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Top post: Questions to ask before starting an investigation

I’m busy with holidays, client work, and completing a big new project (watch for announcements), so I’ll be running some oldies-but-goodies for the next month or so. Enjoy this one, originally published in March 2019. No matter the type of research or investigations that you do, it’s important to prepare. Before you start your interviews, […]

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Celebrating 20 years in business

20 years later: Mistakes and lessons learned

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 20 years since that fateful email message – the one that changed my career. At the time, I was in grad school, about to earn a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. I was working two part-time library jobs, and one thing I learned from both jobs […]

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Collaborate for better results

Collaborate for better results: Top tips for subcontracting success

I’ve just returned from Orlando after attending the incredible OSMOSIS conference, where I heard well-known speakers and networked with hundreds of other investigators. At the Bits & Bytes networking event, I also had the opportunity to present a short table talk on Subcontracting Success: Top Tips for Making it Work. I love this topic because, […]

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Checklist

The problem with checklists

Checklists are a handy tool, especially in investigations. I use them a lot. They help me remember all the steps that need to be covered, and they’re great for getting back on track after going off script to follow an unexpected lead. But checklists need to be used with caution.  As this news story highlights, […]

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AIIP logo

Key takeaways from #AIIP19

I recently attended the annual conference of the Association of Independent Information Professionals in Philadelphia. This is my 19th consecutive AIIP conference, and I make it my primary conference for the year. While I attend several others, this one is in my calendar, and everything fits in around that. It’s in my budget, too, so […]

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Question mark speech bubble isolated on yellow background.

Questions to ask before starting an investigation

No matter the type of research or investigations that you do, it’s important to prepare. Before you start your interviews, online searches, surveillance, or whatever it is you do for your clients, you need to take this extra step to ensure success (like a happy client). It’s tempting to jump right in and get started […]

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Checklist

The ins and outs of checklists

Mistakes happen. Sometimes we forget. Perhaps we’re stressed by tight deadlines. Or maybe we assume that something’s been done, and we skip steps. In investigations, risk is all about what we’re missing, and skipping steps can lead to trouble. Enter the checklist. While listening to a recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Hidden […]

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Gumshoe Librarian

From librarian to private investigator

I recently spoke with Chris Kenneally of the Copyright Clearance Center for his podcast, Beyond the Book. Chris noticed my LinkedIn post about pivoting from librarian to private investigator and wanted to talk more about it. Ever since grad school, I’ve focused on how to use my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science and […]

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Things this PI doesn't do

Things this private investigator doesn’t do – Unauthorized degree verifications

Since becoming a private investigator, I’ve received numerous requests from potential clients that I eventually file under “Things This PI Doesn’t Do.” The first item on the list  – surveillance – is based on personal preference. I prefer not to hang out in my car for long stretches of time. Other items are more about […]

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Knowledge-sharing

Giving thanks for those who share

Well, I’ve survived another family Thanksgiving here at Casa de Phelps. Many years ago, when I married into the family, I had no idea what a fun ride it would be. This crew really knows how to throw a party. Thirteen people and six dogs crowded into our home this year to celebrate, enjoy each […]

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