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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Research Tip - Google News Alerts

Researching a topic? Google has a form that lets you sign up for Google News Alerts based on key words.

So if you are researching a non-fiction article or book, sign up for a Google News Alert request, and it will email you links to the latest web information containing these words. I have an alert for the key words "overweight," "children," and "teens" because I'm working on a book about overweight teenagers.

They have five variations on the Google Alert, so you can customize it according to your needs.

  • 'News' alerts will email links to the latest news articles with your keywords, taken from the top ten of a Google news search on that topic.

  • 'Web' alerts will email links to the latest web pages with your keywords, taken from the top twenty results of a Google Web search.

  • 'Blog' alerts will email links to the latest blogs with your keywords, taken from the top ten results of a Google Blog search.

  • 'Groups' alerts will email links about groups with your keywords, taken from the top fifty results of a Google Groups search.

  • 'Comprehensive' alerts combine all of the above in one email to provide the widest overview of results on your topic keywords.

Some stories will be repeats of the same information, so not everything is useful. The up side is you get a flash if breaking news or new information appears about your topic. You choose how often Google checks for info. It can be as developments happen or once a day. That doesn't mean you'll receive an email each day. If there are no hits on your topic, it doesn't send an email informing you. You receive emails when it finds results.

Go back and cancel the alert when you're finished using it. You can register for up to 1000 different Google Alerts for topics you're researching.

Tip: Choose your key words carefully - it's better to be a bit broad and then delete stories that are off the mark. You can always go back and adjust the Google alert if you're receiving too many off-target alerts. So if you're looking for information on writing, you might key in "writer," "writers," "writing," "authors" and other word variations that might be used.

1 comment:

roller coaster teacher said...

So cool! Our students do a big research project each year, each grade level. I'll file this away...