The internet as a valuable knowledge source

I will begin this post with a statement “I am an knowledge junkie”. Why do I begin with this statement? You will understand as you keep reading.

For some time now I have been attempting to establish a method by which I could obtain the small pieces of valuable information from the internet in a simpler and, to be perfectly honest, “push” manner rather than pull.

It was therefore with excited anticipation that I started to use Google Alerts to receive daily updates on key topics. This service by Google, currently in BETA, automatically searches the internet for any changes relating to the words you select. It provides limited functionality beyond searches for the key words and then either automatically sending it to your email or an RSS feed. The functionality it does provide surrounds the timing of the alerts (daily, weekly or as it happens), the search breadth (blogs, web, news, video, groups) and the number of items in the alert.

The usage of these alerts has been a sensational improvement for me in the way the internet works.  Rather than trying to find information, the internet is finding it for me and sending it to where I want it to go.

What is interesting to me is that those who know about this service from Google don’t seem to want to tell others about it.  In addition, they seem to want to make out how smart they are at finding things in the world wide web and then telling everyone what they have found.   Rather than doing what is best for everyone, and sharing this type of technology.

Which then leads me to the next piece of knowledge mining technology that exists on the internet.  I am not well versed in this one, but it seems to have the additional functionality that Google Alerts does not have, and when combined with Google Alerts through an RSS feed, will provide even more power for the user.  This more powerful tool is called Yahoo Pipes.

I am not an “expert” in this tool but from first indications it seems to have a wealth of power under the hood.  I have heard that some people are using this tool to even automatically update Twitter with tweets.  Not sure that is the point of Twitter and tweeting something, however each to their own.

So, at last, in the year 2010, the internet may actually provide as a valuable knowledge source for everyone and at last provide that information to the user rather than the user having to search high and low for information.


Scott North has extensive experience in enterprise risk management, internal audit, operational risk and compliance, risk strategy, scenario planning, technology risk, technology business analysis, systems design, financial accounting, and management accounting. Scott is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants with a Masters Degree from the University of Melbourne in Business and Information Technology. Scott is also a Fellow of the University of Melbourne.

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