VA Days: Rethinking web search and virtual assistance

While preparing a 6-minute demo of the way I use and Ubiquity to organize my web research, I had an aha! moment about how I find things on the Web.

You see, the process I outlined for web research is about finding and bookmarking lots of pages, but what I really find useful isn’t compiling a list of individual pages: it’s finding one or two sites — or one or two people — who keep large, up-to-date collections of information. For example, in that search for Government 2.0-related sites, the key resources are a Government 2.0 Best Practices wiki and this Gov 2.0 Resource Center. Both pages are packed with examples.

The first priority in web research, then, is to identify those key resources: lists that compile links to other resources, and bloggers who filter lots of news and post what’s going on. I can review the list and add the bloggers to my Google Reader. Only if these resources have not yet emerged will I find lots of individual pages useful. In essence, what I’m doing is building a network of mavens. I don’t need to know everything myself, but I need to know who would know or where to find information I want.

Along the way, I also discovered Ubiquity goodness. =) It’s made social bookmarking so much easier.

Anyway, here’s a demo of how I find things on the Net:

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