If you were reading the news to follow the US presidential elections and simply used “Clinton” or “Trump” in your search, chances are you received a lot more information than you ever could have possibly hoped to read. In the case of “Clinton”, were you referring to Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton or maybe the Clinton Foundation? In the case of Trump, you might get family members, business dealings or real estate announcements bearing his name in addition to election related stories. There were millions of stories available over the past few days alone. Even if you weren’t searching on either term you might not have escaped the flood of stories but getting back to the original intent, a single keyword search was not the best approach.
Whether financial investments are part of your job or you are in it for personal gain, when you consider investing in a certain industry or with specific companies you perform your due diligence, right? You check company financials, consider the competitive landscape and look for the growth opportunities. Nowadays you probably follow their official social media accounts and rely on news alerts relevant to your industry or company. In other words you do your research. Then a natural disaster strikes.
It's that time of year when the kids are heading back to school so its seemed like good time for a news primer. When it comes to making decisions on behalf of your business, there are 3 key news factors to consider: speed, accuracy and reliability.
My kid plants tomatoes every spring. She waters them, gives them some kind of fertilizer, makes sure they get plenty of sunshine and in turn, the plants produce dozens of little bite-sized tomatoes for her enjoyment. I’m always amazed at how little effort it takes to get all those tiny tomatoes.
In my early days of doing business research, I thought computer searches could solve all of the world’s research problems. One of my first assignments was for a large investment bank that only bought blue chip stocks. I would pull up a company’s stock ticker symbol and see all of its important financial data and news, then create a comprehensive research report. As I started to cross-reference this “tickered” news with additional keyword searches, I immediately saw the problem. Writers would often not include the ticker in a story – or they would include the wrong ticker.
When I first started out as a business researcher the internet was in its infancy. Online research tools were basically paper directories that were scanned or typed into a digital format. The tactile feel of a thick paper directory was replaced by the blinking green cursor on a monochrome computer monitors. One of my first tasks was to pull up stories about Mergers in the Fertilizer industry. Sounds like an easy job, right? Well once I started tooling for the “Fertilizer” code my job got very difficult. There was no search function and I was forced to browse through the various branches in the tree. This is taxonomy speak for categories (sometimes called parents) and subcategories (sometimes called children) that resemble branches of a tree.
You may not realize it, but most of us use taxonomies every day – unlike that Algebra you took in the 10th grade. Taxonomies allow us to classify and categorize data in a way that makes it more easily accessible.