This panel described some innovative ways of providing value-added research for clients.
Amy Affelt said that we pull rabbits out of the hat all the time. This is not so impressive to many users, but one thing that gets raves is a customized clipping service. The benefits of alerts is that you are finding information people need to know before they see it themselves. You read the news so that they do not have to. The problem is that the more alerts you send out, the earlier you have to start!
The Amazon Kindle has changed her life because it allows her to download items because e-reader versions of papers and magazines are ready before they are on websites. And the materials don’t get wet in the rain! PDFs of articles can be downloaded from the Kindle to a PC.
Advantages of the e-reader:
- Headlines easily scanned
- Easy to highlight phrases
- Online dictionary can be used to look up unfamiliar concepts
- Read or browse content across platforms
- The Kindle becomes an ad hoc flash drive, so large files are easily transferred to the PC.
The Kindle has many advantages over the iPad. It’s cheaper ($189 vs. $429), allows use of a Gmail account (the iPad requires a WiFi hotspot), can access content on a variety of platforms.
Daniel Lee provides information services to professionals at Navigator, a 20-person company. He uses content analysis to find meaning from text or visual data, with techniques common to the social sciences. Issue tracking, reputational analysis, and stakeholder analysis are examples of this type of analysis. He tracks journalists and bloggers to understand who is writing about what and also what is being said about his company in the social media world. Citation analysis is also useful to understand the flow of information through professional journals.
Skills necessary to do content analysis are similar those of catalogers. You need to be comfortable with spreadsheets and databases. Attention to detail, concise writing ability, and importantly, curiosity, are necessary.
Search analytics are available from many vendors, which are useful to get a better understanding of the retrieved data. Some of the vendors providing analytics include Factiva, Canadian Newswire, and Karma. More resources are available on his blog.
Qin Zhu spoke about putting information in context. Working at Hewlett-Packard (H-P), a list of H-P researchers’ publications was required for the annual report. Information discovery tools with broad subject coverage and advanced search capabilities were used. The retrieved information was consolidated, de-duped, and presented in different forms (plain text, HTML, RSS, and XML). Links to the original publications were provided for full text viewing. These different forms allowed distribution to a variety of publications.
The project was continued after the annual report task was completed, which has helped ongoing discovery, promoted colleague collaboration, and made information a service.