Dawn of a new information age

by Emily Wilson
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Margaret Mead, U.S. anthropologist, once said, "I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world." This philosophy guided the development of world-grain.com, the new Internet information site created by Sosland Publishing Co., publisher of World Grain.

More than an online version of the magazine, world-grain.com pulls together a wealth of global grain, flour and feed news and data at a single site on the World Wide Web. Beginning in early 2000, visitors to www.world-grain.com will find international cash grain and futures prices, industry and market news, commodity reports and weather data worldwide — updated every market day to ensure timeliness. Users will be able to personalize content, receive customized newsletters automatically via e-mail and provide input through the interactive site.

Users also may access online buyer's guides, industry directories, technical and feature articles, country data, product information and World Grain archives at the site. A resource center provides a gateway to additional information, an events calendar and education materials.

"The Web is a wonderful medium because the information potential is virtually unlimited — but that very benefit also complicates the process of quickly locating what you want," said Charles Sosland, World Grain group publisher. "Our goal was to provide a reliable ‘one-stop' Internet site for World Grain readers to find all the grain and processing information they need."

To meet this objective, world-grain.com pulled together information from many sources, creating a unique site that offers comprehensive news and data critical to the international grain, flour and feed community. Free editorial content on the site includes:

Daily news. The latest industry and commodity related news selected each day from more than 9,000 sources worldwide through news content partner Lexis Nexis.

Market update. Futures quotes, on a 10-minute delay through content partner Barchart.com, from the Chicago and Kansas City Boards of Trade and the Minneapolis Grain Exchange for hard red winter, soft red winter and spring wheat, maize and soybeans; daily futures volume and open interest statistics; and weekly and monthly cash grain export prices.

Commodity reports & statistics. Monthly world supply/demand and trade reports for wheat, major coarse grains and oilseeds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the International Grains Council; world flour trade and production reports as available.

Weather and crops. Information and reports related to the physical development and condition of grain and oilseed crops around the world; access to global weather conditions and forecasts, plus seasonal crop progress and condition reports worldwide.

Country data. Special pages containing World Grain's popular Country Focus features, as well as by-country links to government, agency and commercial grain, flour and feed sites around the world.

Industry data. Comprehensive listings of grain handling and milling facilities across North America, along with statistics on North American grain and flour storage, production, demand and trade.

Product news. The latest information on products and services for the grain, flour and feed industries, including links to manufacturers and direct e-mail to suppliers.

The world-grain.com home page includes a selection of feature articles from the latest issues of World Grain and its sister magazine, Milling & Baking News. Site visitors may offer their opinions on industry related issues through the weekly "Quizlet," also found on the home page.

World-grain.com is one of three new web sites launched this year by Sosland Publishing, which began publishing specialized news and data on the web in 1996. In January this year, Sosland opened www.bakingbusiness.com, a site providing information for the baking and snack industry. The third specialized Sosland web site features information for the meat and poultry industries.

Mark Sabo, president of Sosland Publishing, recently said the three sites reflected the company's commitment to becoming the premier information provider for the grain-based foods industry around the world.

"We made the strategic decision to expand beyond our traditional print publishing roots and develop a comprehensive … industry information resource in a new medium, the Internet," Mr. Sabo said.

World-grain.com debuts after more than a year of research and development, managed by Jenny Slakis, Sosland's Internet publisher.

Melissa Cordonier Alexander, formerly an editor of World Grain and now an information consultant, manages all editorial content for the world-grain.com web site.