2. During the search: What did I find? How do I sift through information?

2.2. What happens if I do not find what I am looking for? Readjusting standards

2.2.3. Automated searches

When information in specific topic areas is to be searched frequently, it may be advisable to help the user progressively hone his/her skills and specialization with programmable search tools that allow for finding information in specific sources, or to detect changes and updates in information sources that are particularly interesting.

For those tasks that involve information follow-up and update, search engines and alert services may be useful.

Search agents

These are search engines that work from the user’s computer, instead of doing so from a web server, as do most of the search engines we use directly on the Internet.

These search engines index all the information in the computer (a document in the local hard disk) but also the browsing history and tags of any browsers installed.

Copernic is one of the search engines we may install in our computer (Windows) with a free version.

Alert services

Once we have found specially interesting information sources, it may be advisable not only to note down their address in order to find them immediately later on, but also to find out about the updates and the new information they constantly include on subjects about which we will need to search for information again.

We may partially automate a regular check-up for these sources by using some given update alert services such as the following:



Google Alert We may set the alert parameters and apply them to search engines, news sources or other information of interest.
Talkwalker Alert An alternative to Google Alert where alerts may be created on any subject we define, or else on specific brands, people, etc.
Website-Watcher Paid software that detects changes in the defined website and highlights changes in text.
Visualping It allows for monitoring a website, and when a change appears it sends an alert to the e-mail provided by the user.
Giga Alert A tool to monitor websites using keywords and detect changes that are notified by e-mail.

When managing search agents and alert services, it is advisable to define and apply very strict standards for precision and differentiation of search goals, so that only the necessary and manageable information is obtained.