Thursday, 4th April 2013
As information professionals we spend considerable time and resources evaluating and selecting the best sources to support business research and to allow us to provide high-quality information, insight and analysis to other parts of the business. With the explosion in sources both free and chargeable, keeping up with the most appropriate and most authoritative can be a tough challenge. Taking time to scan the FreePint database of articles and reviews every week can reap dividends in highlighting trends, surfacing new definitive resources for your area and identifying new ways of working.
Twice a month I review the latest FreePint articles for the FreePint Newsletter. Unlike the day-to-day review of incoming content, which mainly involves making sure that articles and reports align with assignments, the twice-monthly review enables me to step back and think about what's happening in our industry and how FreePint supports you in staying on top of it.What strikes me this time around is the diversity of sources -- types, content, purposes -- now available to us and to our organisations to solve a whole range of challenges. I tend to be a text-oriented researcher, but increasingly I find myself using video and images to support different projects. Deb Andrysiak provides insight on evaluating video, and reminds me to pay attention to the rich resources offered through services like Vimeo, YouTube and others."Business news" as a category of sources is a particular FreePint interest, given our annual Survey of News Needs and Preferences that now compares five years of data from information managers. Penny Crossland examines an area of content that blurs the lines between "news" and "marketing", with her commentary on NewsCred. NewsCred resembles traditional aggregators, except that it delivers content to customers via a social-media-friendly API, enabling easy incorporation of brand-boosting content into sites and online interactions.Reviewer Victor Camlek is deeply impressed with just-auto's QUBE, a market research service with a twist: Rather than the "static" reports most market research services provide, QUBE puts the user in control, with fully customisable menus of content, interactive graphs and figures, and real-time updates to both data and analysis. Trade data has never been an area of interest for me, but I'm changing my mind after reading Helen Clegg's Mini Review of Datamyne: here's a source that's aggregated, cleaned, normalised and visualised trade data which touches on 50 countries. With all this data to hand, Datamyne is able to support business functions including procurement, credit analysis, competitive intelligence and more.We live and work in an era exploding with potential sources to support business research and organisational value. When I talk with customers I so often hear that under-staffing and heavy workloads enable only bare-minimum management of their current source portfolios. But companies that operate that way for too long risk reduced competitiveness.Take 10 minutes every week to scan FreePint for information about sources you - and your organisation - need to know about. It's time well-spent, even in the busiest office.
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