Magazine article Online

Silobreaker

Magazine article Online

Silobreaker

Article excerpt

WARNING: If you have issues with staying focused and working sequentially through a collection of information until you get to the end, read no further. This column is going to cause you endless hours of "Gee, I wonder what I could do with ..."

I have been watching Silobreaker.com ever since it launched in beta back in 2006 and have always been impressed at how well it handles multiple types of content and provides surprisingly good analysis. For starters, Silobreaker focuses exclusively on current news and events--the content comes from news, blog, transcript, and multimedia sources that cover everything from the latest developments in science and technology to the gaming industry and the world's environmental hot spots.

If all you want is news filtered by general topic, then head over to any of the search engines' news aggregation sites. What Silobreaker does is attempt to break down the virtual "silos" of information (both within organizations and simply in your personal news gathering) to enable you to get a wider perspective on current events. It accomplishes this in several ways. First, the homepage contains news snippets from around the world and several data visualization tools to help you understand the latest trends. Silobreaker also offers vertical news portals for dozens of global topics, ranging from terrorism to business mergers, neuroscience, and the Middle East. There are also customized pages with information on the global hot spots related to human rights issues, natural disasters, bribery, and so on. Silobreaker also organizes specialized trend analyses related to media coverage of the U.S. elections, avian flu, and other current topics.

What Silobreaker does particularly well is provide you with visual displays of information, which enable you to spot trends or relationships that might not be initially obvious. Say, for example, you want to find out about transgenic research. Start with what Silobreaker calls the "360[degrees] search," which looks across its indexes, including fields for entities (people, companies, locations, organizations, industries, and keywords), news stories, YouTube videos, blog postings, and articles.

The search results page is a bit info-dense for this Baby Boomer's eyes, but ah--the data visualization tools make my heart swoon. In my transgenics search results, I have several boxed graphics showing the relative volume of articles, blog postings, and audio or video content over the past month that mentioned the word, a map of the world highlighting areas that are particular hot spots for transgenic research, the relative frequency of various related words (in this instance, "biotechnology" and "protein"), and even several pithy quotes from retrieved articles. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.