECD and other International organisations. For example, when it comes to agriculture, the OECD sometimes works together with the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). It also includes content published by OECD agencies: the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), the International Energy Agency (IEA), the OECD Development Centre, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), and the International Transport Forum (ITF).

The topics of books, papers and data are very diverse:

  • Agriculture & Food
  • Development
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Finance and Investment
  • Governance
  • Industry and Services
  • Nuclear Energy
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Issues, Migration and Health
  • Taxation
  • Trade
  • Transport
  • Urban, Rural and Regional Development

As of November 2020, the OECD library contains:

  • 16,020 books
  • 84,380 chapters
  • 252,120 tables and charts
  • 2,450 articles
  • 6,387 multilingual summaries
  • 6,840 working papers
  • 7 billion data points across 44 databases

The OECD iLibrary content is meant to be easily usable, readable and citable to any user. Indeed, content is available in many different formats such as: online readable text, online readable and/or responsive data, but also PDF, XLS and ePUB. The content is intended to be used by universities, research institutions, think-tanks, NGOs, governments and businesses. The major part of the content is in open-access. However, the OECD iLibrary offers a subscription possibility, which gives the subscribers access to all data, in all formats and in real time.

Searching in the OECD iLibrary

The OECD iLibrary has a simple an intuitive interface. It offers different searching possibilities.

List of all searching possibilities

  • Users can search through all the content by using a search bar. This search bar will crawl the content and index query matches according to two elements: name of the author of the content and keywords included in the content name. In addition, an “advanced search” option is also available and offers more refined searching possibilities (developed below).
  • Users can search content by theme. Themes correspond to the list of 17 topics shown on page 3 of this report.
  • Users can search content by country. It is worth noticing that the OECD iLibrary offers content on nearly all countries, including non-OECD member countries (although a minority). A content item may be related to one or several countries.
  • Users can search by theme and country combination.
  • Users can also search by type of content through the “catalogue” feature: books, papers, statistics, glossaries and additionally coronavirus during these times of sanitary crisis. The last feature on the blue ribbon (“statistics”) is a shortcut link to catalogue/statistics.

Focus on browsing by features: Theme / Country / Theme & Country / Catalogue

All other methods than the search bar or the advanced search offer a few means to refine and narrow the search. Let’s take “Browse by Country” as an example.

When first choosing a theme (Nuclear Energy for example), users land on page displaying all the latest content, classified by nature (books, papers, statistics and glossaries). One can then directly select a piece of content or refine the search by nature or sub-nature.

After refining the nature of the search to a maximum, users land on a results page, where results can be classified by date and title. As an example, I looked for all books about nuclear development and landed on a page displaying all books published by the Nuclear Energy Agency.

Overall, browsing by features on the OECD iLibrary does not offer the best refinement possibilities but is rather intended to display all intelligence produced by the OECD and its agencies. It is a very useful tool to search for information in an agnostic way. For instance, individuals, business managers or public policy actors may need to be informed about a topic. In this case, the research above may usefully suggest what the recent major issues with nuclear energy have been.

For people looking for specific information or data, the search and advanced search options would be more appropriate.

Focus on Search and Advanced search

The basic search function allows to search for any kind of data by typing any words in the search bar. The system crawls all content items and matches user queries through two elements:

  • Author – Each piece of content has an entry in the “author” category. However, authors can take different forms: content may have identified individuals as authors, or it can be simply labelled by the OECD or one of its agencies.
  • Title – Each piece of content has a title, usually composed of a few words. The basic search function will try to match words entered in queries with words contained in the title of pieces of content.

The Advanced Search function offers much more refined searching possibilities to users. It is the best tool for people searching for specific information or data. This tool allows users to refine queries according to the following features:

  • Keywords – One can enter keywords and specify where they should appear (title, author, abstract, etc.). Syntax rules can be used:
    • Booleans AND, OR & NOT
    • Quotation marks “” to match exact phrases
    • Asterisks * to match partial words
  • Dates – One can restrict the search to certain years.
  • Imprints – One can restrict the search to a publishing body (i.e. OECD agencies).
  • Languages – One can choose languages.
  • Content type – One can specify the desired content types (books, papers, etc.).
  • Theme and Country – One can choose up to one theme and one related country.
  • Results sorting methods – One can sort by newest, oldest or relevance.

After submitting a search query, the user gets a list of results. All results have a colour sticker, indicating the level of access as shown on the picture below (blue for total access, orange for read-only). Both basic and advanced search offer the possibility to refine and sort the results obtained after submission of the query.

Features of a piece of content

Each piece of content has the following features:

  • Title
  • Author: single of several, individuals or organisations
  • Language: several can be available
  • Publication date
  • Associated keywords

Depending on the type of content, items may have others features or characteristics:

  • Textual publications have an abstract.
  • Some items may have a summary, possibly in multiple languages.
  • Some items may have several versions, updated over time.
  • Some items may have several associated files. For example, a data analysis report may offer a PDF written analysis and the underlying dataset in Excel format.


  • OECD iLibrary is a huge information source belonging to the OECD. It is a global major renown source for economic data and analyses.
  • Its content (books, papers, data, reports, etc.) covers a wide range of sectors and is intended to be used by academic institutions, governments, NGOs, businesses and individuals.
  • The great majority of content is in free access.
  • The content is classified according to several features and the OECD iLibrary offers advanced searching methods allowing to search by title, related themes and countries, authors, content type, publication date and other features.



OECD iLibrary

Baidu Scholar: A Useful Tool and Information Source


Baidu Scholar was created in China in June 2014. A free academic resources comes from Chinese biggest search platform baidu, It dedicated to the resource retrieval technology and data mining analysis contribute to academic research, optimize academic resources, guide the academic value innovation, and provide scientific research workers with the most comprehensive academic resources retrieval, and the best research service experience.

Baidu Scholar has collected more than 1.2 million domestic and foreign academic sites including HowNet, Weipu, Wanfang, Elsevier, Springer, Wiley, NCBI, etc., indexed more than 1.2 billion academic resource, academic journals, conference papers, books and degree theses etc. It is becoming Chinese largest academic platform with document coverage. On this basis, a scholar database containing more than 4 million Chinese scholars’ homepages and more than 10,000 Periodical library on the homepage of Chinese and foreign periodicals. The above-mentioned powerful technical and data advantages have laid a solid foundation for academic search services, and currently provide nearly 3 billion services for tens of millions of academic users every year.


Baidu Scholar currently provides the following two types of services:

  • Academic search: Support users to search for three types of content: literature, journals, and scholars, and support customized academic search for libraries of universities and scientific research institutions.
  • Academic services: support users to subscribe to keywords of interest, collect valuable documents, open thesis analysis of the research direction, and also check the plagiarism.

Literature Retrieval methods

It is the most frequently used product feature that users demand the most. Baidu scholar  can identify and meet the retrieval needs of a variety of different expressions.

  1. Keyword/subject retrieval.

When the user’s input word is a certain keyword or topic, the search results will comprehensively consider the relevance, authority, timeliness and other multi-dimensional indicators of the document, provide multiple documents most relevant to the input word, and provide the following functions:

1.1.Sorting: Supports sorting documents in three ways: relevance, citations, and descending time. The default is to sort by relevance.

1.2.Screening: Supports fine-grained screening of articles according to eight methods including publication time, research field, core database inclusion, including keywords, document type, author, published journal, and publishing organization, narrowing the search scope, and finding what you need literature.

1.3.Research point analysis: extract multiple research points that are most relevant to the retrieved documents for in-depth analysis, and the user can click on it to view the visual analysis.

1.4.Functional area: each document provides four functions in the functional area: free download, batch quotation, quotation and collection.

文本框: Definition from baidu 

Research point analysis

2.The title retrieval

When the user enters the title of a document, the search results can identify the user’s need to find a unique goal, and directly return to the document’s details page, allowing the user to quickly obtain the required content.

2.1. Bibliographic area: Contains the author, publication source (time, issue, etc.), and citation information of the document. Further click is supported to view the secondary search results of the author and publication source and the cited documents of the document.

2.2. Download area: All sources of the document are given for users to choose to download. Users can also directly view all free sources under the “Free Download” tab for selection. If the document cannot be obtained, they can choose to ask other users for help

2.3. Recommendation area: Support users to view more related documents in the three dimensions of similar documents, references, and cited documents.

2.4. Citation statistics: The current citations of documents are counted annually, so that users can quickly understand the influence of the document in the field.

2.5. Research point analysis: extract multiple research points most relevant to the current literature for in-depth analysis, and the user can view the visual analysis after clicking.

文本框: DOI words

3.DOI search

When the user’s input DOI words, the search result can directly identify the target document.



In order to facilitate users to cite documents as references, etc., users can choose according to the required format.

  • Three citation formats: GB/T 7714, MLA, APA
  • Five document management software import formats: BibTex, EndNote, RefMan, Notefirst, NoteExpres

Form my own experience, the users’ experience and accuracy of Baidu Scholar have been greatly improved, and I believe that it will be able to achieve the same level as Google Academic in the future.

Source: (https://xueshu.baidu.com)

Pastebin: A place to save and share your text files. A source review report


Pastebin is a website created in 2002 by a group of developers. It was created mainly for the reason to share code files amongst fellow coders, either a snippet or an entire copy of the code. Although it is intended for code sharing, any user can upload any type of text on it, ranging from day-to-day journals, to internet relay chat (IRC) logs, to long and complicated programming codes. Pastebin aims to make sharing large amounts of texts more convenient, because in 1988, programmers used to share codes on IRCs, and a large code shared on the IRC disrupted the messages flow, or even altered the code’s text and ultimately ruined it. Any piece of text uploaded to Pastebin is referred to as “Paste”.

Users can choose to keep their paste online for a variety of time periods, they can choose the option to expire their texts immediately after reading, keep it for 1 hour, 1 year, or forever. Also, Pastebin comes with the option of “Syntax Highlighting”, for which you can specify which programming language you are using, making it easier for other users to identify. You can also choose whether you want your paste to be public, private, or unlisted. Unlisted make the paste hidden from google searches, but available on Pastebin to the users who have the URL. Lastly, Pastebin offers the option to protect your paste with a password.

Pastebin has:

  • More than 2 million members
  • More than 95 million active pastes

Pastebin is not only for codes, but other illegal activities as well

Pastebin, a website that supports text sharing, did not only encourage programmers to share their codes, but also became popular for illegal activities. For example, the infamous hacking group “Anonymous” has used Pastebin in the past to post leaked, breached data.

Pastebin allows a maximum of 512 kilobyte of data (0.5 megabytes), and when it comes to text, 512kb is quite a lot. Pastebin is used to save login information from breached websites, email addresses, credit cards…etc. In 2014, Sony Pictures were hacked by a hacker group called Guardians of Peace (GOP) (Cook, 2014). GOP posted a paste that contained employees’ information for over a million employees, music codes, and even upcoming production details. Pastebin was also used to upload pastes that were sensitive to governments, such as the government of the United States. In 2011, a hacking group known as “LulzSec” hacked and leaked the user base of Infragard, an FBI affiliate in Atlanta (Tsukayama, 2011). Over 150 login credentials were leaked, as well as email chains that contained sensitive information about the United State of America’s operation to control the Lybian cyberspace.

All of these illegal activities, and the many more posted on Pastebin, are against Pastebin’s user policy. Pastebin clearly states that the following are not allowed to be posted:

  • Email lists
  • Login details
  • Stolen source code
  • Hacked data
  • Copyrighted information/data
  • Password lists
  • Banking data
  • Personal information
  • Pornographic data
  • Spam links

As Pastebin works with the community, the moderators rely on the users to report such pastes. This means that they do not catch each and every paste that is against their user policy.

Pastebin has become a hotspot amongst hackers, and this was unacceptable to Pastebin, as it goes against the reason to why it was created, sharing codes. These illegal pastes have made Pastebin and other paste sites a valuable data source for public safety officials and cybersecurity teams, as any leaked information linked to doxing, personal information leaking, security breaching, stolen source codes, and all other posted criminal activity can be used and are useful for cybercrimes investigating and mitigating future and current threats.

Searching through Pastebin

Pastebin has implemented a preventive measure in early 2020 to stop the spread of illegal data, which was the removal of the search bar from its website.

Pre-2020, users were able to search on Pastebin using keywords, for example “Calculator code”, and Pastebin would show you all the public pastes related to the keywords searched. Now, due to the removal of the search bar, users can only search Pastebin using Google. For example, Google search “Pastebin calculator code”.

Figure 1. Google search (n.d.).

Then after choosing a link, the paste will show.

Figure 2. Pastebin (n.d.).

Alternatively, there is another method to browse through pastes, but only if they are one the most recently added pastes. A bar on the right of the page shows 8 of the most recent published pastes.

Figure 3. Pastebin (n.d.).


  • Pastebin is a website to store and share small to large data texts, mainly used for codesharing.
  • Pastebin has over 95 million active pastes, meaning you can find many pastes especially if they are coding related.
  • Pastebin has become popular amongst the hacking and criminal community, and you might stumble upon illegally obtained data.
  • The search bar has been removed, and the only way to search through Pastebin is by Googling “Pastebin + keywords”.


Instagram: Influential #hashtags, Posts and People retrieval


Searching on Instagram sometimes leads to imperfect results.  However, there are some good tools that might be helpful for specific information needs. The following are among the most desirable Instagram content for searching: Instagram users, hashtag-content search, hashtag-publishing-influence search,  and of course specific keywords within posts.

From the Instagram Search Interface

It’s obvious that if you try to search with the “@instagram_username” or #hashtag from the basic Instagram interface you’ll get some good results to start you off, but it soon becomes clear that there are some limitations.

There are couple of useful tools that you can use to narrow down your search and get better results (at least with better filtering options), along with some relevant insights.

For example Keyhole is a real-time tracking tool for topics & users across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You need to register if you want to try it for free, but the results provide you quite an informative overview of the frequency of hashtags, related keywords and the most influential posts. Keyhole is really strong player within the social-media-metric industry, and we feel that their trend analysis is also very insightful.

If you are focusing on getting even more information about influential hashtags, KeywordTool for Instagram should be your next stop. It helps you to find relevant hashtags and users and supports your optimal hashtag strategy. The basic version is free. Check out Display Purposes, or Seek Metrics for other options for creating your hashtag set. Incidentally, the latter will help you also with Twitter, YouTube and other platforms.

Finally, if you would like to improve the filtering possibilities of your #hashtag search, Skimagram offers the most recent Instagram posts with one-hashtag input.   

Instagram content search

As you can mainly work with hashtags or usernames when searching for specific Instagram-oriented content, we should take a quick look at some easy methods for searching within indexed Instagram content on Google.

Let’s try this query example:

site:instagram.com "@metallica" OR "#metallica"

We have used some Boolean and Google advanced search operators together with tools, so we can filter our results for any time. This is efficient when you need to find a post with specific text content. Please feel free to share your methods with us.

When Your Bike is Your Life. Check out these 5 Apps for Cyclists


If you are a keen cyclist or cycle adventurer and would like to discover new, undiscovered routes wherever you live, why not try out some of these cycling applications?


This German-based company offers a great application and route planner for hikers and cyclists. One of the best features of the app is the option to customise your desired route. As well as the starting point and final destination, you can also the type of the route you want to take: on roads, or on rough single tracks? You will also see suggested levels of experience needed to make your trip, classification of surfaces, an elevation profile, offline maps, voice navigation and, if you opt for the premium version, a weather forecast for your route. Komoot also works as a community app for adventure lovers, enabling you to share routes and photos that you take along your way.

The web application provides a route planner for free; the mobile application offers one region, also at no cost.


The Austrian Bikemap project claims to offer over 5 million bike routes in one single application. The website provides you with country profiles, official routes, top users and recommendations. You can easily choose any type of trip you wish, or try one of the vast number of routes shared by other users. Naturally, Bikemap has its own apps, available for iOS or Android.


Fancy discovering some unique cycle routes in Europe? EuroVelo offers 16 long distance routes across the old continent. Currently, there are well-written route profiles, including maps that mark their stage of development (Certified EuroVelo Route, Developed Route with EuroVelo Signs, Developed Route, Route under Development, Route at the Planning Stage). So, are you interested in Atlantic coast adventures, or in the Iron Curtain Trail? Or do you just want to feel like a quick ride from the Baltic to the Adriatic? EuroVelo is as an excellent starting point and reference map, but you will definitely need some other map application if you decide to set out on any of the routes.


A Czech project from Seznam, Mapy.cz has become one of the most influential tourist map applications and trip planners in Europe. It offers a web framework and mobile application (with full functionality after signing up) for free. Record your activity, get trip recommendations, elevation profiles, weather predictions – everything is included. Obviously, this project has always been focused on the Czech Republic, but now you can also plan your trip across Europe. Want more? Mapy.cz offers also maps for paddlers, hikers and cross-country skiers. Highly recommended, probably essential if you’re travelling or living in the Czech Republic. Available in Czech or English.


BikeMaps.org offers a rather different map for cyclists. It is a crowdsourced tool, focused on cycling safety. It monitors risks and hazards on roads (or tracks) globally. You can filter according to citizen collision reports, citizen near missed reports, cyclist hazards, bike thefts and new infrastructure, and add your own data if anything happens to you.  Mobile applications available.

Share your favorite tools or applications for cycling.

Face Searching: 3 tools you shouldn’t miss


Face searching. You may think that this type of searching doesn’t affect you, but try the following methods and tools and check if (and where) your face shows up on-line, even though you know nothing about it.

Google Face Search

The first, albeit not all that obvious technique, is Google Face Search. It is hidden among the other Google Search Tools, but you need to switch it on with a specific URL extension. Try and write a specific query for the Google Images interface. For example, let’s say that we want to search for Lady Gaga images.

After the first set of results appears, we need to edit the URL of this set and add the following operator at the end of the identifier: &tbs=itp:face. So the whole URL will look like this:


After adding &tbs=itp:face, the Google Tools Face extension will appear.


PimEyes is a successful freemium app in the recognition services market. It allows you to upload an image / photo and check for similarities on the web, i.e. if a similar or the same image / photo exists elsewhere. The free version offers you the results without links to the original sources.


Another nice example of a face recognition service is Betaface, which has a demo version that allows you to upload a photo (or use the URL of an image). The analysis lists many attributes of the face (age, gender, ethnicity, eyes, hair, attractive, etc.) and can be quite useful, even in the free version, for OSINT (open-source intelligence) purposes.

Trump vs. Biden: a Search Keyword Analysis


How do people search for both candidates? We have chosen the following keywords and phrases:





…and compared them in two ways: the interest over time and the % comparison in each of the US states. Data origin: Google Search Data from mid-September to mid-October.