Tools for creating charts, maps, and diagrams

Tools for creating info visualizations

I recently taught a 1/2 day workshop at  WebSearch University in Washington DC on Visualization Tools for Turning Information Into Insights. At a conference that basically focuses on the search, my workshop covered delivering your results in a way that’s meaningful for clients. Our clients don’t crave more or better info. They’re drowning in it […]

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What Chart Type to Use?

Make The Right Choice

One of the biggest challenges when creating effective charts is deciding which type to use. I’ve found that the best way to choose the appropriate chart is to listen to the words in the message you want to convey. What types of comparisons are you making when looking at the data? For a recent workshop […]

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People Searching – Be Prepared

Be prepared when people searching

Researching or investigating people can be one of the more challenging types of online searching – for several reasons: Precision is everything, good sources are hard to find, and the information can be error-prone. Like any difficult endeavor, we generally get the best results when we prepare for the task at hand. People searching takes […]

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4 Rules for Designing Better Charts

"That's okay I don't know what the chart means either."

When you’re working with numbers, charts can be an effective way to tell your story. These types of visualizations simplify complex ideas and help us understand and communicate what’s relevant in the data. However, when your chart’s not done right, it will have the opposite effect. A poorly-designed chart can lead to misinformation, confusion, and […]

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What Makes Information Irresistible?

Making information irresistible

This is one of my favorite information-related quotes, because it describes so well why I love my job. I’m on a never-ending hunt for new and exciting ways to improve my reports and make the information I deliver irresistible. Yes, I need to stay up-to-date on all the latest and greatest tools and techniques for […]

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You want what? – Better results through client conversations

Client Conversations

Measure twice, cut once. It doesn’t matter the activity. Time spent on preparation pays off in the end. Research and investigations are no different. Misunderstandings lead to poor results and unhappy clients (including bosses). Success depends on making the most of your initial conversation – the request for information. When I worked in libraries, we […]

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People-Searching: Good Sources are Hard to Find

Good sources are hard to find

While doing some research for a recent post on alternative search engines, I turned to one of my usual sources for inspiration, search expert Phil Bradley. I found a useful presentation on Slideshare, Alternative search engines; Library 2.014 presentation, and – when I got to slide #34 – I laughed out loud! This slide “says” […]

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The Pesky Problem of People-Finding

The challenges of people searching and background investigations

At the upcoming WebSearch University conference, I’m presenting a session called “The Pesky Problem of People-Finding.” I must credit program director Marydee Ojala for the catchy title. I liked it immediately, because it really highlights how frustrating investigating people can be. So what’s so annoying about people-finding? Here are my top reasons, and I’d love […]

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My Favorite Google Alternatives

Levels of due diligence background investigations

In recent posts about search engines I’ve covered Google and Bing, but sometimes plain vanilla isn’t enough – especially when you need advanced tools or focused content. It’s times like these when I turn to alternative, or specialized, search engines. Here are some of my favorite Google alternatives and how I use them: DuckDuckGo – […]

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