Tapping into LinkedIn’s brain

As a researcher who looks a different industry or market every week, I’ve often tapped into LinkedIn’s advanced search options to find an expert or, better yet, a librarian who can point me in the right direction. (Pro tip: You can identify librarians by including “Libraries” as an industry filter.) And I’ve mined job listings to glean insight into the strategic direction of an organization.

Given the relatively professional level of conversation in LinkedIn posts, a search facet I have recently been using more often is Content search, which just searches posts. To get to Content search, just click the Search box in the upper left, and a drop-down menu will appear with search options, including Content.

Interestingly, it appears that both the text of the post and the content of any linked material is included in the search index. A Content search for the phrase data mining turned up posts that did not include that phrase (or even the word “mining”) in either the post or the linked material, although the article referenced big data and data analytics – two related concepts.

Concept search is probably most useful for narrow topics or niche industries. A search for sports mouthguard turned up helpful resources for a market study I was conducting, and did a search for augmented reality in the utility industry for another project. Interestingly, I get similar results when I enclose the phrase in quotation marks and when I don’t, and when I use natural language, as with the utility industry search.

Try it out when you’re having trouble finding information on a new, emerging or focused topic.

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