Keeping up with a topic
From: http://www.researchbuzz.com/extrasample.html Helllllp! I Can't Keep Upppppp!
The most frequent complaint I hear from researchers is that they can't keep up with the new sites that appear on the Internet every day. That's one reason they read ResearchBuzz, they say. And I get asked often, "How do you learn about all these new sites?" This article is my attempt to let you in on the secrets of finding new sites. Yes, there are some cool newsletters to subscribe to, but there are also some site monitoring tricks you can use and even a couple of bookmarked Yahoo searches that'll keep you up and humming with all kinds of new stuff.
1) Sites to See -- To get new sites, monitor sites.
My favorite site to monitor for new sites is Yahoo. Did you know that you can search Yahoo for new sites added within a certain time period? Absolutely! Check out http://search.yahoo.com/search/options . You'll be able to search Yahoo for sites added within the last day, three days, week, month, three months, six months, or four years. If you're interested in parrots, for example, do a one-day query for "parrot" (always use singular; a search for "parrot" will also find "parrots") and then bookmark the result. You can check the link every day or use an link-monitoring service to track changes to it. How often it changes depends how common the word is.
(Are you interested in lots of different new sites? Check out Yahoo! What's New; http://dir.yahoo.com/new/ . Links to new sites added in the last week are on the right side of the page.)
You can look for new sites added to search engines, too. Tracerlock ( http://www.peacefire.org/tracerlock/ ) will monitor AltaVista for new indexed sites containing the keywords. (Be sure to use very specific keywords or otherwise you'll get a lot of unnecessary junk.) It'll e-mail reports to you every day, so there's no link to monitor. On the other hand, you're limited in the number of search words you can check, and it'll only mail you the first ten results (another reason to use very specific keywords.)
And if search engines, why not Usenet? Google Groups' advanced search ( http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search ) allows you to restrict your search to specific dates or -- and this is more useful for our purposes -- different time periods. For example, you could restrict your search to posts made in the last week or the last month.
Pick a time period (last week is better for more general searches) and use a keyword along with the phrase "new site." For example, if you're interested in parrots, query +parrot +"new site" (you don't have to use the + marks.) To narrow down your search, you can limit your query to certain newsgroup types. For example, if you're interested in the Ruby programming language, you could do a search for +Ruby +"new site" and restrict your search to comp* newsgroups (that is to say, newsgroups in the comp* hierarchy.) You will get some clinkers this way, but this is also a good way to find some gems.
2) Sites to See -- Read Your Press Releases
Companies that can afford it often use press releases to get the news out about their sites. The two main press release wires are PR Newswire and BusinessWire.
PR Newswire has a full list of their most recent releases at http://www.prnewswire.com/tnw/tnw.shtml , and BusinessWire has a list of their most recent releases at http://www.businesswire.com/ , but I don't recommend using this method to review press releases unless you have a lot of interests and a lot of free time (tons of press releases go out every day!)
Instead, use a search engine to filter the press releases for you. Northern Light's News Search -- http://www.northernlight.com/news.html -- allows you to search press release wires only and sort the results by date. The snag with this method is that it's hard to come up with good keywords. "new site" won't do it; some press releases will say "new Internet site," some will say "new Web site," and still others will say "redesigned site."
The best idea for less-common search terms might be to simply use that term without any modifiers. You'll get some inappropriate results, but it shouldn't be hard to pick out the good stuff. Northern Light allows you to save news searches as "search alerts," e-mailing you when there are new results in your news search.
(Some readers might be asking, "Can you save search alerts on Northern Light's regular search engine searches?" Yes. "So why not use those to track new sites, too?" That's fine, though you may find yourself getting too much overlap between the AltaVista searches and the Northern Light searches. If that happens, ditch the less useful one -- the idea is to keep you informed of new sites, not drown you in information!)
2) Sites to See -- Newsletters
Obviously you know all about newsletters to keep up with new sites, since you read ResearchBuzz. But there are other sites that provide good resource overviews. You may find others you like -- these are a few of my favorites.
Librarian's Index to the Internet -- http://www.lii.org/
New additions to a selection of Internet resources maintained by a group of librarians. Weekly newsletter available. Good stuff, well annotated.
Neat New Stuff on the Net -- http://marylaine.com/neatnew.html .
Weekly site reviews by Marylaine Block. The annotations vary in length, but she always manages to come up with a gem or two I've never heard of.
The Scout Report -- http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/report/sr/current/ .
Weekly report of resources more academically-oriented. Thorough annotations and explanation of resources. Really great stuff.
Don't try to keep up with every last site added to the Internet. You can't do that. Nobody can do that. The best you can do is try to keep up with interesting new offerings in your field. This article should get you off to a great start.