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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Is Google Really Making us Dumber?

Google-for-research

Since I’ve been tied up with work and vacation planning, here’s one I posted on the old blog in October 2014. I still get so annoyed with this Google-Is-To-Blame mentality: An article on Salon.com, Google makes us all dumber: The neuroscience of search engines, really caught my interest. In my research and investigations, Google is […]

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Why I love Bing

Why I love Bing

In the business of background investigations, the goal is to find as much information as humanly possible on your subject, while respecting the client’s time frame and budget. That’s why I use professional online tools that help me quickly target what I need within a vast array of sources. I also use Google, and I […]

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How I Use Google for Better Results

Getting-the-most-from-Google

Us vs. Google. It’s a common theme among info pros, and – frankly – I wish it would go away. Google is one of my favorite tools of the trade, and I can’t imagine not consulting this and other general-purpose search engines before and after heading to more specialized sources. You’ll find lots of sites […]

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How to Avoid TLDR

How to avoid TLDR

We’ve all seen it, and – unfortunately – we’ve all contributed to it. TLDR, short for “Too long; didn’t read.” Think about it: Time is at a premium, our attention spans are shrinking, and we’re consuming information on some very small screens. People may not be spending a lot of time with your emails, client […]

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The Smith Test

Online investigations

When searching online databases for public records or news articles, it’s essential to know how many years the database covers. For example, are you searching from 1982 forward, or does the database only go back as far as 1999? You need this information when you’re trying to be as comprehensive as possible – or to […]

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What I learned at #SLA2015

SLA2015

One event I regularly attend and rarely miss is the annual conference of the Special Libraries Association. For me, this year’s conference was unique, because it was the first time in a while that I wasn’t speaking or running a meeting. I had no obligations other than to learn and network as much as possible. […]

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Are your biases showing? Avoiding confirmation bias in due diligence investigations

Stop bias sign

A friend and fellow info pro sent this WSJ article to me, because, she said, it illustrated perfectly how “confirmation bias” often gets in the way of critical thinking. As information professionals, it’s something we strive to avoid, and it can rear its ugly head when we least expect it – in our choice of […]

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7 Keys to Making Data Actionable

Turning useless data into something actionable

New technologies help companies stockpile potentially valuable data, but what we often get in return for our efforts is a bad case of information overload. No, nowadays, we don’t wish for more data. We often have more than we can handle. What we really crave these days is actionable data – something that will help […]

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