Michele Bate Time to sharpen your information tools - A VIP Editorial
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By Michele Bate

Abstract

I recently completed a major house renovation project, so my mind has been occupied with building matters over the last few months. In the midst all the financial pain and stressful disruption, I found some interesting parallels with my “day job” as a researcher.

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I recently completed a major house renovation project, so my mind has been occupied with building matters over the last few months. In the midst all the financial pain and stressful disruption, I found some interesting parallels with my “day job” as a researcher.

I employed professional builders, electricians, plumbers, bricklayers and joiners to do the work. They have years of experience, so they know what they are doing and can handle any problems that crop up. They took far less time than I would have done as a clumsy novice and the finished product is to a far higher standard than I could ever have achieved.

My clients employ me to do their research for the same reasons, rather than trying to do it themselves – I have the necessary skills and experience, I know what I am doing, I save them time and I consistently do a good job.

Another thing that researchers have in common with tradespeople is that we both need the right tools for the job. In the case of research, that means access to good, reliable databases. It is important to keep abreast of new products and new versions of existing products, which is where VIP is so useful as the products are put through their paces by fellow information professionals.

You can’t do effective research with the database equivalent of a rusty old saw. And the products reviewed in this issue of VIP are certainly tools fit for purpose.

My company is small, handling a fairly low volume of due diligence and compliance projects, so workflow is not an issue. But if I regularly had to manage a large number of anti-money laundering, “know your customer” or compliance cases, I would certainly be keen to check out the latest version of Alacra Compliance. The ability to batch process requests, with standardised searching and output, would be extremely useful. Alacra Compliance also provides access to content from an enviably wide range of sources, which can be searched through a single platform. And it can be customised to suit each organisation’s unique needs.

If you are responsible for providing information within your organisation for current awareness purposes, the latest version of Newsdesk could be right for you. Depending on which subscription level you opt for, you can make it your own – branding it and integrating it into your information infrastructure. Updated features include sophisticated search tools, analytics, dashboards and user groups. Another selling point is that it encompasses such a wide range of traditional news sources, as well as social media sources such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blog posts and video. As the owner of a small company, I am also impressed that the basic level subscription is affordable and not solely geared to large enterprises.

I’m sure that I’m not alone in looking to replace some rusty saws. And without doubt, putting the most effective tools to work in the hands of skilled craftspeople will yield the best results.

This editorial appears in VIP Magazine No. 102, May 2012. Purchase online »

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