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FreePint BlogInformation that fits the job just-right - A VIP Editorial

Wednesday, 20th June 2012 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By Chris Vestal


Abstract:

As a patent researcher, on any given day I'm basically on a digital scavenger hunt, trying to find just the right piece of information that could fit my client’s needs. Instead of an entire article or report, oftentimes it comes down to finding one or two sentences in lengthy publications to help disprove an invention’s novelty.


Item:

As a patent researcher, on any given day I'm basically on a digital scavenger hunt, trying to find just the right piece of information that could fit my client’s needs. Instead of an entire article or report, oftentimes it comes down to finding one or two sentences in lengthy publications to help disprove an invention’s novelty. So the research and tools I use with my company are very specific. I am starting to realise that this is not unusual and the need for highly specialised information is becoming more universal to information professionals.

In a way it's a lot like shopping for a suit. The trend is fewer professionals being satisfied with off the rack fits in their suits. More professionals are buying custom made suits or paying tailors to get just the right fit. In reading this month’s reviews it struck me how much both Profound from MarketResearch.com and Dow Jones Risk and Compliance Portal understand the need for customised information tailored to their end users.

Profound provides market research reports from publishers all around the world. The level of customisation it allows sets the tool apart from other aggregators though. Instead of buying an entire report off the rack, for most reports users can select specific sections or even charts and figures to meet their needs. Profound takes its customisation feature a step further and allows subscribers to create specific levels of access for all of their users. A company might want all of its users to have access to basic search results but not rack up a huge bill by allowing everyone to purchase reports. So it has three different access levels so companies can designate specific users as authorised to purchase reports. By embracing the concept of a tailored fit, not only does Profound help connect users with just the right piece of information but it also opens opportunities for information professionals in promoting cost effective research.

Dow Jones Risk and Compliance Portal enables users to assess their organisation’s exposure to risk by monitoring third parties they partner with for “corruption, regulatory compliance and business risk”. Since every organisation has different third party relationships and compliance monitoring requirements this tool allows users to upload a customised list of parties they’d like to monitor and select schedules of how often to run reports on their relationships. It also provides a quick birds eye overview of the company’s risk by generating pie charts based on data about their specific relationships of interest. Rather than subjecting users to information overload about recent news on every entity in the Dow Jones Risk and Compliance Portal, users are presented with a customised recent news feed about their specific relationships via Factiva. When using the tool to investigate their specific relationships there’s even a feature that allows users to remove irrelevant results, confirm relevant results, or request a Dow Jones analyst to conduct further research if the relevancy of a result is questionable.

Customised information service tools are still in their early stages, but both of these tools indicate that a one size fits all model is becoming a thing of the past. I expect to see more information products in the future that allow users so specify exactly what kind of features and functionally they need rather than users trying to fit their needs into any specific product’s capabilities. After all if we value a tailored fit in our clothes, why would our desire for information resources to help our stakeholders make the best decisions be any different?

This editorial appears in VIP Magazine No. 103, June 2012. Purchase online >>

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Chris Vestal is a contract employee of ASRC Management Services in Washington, D.C. supporting its contract with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He supervises a team of patent researchers and assists patent examiners researching subjects related to patent applications in the fields of nanotechnology, optics, magnetic resonance, and musical instruments. An active member of SLA, he was recipient of its 2010 Rising Star Award.

Currently he serves as Communication's Secretary for the Washington DC Chapter of SLA, overseeing the chapter's online presence.

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