December 06, 2007
Last Blog Entry
Throughout this semester, I've learned a lot about to utilize the many tools available for information trapping. I had a basic understanding of some of these tools before I took this class. At the same time, I am learning about others for the first time. If you are interested in taking this class, I would recommend paying attention to the following topics. Below is a list of the tools that I have found most useful/important for finding information on the web.
This was one of the first things we did in the class and it has turned out to have the most impact on how I receive my information. Learning to use Bloglines (and more broadly, RSS) saves time and effort for me in looking for information. Once I discovered how useful these tools are, I started to only check my Bloglines account daily instead of my usual system of checking news sites (freep.com, espn.com, etc.). As good as RSS is, you also have to know what you're looking for. At times, its good to go and raed something that you might not have known that you were looking for and this has made me regress a bit to checking some of my former sources for information. But there's nothing wrong with that. RSS is about being sent information about topics that you're interested in, and I know I will use this in the future.
I came upon this tool rather late in the class but it is no less useful. Podcasts seemed to me to be the bandwagon that I never jumped on. I hear a lot of other students talking about Podcasts of classes, or news etc. Yet I never really used digital multimedia (audio, video, etc) as anything other than entertainment. After finding Everyzing's RSS feed feature, I've found that these tools can be just as useful as having an article sent to you. An RSS feed from Everyzing allows you to be updated each time a new audio/video resource is uploaded that matches your search criteria. I used it to good effect to monitor the Red Wings. Every time a new radio interview or clip from Barry Melrose' podcast was added, it shows up in my Bloglines account. This means, I don't have to sit around and hope I see Melrose on Sportscenter, or listen to AM1270 all of the time to hear Wings coverage. This ability to use digital multimedia as a reliable news source instead of just entertainment has been something that I will surely use in the future.
Though I did particularly enjoy using the two tools described above, I also learned a lot about search as a whole. Before I took this class, I thought it was perfectly fine to only search through Google or Wikipedia for information about something. This class has taught me about the vast wealth of resoures available in search. More importantly, it has taught me that the world of search is ever changing and that it is only to your advantage to widen the scope of your searches by utilizing different tools. Whether they are specific search engines or databases, or just utilizing a greater number of searches through the two main search engines, spending time and focusing your search is always to your advantage.
One Thing I Might Change
Being the first time that this class has been offered, it's no surprise that there are some things that could be improved. The one thing that I might change would be having two separate business and personal Wikis. In completing them, it seems I am just making two of the same projects. At the same time, I understand having a personal one might encourage people to explore different things than the business topic among other advantages. Of course, there's no way for me to really say having one is better. I would at least recommend thinking about setting up the term project Wiki's this way.
Posted by stevenwr at December 6, 2007 08:27 PM