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Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Wednesday, 22 September 2004 10:52 UK

BBC links to other news sites

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Our users tell us that one of the things they value most about our service is our policy of linking openly to other websites.

These links offer access to more detailed information, the chance to compare sources or check out a different perspective on the same story.

But how do we choose these links to other news sites - given the huge number of sources available and the speed at which stories change?

How does it work?

The Newstracker system uses web search technology to identify content from other news websites that relates to a particular BBC story. A news aggregator like Google News uses this type of technique to compare the text of stories and group similar ones together.

BBC News gets a constantly updating feed of stories from around 4000 different news websites. The feed is provided to us by Moreover Technologies. The company provides a similar service for other clients.

Our system takes the stories and compares their text with the text of our own stories. Where it finds a match, we can provide a link directly from our story to the story on the external site.

Because we do this comparison very regularly, our stories contain links to the most relevant and latest articles appearing on other sites.

How do you choose which stories and which sites to link to?

The Newstracker system is automated. The BBC does not censor or change the results. But because there can potentially be scores of sites covering each story, the BBC does define some rules (algorithms) that help define which sites we link to at any point in time - and in what order these links appear.

In general, our rules tend to give greater weight to national and international sources over regional or local ones. We have a policy of only linking to English-language sites. The results are sorted in date order to provide the most recent stories at the top.

We hope you find this service useful. We are continuously trying to improve it, so if you have any comments or suggestions about Newstracker, please send them using the form below.

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