Thursday, August 20, 2009

Staying in Touch with Information

Web 2.0 tools may be good for social networking and participation, but they are also helpful for sampling a broad range of sources, as opposed to skimming just the top results.

A few months ago I created two blog alerts in Google that provide me with daily updates on information fluency OR literacy and lunar OR space exploration. These updates are delivered to my email account and I can see the information that Google indexed for these queries during the previous 24 hours. This helps me see past the top few results because keyword matching and currency are the ranking factors, not keyword matching, number of sites linking to a page and a host of other SEO factors.

As I indicated in the previous two blogs, the challenge of frequent information doubling is how to become informed about more than just a tiny fraction of the information produced. Creating automatic searches as described can solve this dilemma for topics of interest. For me, I want to stay abreast of developments in the field of Information Literacy OR Fluency for obvious reasons. If I were to query the normal way, I wouldn't be able to collect such variety on the topic in one place. It works much the same to search blogs in Google, but by subscribing to a custom search, I don't have to remember to do the search; it comes to me.

I don't do this for everything I'm interested in or want to find. That decision is mandated by how much time I have and how important it is to have a broader array of information on a topic. Information Fluency is a business; Lunar exploration is related to an assessment playground I created and maintain. In this case, I need a steady stream of information on latest developments so I can keep the content on which Investigative Searching 20/10 is based as relevant as possible.

That's one solution for sorting through vast oceans (or should I say expanses) of information. I'd like to hear your solutions to the challenge.

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