Hello blog friends-

If you followed my blog on Via Search Consulting, you know it’s been more than six weeks since I’ve blogged. I was not sunning in St. Tropez (sadly) but instead working on a very exciting project:  a new investigative services firm named Lynx Insights & Investigations, Inc.

Lynx Insights is a new firm with an old partner of mine Edward Morris who, in addition to being an experienced investigator, is very active in the art, design and nonprofit realms. He recently founded and ran an organization that produces art and media to deepen public understanding of climate change (see Canary Project here).

Lynx Insights finds facts amidst opinions, diversions and misinformation and is dedicated to delivering those facts in a clear, easy-to-use format whether that is a website, a chart, a video or audio file, or a written memo.

This blog will continue on both Via Search and Lynx Insights’ websites.

Drop me a line if you want to know more!

Best,
Lecia

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When does it make sense to go beyond Google or Bing for your search?

A bunch of new, cool search engines are cropping up with different strengths. To decide which one to try, let’s use the analogy of looking for a good movie to see. If any of you tried, you know searching Google with “What movie should I see?” isn’t going to get you results fast.

There are three ways to go. You could:

1) Call/email a friend or group of friends who would know what movie you’d like

2) Post the question somewhere for a big community to opine (like on Facebook)

3) Search a specialized site (for movies, sites like www.rottentomatoes.com or www.fandango.com)

These categories are the same three ways to look at the other search engines.

CATEGORY ONE:   Reaching out to targeted person or persons who would know

  • www.vark.com:  Aardvark is good for finding a certain individual (or expert) who might know the answer to your question.
  • www.hunch.com: Hunch uses your preferences and profile to find someone who likely shares your tastes.

CATEGORY TWO:  Reaching out to a broad community for a more diverse response.  This format has been around awhile with sites like:

This is the area with the most growth right now. Front runners Quora and Facebook Questions are both still in beta testing but look promising.

CATEGORY THREE: Searching a specialized site. If you don’t know one already, these general search engines help you figure out where to dig down.

  • www.duckduckgo.com Has a feature called !Bang that helps narrow your search by category. For example, searching !movies leads you directly to specialized sites to search like fandango.com. Works for many categories like !travel or !handbags for example.
  • www.blekko.com Still in beta testing. Blekko has slashtags that limit your search to websites that will most likely have what you’re looking for. There are preset slashtags (/movies) and you can make your own (/startups).

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Classification and Other Ways to Find Information

June 17, 2010

In the early days of the web – before search engines, can you imagine?? – you found information by going to web pages that provided links to all sorts of things – the links were grouped by category. (For a great book on the history of search on the web, check out The Search by [...]

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Searching Media Outside the U.S.

June 10, 2010

Another under-utilized resource is news media outside the U.S. that may not be picked up in your Google search. Some newspapers have their archives index-able by search engines but most do not. (This is a follow up to last week’s post about searching documentaries, TV and radio.) How do you find these resources? The first [...]

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Searching Documentaries, TV and Radio

June 2, 2010

There are search engines. There are subscription-based databases like Lexis, Westlaw, Factiva. There are online databases that aren’t indexed by search engines. But there is a whole other universe of media coverage that is completely missing in the above. What is it you ask? Television and Radio. Some shows post transcripts on their website, which [...]

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My Favorite Investigative Journalism Websites – Original Content Not Indexed by Google

May 7, 2010

Where do all the laid-off investigative journalists go? To investigative-journalism websites of course! There is no dearth of fantastic non-profit, for-profit and educational websites out there. They publish hard-hitting investigative pieces that are often not indexed by Google and other search engines. Here are some of my favorites (and yes I make sure to check [...]

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Avoid Search Paralysis: Use these Tools to Plan Complicated Searches – Part Three of Three

April 28, 2010

This is the third post in a series about how to avoid search paralysis during complicated searches. To recap: The first step is to figure out which approach is most applicable to your search. The minutes you spend figuring this out will save you a ton of time down the search-road. Nothing is worse than [...]

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Avoid Search Paralysis: Use these Tools to Plan Complicated Searches – Part Two of Three

April 21, 2010

This is the second post in a series about how to avoid search paralysis during complicated searches. To recap: The first step is to figure out which approach is most applicable to your search. The minutes you spend figuring this out will save you a ton of time down the search-road. Nothing is worse than [...]

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Avoid Search Paralysis: Use these Tools to Plan Complicated Searches

April 14, 2010

As a rule, investigators deal with complicated searches. Think about it, no one hires an investigator for information that’s easy to find! After years of running and managing investigations, I’ve developed the following three approaches to use before you begin in order to stay focused throughout the search and get you results fast and efficiently. [...]

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3 Interesting New Search Engines that Go Beyond Keywords

March 25, 2010

What if your search need is opaque – or hard to boil down into keywords? (Yes, a common theme in my blog!) A bunch of new search engines have entered the marketplace deal with this issue. Here are some to try: (1) Aardvark www.vark.com:  Through Aardvark, you ask a question and (theoretically) within minutes you [...]

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