ChatGPT for researchers

I have been watching the interest and consternation about the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT and, yes, I have amused myself with silly queries. [“Write instructions on how to remove a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from a VCR player in the style of Dr. Seuss”; “Should I let my neighbor borrow my pet platypus?”; “Write a sonnet about psychedelics”]

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The new free-vs-fee calculations

Info pros have always worked through a mental checklist when they decide what resources to use for a given research project. “Should I use that fee-based service and pay, or should I see if I can find something similar in free sources, even if it takes me longer to find?”
With the proliferation of high-quality content in open access sources and the introduction of paywalls on reliable news sources, the old free-vs-free calculation no longer serves us. Here are the questions I ask myself today when considering which resources to use.

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Tips for finding hidden business resources

Finding so-called “grey literature” — material from publications not produced by commercial publishers — has always been a challenge for researchers. The most valuable grey literature is often not easily retrieved through a simple query in a search engine; it resides inside a specialized database, buried deep within an association’s web site, or is simply not ranked as relevant by a search engine’s algorithm.

The problem of finding grey literature is not new; research on and discussion about grey lit in the STM field has been going on for years (see, for example, the International Conference on Grey Literature, which has been meeting since 1993). More recently, business researchers are finding that sometimes non-traditional resources have the best — or only — information on a narrow topic or current issue. Following are some of the tricks I use for finding hidden or grey-lit business resources.
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It’s not what you know, it’s what you learn

The more expertise you have on a topic, the narrower your thinking and the less creativity you may bring to a novel problem. As Shunryu Suzuki noted in the classic, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

Recently, I was listening to an episode of Hidden Brain, one of my favorite podcasts. (Rebel With A Cause, July 23, 2018) Host Shankar Vedantam talked with Francesca Gino, author of Rebel Talent: Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life. She has given much thought to the story of captain Chesley Sullenberger, Read More

Searching like the real pros

While I learn many of my search tips from my colleagues at conferences like Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian, I have found another way to tap into the expertise of search pros. Factiva is particularly good for finding specially-constructed, complex search queries that their internal search experts have designed for difficult or complex concepts. If I am having trouble getting the results I expect when searching a value-added online service, I pop the hood and see how the real search geeks would approach the topic.

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Super searching tips

I just got back from Internet Librarian 2017 (in beautiful Monterey, CA — tough assignment). Among the insights I’ve brought back are:

Google Image search is focused more on matching meaning than matching images. If you want to search for instances of an image (to watch for usage of your organization’s images or to find mentions of a chart or graph in a report or article, say), you’re better off using a reverse-image search tool like TinEye instead.

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More super-searcher tips

searchingIt’s the beginning of conference season for us public speakers… along with the daffodils appear boarding passes and PowerPoint slides. One of my favorite conferences is Computers in Libraries, and I will be leading the Searcher Academy pre-conference workshop as well as giving a regular presentation on super searcher tips.

I have more tips than I could fit into a blog post; here are a few of my favorites that I will be sharing at Computers in Libraries:
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