How to boost your search for information – Part 1
(This post takes about 4-5 minutes for a relaxed reading)
There are plenty (almost an infinite number) of resources that you can use to boost your knowledge on a specific topic. Focusing on the right media and content is key to avoid being overwhelmed with useless information
As a young and passionate programmer I was always looking for fresh information to increase my knowledge about the Amiga (do you remember?) hardware structure. However, at that time (around 1985), this task was incredibly time and money consuming.
I read magazines, expensive manuals and I kept mail contact with other guys around Europe who shared my interest.
No wonder, answers to my questions took days or weeks, if not months.
I wish I would have lived that passion today. Now, getting information is no more a problem. It can be free and quick. However, as the amount of available information is immense, the search strategies and filters shall be tuned accordingly.
If you want to take the most out of your search for information and turn it into knowledge, I have some practical tips here:
Today, everything in the quest for information starts with writing a bunch of words in Google and pressing Enter. I know that. But you can get more focused results just adding a simple extension to your search string. Suppose you are looking for any author’s documents on a specific topic.
A search for pdf’s can be easily done by googling: <author name> <topic> filetype:pdf
You can change “pdf” with “doc” or “ppt” to extend the search.
Believe me, results can be surprising. Incidentally, you can find copyrighted ebooks in pdf format. This is illegal of course, but it just happens.
Videos can be enormously helpful to actually watch live presentations or demos about one topic. I usually look on Youtube for leadership gurus and keynotes. Watching them in action is an invaluable supplement to any doc.
I personally recommend the youtube channel “@google talks” which contains lots of videos about presentations on leadership and other interesting topics. See also the subchannels “Authors@google” and “leadership@google”.
Blogs are another excellent resource. Here authors usually talk about their most uptodate thoughts and experiences. Many times however blogs deliver their highest power in the comments section. Good bloggers engage their audience in great discussions which offer multiple points of view on the post topic. These can be even more interesting than the the blog post itself!
In Part 2 I’ll describe a few other tips to get more useful information from currently available media.
Question: What are your tips for searching and getting meaningful content from the web?