Sunday, July 26, 2009

A world of information at your fingertips

Caregivers can find a world of information on the Internet. The volume can be overwhelming. For example, I punched in brain stem stroke in a Google search. The result: 803,000 hits for brain stem and stroke.

Wait. I thought the Internet was supposed to make it easier to find information. It does, but you have to know some of the tools to use. Whether you love or hate Google, shouldn't factor into the equation. You need to figure out how to use Google to your advantage.

The classic Google search on is helpful. Most days you can get the information you need with a few clicks from your keyboard. Take the search a step further with a Google alert. Go to Google's homepage and sign up for an alert. The alerts are listed under the "more" section under the "even more" section.

You don't need a Google GMail account to set up an alert. Google will kindly send you an alert to any e-mail address. You set the alert up to search whatever phrase or words you need searched. For example, I set up a search for locked-in syndrome. On a daily basis, I get a digest of stories published on the Internet through blogs, newspapers and medical research groups about locked-in syndrome.

I'll warn you the search keys in on the words, not the context. I may be looking for stories about people who are locked-in their bodies -- mute and paralyzed -- while the search engine is looking for the words "locked-in." I've been pleased with how the alerts work for me in finding people, research and new innovations to help those with locked-in syndrome.

Caregivers have enough work to do, so I think it's a good idea to let Google alerts handle some of the heavy lifting. Sign up for an alert and see how it works for you.

How will you or how do you use Google Alerts?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this useful information. I do a lot of research but have never thought to try this. For me, I tend to learn how to do something (especially something technical) but forget to expand to broaden my knowledge. Now you've shown me how to add another layer to my searches. Thanks!


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