Posts Tagged ‘online research’

Delicious to be scrapped? Some alternatives

17 December 2010

Rumours broke last night that Yahoo! are to mothball Delicious.

While this would be an inconvenience for those of us who use the tool to save our bookmarks, by binning the Delicious network much real and potential eureka moments in online search will be lost forever.

This is a massive loss for anyone who wants to make sense of the web, including journalists tracking stories, contributors and other reliable sources online.

If push comes to shove, I’m personally inclined towards either Pinboard (subscription for pro version required) or Xmarks, but there are plenty of other alternatives.

Here follows a short (and very much draft) extract of notes for a book I’m aiming to finish later next year, on online research for journalists.

It covers some alternatives to Delicious for newsgathering and research…

For some, the browsing and searching options in Delicious may seem a little over-restrictive – what of all those bookmarks whose owners haven’t tagged, described or even included a title for their bookmarks – moreover, how valuable can search in this field be, when you can’t search the full text of all links saved in this social bookmarking service?

Certainly Google doesn’t index Delicious bookmarks by default, so are there any alternatives?

As ever, of course there are – several services offer more sophisticated ways of searching your bookmarks, using a range of means.

Since March 2010, Google Bookmarks have been experimenting with public lists – although no where near as thorough or populated as Delicious, Google Bookmarks (which requires a Google account to use) does provide search for the entire page of your bookmarks, giving a researcher more control over the bookmarks which have been shared publicly, and lessening the impact of bad or inconsistent tagging.

Blinklist offer an alternative search option, albeit one with relatively little UK content, and which lacks much of the functionality of Delicious (similar could be said for Faves which contains a good deal of content, but isn’t as robust as Delicious).

Likewise, social annotation tools like Diigo (which incorporates FURL – account required) may be useful here too. CiteULike and Connotea offer an academic take on social bookmarking, and can be a useful accompaniment to Google Scholar for digging out expertise, or esoteric research.

inSuggest offers a bookmark discovery service – just type in your (or any) username to receive suggested new reading.

However, this searcher didn’t have much luck – I struggled to make the Deligoo plugin for Internet Explorer work (and the FireFox extension is not compatible with version 3.6.6.), while Delizzy wasn’t available at the time of writing.

In addition, I wasn’t able to sign up to Simpy, but that doesn’t stop it being a useful place to search other people’s bookmarks. It is possible to construct a Google Custom Search to house your bookmarks, or use sources like Lijit.

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Scotland: domain of the brave?

14 December 2008

So Alex Salmond is set to apply officially for a .scot domain.

My initial instinct from an online research perspective, is that this would be a very welcome step. (more…)

RSS amnesty

30 October 2008

Yesterday I was asked how I keep up on new developments.

The field of CAR/ Online research/ Online journalism (etc.) is a difficult one to keep tabs on, in my humble opinion. I get leads from blogs and publications from here there and everywhere (never mind Twitter) – so its hard to sum it all up in a sentence or two, never mind a source or two.

Having recently moved from Bloglines to Google Reader, it occurred to me that I could share with other people the xml doc I created in the process, containing all the RSS feeds I subscribe to.

But my current batch seem messy – full of dead links.  Also, my folders contain a few odds and sods on Scottish football, which I imagine will be of limited use/ interest to anyone but myself. (more…)

Keeping up to date on alerts and RSS…

28 October 2008

Today I’ve been looking at alerts and feeds.

 

The first thing I wanted to share (something I only learned a couple of days ago) is that in addition to Google Alerts, it is also possible to set yourself up with Yahoo Alerts – both general, and for news.

 

There’s no link to Alerts from the Yahoo home page (that I can see), you need to go here to create general web alerts (albeit from a very restrictive set menu of areas), and here for Yahoo news alerts (US-domain only, I’m afraid). (more…)

Tip of My Tongue – for the terminologically turgid

26 October 2008

Here’s another useful engine – take a look at Tip of My Tongue.

Here you will find a range of tools which can help you deal with writer’s block/ short-term memory loss/ loss of marbles.

I particularly like the first one – Partial Word search. Not only does it allow you to find the word perched awkwardly on the tip of your tongue (by searching for letters which start, feature in, or end it), it also allows you an element of verbal speculation.

For example, throw ex in to the Starts with box, and ate in the Ends with box, and hey presto – you can exarate all manner of hidden gems which should help exacuate your wits. Use it to excogitate different verbal themes, and expurgate your prose of cliche.

OK, so taking a step back from the old verbal diarrhoea for a second, do take a look. It’s a really interesting addition to the field of the online reference source.

As far as sources for this tool are concerned, I didn’t spot anything on the blog, but having run searches on some of the above terms, I see that the wording of definitions in this source seem broadly the same as those found at The Free Dictionary.