I’m late to using Web 2.0 Internet research tools, but they’re just so danged good I can’t not share. Two of my latest discoveries are especially good for research, Del.icio.us and Google News Alerts.
Delicious is a social bookmarking site that lets you tag and store Web pages on their site. You can share pages with other Delicious users, but that’s not the main way I use it. Before when I researched a story, I would find data on a topic, and then highlight, cut and paste the info to a Word file that I’d fill with clips. Now, I just tag everything and save it on Delicious. I tag everything with keywords that will help me find it again. Then, when I start to write, I open my story file in Word, and my browser window, use a function of Windows to tile the two windows horizontally and switch between my research file and my Word document.
Another way to research a topic is through Google’s News Alerts, a part of Google’s News search function. With this service, research comes to me. Sign up for News Alerts on specific subjects and Google will crawl news sources or blogs and drop what it finds into your email inbox once a week, once a day or instantly. You can set alerts up for multiple topics and track each separately. To set up alerts, click on the News Alerts link on the left-hand column of the Google News page and follow the directions.