'Civic technologist' Friedrich Lindenberg shares a range of tools journalists can use in investigative journalism projects

Investigative journalism has long been the marker by which news organizations – and journalists – measure their worth.

"As a journalist, your main tool is talking to people and asking the right questions of the right people," said civic technologist and self-described "OpenGov and data journalism geek" Friedrich Lindenberg in a webinar on investigative journalism tools for the International Centre for Journalists last week.

"This is still true, but also you can ask the right questions with the right databases. You can ask the right questions with the right tools."

Lindenberg listed an arsenal of tools the investigative journalist can equip themselves with. Here are some of the highlights. 


Lindenberg described DocumentCloud as a "shared folder of documents", offering different folders that can be used for various investigations, control over who can access which documents, the ability to annotate different parts of documents, search throughout and embed segments or entire documents.

Even better, DocumentCloud looks for "entities" – such as people, companies, countries, institutions – identifies them and makes them searchable, which is especially useful for legal documents that may stretch into hundreds of pages when you are only interested in a few key points.

DocumentCloud is run by IRE but Lindenberg encouraged journalists to contact him at SourceAfrica.net, where an open source version of the software is available.
DocumentCloud screengrab
Screengrab from documentcloud.org


A "bit more of an expert tool", according to Lindenberg, Overview lets the user import documents from DocumentCloud or CSV files and then counts the frequency of words to make a "hierarchy of terms" for words.

When used this way, Overview can give a quick rundown of large numbers of documents, making it easier to understand the core topics.


Popularised by dramatisation of the Watergate scandal All The President's Men, "follow the money" is one of the mantras of investigative journalists everywhere.

Many large and expensive business registries exist to track the myriad connections between individuals and companies, but few within the reach of the press.

One of those few is Open Corporates, where users can search by name or company and filter by geographical jurisdiction.


DueDil has a similar function to OpenCorporates but is a "slightly better research tool", said Lindenberg, as you can narrow the search on individuals with similar names by searching by birth date.

Where OpenCorporates has a global range of company information, DueDil mainly draws on UK companies. Both operate on a freemium model with monthly fees for greater access.

Investigative Dashboard

Both OpenCorporates and DueDil were built for business purposes, helping people to conduct due diligence on companies and individuals before any signing any contracts.

Investigative Dashboard though is tailor-made for journalists. Users can search business records scraped from websites in a range of countries or go through the directory of more than 450 business registries, company lists and "procurement databases" – which highlight the 'hot point' where companies and governments do business – to find detailed information.

"They also have a broad network of researchers in different regions," said Lindenberg, "and they will look at other databases that they will be familiar with and maybe even have stringers and contacts on the ground who will find information and documents."

Paul Radu, an investigative reporter at the OOCCRP who helped build the Investigative Dashboard, told Journalism.co.uk the platform has researchers in Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

"We do pro bono due to diligence work for journalists and activists and these people have access to all the open databases," he said. "But also we managed to get some funding to access some pretty expensive databases that are very useful in tracking down the information across borders."
Investigative Dashboard screengrabScreengrab from investigativedashboard.org


Governments are partial to releasing reports and figures in PDF files, making it difficult for journalists looking to analyse and investigate the data contained within.

In the UK, you can specify usable file formats (Excel or CSV for example) in Freedom of Information requests. But if you are still faced with data locked up in a PDF, you need Tabula.

"It's the gateway drug to data journalism", said Lindenberg of Tabula.

Simply download and install the software, open a PDF in the program, select a table and Tabula will convert it into a workable file format. Magic.

Lindenberg suggested many more tools to help journalists analyse documents and data, scrape web pages and further their investigations alongside the hour-long webinar.

However, he stressed that for best results viewers should pick one tool for a project and learn to use it well, rather than trying to get to grips with lots of new things at once.

"Learning these tools requires a bit of time experimentation," he said, "a bit of willingness to get into this new thing and once you've done that you will get some benefits out of it.

"If you're saying 'I'm not a computer person' I want you to stop doing that and say instead that you're a journalist who has arrived in the 21st century and is using digital tools in a way to conduct fantastic investigations."

Source: This article was published journalism.co.uk By Paul Radu,

Categorized in Investigative Research

Search multiple social networks at the same time on this free website

What is it? A free search engine to help journalists find posts about certain topics on social networks.

How is it of use to journalists? Social media is becoming an increasingly powerful channel for sourcing stories, but with the number of platforms now around it's becoming more difficult to stay on top of the chatter.

It may be that you're looking for reactions on social about certain news events, or you might be trying to find eyewitnesses, photos or videos from the scene of a story.

With Social Searcher, you can search for keywords on multiple platforms at the same time.

The social networking search engine supports a wide variety of platforms, from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, and YouTube.


You can save individual searches you may need to perform more often, and use advanced filters to help you find what you're looking for quicker.

search results social searcher
Screenshot of search results.

Social Searcher enables you to search based on 'post types', for example, and find results that include links, photos, videos or any combination of media.

Each search also comes with its own analytics dashboard, where you can see the most popular related hashtags, the overall sentiment of the posts (i.e. if the language denotes a positive view of the topic), or other keywords that are often featured alongside the terms used in your search.

Social Searcher is free to use for up to 100 searches a day, after which you can choose from a number of pricing options available.

These include additional features such as the ability to save individual posts, access web mentions of keywords, and use the 'monitoring' service.

'Monitoring' enables you to save the mentions history, access advanced analytics and export data as a CSV file.

Social Searcher started out in 2012 as an Android app allowing users to search through Facebook without logging in and has since expanded to become a comprehensive tool for finding posts on social media.

 Source: This article was published journalism.co.uk By Catalina Albeanu

Categorized in Search Engine

Search engines are an intrinsic part of the array of commonly used “open source” research tools. Together with social media, domain name look-ups, and more traditional solutions such as newspapers and telephone directories, effective web searching will help you find vital information to support your investigation.

Many people find that search engines often bring up disappointing results from dubious sources. A few tricks, however, can ensure that you corner the pages you are looking for, from sites you can trust. The same goes for searching social networks and other sources to locate people: A bit of strategy and an understanding of how to extract what you need will improve results.

This chapter focuses on three areas of online investigation:

1-Effective web searching 

2-Finding people online

3-Identifying domain ownership

1. Effective web searching

Search engines like Google don’t actually know what web pages are about. They do, however, know the words that are on the pages. So to get a search engine to behave itself, you need to work out which words are on your target pages.

First off, choose your search terms wisely. Each word you add to the search focuses the results by eliminating results that don’t include your chosen keywords.

Some words are on every page you are after. Other words might or might not be on the target page. Try to avoid those subjective keywords, as they can eliminate useful pages from the results.


Use advanced search syntax.

Most search engines have useful so-called hidden features that are essential to helping focus your search and improve results.

Optional keywords

If you don’t have definite keywords, you can still build in other possible keywords without damaging the results. For example, pages discussing heroin use in Texas might not include the word “Texas”; they may just mention the names of different cities. You can build these into your search as optional keywords by separating them with the word OR (in capital letters).

You can use the same technique to search for different spellings of the name of an individual, company or organization.

Search by domain

You can focus your search on a particular site by using the search syntax “site:” followed by the domain name.

For example, to restrict your search to results from Twitter:

To add Facebook to the search, simply use “OR” again:

You can use this technique to focus on a particular company’s website, for example. Google will then return results only from that site.

You can also use it to focus your search on municipal and academic sources, too. This is particularly effective when researching countries that use unique domain types for government and university sites.

Note: When searching academic websites, be sure to check whether the page you find is written or maintained by the university, one of its professors or one of the students. As always, the specific source matters.

Searching for file types

Some information comes in certain types of file formats. For instance, statistics, figures and data often appear in Excel spreadsheets. Professionally produced reports can often be found in PDF documents. You can specify a format in your search by using “filetype:” followed by the desired data file extension (xls for spreadsheet, docx for Word documents, etc.).

2. Finding people

Groups can be easy to find online, but it’s often trickier to find an individual person. Start by building a dossier on the person you’re trying to locate or learn more about. This can include the following:

The person’s name, bearing in mind:

Different variations (does James call himself “James,” “Jim,” “Jimmy” or “Jamie”?).

The spelling of foreign names in Roman letters (is Yusef spelled “Yousef” or “Yusuf”?).

Did the names change when a person married?

Do you know a middle name or initial?

The town the person lives in and or was born in.

The person’s job and company.

Their friends and family members’ names, as these may appear in friends and follower lists.

The person’s phone number, which is now searchable in Facebook and may appear on web pages found in Google searches.

Any of the person’s usernames, as these are often constant across various social networks.

The person’s email address, as these may be entered into Facebook to reveal linked accounts. If you don’t know an email address, but have an idea of the domain the person uses, sites such as email-format can help you guess it.

A photograph, as this can help you find the right person, if the name is common.

Advanced social media searches: Facebook

Facebook’s newly launched search tool is amazing. Unlike previous Facebook searches, it will let you find people by different criteria including, for the first time, the pages someone has Liked. It also enables you to perform keyword searches on Facebook pages.

This keyword search, the most recent feature, sadly does not incorporate any advanced search filters (yet). It also seems to restrict its search to posts from your social circle, their favorite pages and from some high-profile accounts.

Aside from keywords in posts, the search can be directed at people, pages, photos, events, places, groups and apps. The search results for each are available in clickable tabs.

For example, a simple search for Chelsea will find bring up related pages and posts in the Posts tab:

The People tab brings up people named Chelsea. As with the other tabs, the order of results is weighted in favor of connections to your friends and favorite pages.

The Photos tab will bring up photos posted publicly, or posted by friends that are related to the word Chelsea (such as Chelsea Clinton, Chelsea Football Club or your friends on a night out in the Chelsea district of London).

The real investigative value of Facebook’s search becomes apparent when you start focusing a search on what you really want.

For example, if you are investigating links between extremist groups and football, you might want to search for people who like The English Defence League and Chelsea Football Club. To reveal the results, remember to click on the “People” tab.

This search tool is new and Facebook are still ironing out the creases, so you may need a few attempts at wording your search. That said, it is worth your patience.

Facebook also allows you to add all sorts of modifiers and filters to your search. For example, you can specify marital status, sexuality, religion, political views, pages people like, groups they have joined and areas they live or grew up in. You can specify where they studied, what job they do and which company they work for. You can even find the comments that someone has added to uploaded photos. You can find someone by name or find photos someone has been tagged in. You can list people who have participated in events and visited named locations. Moreover, you can combine all these factors into elaborate, imaginative, sophisticated searches and find results you never knew possible. That said, you may find still better results searching the site via search engines like Google (add “site:facebook.com” to the search box).


Advanced social media searches: Twitter

Many of the other social networks allow advanced searches that often go far beyond the simple “keyword on page” search offered by sites such as Google. Twitter’s advanced search, for example, allows you to trace conversations between users and add a date range to your search.

Twitter allows third-party sites to use its data and create their own exciting searches.
Followerwonk, for example, lets you search Twitter bios and compare different users. Topsy has a great archive of tweets, along with other unique functionality.

Advanced social media searches: LinkedIn

LinkedIn will let you search various fields including location, university attended, current company, past company or seniority.

You have to log in to LinkedIn in order to use the advanced search, so remember to check your privacy settings. You wouldn’t want to leave traceable footprints on the profile of someone you are investigating!

You can get into LinkedIn’s advanced search by clicking on the link next to the search box. Be sure, also, to select “3rd + Everyone Else” under relationship. Otherwise , your search will include your friends and colleagues and their friends.

LinkedIn was primarily designed for business networking. Its advanced search seems to have been designed primarily for recruiters, but it is still very useful for investigators and journalists. Personal data exists in clearly defined subject fields, so it is easy to specify each element of your search.

You can enter normal keywords, first and last names, locations, current and previous employers, universities and other factors. Subscribers to their premium service can specify company size and job role.

LinkedIn will let you search various fields including location, university attended, current company, past company and seniority.

Other options

Sites like Geofeedia and Echosec allow you to find tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, Flickr and Instagram photos that were sent from defined locations. Draw a box over a region or a building and reveal the social media activity. Geosocialfootprint.com will plot a Twitter user’s activity onto a map (all assuming the users have enabled location for their accounts).

Additionally, specialist “people research” tools like Pipl and Spokeo can do a lot of the hard legwork for your investigation by searching for the subject on multiple databases, social networks and even dating websites. Just enter a name, email address or username and let the search do the rest. Another option is to use the multisearch tool from Storyful. It’s a browser plugin for Chrome that enables you to enter a single search term, such as a username, and get results from Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Spokeo. Each site opens in a new browser tab with the relevant results.

Searching by profile pic

People often use the same photo as a profile picture for different social networks. This being the case, a reverse image search on sites like TinEye and Google Images, will help you identify linked accounts.

3. Identifying domain ownership

Many journalists have been fooled by malicious websites. Since it’s easy for anyone to buy an unclaimed .com, .net or .org site, we should not go on face value. A site that looks well produced and has authentic-sounding domain name may still be a political hoax, false company or satirical prank.

Some degree of quality control can be achieved by examining the domain name itself. Google it and see what other people are saying about the site. A “whois” search is also essential. DomainTools.com is one of many sites that offers the ability to perform a whois search. It will bring up the registration details given by the site owner the domain name was purchased.


For example, the World Trade Organization was preceded by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades (GATT). There are, apparently, two sites representing the WTO. There’s wto.org (genuine) and gatt.org (a hoax). A mere look at the site hosted at gatt.org should tell most researchers that something is wrong, but journalists have been fooled before.

A whois search dispels any doubt by revealing the domain name registration information. Wto.org is registered to the International Computing Centre of the United Nations. Gatt.org, however, is registered to “Andy Bichlbaum” from the notorious pranksters the Yes Men.

Whois is not a panacea for verification. People can often get away with lying on a domain registration form. Some people will use an anonymizing service like Domains by Proxy, but combining a whois search with other domain name and IP address tools forms a valuable weapon in the battle to provide useful material from authentic sources.


Categorized in Investigative Research

No matter how popular and easy to use an email platform like Gmail may be, having to actually go ahead and manage email on a day-to-day basis can be a daunting, dreadful task. Using extra email management tools that work with Gmail may not make you fall in love with email, but it will certainly help take some of the headache out of it by giving you back some of your precious time and energy.

Whether you use Gmail for personal or professional reasons, on the web or from a mobile device, all of the following tools may be of great benefit to you. Take a look to see which ones catch your eye.

Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail is basically a must-have if you regularly check your messages from your mobile device. Google took everything it new about how its users were using Gmail and came up with a brand new, super intuitive, highly visual email platform that simplifies and speeds up email.


Group incoming email messages in bundles for better organization, see highlights at a glance with card-like visuals, set reminders for tasks that need to be done later and "snooze" email messages so you can take care of them tomorrow, next week, or whenever you want. More »

Boomerang for Gmail

Photo © drmakkoy / Getty Images

Ever wish you could write an email now, but send it later? Instead of doing exactly that – leaving it as a draft and then trying to remember to send it at a specific time – just use Boomerang. Free users can schedule up to 10 emails per month (and more if you post about Boomerang on social media).

When you write a new email in Gmail with Boomerang installed, you can press the new "Send Later" button that appears next to the regular "Send" button, which allows you to quickly pick a time to send (tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon, etc.) or the opportunity to set an exact date and time to send it. More »


Photo © erhui1979 / Getty Images

Subscribe to too many email newsletters? Unroll.me not only allows you to unsubscribe from them in bulk, but also lets you create your own "rollup" of email newsletters, which brings you a daily digest of all the newsletter subscriptions you actually want to keep.

Unroll.me also has a nifty iOS app you can use to manage all your email subscriptions while you're on the go. If there's a particular subscription you want to keep in your inbox, just send it to your "Keep" section so Unroll.me doesn't touch it. More »


Photo © runeer / Getty Images

Do you communicate with a lot of new people via Gmail? If you do, sometimes it can feel eerily robotic when you don't know who's on the other end of the screen. Rapportive is one tool that offers a solution by connecting to LinkedIn so it can automatically match profiles based on the email address you're communicating with.


So when you send or receive a new message, you'll see a short LinkedIn profile summary in the righthand side of Gmail featuring their profile photo, location, current employer and more — but only if they have filled out that information on LinkedIn and have their account associated with that email address. It's potentially a nice way to put a face to an email message. More »


Photo © erhui1979 / Getty Images

Similar to Unroll.me, SaneBox is another Gmail tool that can help automate your organization of incoming messages. Instead of creating filters and folders yourself, SaneBox will analyze all of your messages and activity to understand which emails are important to you before moving all of the unimportant emails to a new folder called "SaneLater."

You can also move unimportant messages that still show up in your inbox to your SaneLater folder, and if something that gets filed into your SaneLater folder becomes important again, you can move it out of there. Even though SaneLater takes the manual work out of organization, you still have full control for those messages you need to specifically put somewhere. More »


Photo R?stem G?RLER / Getty Images

When it comes to online marketing, it's no question that email is still massively important. Many email marketers send messages all at once to hundreds or thousands of email addresses with the click of a button using third-partyemail marketing platforms like MailChimp or Aweber. The downside to this is that it's not very personal and can easily end up as spam.

LeadCooker can help you strike a balance between emailing lots of people and keeping it more personal. You still get a lot of the features of traditional email marketing platforms like automated follow-ups and tracking, but recipients won't see an unsubscribe link and your messages come straight from your Gmail address. Plans start at $1 per 100 emails with LeadCooker. More »

Sortd for Gmail

Stack of Papers
Photo © CSA-Archive / Getty Images

Sortd is an amazing tool that completely transforms the look of your Gmail account into something that looks and functions much more like a to-do list. With a UI that's as simple and as intuitive to use as Gmail itself, the aim of Sortd is to offer people who struggle to stay on top of email a better way to stay organized.


Sortd is the first "smart skin" for Gmail that divides your inbox into four main columns, with options to customize things the way you want. There are also apps available for both iOS and Android. Since it's currently in beta, the tool is totally free for now, so check it out while you can before pricing is put in place! More »

Giphy for Gmail

Animated GIF
Image made with Canva.com

Giphy is a popular search engine for GIFs. While you can certainly go straight to Giphy.com to search for a GIF to embed in a new Gmail message, a much easier and more convenient way to do it is by installing the Giphy for Gmail Chrome extension.

If you love using GIFs in Gmail, this is a must-have to help you save more time and compose your messages more efficiently. The reviews of this extension are pretty good overall, although some reviewers have expressed concern about bugs. The Giphy team seems to update the extension every so often, so if it doesn't work for you straight away, consider trying it again when a new version is available. More »

Ugly Email

Photo © ilyast / Getty Images

More email senders are now using tracking tools so they can get to know more about you without you even knowing it. They can typically see when you open their emails, if you clicked on any links inside, where you're opening/clicking from, and what device you're using. If you really value your privacy, you may want to consider taking advantage of Ugly Email to help you easily identify which Gmail messages that you receive are being tracked.

Ugly Email, which is a Chrome Extension, simply puts a little "evil eye" icon in front of the subject field of every tracked email. When you see that little evil eye, you can decide whether you want to open it, trash it, or maybe create a filter for future emails from that sender. More »

SignEasy for Gmail

Photo © carduus / Getty Images

Receiving documents as attachment in Gmail that need to be filled out and signed can be a real pain to work with. SignEasy simplifies the whole process by allowing you to easily fill out forms and sign documents without ever leaving your Gmail account.

A SignEasy option appears when you click to view the attachment in your browser. Once you've filled out the fields that need completion, the updated document is attached in the same email thread. More »

Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Elise Moreau

Categorized in Social

A new Canadian-made Internet search tool that detects child sexual abuse images online has logged more than five million unique web pages with 40,000 images in the past six weeks alone, the Toronto Star has learned.

Project Arachnid, created by the Winnipeg-based Canadian Centre for Child Protection, is searching 150 web links a second for child abuse imagery in an effort to have it removed from public view, a form of lingering abuse for victims.

When the search tool identifies illegal material, the centre sends notices to the site host requesting its removal.


“If we can make this content more difficult to find, the breadth of exposure for victims will diminish over time,” says Signy Arnason, director of Cypertip.ca, a project of the Centre which receives tips about child abuse from across the world.

One of the most powerful findings from an international survey of 128 child abuse victims being released today by the centre is the lifelong impact that exploitative images published online can have on victims, including ongoing paranoia and fear of being stalked, sleeplessness, poor self-image, “powerlessness” and “shame and humiliation.”

“The fact that images/videos of a child’s sexual abuse were created at all, not to mention that they may still be possessed by the abuser and be publicly available for others to access, has an enormous negative impact on the individual,” the study says. “The impact can perpetuate into adulthood and may reduce the ability of an individual to recover and function in society.”

Among respondents, 73 per cent said they worry about being recognized; 88 per cent believe it has affected their education/academics; 91 per cent believe it has affected their employment; and 93 per cent believe it has affected friendships.


Source : https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/01/17/new-web-searcher-digs-into-the-internet-darkest-corners.html

Categorized in Online Research

Almost all smartphones are powered by the Android Operating System, perhaps over 80% of them. Yet Android smartphones just can’t do it all, since most of them do not come with more complex management software like the Android PC suite. Also, Google doesn’t have devoted software on the Mac or the PC for your Android device. But, we all need to manage our devices somehow!

Well, smartphones are here to stay. Thus it is necessary to discover the right tools that will save us the time and effort when it comes to managing our Android smartphone.

Here are four tools that can help you do this.

1. Mobikin Assistant for Android

There are other Android PC Suite software choices out there, but the Mobikin Assistant stands out because you do not need to search the internet to download or install device drivers on your PC for it to work with your Android device. The Mobikin Assistant for Android is installed on your computer, and your smartphone can be connected to PC via USB cable. You can then export contacts, files, and text messages from your Android mobile phone or tablet into your computer. This way, you can free up more space on your smartphone.


You can backup and manage your contacts with this tool. You don’t need to spend so much time finding the right contact to call. Rather than having both your Gmail accounts and your phone memory card configured to store contacts because you are worried about losing them, Mobikin Assistant for Android PC has a duplicate contacts finder option to help you weed out similar contacts from your Android Smartphone Phonebook.

Another reason Mobikin would be a great manager for your Android Smartphone is that you can manage your text messages with it. Deleting junk text messages just got easier and faster.

2. SnapPea

What makes SnapPea unique is that it is one tool that you can use to manage, control and backup Andriod from Windows. Managing your devices from Windows can be tedious. However, SnapPea offers a desktop tool that can be used to organize and backup your Android tablet or phone from Windows, and yes, they also have a Mac version too.

SnapPea offers you the option of backing up apps. Before making any major app upgrades, you can copy your relevant files from your device to your computer. You also can edit, create and delete address book entries, and send your SMS with the program too.

3. AirDroid

AirDroid is another tool that can help you manage all files on your Android device. You can send and receive text messages; play, import, and export music or videos; send and receive text messages; even manage ringtones and notification sounds. The premium version allows you to find a lost phone, and remotely wipe or lock the phone. You can also manage contacts, connect, and switch between up to six devices.


Through a PC, you can manage most of your common phone tasks with this tool, and it is pretty easy to set up. It can also work without a wireless network if you are working outside your home.

4. Moborobo

Moborobo is an Android sync software and app developer. It supports all devices, and you can manage just about anything on your phone from your PC. When connected to the internet, it works very well, and it is pretty safe because of its verification code. It doesn’t require an internet connection to work, though, and it can be set to automatically backup whenever you connect your device. One inadequacy, though, is that it does require a USB or shared network connection to connect to your Android device. However, it does have a FindMyPhone function in case your device goes missing. With Moborobo, you can make an easy switch/upgrade to a new phone.


Source:  http://www.lifehack.org/

Categorized in Internet Technology

Content creation is one of the most vital aspects of digital marketing – posting content that will inform, interest and amuse your online audience so that you’re one of the first places they turn to when they go online. This means creating content of a consistently good quality on a continual basis. That's a pretty tall order, even for the most imaginative of digital marketers. The biggest challenge faced by B2B content marketers is producing enough content, closely followed by producing the type of content that engages the target audience.

I listed 25 content creation ideas that business bloggers can use when they run out of ideas for attention-grabbing new content. But besides ideas you need more to create content better.

Most professionals use a toolkit of some type or another and that’s just as true for content creators. Today we’re looking at some of the most useful content creation tools that you could add to your content creation toolkit, including some tools that will help you to post some great visual content – we all know that images, GIFs and videos pack a powerful punch when it comes to getting the marketing message across.

The Content Tools

1. ContentIdeator


Great content begins with a great headline and if you head over to ContentIdeator they have a nifty little tool you can use which not only generates great headlines, but these headlines actually provide you with ideas on what to actually write the content about. It couldn’t be simpler – you just type in a keyword, hit the Enter button and you’re immediately presented with a varied list of titles, some of which may cover aspects of the subject that you wouldn’t have dreamed of writing about!


Freemium: free titles, $29/month if you want to see the stats.

2. Evernote


Has a free version that will sync across your devices (2 max, in the free plan), mobile and desktop, to help you organise yourself when writing. Whether you’re using it for to-do lists, to keep your research notes or even to write whole chunks of articles, Evernote keep all your data constantly up to date and available to you.

Freemium: upgrade plans give larger uploads, larger note attachments.

3. Grammarly and Correctica


are both free tools that you can used to check for grammatical errors in your content. There is so much badly written content online nowadays and many customers are reluctant to buy from an online retailer whose content and descriptions are poorly written – after all, if they can’t be bothered to check their content for errors, how reliable are their products or services going to be?



4. Copyscape


A plagiarism checker web app that’s surprisingly cheap to use – each search costs just $0.05 and credits can be purchased by credit card of PayPal. Not only does Copyscape check that your content is original, you can also use it to see if your content is being ‘lifted’ and used elsewhere.

You can use the Copyscape comparison tool to check what percentage of your content appears elsewhere online and use it to make an informed decision on whether or not to publish. This is a particularly handy feature for those who write content with plenty of jargon or technical terms or content featuring quotes and interviews.

Copyscape is essential if you outsource your content creation activities or feature guest blog posts.

5. Hemingway App


An editing tool that can be used to assess your writing and find ways of making it simpler and more succinct. Just paste your content into this free to use web app and it will let you know how readable it is and deliver suggestions that can be used to improve the content.


Freemium: web app is free, desktop app is paid.

6. Giphy Chrome


A Chrome extension that will help you find the perfect animated GIFs for social media posts. Once you’ve added it to your Chrome browser, you just open it, choose a GIF and then drag and drop it. The tool works in Gmail, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms and it’s a great way to quickly add some visuals that will pep up your posts.

7. BuzzSumo Extension


All the power of BuzzSumo but portable; browse the web, hit the button, and you get to see that page's stats right away. Excellent way to research content opportunities.

...and more

The tools I’ve listed are just some of the many resources available to content creators. There are many others!

Hubspot provides a library of free and royalty-free stock photos. PlaceIt can be used to create images or your product in a real world environment. You can use Infogram to create infographics, charts and data visualisation or you can use Canva to create fabulous visual content quickly and easily with pre-made templates to which you add your own images.

The main thing to remember is that these are all tools that you can use to create high quality, readable and informative content that’s relevant to your target audience – however, it’s still up to you to find a way of combining and using these tools to make your job simpler and more enjoyable.

Source : searchenginepeople.com

Categorized in Market Research


About Scholarship Search Insider

Scholarship Search Insider features weekly expert advice and information on how prospective college students can find scholarships and pay for college. Scholarships.com was founded in 1998 and has become one of the most widely used free college scholarship search and financial aid information resources. College Greenlight is a leading college and scholarship platform for first-generation and underrepresented students. Its parent company, Cappex.com, is a free resource that helps students find their best-fit colleges. Got a question? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


When applying for college scholarships and trying to determine which are worth your time and effort, consider the amount of work required, the dollar amount and the level of competition for the scholarship. A common marketing ploy is to offer as little money as possible and with few, if any, filters.

Being selective in your search is perfectly fine – just be sure to begin your scholarship search early so you will have time to apply to those that truly suit you.The scholarship search process has levels. As long as you begin early, you can start by applying for easy scholarships and work your way up to the more competitive ones.

Being selective does not mean only applying to large-dollar, well-known scholarships. Small-dollar scholarships can add up.

Here are some tips for conducting a more selective scholarship search.



1. Take it easy: Starting out with easy scholarships can be particularly helpful for students who are new to the scholarship search process. Easy scholarships have a short and simple application process, do not require an essay or project and have less competition with greater chances of winning.

For example, if your last name is Zolp, you are attending or planning to attend Loyola University Chicago and you are Catholic, you easily qualify for the Zolp Scholarship. How many people will fit such a unique profile?

High school seniors or first-time college freshmen who are Alabama residents and plan to attend college in Alabama are eligible to apply for the CollegeCounts Scholarship Program as long as they have a minimum 2.75 GPA.Easy scholarships – even at $500 per award – may be worth your time if your odds of winning are good. After all, that's $500 that you don't need to repay after graduation.

These are just a few of the easier and more specific scholarships out there. Don't discount contests and sweepstakes as well, even if they are more widely offered. However, bear in mind that the easier the scholarship and the fewer requirements to enter, the less chance you have of winning.


2. Know your big-name scholarships: Corporate-hosted and large-name scholarships probably ring a bell for most college-bound students. These scholarships are not only prestigious but also reputable, and they can be worth thousands or even tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Typically, they require more work and an impressive profile, and they can be fairly competitive.

Recipients can also reference these scholarships as accomplishments on their resumes, which may offer the students benefits beyond the monetary award, including a supportive network of fellow awardees as well as the scholarship committee.These scholarships are a great fit for students with a competitive edge, a drive to succeed and outstanding grades and extracurricular involvement. They're not necessarily the easiest to apply to, but they offer large monetary awards to successful applicants.

In the world of scholarships, the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship is open to stellar community college students who are also Phi Theta Kappa members as well as heavily involved in their communities.

The famous RMHC U.S. Scholarship is open to ambitious high school seniors residing in participating Ronald McDonald House Charity chapter areas. To qualify, applicants must be younger than 21 years old, be a U.S. resident and be eligible to attend a two- or four-year college, university or technical school.



3. Avoid scholarships that charge a fee: Students should never pay for a scholarship search or application fee. Even if the fee is a small, scammers can collect thousands in application fees, doling out a small fraction of the proceeds and pocketing the rest of the money.

Legitimate scholarship providers and services will never require a fee – be sure to read the rules carefully when applying and run in the other direction if prompted for credit card information.Don't worry, though – there are plenty of legitimate options and organizations that don't charge a fee to process your application.

Ford Motor Company, for example, has partnered with The Adelante! U.S. Education Leadership Fund to offer the $1,500 ¡Adelante! Fund Ford Motor Company/Future Leaders Scholarship for deserving Hispanic college students majoring in a science, technology, engineering and math field.

4. Consider your return on investment: All students should consider their return on investment when searching for scholarships. Churning out essays may be easy for students with strong writing skills but the average 500-1,500 word essay may take a bit longer for others.

Strong writers should certainly submit their well-written essays, especially if they're confident they can win a scholarship available to a broad pool of applicants. They should also determine whether they can reuse any of those essays for more than one scholarship application, if the scholarship rules allow.

For example, the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund offers a writing contest for grades K-12 on the theme of the Second Amendment. Although the age range is fairly broad, strong essay writers have a chance to win $1,000 by competing against fellow students in their age group.


Undergraduate and graduate women who are interested in various aspects of international business and relations and have solid writing chops can enter an essay on the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences for a chance at winning one of two $1,500 WIIT Trust Scholarships.

Source:  http://www.usnews.com/education/scholarship-search-insider/articles/2016-06-30/tips-for-conducting-a-more-selective-scholarship-search






Categorized in Online Research

In today’s ever-changing, fast-paced digital world, information overload is the name and stress is the game.

When it comes to handling workloads, many of us are faced with a seemingly unsolvable conundrum: How do you complete all of your personal and work-related tasks on time without going crazy?

The abundance of information online that we’re drowning in is certainly a contributing factor to our (partially self-induced) stress problems. We are more connected than ever, which often means we can’t switch off from the constant stream of tasks that demand our attention.

Yet the internet also offers some solutions to reduce anxiety and beat the ticking clock. From communication, project management, and accounting to keeping your content close at hand and increasing your productivity, there are online tools that can spare you a headache or two. Here is a list of 28 to help you get your workload under control.

Masters of Communication

#1. SaneBox

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

What’s the archenemy of effective communication? Most people would probably vote for email. That’s why SaneBox exists. Over time, the service learns what emails are significant to you. Then, it filters out the emails you don’t need, so you can focus on the most important communication and get rid of the anxiety that comes from unanswered emails.

#2. Checker Plus for Gmail

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Checker Plus for Gmail substantially expands Gmail’s functionality in Chrome by providing not only pop-up notifications when someone opens your message, but also notifications for incoming correspondence. All this means you can sort your mailbox without ever having to open it. The best part is that you can use it with multiple Gmail accounts, so it takes away the strain of switching between different mailboxes.

#3. Followup.cc

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Both a Gmail plugin and a standalone app that gives you full control over the timing of your communication, Followup.cc is a salesperson’s best friend—and saves you a great deal of anxiety. How? You can take advantage of a variety of easy-to-set-up reminders to follow up with someone, not to mention a bunch of other highly customizable settings (group and personal notifications and cancel-on-first-response are just a few of them).

#4. Slack

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Working within a team can be complicated. Thankfully, Slack takes the pressure out of work-related communication by letting you upload and share documents and organize communication by topical channels. Plus, it integrates with practically all of your work tools.

#5. TeamViewer

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Another great solution for streamlining communication within a team isTeamViewer, which provides remote access and support for online group meetings. You can collaborate via the platform, plus easily transfer files. Access is possible from any browser or device, so it is as stress-free as it gets.

#6. Join.me

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Join.me promises better meetings for everyone, and there are good reasons to believe them. The service offers free screen sharing, video conferencing, and team collaboration, and the paid plans add advanced capabilities for an even better experience. Your team meetings will run more smoothly and online talks with clients will be more efficient with screen sharing and audio tools.

Organizing Like a Pro

#7. Asana

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

You’ve taken care of your personal, team, and customer communication, but organizing your work can be twice as hard. Asana is a project management app that boasts a constantly evolving interface. It helps make the lives of you and your team better—and less stressful—by allowing you to track your work and move ahead on projects together.

#8. Wunderlist

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

What about organizing your own tasks? Well, you don’t need to be a wunderkind to use Wunderlist. The easy-to-use app helps manage your tasks, plans, and errands. It has notifications built-in, so you don’t need to worry about forgetting crucial tasks. Just write it down in the app, straight from your mobile device.

#9. Thrive Day Planner

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

How can you organize your day like a pro? The Thrive Day Planner was created for business owners and entrepreneurs to set major goals so you don’t get bogged down by day-to-day responsibilities. The Planner promises to help you grow your business while you do the things you love most.

#10. MyLifeOrganized

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

MyLifeOrganized is yet another nail in the coffin of procrastination and ineffectiveness: it claims to be the most flexible task management tool out there. Besides creating to-do lists, you can outline the hierarchies between tasks by breaking them into subtasks. You also get location reminders, plus the app syncs to the cloud.

#11. FullContact Card Reader

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Admittedly, the name FullContact Card Reader is not the most appealing at first glance, but the functionality of the app more than compensates for it. The app allows you to scan business cards and upload them into your Google and iPhone Contacts, as well as to more than 250 other places. If living with a pile of business cars on your desk is not your idea of happiness, it can save you a ton of time.

#12. Teamweek

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Teamweek is a sweet team project planning tool that adapts to the unpredictability of teamwork. It gives you a clear overview of what different team members are working on this week. This allows you to distribute work evenly among people, which means less pressure and smoother team operations. And let’s not forget: it’s accessible from any device.

Everything You Need for Your Written and Visual Content

#13. Evernote

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Evernote is the king of note-taking for both your business and individual needs. It improves your workflow by giving you a single place to keep all your text-based documents, so you don’t need to frantically browse through 10 different places to find that critical report. It is especially useful for taking notes during meetings, since you can easily add checklists and turn notes into tasks.

#14. MiniNote

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

If you don’t need extensive note storage, MiniNote is a checklist app that can do a great job for you. Visible yet unobtrusive, it stays right on your desktop screen and nudges you to take care of important tasks, while also protecting any information you input.

#15. Pocket

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Ever wanted to save an article to read later? Maybe you even added it to your browser bookmarks, but you never remembered to go back to find it. Pocketis here to change that. This digital library lets you save articles, videos, and whatever else you might find online, so you can view it later (online or offline) on any device.

#16. Hemingway App

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

If your daily work involves writing, the Hemingway App is your literary buddy that takes away the stress of sending out an error-filled document. The service identifies typos and grammatical errors, as well as other syntax issues in your content. By identifying phrases that are difficult to read and offering better alternatives, it ultimately makes your writing clearer. You can even see the readability grade of your piece.

#17. Pixlr Editor

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Do you need to quickly brush-up an image? Pixlr Editor is the best online tool for that. It is a browser-based photo editor that lets you create and edit images and optimize them for the web. It works with Photoshop PSD files and supports multiple layers. You can make everything from social media cover images to charts for a blog post in no time. And the best part? It’s free.

Accounting and Other Administrative Pains

#18. FreshBooks

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Who doesn’t hate accounting? Well, maybe accountants, but even that’s not always true. If you have a small business, FreshBooks can save you up to two days of paperwork each month. Also, you can track expenses, log time, and issue invoices. Having all these tools in one place instead of scattered throughout multiple places will reduce your stress.

#19. Freckle

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

If you can relate to the quote in the image, you might need to look intoFreckle. Known for being a “friendly online time tracking software”, it distances itself from that unpleasant feeling connected with inputting your work hours for the week. The solution is flexible and saves managers the pain of nagging employees to track their time.

#20. Toggl

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

It might be difficult to imagine how “timesheets” and “sexy” have anything to do with each other. But Toggl has achieved that, taking the strain out of time tracking. It claims to be an instant productivity booster, allowing for one-click time tracking for teams. You can even divide teams into separate user groups and color-code your projects.

#21. LastPass

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

We all know how hard it is to come up with a password that is both unique and strong enough to be secure. Thankfully, LastPass solves all your password problems by remembering them and filling in forms automatically, while keeping your sensitive data safe thanks to an encrypted master password.

#22. Dashlane

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Dashlane is another worthwhile solution for your password saving needs. With Dashlane, you can automatically log in to every website you have saved, on any device you might be using. This especially comes in handy for preventing the chaos that managing multiple accounts often leads to. Dashlane also monitors your security to keep your sensitive information safe.

Productivity Boosters

#23. Producteev

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Producteev is a task management software to keep your team organized and on the same page, while making sure your overarching goals don’t fall by the wayside. Its focus is on tracking the progress of individual tasks completed by different team members, so that overall productivity goes up, while stress levels plummet.

#24. IFTTT

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

The hardest part of using this tool is guessing what IFTTT stands for: “If This, Then That”. IFTTT connects the rest of your apps to ensure they work better together. It’s particularly useful for handling recurring tasks, so you can automate your own work processes. Not only will it improve your productivity, but also it will reduce the anxiety of managing multiple apps.

#25. TopTracker

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

TopTracker is more than just a time-tracking app: it enables you to create projects and track your productivity to see which areas still need work. Although it was originally made for the freelance community, it is convenient for anyone who wants to improve how they handle their workload.

#26. StayFocusd

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Multitasking may be killing your productivity, but taking a break from work to surf the web always brings temporary (albeit guilt-ridden) relief. Cut away the unhealthy habits with StayFocusd. This Google Chrome extension helps you in the battle with distractions by blocking websites from your browser for certain amounts of time so you can focus on your work. Bonus: there is a “nuclear” option, so you can block the whole internet if the need arises.

#27. RescueTime

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

With RescueTime, you can remove the distractions from your day for good, get a better understanding of your own working habits, and take advantage of your most productive times of day. RescueTime gives you a complete picture of your internet usage and work patterns, so you can regain control over your productivity once and for all.

#28. SERPS Redux

28 Online Tools to Streamline Your Workload and Decrease Stress | SEJ

Finally, if you deal with SEO on a regular basis, SERPS Redux will save you a lot of time by giving you links, titles, and HTML listings on your Google searches—and converting URLs from SERPs in a list that is much easier to use. Also, it helps you avoid extra manual work, enabling you to find the titles of pages that rank for your target keywords twice as fast.

So are you ready to cut down the amount of stress in your life? These tools alone can’t do it all for you, but they’re a great place to start. With their assistance, you can streamline your communication, manage your content output, take care of tedious tasks, get better organized, and boost your productivity. The sky is the limit.

Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/28-online-tools-to-streamline-your-workload-and-decrease-stress/162746/?ver=162746X2

Categorized in Internet Technology
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