Program [PDF]   Conference At a Glance [PDF]
Wednesday, September 12 Thursday, September 13 Friday, September 14

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Unlocking the Deep Web of Business Information

Marydee Ojala, Editor-in-Chief, Online Searcher magazine
Anyone approaching business research in today’s global and fragmented environment needs to understand the wealth of information available outside the normal channels. If you ever need to find private company data, employment information, industry news, or economic statistics, these sources and techniques will help you out. This workshop leads you to data on companies, industries, markets, and management that will enhance your traditional results. For high- quality results, you must consult specialized as well as general search engines; exploit social media resources; choose to search “outside the box” resources; consider fee-based tools; and concentrate on creatively conceptualizing the search problem. This seminar, taught by an experienced business searcher concentrates on resources but also includes practical techniques for using these resources.
1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The Secrets of Search: Basics and Beyond

Greg Notess, Reference Team Leader, Montana State University
Search is deceptively simple. Enter a few words in a search box and answers miraculously appear. Except sometimes the answers aren’t so miraculous; sometimes they’re off target or just plain wrong. When what you’re researching is nontrivial, it’s important to know how search engines work—and that’s been changing during the past few years. The engines change in how they build their databases, structure search results, refresh their content, and design their interfaces. This workshop covers the basics of web search—how they work, what types are available, search commands, and techniques for getting good results. It then goes beyond the basics with an in-depth exploration of several search engines and the technologies being used.

WebSearch Meets Embedded Librarianship

David Shumaker, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Library & Information Science, Catholic University of America
The shift to web searching has freed librarians and other information professionals from the confines of a physical library. This workshop explores the concept of embedded librarianship, where information professionals work outside the library or in a virtual team. They collaborate closely with teams of information users, such as academic faculty, marketers, corporate R&D groups, reporters, and others who rely heavily on information to do their jobs. As digital, mobile use of information becomes the norm, librarians are finding new opportunities to apply their skills, increase their value, and add to their job satisfaction. Learn how you can succeed at becoming embedded within your organization and how this evolving field can affect your future.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

What’s the Buzz; Tell Me What’s Happening

Chris Sherman, Founding Editor, Search Engine Land
Google Buzz is dead, as Chris Sherman was one of the first to report last year, and he’s got lots of new information about what’s happening in the ever-changing world of web search. His insider knowledge of search engine companies will alert you to developments in the search engine landscape and give you an edge in your professional life. Sherman brings you up-to-speed on the latest developments in search engines you use all the time and introduces you to some newer search engines you may not have heard of. What alterations in business strategies, technology, and customer focus will affect your ability to do effective searches? Sherman puts the newest trends in web search into perspective for information professionals.
10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Coffee Break

sponsored by
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Whither Advanced Search

Greg Notess, Reference Team Leader, Montana State University
Greg Lindahl, CTO, blekko
One of the long-time, premier observers of the search engine landscape looks at the outlook for advanced search. Information professionals appreciate the advanced tools provided by search engines and look for these features when accessing web sites. However, links to advanced search pages are disappearing, or withering away. Advanced techniques are hidden or obscured. Greg will examine what advanced techniques still work, where to find them, and how to get the search engines to work for you. Explore advanced search commands, search results limits, and special features. Decide for yourself whether advanced is withering as you contemplate where it's going.
11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Covert Search: Decoupling from Personalization

Ran Hock, Principal, Online Strategies
Gary Price, Co-Founder, INFODocket & FullTextReports
For many serious researchers, the notion that the search engines collect data on search behavior is anathema. They want to be able to search anonymously and have results presented that are not biased by previous search queries. Others are confronted with problems presented by firewalls, by content locked up geographically, and by employer access policies. How do search engines deliver personalized results? How can you best decipher whether a site you've found is what it purports to be? Ran and Gary will give strategies for those needing to search covertly and without personalization.
12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Lunch Break

1:45 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Information on the Go: Mobile Search

Megan K Fox, Director of Knowledge Management and IT, Jobs for the Future
Analysts predict mobile searching will overtake desktop searching by 2016—immediate answers, anytime, anywhere, is fast becoming the norm. Searchers on their iPhones, Droids, or other mobile device don’t want to type in keywords to get lists of websites. They expect to snap a picture, speak a request, and hold up the phone to a song to get contextually aware, personalized, actionable answers. Search tools learn about their users’ preferences and deduce intent through previous searches and context such as physical location; refine the search by asking for additional clarification or facets from the user; and use question patterning and matching to provide filtered answers. Fox, a longtime industry watcher, reviews traditional and new search tools and techniques that will make you most effective finding answers on your mobile device.

Research by the Numbers, Data by the Score

Marydee Ojala, Editor-in-Chief, Online Searcher magazine
Research is frequently driven by numbers. Understanding numbers and knowing how to effectively search for numeric data are related, but not duplicative, skills. Just because a press release includes numbers, a government agency issues a report that includes numbers, or a university releases a scientific research study that includes numbers doesn’t necessarily mean that the numbers are correct, verifiable, or unbiased. Learn techniques for numeric searching, resources rich in data, and methodologies for transforming raw numbers into meaningful information through data visualization.
2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Refreshment Break

sponsored by
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

It’s All About People

Ran Hock, Principal, Online Strategies
Adam Bernacki, Vice President, Sales & Licensing, Leadership Directories
People-finding on the web has become a popular pastime. However, for serious research, it’s not about wondering what an old classmate is up to. Ran Hock shares his tricks for finding not just basic information but also the more obscure, esoteric, and sometimes surprising revelations. He concentrates on resources other than general web search, particularly tools designed specifically for researching individuals. Biographical data from Leadership Directories, as explained by Adam Bernacki, helps to amplify your knowledge of people searching.

Investing in Business Research and Resources

Ann Cullen, Business Librarian, Goizueta Business School, Emory University
Business surrounds us. Regardless of the setting in which you work, you’re likely to encounter a need to research a business question or identify relevant business resources. It might be related to job searching, public policy, investments, marketing, sales, industries, products, or finance. Super searcher Ann Cullen brings expertise from Wall Street, Main Street, and academia. She shares her favorite websites, databases, and research techniques in the area of business research. Learn about the newest, most improved, exciting resources to help you be more effective in researching business topics.
4:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Adding Value, Improving Our Image

Mary Ellen Bates, Principal, Bates Information Services, Inc.
Information professionals have long distinguished themselves as providing accurate, relevant, and timely information. But does this adequately meet the needs of your clientele? The abundance of web-based information, easily accessible by almost everybody, has altered the value proposition. To fully demon- strate their research abilities, information professionals must strategize and think beyond information retrieval to packaging information results in a fashion that aligns with their organization’s or client’s expectations. Mary Ellen Bates guides you through how to add value to your search results.

Web of Deceit: Politics

Laura Gordon-Murnane, Intranet Web Master, Library, Bloomberg BNA
Can you believe everything you find on the web? Most information professionals bring a healthy skepticism to search results. When it comes to politics, however, misinformation is alive and well on the internet, which is where most people get their news. In this session, Laura Gordon-Murnane updates her chapter in the book Web of Deceit that discussed the intentional misleading of the American public through political misinformation. She outlines sites that will help you spot the rumors and half-truths and offers suggestions for evaluating the information offered up by the media, lobbyists, and politicians.
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Networking Reception

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Friday, September 14, 2012

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Alternative Search Engines

Ran Hock, Principal, Online Strategies
Knowledge of alternatives to the major search engines sets professional researchers apart from the general public’s use of search engines. While many rely on Google or Bing, professional searchers find specialized content using not-so-well-known search engines. The abundance of alternative search engines leads to alternative content—images, audio-visual information, niche databases, conversations, blogs, forums, podcasts, people, and user-generated content. There are huge search opportunities just off the beaten track.

Comparative Search Showdown

Greg Notess, Reference Team Leader, Montana State University
How do search engines compare in terms of database scope, coverage, and search features? This session explores the latest comparative studies, demonstrates how to run your own comparisons, and shares lessons learned from search engine showdowns. It covers why the results are different when logged in and not, in different geographic locations, and at different times, and how to minimize these differences.
10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Coffee Break

sponsored by
10:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

The Effect of SEO on Search Results

Chris Sherman, Founding Editor, Search Engine Land
You may not think much about SEO when reviewing search results, but there may be something influencing what you see and when. Current trends in both SEO and SEM (search engine marketing), both good and bad, affect the entire search experience. Learn about the importance of schema.org, which is redefining authority and relevance in hidden ways while delivering on the age-old promise of surfacing hidden web content. The changing importance of relevance signals could make search worse for information pros. The implications of SEO and SEM activities are profound.

It’s Not Just Trivia: Social Search

Mary Ellen Bates, Principal, Bates Information Services, Inc.
Mention social networking sites and people think of trivia: what somebody ate for lunch, which movie they liked, or where they’re traveling. Even LinkedIn can be seen as a prelude to a job search. Serious researchers can glean much more relevant info from social networking sites. Mary Ellen Bates shows how social search goes way beyond the networking aspects, revealing information about companies, conference presentations, real-time news, and a host of other facts, opinions, and links to web resources.
11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

WebSearch Seminar

Tired of listening to WebSearch University faculty? Have questions not yet answered? Want to contribute your own ideas, experiences, and knowledge? What are the hot topics to discuss? What do you think about the intricacies of internet research? This “unsession” is your opportunity to be heard and to share knowledge with your colleagues.

Channel Your Inner Nancy Drew: Public Records Research

Bridget Gilhool, Head Librarian, Antitrust Library, U.S. Dept. of Justice
Jennifer L McMahan, Deputy Director, Library Staff, U.S. Dept. of Justice
Looking for information on a person or company? The answer may lie right under your nose, in public records. This session covers sites and strategies useful in public records research. Bridget Gilhool and Jennifer McMahan will demonstrate creative ways to use (mostly) free sites on the web to find location and real property data, birth/death, and marriage/divorce records, company affiliations, professional licenses, court records, and more.
12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Lunch Break

1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Search Strategies and Strategists

Daniel M Russell, Uber Tech Lead, Search Quality & User Happiness, Search, Google
Getting the most out of search engines depends not only on knowing the intricacies of how search works but the strategies employed to find the answer. Daniel Russell's blog, Search Research, poses a research question every Wednesday, which serves as a challenge for both amateur and professional searchers. He also instituted a free online course, "Power Searching with Google" that highlighted Google search techniques. WebSearch faculty will add their insights into search strategies during this session.
2:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Refreshment Break

sponsored by
2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Opening Up Access to Information

Marydee Ojala, Editor-in-Chief, Online Searcher magazine
The open access (OA) movement is about to revolutionize search. With scholarly research previously locked up behind expensive pay walls, the idea of making information accessible, both free of charge on the internet and free of copyright and licensing restrictions, has given a new outlook on the business of search. Attempts to politicize OA have brought search to the attention of a wider audience. What is the state of play with OA and how does it affect your searching routines? No longer an arcane topic, of interest only in academia, OA has the potential to change your searching life.
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Websites Galore

Laura Gordon-Murnane, Intranet Web Master, Library, Bloomberg BNA
Gary Price, Co-Founder, INFODocket & FullTextReports
By now, you’ve heard about lots of important websites. This session concentrates on the best resources for a variety of research endeavors—from the social sciences to news to business to humanities to science to, well, just plain cool. This closing session for WebSearch University expands on this idea and invites the audience to contribute their favorite sites. We take a look at the resources with practical value, ones that attendees should bookmark for use at their individual workplaces.