Content Research Tools
To have great content you need to have great information, to have great information you need to have great research skills. Unfortunately, most of us are lacking in that department. On the other hand, even if you are a good researcher, sometimes you need some fresh sources to find that data.
Regardless of which it may be, the bottom line is that we all need help finding content research tools and resources. While you probably won’t be Woodward or Bernstein after reading this post, you’ll at least have some great starting points no matter what business you have, or type of content you’re delivering.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
The BLS and their Databases and Tools section is a must-have when researching for content relating to jobs, pricing, or the overall economy. For me personally, I love getting data from government sites. Not only are they accurate, but it makes your readers see that you have gone through official and reliable channels to gather data for them.
Teachers, writers, programmers, and just about everybody else for that matter, will enjoy Archive.org. For the more computer-specific lovers, there is an entire section of Shareware that enables users to download content.
Not to be outdone, the teaching and writing community has old novels, biography’s, and even presidential recordings at their disposal with the help of Archive.org. Above is an address of President Kennedy entitled “The President and the Press” that was given 10 days after the infamous Bay of Pigs.
Google Specialized Search
Google specialized search is a section in the ”free products” page that Google offers. Using this for content research can provide insight on trends, educational publications, and even U.S. patents.
Much like the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the Google’s Public Data Directory is another service that offers economic, energy, and census information (in an easily navigated interface no less) with their Public Data Directory.
When it comes to developing content, Wikimedia Commons is my go-to source for images. With each and every page they offer all the information you could possibly want at your fingertips. License information, different sizes (if available), and even technical specifications. In addition to the Commons and Encyclopedia section, Wikipedia also offers amazing content resources like Wikibooks, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wikinews, and Wikispecies for all you animal lovers out there.
Flickr Creative Commons
Personally, I favor commons.wikimedia.org more, but Flickr is nothing short of an amazing resource when I’m looking for images. An important quality that they have is the ability to search for images by license. While I have no problem whatsoever contributing attribution to artists for their work, it can be very time consuming to fumble through the various licenses to make sure that you are attributing the work as the artist has required. With Flickr’s search options, I can search for images under the appropriate license that I need.