Now we’re into a panel of case studies on how people in diverse user communities search and retrieve information and how the research processes are integrated into workflow.
John Cox, a British directory publisher and publishing industry consultant, started by explaining he’s not an academic researcher, he’s a business man who’s looking for practical information. He detailed all the places he goes for information, including the business department of his local public library, the London Business Library, and the library of the Institute of Directors. But what’s his favorite? Google. He ended by pleading for pricing of data that is consistent with the needs of small and medium sized enterprises. “Convince me you have the tools I need. I’m willing to pay.”
Louis Graziano, Rohm & Haas, is talking about intellectual property information. His case study topic is printer ink. Analytic mapping tools he uses include Micropatent, Aureka/Themescape, and ClearForest. But he wants better tools. Human analysis is still needed, the tools don’t do everything. He also thinks the tools are cumbersome. He wants more flexibility, better visualization, interactive analysis with other users, and more meaningful word grouping.
Nick Dempsey, an analysis at EPS, gives the consultancy viewpoint (wait, wasn’t Cox a consultant, too?) and is also British. His firm has an Ask EPS service, which is a 2-3 hour research activity (sounds a bit like some of FindSVP’s business). He’s wishing he could afford Factiva, Business Source Premier, D&B, and Bureau van Dijk products. They’re very good at searching Google (mostly because they know where to look) and they’ve got internal Access databases. They also do primary research for clients. Now he’s telling about Groove, a collaboration tool, and says it’s not ideal, but the concept has great usefulness. Having used Groove for a project, I completely agree with him. Wants a tool that will store and automatically categorize sources found. How about using VoIP to capture voice conversations, then store them and make them searchable. Moving from the futuristic, he’s noting that LexisNexis and Westlaw are effectively targeting small niche law firms. Other SMEs? Research analysts at investment banks, marketing and strategy folks, and small businesses in the knowledge economy.
Editor, ONLINE: The Leading Magazine for Information Professionals