While I was away I was still writing the Tech Talk blog for WRAL, so I still had my information traps going. However while the traps still worked, I did notice that people submitting sites and tools for ResearchBuzz pretty much faded away. That wasn’t all bad (I was constantly getting press releases for things that had nothing to do with search tools, online databases, or anything else I might think about covering) but it did make me wonder how much I was missing of relevant press releases and announcements.
I couldn’t go out and find all the PR people, so I wandered over to Google News ( http://news.google.com/ ) and played with the advanced search for a while. When I was done I had a list of seventeen press release wires which are distributed via Google News. It looks like this:
What am I going to do with a list like this? I’m going to make information traps with it, that’s what. If I add some ResearchBuzz-relevant keywords and phrases to this list of Google News sources, soon I will have a filtered press release stream coming right to my RSS reader (though NOT to my inbox — more about that in a minute.)
For example, I can run the following query:
“online database” ( source:pr_newswire__press_release_ | source:business_wire__press_release_ | source:pr_web__press_release_ | source:eworldwire__press_release_ | source:market_wire__press_release_ | source:webwire__press_release_ | source:press_media_wire__press_release_ | source:emailwire | source:the_open_press__press_release_ | source:pr_leap__press_release_ | source:newswise__press_release_ | source:ascribe__press_release_ | source:black_pr_wire__press_release_ | source:world_wire__press_release_ | source:urlwire | source:ereleases__press_release_ | source:prlog )
That’ll search all 17 press release wires for the phrase “online database”. (The | things are called pipes or vertical bars. Google News understands that they mean OR and they’re quicker to type.)
You’d think with 17 sources being searched a phrase like “online database” would find a lot of releases. No, just about fifteen at this writing; enough to understand that it’s a useful search term, but not so much that I’m overwhelmed with results.
Google News offers both RSS feeds of its search results and e-mail alerts. I really wanted to get an e-mail alert of these search results; it would be like getting press releases the way I used to. Alas! When I ran a search and clicked on the “News Alerts” link on the left side of the page, Google asked for information about the alert (how often, where it should be e-mailed, etc.) but then chided me, “Please limit your search to 256 characters.”
Drat. So if you want to monitor all these press releases sources, I’m afraid you will have to use the RSS feeds, which I am happy to report work fine.
I am now set up and have several Google News feeds churning away, monitoring lots of different press releases for me while I go about my day job. It’ll take a week or so to see how much I’m pulling from them, though — I might have to do some re-adjustment. By the way, while I was at Google News, I did a little more experimenting. But I think I’ll leave that for the next post.