Sunday, 27 February 2011

Data Gathering, Evaluation and Management

Searching, Social Bookmarking and RSS feeds

This week’s tasks have had a profoundly influential effect on the way I gather, evaluate and manage web-sourced information. I had no idea that there are so many search engines tools and services available and I have enjoyed investigating the options. I have found some useful tools and have been impressed by the information search and management features of some tools/services. This week’s tasks have also given me the opportunity to spend more time exploring the features of tools most critical to information gathering and management - social bookmarking tool, Diigo and my RSS reader.

New Media Sources of Information.

Democratic publishing and content creation is both the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ when it comes to extracting appropriate information. It is important to determine authority, motivation (is the data sales based?), credibility and reliability.

Howard Rheingold in his article “Crap Detection” says: -

“We are indeed inundated by online noise pollution, but the problem is soluble. The good stuff is out there if you know how to find and verify it. Basic information literacy, widely distributed, is the best protection for the knowledge commons..”

H, Rheingold. 2009. Crap Detection 101. Available: [Accessed 27th Feb 2011].

In Walter Jesson’s blog post, “The Real-time Web and Characteristics of New Media”, he suggests that new media sources of information are more credible than traditional sources because of their independence and timeliness - amongst other characteristics. Read more here:

Jesson, W. (2009) The Real-time Web and Characteristics of New Media. Expressing Scientific Insight, [blog] 3rd December, Available at: [Accessed: 27th February 2011].

Other Relevant Activities This Week

I have set up Diigo to send my weekly bookmarks to my blog. This may be a mistake in terms of cluttering and complicating the blog. I will monitor this feed and probably delete it.

I have set up Google Analytics on my blog. It will be interesting to look at this data over a period of time.

Whilst I was searching for data, I set up some YouTube RSS feeds to use for daily updates on my planned Facebook fan page. I am sure that this will be an invaluable resource and time saver for my fan page project.

Facebook as an aggregator – I have become much more aware of the capacity of Facebook from working through the tasks, both as an aggregator and as a convenient way of logging in and linking with other services.

Answer Garden – whilst searching for multimedia tools, I came across Answer Garden and will be adding the question “What’s your favourite search tool/service?” Please enter a few of your favourites here. Thanks.

Search Tools and Services

Twitter Search
Pros: Easy to set up a Twitter search either by saving a search or by using hash tag search. Easy to save any finds to favourites to store and view later. I have set up Diigo to bookmark all my favourite Tweets (with links) to my social bookmarking library – an added convenience.
Cons: The wide range of open tweet content and tweet quality enforces the need to both sift through streams of inappropriate posts and to check the credibility of a tweet (checking the history of past tweets by a person, checking the bio of twitterer, being cautious of those with few Tweets or those new to Twitter, contacting the twitterer directly to check).
See Twitter guide to checking.

Facebook Search

Pros: Good for searching people or places.
Cons: Not so good for searching topics. Makes lots of links to Wikipedia or to entries without content. Limited search due to closed nature of Facebook.

Pros: Anyone can post/answer a question on anything.
Con: Anyone can post/answer a question on anything. Need to register. I spent a lot of wasted time on Quora, considering the credibility of material (questions and answers), and disregarded most of it. I found lots of unanswered questions. Questions/answers seemed to deviate steeply away from my search requests for information. About as good as a Christmas cracker, for finding a good joke. Why does this exist? Ask Quora.

Google Alerts

Pros: Easy to search and a convenient way to get plenty of results on a daily basis through email alerts. Definitely will use this again.
Cons: Results were not always what I was looking for. Lots of sifting though irrelevant items and adverts.

Social Mention
Pros: Claims to “searches the universe for social media content”, such as blogs, comments and micro blogs and questions. Covers wide content search across web2.0 content.
Cons: Searching the universe takes time and was particularly slow at loading results – the information I found was vague. Spent lots of time sifting through irrelevant subject paths with no useful finds – not this time anyway.

Cite U like
Pros: Free service for managing and discovering scholarly references. Good for searching academic areas of work/interests.
Cons: No good for lighter/non-academic topic interests.


Pros: A “social publishing site, where tens of millions of people share original writings and documents”. Nice mission statement - Scribd's vision statement is to “liberate the written word”.
Log in is through Facebook. Has built in bookmarking feature for building up collections/list of information. Searches PDFs, Word docs and PowerPoint presentations that have been self published. Good place to store (contribute) and share documents and articles that have been self produced.
Really nice Readcast function – “Reading should be social! Post a message on your social networks to let others know what you're reading” Posts your chosen read directly to Facebook or Twitter.
Cons: Usual amount of irrelevant invalid and non-credible data to trail through. Good filtration is needed. Gems to be found. My favourite.

YouTube Search
Pros: Wide range of content to search = plentiful results. Most relevant content results from search request. Easy to set up RSS feed for results.
Cons: Only any good for information in video format.


What is your favourite search tool/service?... at

1 comment:

  1. Lisa, Glad this weeks tasks have had an influential impact. A few thoughts below:

    Watch out for diigo bookmarking tweets it limits it to one page and you need to upgrade to get at all your saved tweets.

    Like the way you have outlined how you check for twitter authority

    Facebook: Beg to differ on topics - think that lots of groups forming around topics that include people posting up to date info - people can mean prizes :-)

    Interesting view on Quora - I have found it useful - I Like that you can get independent views and advice - like twitter you can check the credibility of those that answer and good answers can get voted up. I don't use it to look for factual, ready made answers.

    Agree Google alerts useful, but search term is important and you may ahve to do a bit of sifting.

    Agree Social Mention can require a lot of sifting - specific and fairly unique search terms will produce best results.

    Glad you like Scribd, The reading thing can potentially get on your nerves when posting to twitter, facebook etc - sometimes you read documents, but turns out you don't really thinki they are much use, but as you broadcast using the readcast function, it's a bit like an endorsement