General search engines are an amazing free service that participants in one piece of research valued as being worth US$17,530 a year. (Not sure about that, although DuckDuckGo did help me find said piece of research in seconds.) But as I write for Computer Weekly, professionals can benefit from more-focused search services.
Several of these specialist search services are aimed at journalists. Krzana focuses on recent material, linked to geography and subject to minimise time wasted by journalists in Birmingham sifting out news from the city of the same name in Alabama. The Inject Project aims to provide related but different material, such as similar stories in another country. (More on both these services from the NUJ Freelance newsletter here.) Image library Shutterstock has launched services that let users search for images with images.
My contribution to specialist search is the Journalists’ Local Authority Directory, funded by the Journalists’ Copyright Fund. It is open to members of the NUJ, who can find details of how to get access under the letter about it from Guardian public service editor David Brindle on page 25 of the latest Journalist magazine, as well as those in the Chartered Institute of Journalists and the Society of Authors.
If you have access and you need public sector contacts or information on local areas of the UK, please give it a try – and let me know what you think.
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