Computer Assisted Reporting (CAR): some sources

Here follows the lecture prompts for part II of my 2008/9 lectures on Computer Assisted Reporting (CAR). For part II on theory – see here

Finding people – directories

192 (subscription): ‘ is the de facto standard search engine for finding people, business and places across the UK.’

123people: ‘123people is a people search engine that looks into nearly every corner of the Web to help you find information on everyone you (want to) know.’

yoname: ‘yoName turns your computer into a private detective. Look for anyone you want. You can even look them up by a username or an email address! If they’re on any of the big-time networks like MySpace or Facebook, yoName will find them.’

piple: ‘Since most personal profiles, public records and other people-related documents are stored in databases and not on static web pages, most of the higher-quality information about people is simply “invisible” to a regular search engine.’

Finding people – social networks, blogging, forums, etc.

Facebook, Myspace, Bebo etc.

List of social networking sites.

Advanced Google search Facebook conversations (not possible within Facebook – insert keywords before ‘site’ operator)

Technorati: Technorati is ‘the leading blog search engine and most comprehensive source of information on the blogosphere’. You can also either include the word ‘blog’ in your Google search, or try searching Google’s own bespoke UK Blog Search. There are a host of blog search options out there each with their own advantages/disadvantages over each other, so it’s always a good idea to spread your bets – try also Blog Pulse, Bloglines, blogcatalog or icerocket.

Twitter Advanced search ‘Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?’.  If you are searching for twitterers by location, and to keep up with Tweets in your area, take a look at Twitter Local.

Bespoke ‘opinion finder’ engine (create by me): this engine allows you to search just those leading forums/discussion groups online, including Friendfeed, Myspace groups (and forums), Facebook groups (and topics), Knowhere boards, mumsnet talk, Twitter, digitalspy,, Channel4 forums,, thestudentroom, Yahoo messages, and Google Groups. Most of these require accounts (you could try Bug me not to help with this). Here‘s more advice on using this engine.

Finding experts/celebrities/charities/groups/local information

Google Advanced academic finder (include subject terms, either professor, expert, or department – and possibly a place name – before the ‘site’ command).

Google Advanced charity/NGO/pressure group finder (include subject matter, and possibly place name before ‘site’ operator).

Finding politicians (various sources).

Finding experts (various sources).

Finding celebrities (various sources).

Finding charities (various sources).

Knowhere: ‘Info for over 2000 places in the UK covering Hook-up Spots…’

Current Awareness

Addictomatic: ‘Addictomatic searches the best live sites on the web for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images. It’s the perfect tool to keep up with the hottest topics, perform ego searches and feed your addiction for what’s up, what’s now or what other people are feeding on.’

Bloglines (requires account): ‘Bloglines is a FREE online service for searching, subscribing, creating and sharing news feeds, blogs and rich web content. With Bloglines, there is no software to download or install — simply register as a new user and you can instantly begin accessing your account any time, from any computer or mobile device.’ As an alternative, you could try Google Reader.

In either, you can stay up-to-date with the sources (including sub-sections within sources) that you most trust, and unearth new sources – and keep on top of news in your area as a result.

When setting up RSS feeds in any news aggregator, bear in mind it is also possible to set up general web search RSS feeds from MSN and Yahoo. See how to do this for MSN search results here, and for Yahoo search results here (scroll down to Yahoo! Search entry).

It is rumoured that Google will also soon provide RSS feeds for its web searches, but that remains to be seen.

newsnow: ‘NewsNow is a leading provider of Internet press cuttings and real-time news services.’ The site allows you to browse (rather than search) for news, though you can search for one word at a time (useful for regional journalists keeping tabs on their patch). 

Metacarta Geosearch news: a news service which allows you to search by location as well as keyword (only certain sources available so far – FT, Guardian and Telegraph news included in UK).  Geo-coding your stories can really breath life into them (this is easy to do in Google Maps).

Silobreaker: news analysis service – allows you to analyse key terms in the news, and their relationships to each other.

For past events, see this page on my site. Also, some newspapers have now started providing forward planning diaries you can incorporate into your online calendar of choice – see here.

Social discovery

Stumbleupon: ‘StumbleUpon helps you discover and share great websites. These pages have been explicitly recommended by your friends or one of 6,067,614 other websurfers with interests similar to you. Rating these sites you like, automatically shares them with like-minded people – and helps you discover great sites your friends recommend.’

Delicious: ‘Delicious is a social bookmarking service that allows users to tag, save, manage and share web pages from a centralized source. With emphasis on the power of the community, Delicious greatly improves how people discover, remember and share on the Internet.’

Here‘s a background on social search, and why you should keep on top of it.

Finding background

Google Advanced background finder (include your keyword before the ‘intitle’ operator, and either depth, comment, analysis, Q&A, brief, or background after the colon).

Finding actuality (stills, TV archive, etc.)

Check here for a full low-down on finding all kinds of actuality.

Try also searching Flickr for stills (easier to clear, and less expensive than proprietary sites).

For grams (or music) research sources, try songza or seeqpod.  For advice on the process of sourcing music for web or broadcast production, try here and here.

For all developments in the field of Computer Assisted Reporting (CAR), check my blog and website.

Here is a quiz to test what I’ve gone over in the lecture.


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