Searching The Financial Times

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 10 July 2006

Over the last couple of weeks I have been evaluating the search services offered by the online editions of British newspapers. Today I want to look at the specialist financial paper - The Financial Times. FT.com has had a considerable amount of investment during the years, and was one of the earliest newspapers in the UK to move to a paid-content model online.

Search from the Financial Times homepage is via a box underneath the masthead.

Financial Times masthead

The actual results from performing a search are pushed quite far down the results page, as they are underneath some explanatory text about the service.

NOTE: Here are the latest, most relevant, results of your quick search for microsoft from FT, world press and business.com. If you wish to expnad your search, please use the boxes above.
Financial Times search results page

Significantly, the search over FT content only covers the last two days - everything else is behind a subscription firewall.

The search results initially deliver five results each from three sections - The Financial Times, Wolrd Press, and Business.com. The results themselves have a headline, an abstract, an author byline, details of the original publication, and a date stamp. The monetisation of the content available through FT.com is apparent at every step.

World Press section

The standard search offers some drop-down options to refine the search. Users can choose to search 'All words in article', 'All words in headline', 'This phrase in article', 'This phrase in headline', 'Search this company' and 'Search this journalist'. Results can also be restricted to generic time periods - today, last 7 days, last 28 days, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 2 years and 3 years.

The FT also offers a professional research service, and a power search. The power search mode is only available to subscribers, so I didn't test it. I also found that since the FT content didn't cover the same kind of areas of information as my test searches, that I couldn't really judge the relevancy of the results.

Summary of features of the Financial Times search

Financial Times - feature summary
Results per page 15 (5 each from 3 different content areas)
Article excerpt or abstract Yes
Date stamp (day/month/year) Yes
Time stamp (hours/minutes) No
Article word count No
Navigational or Section information No
Specifies original publication Yes
Specifies original edition No
Specifies original edition page number No
Results display colour-coded No
Search terms highlighted in results No
Relevancy score (%) No
Destination URL displayed No
Sponsored links featured in results No
Site offers web search No
Default search Site search, world press search and business.com site search
RSS feed of search results No
Advanced search options Power search available to subscribers
Search by date-range Yes - generic ranges from quick search

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