Category Archives: reference

Japan Crisis Resources

This was compiled by Bill Lucey and contains some good links to other-than-US sources of media reporting and also links for the relief effort.  Don’t miss the handy links that follow the article also.


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Google Maps – good business research tool

Continuing the trend of finding useful informational sources on the open Web, here’s a timely tip about using Google Maps from Bates Information Services.

Uses for Google Maps go beyond the ‘I’m here, get me there’ search and can be very helpful, particularly in business searches.

You can discover the number of business types in an area, what companies are located in a building, or find out more information about a particular company.

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Filed under Business, Maps, reference, Searching

Inaugural resources for journalists

Al’s Morning Meeting on Poynter did a good job of putting together resources relating to the Inauguration.

There’s facts and firsts about inaugurations throughout history, the parade route, links to the media in D.C., sources for who’s covering the inauguration Live online, interesting facts about the inauguration and more. 

Check it out.

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Filed under Government and Politics, reference

Backgrounding checklist

Here is a checklist for backgrounding, using the Internet.  It’s from the Palm Beach Post.

There are sites for Personal Background, Civil/Criminal Courts, Elected/Public Officials and Business Background.

Right off the bat, I found something useful in the Personal Background section.  It is possible to determine what state an individual was born in if you have the first 3 digits of the Social Security Number. 

There are clip sites for stories that are free.  Some of the info is specific to Florida, but the checklist also gives advice for how to look for data outside of Florida.

While this doesn’t replace Lexis/Nexis which is an invaluable search tool, some papers these days are having to drop that service, so the open web can be very helpful.

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Filed under A. News reference, News reference, People, Public Records, reference, Searching, Tipsheets

Google Trends

I came across this NYT article  today in my Twitter account .  It’s about Google being able to predict flu trends around the country by analyzing search terms that people are using.  Fascinating. 

This led me to Google Trends, which allows you to look at search terms and see how often they are used geographically.  I was able to drill down to Pennsylvania and then on that results page, I got a listing of cities with indications of how popular the terms were.  Google Trends is updated daily.

However, also on the Google Trends page is something called Hot Trends.  This is updated hourly and lists the top ten on the front page with an option to look at more hot trends.  That second page lists all one hundred of the hot trends.  When you click on a trend, you get graphs and also news stories and blogs about that search term, to help you put it into perspective. Continue reading

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Filed under reference, Searching, Story Ideas

Searching tips for beginners and old-timers

Barbarb Semonche, library director at The Park Library, UNC-CH, put together a valuable web page filled with search tips and resources for a workshop of high school students.

When I read the web page, I realized that it was valuable for our newsroom as well.

Why, you might ask?  Too often, I hear reporters referring to their research as ‘googling’.  I know.  It’s a good search engine, but Google is the entry point, not the end of the journey.

We are cynics and rightly so.  We sometimes need to be reminded of that when we’re searching the Internet.  This web page presents good search strategies and links to sound resources.

The page deals with podcasting, social networking, wikis, as well as internet search engines.

There’s a section of journalists’ and news librarians’ top-rated sites as well as useful, but not infallible web sites.

Check it out and plan to return.  There’s much to digest here.

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Filed under Internet, Journalism/Reporting, News reference, reference, Searching, Tipsheets