I will be updating my resume very soon, February 2012
Researcher, June - October 2011
Independence and separatist movements can be found in virtually every country in the world. Some of them are well-known. For instance, the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the Corsican movement in France, and the Basques and Catalans in Spain. These are all well-documented and researched. In Columbia, there is the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), and in Indonesia there are the Aceh and Maluku movements. In North America, the Cascadia movement calls for an independent nation made up of British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington. Even Western Kansas wants to separate, not to mention Quebec, Canada. In Somalia, there are independence movements in Puntland and Somaliland. Relatively quiet African countries like Senegal also have low grade conflict. The Casamance region of the country is home to the Jola people who have a long tradition of peaceful independence demonstrations. My job is to research more than two hundred independence and separatist movements, dividing them into two parts: serious movements (which is most of them), and the not-so-serious ones. I am expected to provide background historical information for each, an account of why a particular movement wants independence, and a snapshot of their web presence. What types of information do these movements have posted on the Internet? What are other organizations, countries, and governments saying about them on the Internet?
Fact Checker and Researcher for a New York Publishing House, May - June 2011
The encyclopedia I am working on is a two-volume A-Z reference work that will examine the dramatic events, domestic and foreign issues, public policies, and everyday concerns that have shaped the evolution and nature of America's policies on national security, national defence, constitutional rights, and public safety. Interdisciplinary in approach, the articles examine numerous facets of recent history in order to equip readers and researchers with a working and accurate vocabulary to examine present-day issues and understand ongoing discussions of future concern. This is being written primarily for use by students and general readers. I am one of a team of researchers and writers, who are working together to write and fact check the manuscript. We have access to multiple databases and also use the Internet for some of the work.
Researcher, Writer, and Editor, May - June 2011
A medical researcher hired me to help him research, write, and edit an extensive paper on the Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and how and why it promotes fat loss in adults.
Fact Checker and Researcher for an Upcoming Book on Inspirational Quotes, May - June 2011
My job was to validate and correct hundreds of quotes and delete any redundant ones. I had to confirm the language and make sure that the punctuation was accurate. I also had to find a context/source for each quote. This is an example of a job that takes much longer than you think it will. For example, "Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain" is a quote that was attributed to Mark Twain. I ran into a lot of problems with that one. Finally, I spoke to one of the archivists working on The Mark Twain Papers project at Berkeley and she told me that it wasn't one of Twain's after all. Many of the quotes were very problematic. For this project, I used multiple sources to fact check the quotes, including Google Books.
Researcher for an Innovative Engineering Solutions Company, May 2011
I was hired to do some exploratory research on the following three concepts to find out if they have technical merit and/or are feasible technologies to pursue: using social marketing to disseminate evidence-based energy balance intervention; portable e-technology tools for real-time energy balance research; and innovative technologies for enhancing function for individuals with disabilities. I was also asked to come up with a suggestion for how each of these concepts would make them commercially viable.
Researcher for an American Charity, May 2011
I was hired to create individual prospect research profiles for both existing and prospective donors. The work will continue on a quarterly basis throughout the next year. When the profiles are loaded into specialized databases, my clients will be able to identify which prospects should be invited to their annual events and which donors they should contact to participate in special sponsor tours and projects instead of contacting everyone for every event. For example, a person who has donated only when a natural disaster has taken place probably wouldn't be interested in being continually contacted to donate to other types of campaigns. You don't want to overwhelm your donors. Rather, you want to create long-term relationships with them. The profiles will go a long way in making this happen.
Researcher for a Management Consultancy, Victoria, Australia, April - May 2011
The company that hired me was designing a leadership program for a government agency using the tenets of a learning organization. The agency was facing a number of organizational and operational challenges as a result of an increasingly competitive market and a change in business objectives. As a result, they recognized that in order to meet its near and long-term goals and overcome its challenges, they would need to strengthen its leadership capacity and create a much healthier workplace by designing work environments that are open to creative thought by breaking down hierarchies and shifting away from the traditional authoritarian workplace. My role was to provide the stakeholders with information on learning organizations and summarize my research in a comprehensive report and teaching tool.
Survey Writer for a Berkeley, CA Research Group, April 2011
A research consultancy hired me to help them write a survey that focused on the state of entrepreneurship in Africa and Western Europe. Ultimately, my clients were looking for insight into the economic future of particularly important regions in the area. A large number of surveys were sent out to a variety of grassroots organizations. We received a very good response.
Researcher for a Montreal-based Lifestyle Television Company, April 2011
My role was to help a member of the production team with the research for a strategic plan.
Fact Checker for an Educational Publisher in South Carolina, April 2011
A publisher of non-fiction books for middle and high school readers contacted me to fact check a biography of Alexander the Great for accuracy.
Researcher for a Washington Technology Consultancy, March - May 2011
I was asked to help with the research for a white paper on the use of cloud computing in federal government agencies. Many federal agencies are evaluating and implementing cloud computing. As agencies take on this transformative technology, they find the transition to cloud computing impacts many aspects of their IT environment, including legacy systems, the sustainability of infrastructure, security, and privacy. Cloud computing can have a very high return on investment, but it does bring additional risks that must be managed. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) finds cloud computing solutions share five characteristics: on-demand self-service; broad network access; resource pooling; rapid elasticity; and measured service. Cloud vendors are able to provide on-demand scalability at reduced costs because their infrastructure is streamlined and they take advantage of massive economies of scale. For many organizations, cloud computing is much more cost effective than providing the capabilities themselves, but should the government be using it for sensitive information? Should they be uploading personal information onto third-party servers? Security is cited as a leading concern for those considering cloud computing. One of the main problems is that agencies cannot easily find out who has accessed the data or even find out how it is archived. Should the government exchange in-house developed systems for vendor managed off-site systems and software platforms? Many critics contend that because of the uncertainties involved with cloud computing, the risks outweigh the rewards, especially since the overall costs and reliability factors are difficult to determine.
Survey Writer and Researcher for an Educational Association, March - May 2011
I helped to create a questionnaire and a survey study that was designed to help analyze how undergraduate students view plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Students from 77 selected American universities were a part of the study. Academic pressure was the number one reason given by students who copy material for essays from the Internet. Students were also asked whether library staff included the concept of plagiarism as part of their information literacy classes. My clients are hoping they can map out profiles of students likely to plagiarize and bring more awareness to the problem. Preliminary results will be made available as soon as the summary report is compiled.
Researcher for a UK Charity, March 2011
I worked with a small charity in Oxford to research and write case studies for lesson plan supplementation that will be used to educate college and university students on major global issues such as climate change, modern slavery, food safety, human rights, and the privatization of water. The project was developed to engage hard-to-reach young people in global issues.
Researcher for an Advocacy Institute, March 2011
The history of international humanitarian aid before the 20th century was the focus of this project. The incorporation of realist, liberal, and constructivionist perspectives were required. I read a couple of books but mostly used peer-reviewed journal articles to find the information my client needed. I also read numerous whitepapers and reports written by aid workers and organizations. Historically, the definition of humanitarian assistance has changed and has covered a broad range of issues, ambiguities, and contradictions. Identifying the evolving connections and differentiations between the different forms of humanitarian aid formed a large part of my work. Human rights violations, poverty, famine, armed forces intervention, natural disasters, emergency disaster relief, and aid offered in conflicts zones were also covered in my report.
Researcher, February - March 2011 (NDA in Place)
I was hired by an author writing a book about parenting. The book was research intensive. It is a follow-up to another successful book by the same author. I also helped to develop the bibliography.
Researcher and Writer for a Dance Studio in London, February 2011
This project involved finding dance instructors with outstanding credentials in Ballroom and Latin dance in the UK area. I also did some basic PR writing for upcoming events. I then submitted the press releases to various area newspapers, and arts and entertainment editors that I had identified.
Researcher for a Washington, DC-based Consultancy, February 2011
I was asked to find the recent sales and marketing numbers for caffeine pills. Annual and wholesale sales numbers for coffee were also requested. Plus, sales figures for grass seed, both wholesale and retail, for a number of countries, were a part of my research.
Researcher and Editor for a Canadian Filmmaker, February 2011
My job was to do research on eight countries and also provide histories of their political situations. The information was used as part of a proposal for government funding. I also helped edit the document.
Researcher and Editor for a Canadian Lawyer, January 2011
My role in this project was to act as a research assistant for my client. He was under a lot of pressure to have an article finished for a legal journal. The paper explores the nature of the venture capital industry in Canada. I did basic research for the twenty-five page article, while my client handled the legal aspects. I also helped with the editing and the bibliography.
Researcher for a New Luxury Magazine, January 2011
I was hired to fact check a number of articles that were written for the premier issue of a new magazine that will offer articles of interest to affluent women with a net worth of more than ten million dollars.
Researcher, January 2011
My client is currently selling books to an Asian distributor, but isn't sure if the discount they are getting is fair or typical. She wanted me to find out what the typical discounts for sales from publishers to distributors are in different parts of Asia; what the typical discounts for sales from distributors to resellers (bookstores) are; what the typical discounts for sales direct from publishers to resellers (bookstores) are; and if most publishers sell through distributors or do many bookstores buy directly from publishers in that particular market. This project was a difficult one for me. It took a lot of primary research on my part, with help from some specialized databases and a number of publishing associations to find the answers.
Internet Researcher for an Online Radio Show, December 2010 - April 2011
I was hired to finding interesting items for an online radio news show; to find background information on guests and potential guests; and do some writing and editing. I worked for this company for five months as a part-time freelance researcher.
Researcher for a British Manufacturer, December 2010
Finding the contact information for the principal manufacturers of domestic water filters and purification products and their contact details in the United Kingdom was the starting place for this project. First, I had to establish which companies were the best in their field. The second part was to determine which of them had the best specification systems available. For example, which filters were the most effective on a sliding scale? Finally, I had to provide research and product information on three specific types of filters: reverse osmosis systems, carbon-based systems, and in-line carbon systems, particularly for American style fridges.
Substantive Editor, November - December 2010
My client wrote a book that he is hoping will prove to be the right material for a positive family movie. I was hired to review the book, make edits, suggest rewrites, and strategize on the overall plot of the book. Great project.
Researcher, November 2010
My job was to help an art history student, doing a Master's degree, find information and photographs about both the Parthenon frieze and the Ara Pacis Augustae. My client lives in China and said she was unable to locate adequate reference materials or resources in her local libraries, nor were her professors able to help with the research since they specialize in Chinese art history and not Western art history. I found a number of good articles and full-text digital books that she was able to use to complete her thesis.
Researcher, November 2010
A first time author contacted me for help with research for a non-fiction book she was writing for Penguin about on-demand Internet streaming video companies in the United States and Canada. I was asked to find news stories, quarterly financial conference call transcripts, and other corporate/SEC type documents on a few companies from 1997-present. I checked all the business databases I had access to and was able to find some of the information, but the rest was not easily accessible and would cost a lot of money to obtain. Business research is always difficult to do because the information a client would like may not exist, may be proprietary, or may be very costly.
Researcher for an Educational Publishing Company in Boston, October 2010
I was hired to fact check two middle school social studies books. Very little was true fact checking and was more checking the source that was already noted. Each chapter had approximately sixty digital assets to check.
Researcher for a Consumer Insights Company, October 2010
This contract involved researching the cultural and economic differences that exist between the provinces and territories of Canada. I then wrote both individual summaries of the information and also a comprehensive report that gave an overview of the differences. The information was used as part of a global pharmaceutical company's marketing campaign.
Researcher for an Asian Design Consultancy, October 2010 - February 2011
This multi-pronged project was very challenging. It required me to investigate the economic factors that may impact or influence the bathroom products and accessories markets in Asia. A thorough analysis (both qualitative and quantitative) of the Asian industry and the key market factors/drivers of bathroom products and accessories was also needed. The identification of the market gaps for bathroom products and accessories and the apparent opportunities within the Asian industry were compiled, along with a series of recommendations and proposals of business models to capitalize on the Asian market were uncovered from the findings. Countries of interest: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, China, and Dubai. Asian socio-cultural drivers, including country-specific consumer developments, consumer cultures and niche segments, and people/consumer insights into European bathroom products were a part of the value-added research. An analysis of the Asian Market, including market size, market share and segmentation, industry barriers, and ways to overcome both competitive and entry-level considerations was a major part of this research project. I was lucky enough to be given access to a number of specialized online databases to do the bulk of the research. I collated the information and wrote a series of reports for the client.
Business Intelligence Researcher for a Law Firm in New York, October 2010 - January 2011
This very hands-on position saw me scoping out new resources for competitive information. I was expected to offer strategic input, analyze business data and information, and provide support for the decision-making process. I also conducted primary research for a series of special projects working as part of a firm-wide virtual library team.
Researcher for a Large UK Telecom, September - October 2010
This qualitative customer experience study of B2B Direct Marketing companies in Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Italy, France, Sweden, China, Japan, Korea, Hungary, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico was a new experience for me. I worked with a great team of freelance researchers and was project-managed by a consulting group with its head offices in London.
Researcher for a B2B Start-Up, September 2010
This company hired me to research and identify small businesses in the B2B space that can serve a national audience in the categories of Business Growth, Employee Rewards, and Productivity Improvement. They built a B2B ecommerce engine that created a community for small businesses through discounted group sales. In essence, they were interested in sourcing unique deals that can serve a national audience of small businesses and its employees.
Researcher, September 2010
This client wanted to build an online database of good sources for information on the history of cookbooks. My role was to find the websites of cookbook publishers around the world. I also used the Internet to find information on cookbook awards; leading food critics; fairs, such as the Paris Cookbook Fair; and authors who have won or were short-listed for awards such as the International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Awards, the James Beard Cookbook Awards, and Gourmand International's World Cookbook Awards. I also collected websites that review gourmet food products and restaurants.
Fact Checker for a Healthcare Software Company, September 2010
I fact checked a lengthy historical timeline that traced the evolution of consumer health technologies over the last one hundred years.
Business Researcher and Interviewer for a UK Branding and Design Consultancy, August - November 2010
I was asked to help with the early stages of a book about branding. They were interested in talking to a cross section of people around the world about what they think of personal and professional branding, what it means to them, and how it affects their lives. They needed help on identifying potential candidates, getting their contact details, writing/phoning/emailing them, interviewing them, writing up the transcripts, and identifying trends.
Researcher for a Health Services Manager, August 2010
This project focused on researching the phenomenon of reactivity, including the Hawthorne Effect. I also identified and described significant findings that came out of the Hawthorne Studies and led to changes in theories about how managers should behave to motivate and inspire their employees. The other part of the project was to explain and describe how effective human resource management planning, recruitment, and selection can assist in the continuous growth and development of an organization.
Researcher and Editor, July 2010
I helped a senior citizen from Phoenix, Arizona with his memoirs. I did some research on his hometown and edited the manuscript.
Substantive Editor and Bibliographic Consultant for a PhD Thesis, July 2010
Researcher for a Technology Provider for Financial Institutions, June - July 2010
I was asked to develop a number of white papers and executive briefings that are now used as content in presentations, webinar decks, and videos. One of the topics I researched was how much money companies in the financial services industry spend on technology services. The client also wanted me to find out which social networks financial institutions actively participate in regards to particular topics. I also had to research item processing outsourcing, including SWOT information, market share, industry trends, information to support building a business case of why a financial institution would outsource their item processing functions, and benefits of outsourcing. The other main thrust of my work was research on online banking and bill payment processes. I had to find out the major players, SWOT information, market share, industry trends, and information to support building a business case of why a financial institution would switch to my client's company for their online banking and bill payment services. Identifying which factors contribute to a financial institution's decision process for selecting a vendor was also requested. Examples would be accuracy, error rate, speed, and conversion impact.
Medical Researcher and Editor for a Dental Company in San Francisco, June 2010
This new venture capital backed dental company hired me to do the research for and create white papers and tech briefs on a number of topics. I also helped them edit and write some of their clinical materials.
Researcher for a Master's Student, May - June 2010
My job was to help with the research for a Master's level dissertation on deceptive marketing. I also worked on the literature review.
Researcher for a Pennsylvanian Communications Consultancy and Design Firm, May 2010
The topic of the research is training materials used to teach and guide service employees in completing basic stepwise processes. The client was especially interested in in-situ, on-the-job training, not classroom training or e-learning modules. This research assignment was two-pronged: find out the best current ideas that can guide design of such training materials, and identify some specific, instructive benchmarks from across different industries and the military. I was expected to conduct the research online and to use secondary sources, such as LexisNexis, Questia/Highbeam, and Factiva. The deliverable included a report that summarized the key insights together with links to and copies of primary sources. The industry benchmarks included illustrations. They expected brief progress reports and telephone discussions to make sure the work was focused appropriately. Everything was delivered in an accessible digital form.
Researcher for Queensland University of Technology, May 2010
I was hired to research creative writing programs at Australian universities, including how many there are in Australia, how long they have been around, what they offer, a brief profile of the staff working for them, and a short history of their development. Creative writing programs have existed in the United States for over a hundred years, with the establishment of creative composition courses at Harvard University in the 1880s and the founding of the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1939, the oldest graduate-level creative writing program in America. In England, the Bloomsbury Group laid a solid foundation for creative writing from the 1920s onwards. These informal networks were important because they allowed writers to critique each other's work, exchange ideas, and act as mentors; the type of role that is now fulfilled by universities. But these networks were often only for the elite or for those who ran in artistic circles. In Australia, creative writing higher degrees are relatively new and find their roots in the Colleges of Advanced Education programs of the 1980s. Just a decade ago, few Australian universities offered creative writing doctorates or master's programs. Now many offer a full range of creative writing programs, from undergraduate to doctoral levels, and are in high demand. The Australian Learning and Teaching Council has an interesting report on the Australian Writing Programs Network (AWPN) here.
Researcher for a PhD Student, May 2010
I was hired to fact check a thesis. My client also needed a lot of help with the references because although she originally meant to make the footnotes and bibliography entries as the thesis was being written, deadlines were looming and she didn't keep track of them. I had to go over each section of the thesis and where an author was cited, either in parenthesis or directly in the text, I needed to check the source. In the majority of cases, the source was already listed in the bibliography, but essential information was missing. I followed the MLA style guide and made sure that the bibliography was up to par. I also had to go back and cite the source in the text and associate each with a particular page number. That meant that I had to search the actual source for the information cited and then insert the page number or numbers in the thesis text.
Researcher and Writer, April - July 2010
I was asked to research and write a comprehensive series of articles covering a variety of topics based on a wealth of primary source materials and subject matter expert interviews for an online nanotechnology knowledgebase. The tool will be used by nanotechnologists and science institutes. The client provided me with a conceptual framework, expert resources, and access to source materials. I uploaded the material using a content management system that was created with information architecture and instructional design input from me. The entire development process, from initial research, content gathering, drafts, and final production of the knowledgebase took four months of part-time work.
Researcher, April - June 2010
My client is writing a book about how cities around the world thrive or die. I did a lot of research and read many books, articles, and city planning maps. I then summarized pertinent information into a series of white papers. Using a number of expository forms, my client discusses what makes a city successful. Of course that changes over time. What made a medieval city successful is a lot different than what makes a modern city such as New York successful. The humanistic management of cities; the right mix of aesthetics and practical, user-friendly spaces; and balancing grand and classical structures with contemporary initiatives in cities are covered. Encouraging city planners to take a progressive approach to the development of urban areas is key, as is considering diversity to create a better quality of urban life. While important aspects of reimagining cities are things such as cleaner public transit and building using the latest energy efficient designs, we also have to consider that people need a daily connection with nature and require sustainable urban areas that incorporate green spaces and natural life forms and systems into their cityscapes. Rooftop and sidewalk gardens are two examples of how urban planning can transform city areas from distressed and grey communities to revitalized neighbourhoods that promote health, a connection to nature, and a place that inspires and stimulates the human psyche. Recognizing that city environments can be planned in such a way that the lives of people are enhanced by encouraging physical activity and surrounding them with beautiful vistas rather than decaying urban infrastructures goes a long way towards creating cities that will thrive along with their inhabitants.
Researcher and Writer for a Non-Profit, April - May 2010
This project focused on the loss of religious buildings in the United States, particularly in relation to changing demographics, economic hardship, shrinking congregations, or as a result of religious orders paying out large amounts of money to victims of molestation and abuse. In order to bring this reality to the public's attention and to help congregations learn of their counterpart's struggles and creative solutions, my client had me do research on a number of religious buildings and arrange interviews with some of the important stakeholders. I then compiled the information and wrote a report. Many communities have faced the loss of their places of worship. Many of these buildings are sold to land developers who turn them into condos or level them to construct residential or commercial buildings. Churches and synagogues are an essential part of urban hubs, providing sanctuary, community outreach, jobs for the community, improved mental health for residents, reduced levels of crime, foster charitable contributions, encourage volunteering, support a variety of local businesses, and improve the vitality of the community. Their loss can be devastating, not just to art and architectural history, but to society as well. Churches contribute to vitally important components of successful societies and their presence in communities provide many benefits that cannot be measured solely by direct revenue.
Researcher, March 2010
I worked for an art institute's online division to assist with arranging image permission requests and researching the fair use of copyrighted works.
Researcher, March 2010
In this case, my clients had been involved in holistic nutrition and medicine for over thirty years as patients. They both take 75-100 supplements daily, including standard vitamins, a number of esoteric ones, and also longevity and cognitive supplements. They also had many chelation IVs, ALA IVs, Myers Cocktails, Phosphatidyl Choline pushes, ozone IVs, oxygen therapies, had taken heavy DHEA and HgH injections for two decades, and even bought a mostly UV-B sun-tanning bed to increase Vitamin D levels. And, for over thirty years, they only saw American College for Advancement in Medicine sanctioned holistic MDs. They also read over one hundred holistic e-newsletters weekly, as well as a number of print ones. They hired me to do some detailed research on Enhanced External Counterpulsation Therapy (EECP), a procedure performed on people with angina, heart failure, or cardiomyopathy. I also provided a list of MDs who would perform the procedure for preventive purposes. Since they were considering moving to another state, they asked me to generate a list of doctors who offered certain protocols. They also asked me to find the best type of sauna and where it could be bought. Finally, I investigated a number of new supplements, therapies, procedures, blood tests, and looked at other relevant research studies. I used the Internet and a number of academic and medical databases to do the research.
Researcher for an Upcoming Book on Customer Conversion Rates in Retail Operations, March 2010
I did some initial research for this book. It is being written by the founder of a business analytics company that works with leading retailers, including Hallmark, Adidas, Home Depot, and Sears. The book is about the importance of measuring prospect traffic and customer conversion rates in retail operations. It is a follow-up to When Retail Customers Count.
Fact Checker, Proof Reader, Researcher, Substantive Editor, and Writer for an Upcoming Book that Looks at Evolution as a Religion, February - June 2010
I was contacted by a first-time author who had spent years researching and writing a book that challenged the theory of evolution. As a product of the public school system, he was taught to believe in evolution and never thought to question it until a chance meeting with a biology professor from UCLA in the 1970s, who told him that the possibility that life could have happened by chance was 1 in 10 to the 27th power. That remained with him and prompted a great deal of thought and eventual research into the complexities of life. The end result of his journey is this book. This was a big project for me. Each chapter was proof read and fact checked. As a result, a lot of additional research was needed. I used articles I retrieved from academic databases to find information and also found that Google Books was an invaluable tool. The book came to me with incomplete footnotes and needed many others added. As a substantive editor, I advised my client to make some major changes in how the information was structured and arranged. I also edited the book and rewrote sections of it to make my clients' ideas shine through more effectively. Finally, I created a sixteen page bibliography and formatted the book in preparation for publication. The premise of his book is that Evolution is a faith-based theory. It stands alongside other faith-based movements, such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The one common thread that binds these great religions together is FAITH. Faith may be defined as having complete, unwavering trust and belief in a concept for which no scientific evidence is available. The theory of evolution gained wide exposure following the publication of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin in 1859. It became a very popular book and went through six editions within a brief period of time. The book was particularly popular in academic circles. In Darwin's day, the cell was thought to be so simple that brilliant scientists of the day accepted his theory of evolution to explain the foundation of life. As science advanced and the complexity of the cell became clearer, the idea of intelligent design became more and more compelling. This book does a very good job explaining intelligent design and irreducible complexity. Evolutionary presentations found in articles and textbooks, and used by millions of students start with the assumption that the accidental formation of life is a fact. Mutations and accidental mistakes in cell reproduction are credited with species' progression. This faith-based evolutionary concept uses the assumption of the original cell as a point of departure, which then leads to broad-based transitional forms and the tree of life, and concludes, with life as we know it. Many prominent evolutionists and other professionals define evolution as a religion. Sir Julian Huxley, Charles Darwin, James D. Watson, George Wald, George G. Simpson, Jonathan Sarfati, James Perloff, Luther Sunderland, Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx, Adolph Hitler, Fred Hoyle, Stephen Hawking, Stephen Jay Gould, Antony Flew, Francis Crick, Michael Denton, Richard Dawkins, and James F. Coppedge are just some of the people covered in this book.
Client and Market Researcher for a California Insurance Brokerage, February 2010
I was hired to find insurance brokers in the Los Angeles area who have clients with small commercial buildings and who also place that business in the wholesale insurance market. I collected the names and addresses of the firms, noted if the firms were an insurance brokerage, if the firms handled small apartment buildings, and if they placed any of this business in the wholesale marketplace.
Researcher for a Marketing Director, January 2010
My client needed a list of bankrupt or no-longer-in-business companies that were issued a UCC certificate prior to August 28, 2002 in the United States. This certificate would give them a block of Universal Product Code (UPC) barcodes. He also needed the last known contact information of an executive or owner of those companies: the last available contact information of the owners or higher up executives, or someone with access to the certificate and the ability to transfer ownership. The more contacts I could collect the better because there would be a segment that would not be interested in selling the certificate or have enough codes remaining to sell. My client didn't care how old the certificates were but pointed out that the companies that received their certificate closer to their demise date would be optimum and would increase the odds of having more remaining usable codes. Ultimately, he was hoping for 200-300 contacts going back two to three years prior to August 28, 2002. The end goal was to purchase the UCC certificates, thus taking ownership of their block of barcodes. The UCC completely changed the barcode regulations post August 28, 2002, but any code established before that date is still valid and has fewer regulations attached to it. This was a project that I couldn't do in the end. I did work on finding the information but I ran into trouble. I did find out that a definitive list of all UCC certificate holders (prior to August 2002) doesn't exist. I figured if I could find that list I could then check the companies and their status. The inventor of UPC, George Laurer, can't even get a list, even though he has tried for years. I then contacted a friend of mine from grad school who does business research for a living and who has access to very relevant databases and he couldn't find the information either. One thing that might help my client is if he can find a list of the companies involved in the class action suit levied against the GS1 in the state of Washington. The GS1 lost and all prefix owners prior to August 28, 2002 became exempt to the GS1's renewal fees.
Researcher for a Marketing Support Company in Reston, VA, January 2010
My job was to research federal agencies that have issued grants in the past five years. I was expected to name the agencies, the award amounts, levels of profit, time frames, the winners, and their competition. Brief descriptions of the grants were also requested. Another part of the project was to investigate federal agency grant trends and projections. My client was interested in finding out more about the health, security, space, IT, and education sectors, and other industries that have shown growth and are projected to show growth in the grant arena. Finally, I was asked to research the link between federal grants and formal procurements, and discuss how the link affects the element of developing customer relationships. A ten page white paper was the end result of my research. I included graphs that depicted past and future market percentages.
Researcher for an Upcoming Book on Japanese American Baseball, January 2010
Specifically, I was asked to find newspaper articles from Honolulu, Hawaii newspapers between the years 1915-1920. The client also wanted articles from a Japanese American newspaper based in Los Angeles called the Rafu Shimpo, years 1925 to 1927. I used LexisNexis but those years were not indexed. I then did a search for the information on the newspaper websites, but most only archive a few years online. I then wrote a number of newspapers to ask for assistance but surprisingly, the newspapers don't even have extensive archives offline and couldn't help me. I then thought to write the state libraries, but they weren't helpful either and suggested that I come in and search their microfilm for the articles. Since I was thousands of miles away, that wasn't an option. I suggested that my client make use of a library research service that allows you to hire a librarian to find and print out the information and mail it to you. The other alternative was to post an ad on Craigslist asking if there was a local student interested in going to the library and performing the task for him. Posting an ad on pertinent universities' electronic job boards and requesting the same was also suggested.
Researcher for a Vitamin Company, December 2009
I was asked to use excerpts from biochemical texts and published medical studies to find scientific verification for the three step process that takes B vitamins to the generation of energy. Higher potencies of B vitamins help the body generate more energy. The process starts with the ingestion of B vitamins, which increases mitochondrial function and performance, which in turn increases ATP production. Increased ATP production leads to more available energy. PubMed was my main tool.
Market Researcher for a North Carolina School, December 2009
This school was interested in hiring a consultant to conduct market research for them. As a state-funded special education school for students with sensory disabilities, they wanted to determine how to better serve their students, community, and state using socially-responsible initiatives. As part of their strategic plan, the school needed to evaluate the market so as to continue delivering high quality education and to ensure its relevance to society. Working with management to implement objectives and directly targeting important priorities will allow the staff to increase its effectiveness and to expand their programs.
RSS Consultant, December 2009
I was required to set up a series of RSS feeds for news, blog entries, and articles. The focus was on the emerging business of trading emission credits, which is a way for low emission companies to sell its credits to benefit higher emitting companies. It is a bigger business in Europe than in North America, and my clients wanted to find out what is happening in this market-based approach to controlling pollution. They also asked me to find some older articles on the subject.
Researcher, December 2009
I was hired to find email addresses and fax numbers for lingerie businesses in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Belgium, and Italy.
Researcher and Writer for a Class Action Committee, November 2009 - February 2010
This American public-interest organization was waging a battle for healthcare reform against a private hospital company, questioning its integrity and accusing it of being corrupt. I was hired as a secondary researcher to supplement the efforts of its information team, which consisted of a researcher and two health-care analysts. They believed their research efforts could be improved by bringing in a consultant. Above all, they were looking for hard facts that could be incorporated into reports. Some of the tasks could be completed quickly in a few days, other larger projects were targeted at a few weeks. I worked for a number of people in the organization, but had a primary project manager. The following are examples of the work I did: 1.) research specific lawyers, including who they had worked with, what political parties they contributed to, their connections to particular politicians, and anything else that could be important for my clients; 2.) I was asked to obtain certain court records for them; 3.) transcripts of television shows were requested; 4.) I often was asked to pull together all existing news and clips about certain hospitals and then write succinct memos covering the most salient points; 5.) I was also expected to take a look at certain civil and criminal court cases and obtain the records; 6.) keep my clients updated on a regular basis through memos about a series of subjects; 7.) investigate a federal budget for specific line-items and find out who sponsored them; and 8.) access information on Washington lobbyists and find out how much they were getting paid. Overall, a very challenging four-month part-time job.
Survey Developer, Researcher, and Writer for a Report on the Social Value of Leisure for an International Cruise Line, November 2009
My client will use the information I found in a variety of ways, including in the development of its leisure programming and in its advertising packages. Instead of looking for data on Baby Boomers or Seniors, this study focused primarily on young people, ages 21 to 50. We started by developing a survey that zeroed in on their spending habits, lifestyle choices, recreation habits, and leisure values. We posted it on very appropriate websites and were surprised by the number of people who took the time to answer our questions. Further analysis was conducted by gender because we were also interested in male/female preferences when it comes to relaxation, socialization, competitiveness, and the importance of pleasure as a form of recreation. It is important for recreation planners and leisure service providers to understand the leisure values of the people they work with in order to provide adequate services and programs. Today, more than ever, people are seeking to improve their quality of life through enjoyable recreation and leisure pursuits, especially when they are on vacation. They are increasingly aware of the importance of preventative health strategies, rest, and recreational activities, and try to incorporate this philosophy into the vacation packages they spend money on. With more disposable income, good jobs, and a heightened awareness of the world and its travel opportunities, young people will continue to become the focus of cruise lines and resorts. I also read a number of studies, academic articles, and books on the subject of leisure and put all the information into a report.
Researcher for a Book Proposal, October 2009
I helped an author put together a book proposal on the subject of test stress. He needed me to research a large number of studies, facts, and figures for the audience and marketing sections of the proposal. He also had a lengthy list of very specific questions I had to find answers for.
Researcher and Photographic Consultant for a US-based Newspaper Columnist, October 2009
I was hired to find information on the South Bank Skate Park, which is located underneath Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Thames in London. I was also asked to find copyright-free photographs of the area. The park has been popular with skateboarders since the early 1970s. For almost forty years, this public space has acted as a community for thousands of young people and is widely acknowledged as London's most beloved skateboarding area. Performance and graffiti artists, photographers, tourists, and buskers also migrate to the park. The Graffiti Archaeology Project has an archive of the area's art throughout its history. The park also appeared in a Tony Hawks computer game. Although its size has been reduced in recent years and partly given over to retail shops, the government has agreed that this vibrant public space has had a very positive impact on thousands of young people and contributed to the cultural heritage of London, so much so, that plans for more retail outlets were recently nixed.
Researcher and Writer for a Non-Fiction Book Proposal (NDA in Place), October 2009
My client is a well-known author with over twenty-five years experience in the fields of filmmaking and technology. The project I worked on with him was for a non-fiction book about the convergence of a number of complex digital technologies. I helped with the research and design of the book proposal. I also assisted with the writing and editing of the first three chapters of the book that were sent to the publisher along with the proposal.
Researcher for an Educational Publisher, September 2009
For this project I had to do research on a number of interrelated subjects: US college enrollment growth due to the recession; job training growth in general; colleges moving toward online learning and digital course materials; high schools moving toward online learning and digital course materials; digital books and their affect on traditional book publishers; and the growth of ebooks in any channel over time. I used a number of academic databases to do the research, collected articles on each topic, read them, making notes as I did. I took all important information and made a series of short reports, one for each of the topics I had researched. College enrollments are closely aligned with the economy. When the economy weakens, there is an increase in post-secondary enrollment rates as people hasten to increase their employable job skills and ride out the storm. When the economy strengthens, enrollment rates fall off as more people look for jobs instead of attending college. This is particularly true for community colleges during the global recession that began in 2008, when students cut across all demographic groups. According to a survey by the Sloan Consortium, higher education institutions believe that bad economic news is good news for both overall and online enrollments. More people go back for additional schooling in a bad economy, specifically people working in low-paying jobs. The largest universities and all community colleges in northeast Mississippi reported their enrollment numbers were through the roof, driven by a weak job market and high unemployment. California college officials reported turning away 250,000 community college students because they had no room for them. Historically, when the economy slows, one of the first things cut is job training. Funds for job training/re-training have recently increased but the state of these types of programs are still far from what they were in 1979. So, it is impossible to say whether job training funds will decrease as the recession wanes, but it is very likely they will since the unemployed will be moving into jobs and not spending as much time in retraining programs. The stimulus spending bill signed in early 2009 includes $4.5 billion for job training. Armed with new federal funds, American states are trying to help their jobless residents. The new Economic Stimulus Act includes $5.7 billion for workforce programs, which represents the largest infusion of dollars into the workforce in decades. Private companies are also partnering with states to help with job training. For example, Microsoft Corporation works with state officials in Florida, New York, and Washington, using the company's e-learning programs and online certifications. If you want to help people get back on their feet, you need to take a rigorous new approach to technical training. Online learning is an important piece of the puzzle and continues to be the fastest growing segment of higher education. And yet the educational establishment still debates whether e-learning can ever be as good as traditional teaching at a campus. A study released by the US Department of Education found that when compared to face-to-face teaching, many types of online college courses were better at raising student achievement. President Obama has also endorsed online education, while talking about his recent community college initiative. Convenience is one of the main reasons why so many students take courses online. They are available 24 hours a day and are particularly attractive to younger students, who are quite at ease navigating their way through the collaboration software, digital tools, and video components used in online education classes. Online learning has turned a corner and moved into mainstream education as advancements in technology and high-speed broadband networks allow for a more interactive and personalized learning experience. Established brick and mortar universities, such as MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and Penn State are putting their curricula online and are now offering extensive online learning options. UMassOnline reports that enrollment among students under the age of 25 has increased 91 percent over the past three years. Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J. is reporting a 100 percent growth rate over the same period. The shift from paper to digital textbooks is also gathering speed as school systems struggle to provide students with books at a time when budgets are being cut. The California Digital Textbook Initiative will replace some high school science and math texts with free ones in hopes that the state will save hundreds of millions on textbook purchases. It will be years before students will have access to all their books in a digital format, but there is no question that competition from open-source materials poses a real threat to traditional textbook publishers. Moving towards open-source materials is well under way in higher education courses as President Obama pushes for the creation of free online courses to improve community colleges. According to the National Association of College Stores (NACS), which tracks the higher education retail market and reports the latest findings, e-books currently constitute a small portion of the college textbook market but are expected to reach 15 percent of textbook sales by 2011-12 and are increasingly nudging their way into the marketplace. For example, CourseSmart is a joint venture of the leading traditional publishers in North American higher education. Companies such as McGraw-Hill Education, John Wiley & Sons, Elsevier Science, Cengage Learning, Princeton University Press, and Sage Publications, Inc. provide digital books and learning tools to millions of student with more than 7000 titles. They are also accessible on Apple Inc.'s iPhone, iPod Touch, and the Blackberry, to name a few. The most popular college texts can be downloaded at approximately half the price of traditional texts. NACS' Student Watch 2010: Student Attitudes & Perceptions reported that the average full-time college student spent an average of $693 on college textbooks and course materials in 2010. Going digital seems to make a lot of sense when you consider numbers that high. Amazon.com is currently conducting a pilot program that provides students at Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University, Pace University, Princeton University, Reed College, and the University of Virginia with the revamped Kindle and the ability to download textbooks. As portable gadgets become more ubiquitous, digital publishing will continue to grow. Initiatives such as Google's Library Project also go a long way to explain the increased interest in digital books and devices, especially since Google made sure that all digitized materials were formatted for mobile devices. Apple also plays a crucial role in the transition from print to digital with its iTunes University. It offers college lectures and provides free storage and bandwidth to universities, some of which make their lectures available to all, while others restrict based on enrolment. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has tracked digital book sales since 2003, which were $20 million at the time. By 2007, that had more than tripled. By 2008, revenues were reported as $113 million. An added note: according to the AAP, the first quarter of 2011 saw e-book sales explode to $233.1 million.
Historical Newspaper Researcher for an Author, September 2009
My client wanted access to Los Angeles newspapers' accounts of the death of Thomas Ince and the subsequent coverage. His novel will feature the death of Thomas Ince as a small part of the plot. Ince was born in 1882 and was famous as the owner of his own progressive movie studio. He was also a well-known actor, screenwriter, director, and producer. Ince was considered an industry leader and Hollywood virtually came to a standstill the day of his funeral. He died at his home in Beverly Hills in 1924 after falling ill aboard William Randolph Hearst's yacht, the Oneida, amid rumours that he was murdered by Hearst over a dispute about a woman. The official cause of his death was heart attack. In the end, there was no official investigation into Ince's death. On December 11, 1924, the Los Angeles Times published the following: District Attorney, Chester Kempley, announced that he had uncovered nothing to justify him in proceeding further with the matter. He said, "I began this investigation because of the many rumours brought to my office regarding the case and have continued it until today in order to definitely dispose of them. I am satisfied that the death of Mr. Ince was caused by heart failure as a result of acute indigestion. There will be no further investigation, at least as far as the county of San Diego is concerned. If there is any investigation of the stories of liquor drinking on board the yacht where Mr. Ince was a guest it will have to be in Los Angeles, where, presumably, the liquor was secured." I used LexisNexis to find over fifty full-text newspaper articles for my client to read for his research.
Joomla Consultant and Content Provider for Mystic River Marina, August - October 2009
I helped the web programmer design this site, integrating a number of photographs to spotlight the marina's many amenities. I also did some research into local businesses, services, and events to add pertinent information to the website. I used Joomla to make the pages and also wrote or edited the website content.
Medical Technology Researcher for a Medical Center, August - September 2009
This project required me to research thirty medical innovations identified by clinicians and medical researchers using web-based resources and medical journals accessed through proprietary databases. I then wrote a brief for each technology that included a description of the application, the technologies or methods it will replace or complete against, its clinical trial status, the current state of development, regulatory approvals, commercial availability, companies involved with the technology, patient benefits, and when it is likely to appear in the marketplace.
Researcher for a PhD Student (NDA in Place), August 2009
Client Researcher for an Art Restorer, August 2009
A professional conservator of paintings hired me to find contracts for her company. It had been awarded some lucrative state and federal preservation jobs, but she wanted to find more state and federal painting or mural restoration projects on which she could place bids. She'd had little success finding such contracts herself and needed some assistance. I used the Internet to do some of the work, but focused my attention on the appropriate government agencies and community organizations to find the information.
Internet Researcher for a Documentary Filmmaker in Mongolia, July - September 2009
My client needed help locating rural schools and libraries in Mongolia, including a description, photographs, and contact information for each. He wanted to tell the stories of people who use extraordinary efforts and ingenuity to bring knowledge to those without access. In many remote areas of the world, there are no library buildings. Instead, there are donkey, elephant, and camel libraries; wheelbarrow, boat, bus, and train libraries are also very common. Some libraries are housed in the homes of farmers and people come and go, sometimes great distances, to select books. These mobile libraries and their librarians play a key role in the lives of people living in rural areas. For them, the arrival of the mobile library is an important occasion and an exciting event. My primary tool for this project was the Internet and a few NGOs, operating in the area.
Researcher and Survey Designer for a Study on Homeschooling in the United States, July 2009
There is no question that homeschooling, when properly done by competent people, can be a wonderful experience for everyone involved. Many glowing reports have already been written that highlight the advantages and unlimited learning possibilities that go along with home-based education. Studies have definitely shown that some homeschooled students score much higher than the average publically-educated child. But what about the dark side of homeschooling? What about the parents who say they are homeschooling their children but are, in fact, not actually teaching them anything, resulting in illiterate adults? Who is monitoring these children? In some states, the answer is no one. Most states do insist upon some form of annual standardized testing and a monitoring of the homeschooling program, but many leave the enforcement of provisions to local school districts, which have few resources to do so. My client decided to write a book that uncovers some of the darkest secrets of the homeschooled, including profiling the uneducated and lazy parents who have fallen through the cracks and are pretending to homeschool their children without the knowledge of any educational agency. The other allegation that the author wanted to explore was the contention that homeschooled children are more likely to be abused and because they do not attend school, nobody knows. Some of the children are also subjected to an extraordinary amount of religious instruction, to the detriment of other subjects. Others are simply put to work. We started by designing an online survey that we posted in multiple places on the Internet. It basically asked if the reader knew of any children being kept home from school, but who were receiving little in the way of educational instruction. For example, some parents believe that taking their children for a walk and pointing out the clouds constitutes a science lesson. Similarly, they believe making a cake together and cooking supper every day can be counted as hours spent learning. Most parents consider these types of activities interacting with their children, not school lessons. We were surprised by the number of responses we received. My other duties included doing a review of the literature, researching state laws and legislation, and working with the survey results to generate statistics and graphs.
Researcher for a Project on the Management of Serials in Academic Libraries, July 2009
I was asked to undertake the research for this project because my client, an academic librarian, was very busy with other responsibilities. This is the type of work that takes a lot of time. After I used a series of academic databases to do the research and downloaded over one hundred appropriate articles, I had to read them. As I read through each article, I copied important points and placed them into a Word document with related bibliographic information. I also added my own notes, possible points of departure, and ideas on how the information could be integrated into the final report. Libraries of all types are facing a digital revolution that is continuously changing and difficult to manage. For years, library finances have been struggling to keep up with the growth of journals. The shift from ownership of physical collections to licensing content for electronic resources has occurred quickly in the fields of medicine and science, but other collections are mired in problems, uncertainties, and controversies. As universities and colleges offer more online courses and create global educational environments with increasing numbers of offsite international students, they have no choice but to make a move from print to digital serial collections. The changing culture of scholarly communication and learning will continue to challenge librarians and require even more change from libraries. The transition from print to electronic resources has meant better service to library patrons, but the challenges of managing electronic resources have forced library staff to work more collaboratively and advocate for the creation of new partnerships and resource-sharing in order to transform library services. Libraries and serial publishers face unique challenges in the acquisition of electronic resources, including new pricing models, obtaining access rights, and determining packaging options. Effective communication, enhanced library workflows, new partnerships, electronic resource management systems, and the utilization of web services are all important factors in the reshaping of library services in this digital age.
Fact Checker for an International Publisher of Consumer Periodicals and Books, June - August 2009
I was hired to fact check and verify the information in a four book series. The project was fun and interesting, in part, because the trade books were very entertaining and provocative to read. Topics included a history of food in New York City, the culture of fear in America, the science behind gadgets, and the resurgence of the cupcake.
Researcher for an Examination into Publicly-Available Information for a Content-on-Demand Company (NDA in Place), June 2009
Fact Checker and Researcher for a Nutrition Magazine, June 2009
I was required to do some fact checking and research for a new fitness, exercise, and nutrition magazine. From time to time, I am contacted by them to verify article facts or do the research for new articles.
Internet Researcher for an Overview of APIs (Californian Consultancy), June 2009
This long established company was interested in branching out and incorporating some new ideas and technology as a way to expand its business. They decided that a web application programming interface (API) was something they would like to investigate. An example would be the Google Maps API that can be used by anyone to build a business around. Real estate developers and agents come to mind. I discovered that there are tens of thousands of APIs available for free on the Internet. Lots of options for my clients to choose from. Here is one website to give you an idea of the types of businesses that can be started by using an API.
Researcher and Writer for a California Health Information Management Consultancy, May - July 2009
The company needed to acquire hard data on the market for US health and science staffing services, as well as on the US staffing industry, in general, to aid in the formulation of their marketing strategies. The research was limited to the US market only. The data collected for each sector included market size in dollars, geographic distribution, client universe (# of establishments) by sector and sub-sector, and employment universe (by relevant profession). The universe of staffing firms in OAI sectors; financial data on top 25 players in each sector; total number of people employed by health & science staffing companies; market share held by the top 25 health & science staffing companies in each sector; trends in health and science staffing; merger and acquisition activities in the last five years; trends in usage of staffing services for health and science staffing; fastest growing health and science professions being staffed by the staffing industry; and seasonality of staffing employment were all included in the deliverable. Government data sources, such as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Dept. of Commerce, US Bureau of the Census, and other federal agencies and departments; commercial data sources, such as LexisNexis, Dun & Bradstreet, and Standard & Poor's; trade data sources, such as the American Staffing Association, the American Nurse Association, and other relevant trade associations; media data sources, including trade publications, industry white papers, professional association publications, industry analysts and experts; company and industry websites; and online research reports were the tools I used to find the information. I then used Excel to input the data I was able to find.
Researcher for a Newspaper Journalist, May 2009
This project involved finding statistical information on patterns of private philanthropy. Americans, Europeans, and Japanese were the focus of the research. My client, a journalist, was working on a piece. He requested specific numbers to make the comparisons, including gross amounts and a careful breakdown of what was included and how it was sub-divided in categories such as religious, secular, arts, health, science, emergency relief, and other similar sub-categories.
Bibliographic Consultant for a Medical Publishing Company, May 2009
My client had 250 references stored in an EndNote library. EndNote is a bibliography program that keeps track of your references. Many of the references were missing some of the information and needed to be polished up. In some cases, I had to find the city of publication, clarify authors' names, and about 25-30% were missing the date. The good thing about this job was that most of the references were imported from PubMed journals, so finding the missing information wasn't all that difficult. For some of the other references I had to use WorldCat to find them because they were pulled from diverse sources, including psychology books, federal reports, book chapters, and websites.
Co-Designer of Three Web-based Applications for North American Organic Farms, April 2009
Small, family-run organic farms are often burdened by debt, or at least a lack of money. Coming up with the funds to pay for the services of a web programmer or a designer is difficult for many, even when their businesses would run a lot better with the help of information technology. So, when one such farm approached me for advice, I decided it would be a good project to get involved in. For example, they run an organic co-op, but had no online application form for people to sign up for the service. Instead, they had posted a PDF application form which had to be printed off, filled in, and mailed using the postal service. A bigger problem for them was they didn't have a web application that local restaurants could use to make their weekly orders, nor did they have an easy way for customers to order any of their almost 150 product seedlings. I worked with a programmer to design the forms and the application interfaces. I then inputted all the product information and prices. The applications have subsequently been offered to many other farms across North America.
Researcher and Writer for an European Conference on the Subject of Collaborative Divorce, April 2009
I acted as a research assistant for a presenter at a conference. Her topic was collaborative divorce, a method of practicing law in which divorce lawyers for both parties agree to help their clients work through their conflicts and find resolution using non-adversarial interest-based negotiation and cooperative techniques rather than litigation. The lawyers are key in collaborative divorce and are committed to settling all issues and conflict in creative, fair, and non-confrontational ways. The process is much less expensive than a regular divorce case that goes to court. The collaborative divorce model was developed in the early 1990s by lawyers and other professionals who believed that litigation was injurious to the principals involved, especially the children. It is also a way to avoid the arbitrary and uncertain outcomes of court litigation and allows both sides to achieve an equitable and fair divorce settlement that reduces the negative consequences that are often an outcome of traditional divorces. Learning new skills, such as conflict resolution, effective communication, and healthy co-parenting tips are also goals of the process. The model has spread rapidly throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, and other parts of the world.
Researcher for a Privacy Consulting Company, April 2009
This company specializes in creating strategic privacy governance programs for major corporations. Corporate privacy is a major issue and is expanding as personal privacy is shrinking. Privacy initiatives need to support business strategy and has to scale across all units. Affordability, effectiveness, and sustainability are also important aspects of privacy programs. The use of appropriate technologies and compliant infrastructures also play a critical role. My role in the project was to assist the primary consultant in a privacy scan for an American food corporation, make recommendations for next steps, and help write up the summary report.
Market Researcher for a Regional Car Dealership, April 2009
My job was to find research studies that examined how Canadian women buy cars. Pertinent questions included: are they the primary purchasers or are they influencers?; are there any big picture buying patterns?; and are there any legitimate statistics that can answer these questions? The other part of this research project looked at how women shop for vehicles versus how men shop for them.
Fact Checker and Editor for a Book on the History of Jazz, March 2009
I was given a manuscript on the history of jazz in the United States and Western Europe to read and was asked to fact-check it for accuracy and consistency, editing as I went through the process. Ideas of democracy, modernism, racism, and
redemption are covered in the book.
Researcher for an Upcoming Book, March 2009
For an author based in Ontario, Canada, I conducted research for a book on American and Canadian water issues, focusing on the crisis that some bodies of water are experiencing, the most promising methods of conservation, and the commodifaction of the global water supply. The book was structured as an easy to read introduction to the subject and was not particularly scientific or technical in nature.
Researcher for an Asian Agricultural Organization, February 2009
For this project, I had to find all current and archived news stories about Indian agriculture, its farmers, and how new technological advancements may be able to help both. I used LexisNexis and ProQuest to do the work.
Business Researcher for a Technology Presentation (NDA in Place), February 2009
I was hired by a software company specializing in next-generation operating system platforms to find a diverse collection of data that its in-house research department was having difficulty finding. One aspect was searching for global ecommerce statistics for 2002 and onwards. The research was needed urgently because of a time sensitive race between two companies developing the same technology, a technology that has mega implications for ecommerce.
Internet Researcher and Writer for a Report on Search Engine Optimization, January - February 2009
A well-established web company contacted me to put together the latest information on search engine optimization. For many years, its rankings had always been respectable, but all of a sudden, they took a big hit and revenues began to slump. The company then hired a series of SEO experts, all of whom had different ideas, opinions, and costly steps for the company to take to solve the problem. Instead of spending any more money and changing everything on its site one more time, they decided to find out which SEO best practices were presently being employed and what results they could expect. I did a series of interviews with SEO experts, read the most recent reports and books I could find, visited Internet forums specializing in SEO, and searched the web for value-added information. I put all pertinent findings into a white paper.
Researcher for an Australian Consultancy, January 2009
The main objective of this project was to establish if pheromones increase a person's attraction. The client required a list of human-based clinical studies and research papers. The deliverable was a highly condensed summarization with copies of the research papers and clinical trials attached in the appendix. I searched for studies that confirmed pheromones increase a person's attraction. Some of the questions I tried to answer were: does a person's attraction increase if pheromones are applied on the body? If so, what sort of pheromones? Artificial or animal derived? Can the human body increase attraction with an increase in pheromone production from the inside? There are nutritional supplements available on the Internet that make such claims. Is there any research to substantiate this claim?
Researcher, Writer, and Editor for a Publication on ACRL Literacy Standards, Instructional Scaffolding, and the Value of Web-based Tutorials in an Academic Setting, January 2009
I worked with a librarian on this project. She needed help with researching, writing, and editing to take her ideas and turn them into an article. When you look at the research habits of NextGens, a couple of things become pretty obvious: they use the Internet as a starting point for research instead of searching academic databases; when using library databases, they often disregard help screens; and they employ a very erratic style of searching webpages for information, something that Angela Weiler called "I don't think, I click" in Information-Seeking Behavior in Generation Y Students: Motivation, Critical Thinking, and Learning Theory. Almost every academic database has a different interface, a different set of search protocols, and different full-text retrieval engines, meaning access to these resources is less than transparent. For example, PsycINFO offers the option of using controlled vocabularies, while JSTOR doesn't. Before conducting a search, LexisNexis forces the user to select different source areas, while the best way to search Factiva is to make use of its subject directories to narrow searches. Some provide full-text articles, while others, only the bibliographic information and perhaps a pointer to where an article can be retrieved. Even experienced researchers become confused when faced with multiple procedures. It takes quite a bit of expertise to navigate digitized information systems and use them well enough to get the best available information. That is why it is important, if not crucial, to offer sufficient support when students are first being introduced to research tools in an academic setting. Support from librarians is a key component, but web-based tutorials are also critical because they tap into the independent and tech-savvy nature of NextGens and are also cost effective. Students could benefit from having basic explanations of elements found on search results pages, definitions of commonly used terms, and simple contextual maps to explain the basics of information retrieval for the wide array of databases found in academic libraries. Maybe academic libraries and the tools they offer their students shouldn't differ that much from online businesses such as Amazon, Google, and Netflix, which spend a lot of their time and money focused on improving the self-service functionality and usability of their websites so that visitors can find the answers they need when they need them. Perhaps emulating their self-service models to create an instructional framework could go a long way to facilitate active learning and may even serve to increase a user's general research skills.
Researcher for a Real Estate Marketing Company, December 2008 - February 2009
A company that provides innovative, web-based marketing systems and software for both real estate agents and mortgage brokers contacted me for research help and the creation of content for their marketing files containing local-based information. I eventually researched approximately 250 topics, including many in the area of financial services. I also wrote a series of articles for their monthly newsletters which cover a variety of subject matters.
Researcher, December 2008
My client was looking for a list of public relations companies that were founded by women and who have their primary offices in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Researcher for an Upcoming Historical Novel on William Marshal, the 1st Earl of Pembroke, November 2008 - January 2009
I read a large number of books and academic articles on the life of William Marshal. I also read background information on the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries as preparation for my work. I then created a series of summaries on a large number of topics and events so that my client could more easily write the book, without having to stop every day to do more research. William Marshal's life is well-documented because his eldest son commissioned a record of his life shortly after his death in 1219. The resulting work was L'Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal and it contained many eyewitness accounts of Marshal's life from his contemporaries. William Marshal was born during the tumultuous Civil Wars of King Stephen and Empress Mathilda. Sentenced to death at the age of five by King Stephen when his father refused to surrender, William Marshal had a notorious beginning. He was a hostage of Stephen's, held in surety in exchange for his father's good behaviour. But his father, John Fitz Gilbert the Marshal, had other ideas. Although Stephen's knights urged him to hang the child, the king decided to give John Marshal another chance to save his son by forfeiting the castle at Newbury. But William had three brothers and a young mother. When King Stephen's messenger delivered the ultimatum he was told that John cared little if William was hanged since he had the anvils and hammers to make more and even better sons. He said his youngest son was of far less value than his castle at Newbury. King Stephen had every right to hang the boy, but William was not executed and went on to become an important bodyguard for Eleanor of Aquitaine and a courageous knight. Over his life, he served four kings: Henry II, Richard I, John Lackland, and was made regent for the nine year old, Henry III.
Researcher, Editor, and Analyst for a Real Estate Strategy Consultancy, November 2008 - January 2009
I was hired to read, review, and edit five strategic plans that my client had written for various commercial real estate projects. The typical document was 80-100 pages. I edited, filtered, and condensed the reports into three templates to serve as base documents for future reports. I found that some things were stated more clearly in one report than another. My client needed the best of each report standardized and applied to three different templates for three different types of real estate projects (i.e. town center, regional mall, entertainment focused center). I also analyzed cities, regions, states, and then produced market overviews for projects that my client was working on. For example, if one of the consultants was given an assignment in downtown Atlanta, he/she would need an overview of downtown Atlanta, with a focus on real estate. The number of businesses in the downtown core, daytime work population, traffic statistics, total number of hotel rooms, square footage of office space, rental rates, retail sales, job growth, downtown residential population, etc. Typically, a ten page report provided a good overview. I also supplied my client with a write up of the overall national real estate market with overviews in housing, hotels, office space, apartments, and retail.
Researcher and Writer for a Study on Recession-Proof Industries, November 2008
An American college was intrigued by the idea of developing new diploma programs based on the premise that the courses would provide recession-proof jobs for graduates. When jobs are scarce and the economy is going through a downturn, many people go back to school to upgrade their skills. Why not offer them programs that could keep them employed long into the future? No career is truly recession-proof, but discovering the high-demand jobs of the future and updating your skills accordingly, can go a long way in offering economic security. Emerging fields such as geographic information systems, green energy, and specific healthcare occupations are currently receiving a lot of attention. The most important part of this project was the futures research I did for it. Every year we are surprised by social, economic, and technological upheavals that appear to come from nowhere. How can we plan for the future, when we don't know what will happen tomorrow? Predicting which jobs will still be vital a decade from now is not an easy task and must be made using some of the principles of scenario planning. Key to preparing for the future is making better decisions today. We can do this by highlighting large-scale forces that push the future in different directions. The work I did was summarized into a report and given to the provost for evaluation.
Researcher for a Washington, DC Non-Profit, October - November 2008
This research project is part of a multi-prong initiative that looks at how politicians are using the Internet and if it changes the way they govern. I looked at politicians from many countries, not just the United States. I basically used the Internet for all of my research, collecting information on different politicians and parties, and on how they are using the medium to transform the democratic process. I put all my findings into a report. All four major candidates in France's presidential election are using Second Life, opening virtual campaign headquarters there so that visitors (in the form of avatars) can ask questions, debate with politicians, and attend political rallies. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards are also campaigning in Second Life. Clinton has even held press conferences at her virtual headquarters. UK politicians are increasingly using blogs and are responding to the posted comments. Blogs have become extremely important, with millions reading both local and national blogs daily. The British Conservatives have launched their own Facebook pages to attract new support. Facebook is a really fast growing way for politicians to communicate with constituents. Voters who become a 'friend of the Conservatives' receive regular updates and tips on how to get involved in the political process. European politicians are using podcasting, vlogging, blogging, and other Web 2.0 tools to raise funds, recruit volunteers, and to organize supporters. Britain's Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, has his own video blog to post slick clips that attract voters and engage the public in a new kind of conversation. The Conservatives say the party has been inspired by what's happening in America. Social networking sites had a huge impact on the United States Presidential elections. Barack Obama credits social networking and Web 2.0 tools for his campaign's phenomenal support and successful fundraising efforts. He won every important caucus state by using these tools because he was able to move thousands of people to organize. Obama used the Internet to organize his supporters in such a way that would require an army of volunteers in traditional campaigns. The Internet also allowed him to run a campaign for much less money. For instance, Obama's campaign is taking advantage of YouTube for free advertising. Also, the ad material they created for their YouTube channel is currently being watched more than ten million hours, something that would cost tens of millions of dollars on broadcast television. And, unlike direct mail, the Internet costs nothing in comparison. The election of 2008 is already being called the 'YouTube Election' thanks to the videos uploaded by presidential hopefuls.
Photographic Researcher, October 2008
My job was to find images of gods and goddesses associated with knowledge, learning, wisdom, writing, books, and libraries. These images of deities will be used as part of a librarian's presentation at a conference in Thailand. Hermes was the Greek god of knowledge and invention; Vidya Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of learning and rational thinking; Lono is the Hawaiian god of learning and intellect; Seshat (Sashet, Sesheta, Safekh) is the Egyptian goddess of writing, historical records, accounting and mathematics, measurement and architecture to the ancient Egyptians. Seshat was the goddess of libraries, knowledge, and geomancy; Thoth was the oldest and greatest of Egyptian librarians and was known as the inventor of writing and acted as scribe to the gods; Ganesha (Ganpati) is the Hindu God of knowledge and learning; Wei T'O is the ancient Chinese god of libraries and books; Hayagriva is the Hindu God of learning and wisdom; Carmenta is the Roman Goddess of writing and the alphabet; Saturnus was the Roman god of learning; Nabu is the Babylonian god of writing and wisdom; Quetzalcoatl is the Aztec god of learning and creation; Sarasvati is the Hindu goddess of books and knowledge; Tenjin is the Japanese god of learning, language and calligraphy; Nisaba or Nidaba is the Sumerian goddess of writing, the Learned One and scribe of the Sumerian heaven; Bridget is the Celtic goddess of writing, poetry, and learning; Buddha Manjushri is a god of learning; Ogma is an Irish god of writing, eloquence and poetry; Vagdevi is a Hindu goddess of learning; The other gods of education and knowledge were the Muses, who were the daughters of memory and goddesses of the arts and libraries; Athena was the goddess of wisdom, learning, and teaching; Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom, learning, art crafts and industry; Apollo was the Greek god of knowledge, past, present, and future; and Danu was the Celtic god of knowledge. This is a webpage showing the images of the gods and goddesses I found. Here is the key that goes along with the photographs.
Environmental Researcher for a Study on the Environmental Impacts and Health Concerns Related to Wireless Internet Towers (Washington State Grassroots Organization), September 2008
This project was both interesting and frustrating. I found an equal amount of information on both sides of the debate. Often when you are hired as a freelance researcher, the client is expecting you to deliver only information that supports the way they see a situation. They want you to find information that backs up their viewpoint. In this case, that was difficult. Many of the reports and articles I read on the subject reported that there is very little to worry about when it comes to the potential health risks associated with exposure to microwave radiation. A number of experts stated that microwave ovens are more of a health risk than ISP towers because they leak radiation. And, as they point out, cell phone towers are much more of a concern when it comes to health. In general, public health implications of wireless technologies is a relatively new phenomenon and it will be several more years before studies can reliably demonstrate and predict what exposure to all kinds of microwave radiation does to the human body and if it alters brain chemistry. Another part of my research was to find information on how Internet towers affect the value of homes located near them. The information I could find points to the subjectivity of each case. For example, a home may decrease in value by 20-30 percent in some areas, but in other locations, namely very rural areas, an Internet tower could be viewed as a positive by people looking to buy a home with access to high speed wireless. The perception of the buyer is key. One of the questions that arose out of my research was how the locations for these towers are chosen. Particularly, why are they built anywhere near houses and people? The answer is they need access to electricity, so a location can't be a very remote and uninhabitable area, and must as a consequence, be built in populated areas supplied with power. One other interesting point was raised by this research: when you say no to Internet towers, sometimes you are saying no to a lot more. We found that entire rural areas of the United States are basically without reliable and speedy access to the Internet because local people have fought against towers. Without access to a high speed connection, you are invariably cutting people off from having access to a lot of important information. The Internet has become a lifeline to rural communities. Think also of small businesses, the home schooled, and the telecommuters. The Internet is a critical utility and is as important as telephone, electricity, and mail. Living in isolation, off the grid, is just not an option anymore. The Internet provides too much opportunity. Even the off-gridders have Facebook pages these days, which is kind of funny. The Internet gives you access to the whole world and hundreds of years of knowledge. For instance, the National Library of Wales is digitalizing everything printed about Wales and the Welsh people since the 16th century. And, every day, another service becomes available only online.
Researcher for an Overview on Best Practices for Corporate Website Usability, Customer Experience, and Usability Engineering, September 2008
I was hired by a North Carolina consulting firm and directory to evaluate their website and online social communication tools. After losing some of their ranking in various search engines, they decided that it was a good time to take a closer look at their online presence and find out if customers and visitors to the site were having a positive experience. Sometimes companies spend so much time and money on positioning themselves for search engine optimization that they forget the basics of customer service. Unless the experience is user-friendly and barrier-free, people won't come back. Search engine spiders are getting better at indexing Flash elements but without a duplicate site for spiders and for users without the needed plug-ins, parts of my client's site was inaccessible to many. The site also relied, in part, on audio cues alone, which meant that the hearing impaired couldn't fully use the site, nor could those that didn't have speakers hooked up to their computers. The website also could not be read by the computers of visually impaired users. Computers are unable to read text that is enclosed in graphics. People with disabilities were unable to navigate the site because it was built to be visually pleasing rather than informationally and structurally sound. Visitors were also unable to change the font sizes, which is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. I also found that users were unable to efficiently and quickly locate information on the site. The interface design required people to guess where items were because the information was not well organized or properly labeled. The site's navigation wasn't easy to use or find because it featured a navigation scheme considered cutting-edge. The reality was that users couldn't figure out how to use it, especially since it did not remain in the same place throughout the website. A "breadcrumb trail" built directly into the navigation is a very helpful component of a site, as is using webpage titles and subtitles to indicate what section of the site a person is in.
Researcher for a Study on the Portrayal of Male Librarians Throughout History, August - September 2008
I spent quite a lot of time researching male librarians, from the earliest documented accounts. This project was multi-pronged and complex. The first thing I did was a literature review. I used a series of online academic databases to find good articles and books. My client requested that I highlight the most important points in each article and write a summary. After my initial research, I put all the information together and wrote a report that chronologically tracked librarians over time. I also put the highlights into a simple timeline. Historically, the image of the male librarian has come full circle. The profession was originally peopled by bookish men, although there are certain exceptions. The famous philanderer, Casanova, was the librarian for Count von Waldstein in the Chateau of Dux in Bohemia. Ancient librarians had high social status and were often scholars or priests. They were generally the only literate people in their communities. The chief Librarian of Alexandria was chosen by the king and was always a prominent scholar. In Egypt in the early 500s, Pachomius started a monastery and insisted that all resident monks read and write. Many monastic enclaves emerged throughout the Roman Empire and most had theological libraries. Monasteries in the Middle Ages were centered on librarianship and libraries, housing monk scribes, with the head scribe often put in charge of the library. The Benedictines created libraries and the scriptorium became sacred. It soon became customary for monasteries to lend to other monasteries, giving birth to inter-library loans. Prior to 1870, public opinion was that librarians were introverted, mean, eccentric, and male. Early male librarians were seen as dusty old bachelors, and undernourished, weak and non-masculine bibliophiles. The masculinity of male librarians was never questioned when libraries were the exclusive territory of male employees. That changed when libraries were primarily the workplaces of women. Male librarians were then stereotyped because they were seen to work in a female-dominated profession. By the end of the 19th century, the profession was slowly transforming into a 'woman's profession,' thanks to Melvil Dewey's School of Library Economy, the first institute to offer formal training for future librarians, including women. He established a pool of relatively cheap female labour that transformed the landscape of librarianship over the next half-century. Once exclusively the domain of men, librarianship evolved over time to not just incorporate women, but to become a profession that is almost completely associated with them. Women weren't seen as having a role in the profession until World War I. A review of American and British articles written prior to 1914, shows that librarians were always referred to as "he." In the era following World War II, men were actively recruited into the profession and there was an increase in the number of men entering the field, enticed by higher salaries and rapid advancement into administrative positions. Stereotypes of male librarians as effeminate was a big factor in keeping many from working in academic librarianship, especially since the public perceived such a man as a failure who couldn't find work in typically traditional male professions, such as law and medicine. Men of that era tended to consider librarianship as better suited to women than men. His very identity as a man could be compromised by choosing to become a librarian. Because the workplace is dominated by women, male librarians find themselves associated with the stereotype. Like male nurses, male librarians, have a fear of being perceived as homosexual since they work in a feminized profession. Surveys do not show that there are any more gay male librarians working in the field of librarianship than there are in the general population, just that it is possible that societal homophobia forces many gay men away from typical men's work and into jobs that were once called sissy jobs, such as dancer, librarian, secretary, and florist. More importantly, what movies, comic books, and literature have said about male librarians is that they are typically effeminate, weak, nerdy, etc., with effeminate being the most important trait that can be traced back to the gay stereotype. When you research male librarians throughout history, homosexuality has not been one of the main stereotypes that comes up, not at all. There is no substantial evidence to indicate that a large number of male librarians are gay, although surveys indicate that there is a perception that gay males predominate in librarianship. According to a famous study by James V. Carmichael, the proportion of homosexuals and heterosexuals among male librarians is comparable to that in the general population. In reality, the majority of male librarians surveyed had a MLIS degree and were older married men. The stereotype that men in libraries are more likely to be gay is a myth. The homosexual image is only one of the stereotypes associated with males in the library profession. Male librarians are often thought of as "the systems guy" who joined the profession because of its technological aspects and because they are seen as more technologically-savvy than women. Men who work in libraries are frequently seen as in charge, with patrons assuming they are managers or directors. Male librarians appear in many movies. In the Rose, Volker Prechtel played an anti-social male librarian; in Brazil Jonathan Pryce played a male librarian who was seen as a failure; in Offbeat, John Turturro played an anti-social male librarian, Neil Pepper; in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Richard Burton portrayed a male librarian characterized as a failure; in Ghostbusters, John Rothman played an anti-social male librarian; and In the Name of the Father, Alan Barry was socially-inept, archivist Jenkins. This is a webpage displaying pictures of male librarians that I collected. Here is the key that goes along with it.
Medical Researcher for a Study on the Effects of Candida Yeast, August 2008
Using a number of relevant books and academic articles obtained from MedLine, I provided my client with the latest information on candida yeast, its symptoms, the effects it can have on the body (short and long-term), and treatments, including comprehensive cleanses to rid the body of the overgrowth of candida albicans yeast.
Researcher for an Entertainment Company, July 2008
My job was to identify all sport and entertainment venues with seating capacities greater than 12,000 in North America, South America, and Western Europe. Government documents were a great help for this project.
Researcher for a New York City Research and Consulting Firm, July 2008
The firm assists organizations in optimizing their education and training resources, and teaches them how blogs might contribute to a learning environment. The company retains the services of independent researchers to research and write on topics related to learning and development in large organizations. The topics I was hired to do were e-learning, learning technologies, leadership development, and measuring training-related performance improvement.
Client and Market Researcher for a Nutraceutical Manufacturer, June 2008
The CEO of a small manufacturing company of nutraceutical products hired me to identify and research companies who may be potential customers for products he manufactures. I also created profiles for the companies.
Researcher and Writer for a Report on the Future of Life Insurance, May - July 2008
This project was a summary of insurance market activity for several countries. Specifically, I had to find information on life insurance penetration, trends, challenges, leading players, sales channels/distribution, foreign investment, bancassurance, direct sales and marketing, health insurance, growth metrics, and IFAs. I was hired to do the research and write the report. This wasn't an easy job because a lot of the information and statistics I needed were proprietary and already compiled into very expensive reports, which my clients weren't interested in buying. I was fortunate that I had access to a few insurance associations, which allow members access to timely statistics and reports. I was also able to make use of databases, such as Factiva and LexisNexis, and was able to get additional data from a few insurance experts working overseas. For the most part, I combed the Internet and read every whitepaper and report I could find and made use of each country's insurance association, such as the Berlin-based, German Insurance Association (GDV). As the insurance industry continues to evolve worldwide, distribution becomes more of a factor. Tied agents and brokers, once the mainstay of the industry, dominated most markets. But that is changing at various rates, depending on the region. Currently, the trend is towards the development of alternative distribution channels. In South America, distribution varies by country but many are experimenting with new sales channels such as drugstores, supermarkets, and malls. Some countries in the region require an intermediary for any insurance transaction, a regulation that is preventing countries such as Brazil from developing alternative distribution systems. In 2005, nineteen life insurers and twenty-four non-life insurers were operating in the country. Brokers and agents dominate the distribution channels in Colombia, but there too, company-employed representatives and banks are gaining ground. In Colombia, brokers dominate the group life market. In 2005, 52 registered brokers were working in the field. The individual life market is dominated by agents, approximately 10,000 of them. But it is the banks that are increasingly becoming a one-stop shop for financial services, since they have a better image than the insurance industry. The last year has seen the German life insurance industry busy reacting to changes in the legal and regulatory framework. Introduced in May 2007, the EU Insurance Mediation Directive (IMD) and the Insurance Contract Law, which came into effect in January 2008, are regulations that have increased the complexity of the life insurance business model, leading to higher expenses. Also, the EU Mediation Insurance Directive has had a significant impact on distribution. Higher deferred acquisition costs and surrender values, and a change from "policy model" to an "offer-acceptance model" are two of the changes that are creating new challenges for insurers. The German life insurance industry is still one of the least profitable in Europe, as German life insurers' business prospects remain weak overall. Preliminary results for 2007 indicate a decrease of 7.1% in total new business premiums to EUR 146.1bn and gross written premiums stagnated at EUR 74.3bn. Fitch currently believes that from 2009, new business in Riester and overall, will slow down. Fitch is forecasting acceleration in competition from within Germany as investment funds and banks try to benefit from the changed product environment given their experience in short and long-term savings products. Increased competition is also expected from foreign insurers. The distribution landscape for German insurers has also changed dramatically in recent years. Also influencing German life insurers is new legislation such as the Retirement Income Act (Alters-Einkünfte- Gesetz) and the Tax-Amendment Law (Steueränderungsgesetz). After the partial lapse of tax benefits for traditional endowment policies, the new life insurance products require a much higher degree of sales force competence, as product advantages are more complex to explain to the consumer. This may spell bad news for direct sales. As in Japan, the South Korean sales force is primarily made up of women: shop owners and homemakers selling insurance part-time have historically been the distribution channel that long-established domestic South Korean insurers used to sell their products. These independent agents had little training, and as a result, the industry was marred by complaints of non-professionalism, mis-selling and low customer retention. Upon entry to the market, foreign insurers insisted upon a professional sales force and have done a lot to professionalize the industry. ING Life Korea is noted as a pioneer in this area, and has a network of professional, self-employed full-time tied agents. This model has brought about fundamental changes in the insurance market landscape. The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), South Korea's insurance regulatory body, reports that insurance salespeople are becoming more professional and are making more money. What has traditionally been a female-dominated field is now attracting men to the profession. Male life insurance planners totalled 26,396 as of March 2007, accounting for 20% of the total number of people selling life insurance. The ratio of men has more than doubled since 2002 when it was a mere 9.1%.
Researcher for a Non-Fiction Biography, May - June 2008
My client was commissioned to write a 80,000 word biography on a series of women political leaders. I was hired to help with the research. I was given a two page document that outlined the book specifications in which the author made comments about the type of content she was looking for. The book specs included a list of in print "competition" books to serve as models. I was expected to identify a list of relevant articles and books that the author could use to write the biography. I also had to create a working Table of Contents.
Researcher and Survey Designer for a Study on Learning Commons in North American Academic Libraries, May 2008
My job was to find as many articles as I could on academic learning commons in North America. I read all of them and extracted the sections I thought were most important for my client, who needed the information to write an article he could publish and to create a presentation he had to give at a professional conference. At this point in the project, I suggested we develop a survey that could be sent to hundreds of librarians. I collected a large number of email addresses for academic librarians working in learning commons. I then put together a series of survey questions that were pertinent to our research question. My client provided feedback, we made some changes, and the survey was sent out. We got a very good response and my client was able to get more insight into the state of learning commons in universities and how reference service has evolved because of them. Another component of the project was to find out how many graduate students work in learning commons and offer consultations to undergraduate students. The nature of learning is changing. A learning commons should recognize that the needs of the learner are paramount. This includes new learning pedagogies, a greater emphasis on collaborative learning, and a recognition that advances in technology have a major impact on how students now acquire, organize, and disseminate information. The evolution of the information commons concept has been one approach to providing new and refined levels of service to academic library users. The concept can be readily adapted to the campus culture and the needs of individual institutions. Given the rapid alteration of the collective information landscape, learning styles of customers, and the nature of library operations, usage patterns of library resources have steadily evolved. Many libraries and librarians have recognized these fundamental changes and some have further undergone a series of organizational developmental processes to adapt and cope with the new realities. Creating a learning commons is one of the ways in which libraries are responding. The learning commons is not just a concept, it is a place, and in many instances, it exists in the library. Academic institutions are supporting a learning commons model because the faculty and administration recognize that students learn in dynamic ways. Learning commons are spaces with the technology and design that emphasize knowledge creation. In the framework of the learning commons, the librarian as facilitator is emphasized. The librarian becomes a partner in the collaborative process on specific projects. The librarian is also responsible for marketing the learning commons and evaluating the outcomes. Another area that the librarian needs to coordinate is the increase in technical services to make sure that the tools are available and easily manipulated by users. The challenge in this philosophy is striking the right balance between the need for supporting technology in the public computing area and providing traditional reference services. New patterns of service delivery are developed to better service the needs of students in this environment. Most information commons are based on a partnership between the library and information technology services of the university with varying degrees of collaboration and integration between the two functional areas. In some cases, multimedia services are also involved. The emphasis on how to house physical collections, accommodate library staff, and seat readers has been replaced by a focus on user needs and expectations, and client experiences. A key feature of the information commons is the help provided to users. The arrangement of the computers, the ease of moving between the desks, and the placement of the information desk all contribute to its success. Students are not always willing to leave their computer and approach a desk, no matter how friendly and helpful they know the staff to be, so it is necessary for staff to go to them. A primary aim of the information commons is to create an environment and a service that will give students the opportunity to develop information and computer literacy skills. Library design should not be dominated by a concern for information resources and their delivery. It should incorporate a deeper understanding of the independent, active learning behaviours of students and the teaching strategies of faculty meant to support those. Staff should regularly rove around the commons.
Researcher and Writer for a Presentation on the Future of Academic Libraries, April 2008
My role in this project was to identify important trends and challenges that will shape the future of academic libraries. I used a number of databases to find relevant articles on the topic. I also searched the Internet for information, and interviewed a number of experts in the area of futuristic studies and libraries. My deliverable was a comprehensive report which my client used to build his presentation. The future of the academic library is a topic of continuing concern for the profession, particularly in view of advances in technology. Can libraries harness these new technologies to fulfill their mission in this new information landscape? Academic libraries are changing faster than at any time in their history and have entered a period of enormous transition. Identifying relevant technologies to employ in libraries to support services is crucial, and considering the impact of social networking and mobile devices on users and their expectations is also important. Libraries that integrate the interactive world of Web 2.0 ensure they are keeping pace with new ways of learning and interacting with students in provocative ways. Today's students have grown up with computers and are technologically-savvy. Their expectations and attitudes have been shaped by the Internet and other types of digital media. What kind of information are they looking for and how do they want to access it? Recent studies have found that even researchers and members of faculty prefer to access information on their computers from home or the office, and visit the library very irregularly. How can libraries make the information easier for them to access and use? Many students lack the basic skills to research online and often use Google to begin a search. They have difficulty establishing whether a website provides quality and accurate information. One of the core problems is that the prospect of using their library's online databases to find good information and refereed articles is overwhelming to them. Each database has its own set of rules and if you don't know them, you will not get good results. Students also don't like to ask for help. They have grown up in a digital world that sanctions independent and self-paced learning and require library services that are structured to accommodate them. University libraries' online catalogues have long been characterized as difficult to navigate and not intuitive. Libraries need to start taking lessons from business and workplaces to make quality information easily accessible to students like Amazon has done. Visitors to the site can look inside many books, read reviews, and learn about similar books. Google Books is a great tool because you can search in all the books at one time. This is an invaluable tool for research. A key point to make here is that rather than providing new and exciting services created specifically for the digital age, libraries are taking the safe route by providing their users with the same old types of services wrapped around online technologies. It just doesn't scale well. Yes, they offer online catalogues and other web-based services but they aren't adaptable and they aren't that easy to navigate and use, especially if you don't have a degree in library science. Libraries should begin developing custom portals to allow easier search options for their collections. Expensive, high quality information goes unread by a majority of students because they have no idea how to access it. Libraries should do whatever it takes to expose their digital collections, even if it means teaming with commercial players such as Google. If not, they run the risk of becoming irrelevant. Developing new and innovative services will be key to bringing academic libraries into a successful future. They will be judged by the quality of the services they offer and the quality of the staff. I think libraries need to establish themselves as agents of change - become leaders in an increasingly complex, information-rich world, if they hope to remain relevant. Technology and shifting expectations are radically changing the job of the librarian and their role in the digital era. Expectations of students, academics, and researchers act as drivers of change in libraries. It is true that universities and their libraries are currently facing a sort of perfect storm: they are being pressured to spend larger amounts of their budgets on computer systems, budgets which are shrinking due to the global financial crisis; they are receiving fewer endowments from private individuals, who have seen their net worth plummet in the last few years; and unprecedented transformations in scholarly communications coupled with advances in technology have also made the mission and position of academic libraries precarious. The evolution of student expectations and a cry for increased accountability and competition have made this a difficult time for all libraries. But it can also be a time to reinvent the academic library and overcome the challenges.
Website Content and Photographic Designer for a Well-Known Business Site Specializing in Gourmet Food Products, April 2008
I acted as a stylist for the redesign of this website, working with the web designer to create a fresh updated look for this forty year old company. I rewrote a lot of the content and found or commissioned photographs that really added to the customer experience.
Proofreader, March 2008
I proofread a document on the rise of flood devastation in the United States. People continue to build homes and businesses in areas that are prone to floods. Tens of thousands of people have lost everything to floodwaters of the ever-urbanized seaboards that are routinely hit with big storms described as isolated events but which cause billions of dollars in damages. Historically, the response has always been to employ engineering solutions to meet the challenge of flooding, along with calls for more sophisticated rainfall prediction models and better floodplain maps. This paper asks, "what's next?" For instance, Central Texas has been identified as the most flash-flood prone area in the country by the National Weather Service, but Texas has no comprehensive flood safety education program of any kind. A lack of understanding of flood risk causes deaths, massive property damage, and billions of dollars in lost revenue and aid. More stringent floodplain building codes, converting floodplains back to open spaces and parks, and publishing an annual report that identifies flood-prone areas of the country can go a long way in saving lives and raising public awareness.
Business and Market Researcher for an Insurance Start-Up, February 2008
I was hired to find information on efforts to sell life and health insurance directly to the consumer, without the help of insurance agents (direct marketing) in the following countries: England, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, South Africa, China, India, and Korea. Identification of companies that sell direct, information about their business models, the outlook for selling direct in the countries, articles about selling insurance to the "middle market" in the countries, and information about the future of the agent distribution channel in each of the countries formed the bulk of my research.
Researcher for a Book on Luxury Shopping, January - May 2008
My client wanted to write the definitive guide to luxury shopping throughout history. That meant starting at the beginning and researching the oldest luxury shops that exist in North America and Europe. As you might have guessed, London, England has some of the oldest, most luxurious, and expensive specialty stores in the world. We didn't simply focus on apparel and accessories, but also looked at furniture, stationary, fine jewellery, art and antiques, cosmetics, gifts, and even gourmet food and wine. One of the components of the research considered if paying more actually translates into a better quality purchase. We also added research on how the shopping experience has changed since some of these companies have opened online stores, and if the products differ from those found in their brick and mortar locations.
Researcher for a Magazine Journalist, January 2008
I was asked to research the selling of digital assets. I primarily used LexisNexis to find newspaper and magazine articles on the subject. I also used the Internet to do some of the research. In-game trading has grown in popularity over the past five years, in step with the growth of the MMOG games industry. Commodification of virtual goods is happening whether developers want it to or not. Inflation is rampant in most games, with rising prices subsequently fueling real-world trading. In 1999, virtual assets were increasingly being traded for real money. eBay began selling digital property in 1999, primarily those associated with Ultima Online. eBay offers gamers the chance to bid on hundreds of items, including characters, gold, armour, magical potions, trinkets, and property. Recently, a gamer sold his account for $4,000, and many others have also gotten thousands of dollars. What this means is you no longer have to be an experienced player to have property and mature characters. As long as you have money, you can acquire whatever you want instead of putting in the time and work. This is changing the nature of gaming. Sony's EverQuest also has a vibrant secondary market with hundreds of items currently listed on eBay, some selling for thousands of dollars. The birth of this secondary market elicited various reactions from companies operating MMORPGs. For example, Electronic Arts, publisher of Ultima Online, was excited by this turn of events and let its players trade their virtual assets for free. On the other hand, Sony Online Entertainment, the operator of EverQuest, asked eBay to take down any auctions for EverQuest assets. This was mostly due to frauds occurring in the market. Items bought on eBay are regularly not delivered, resulting in angry customers turning to Sony for help. In 2000, it officially outlawed the secondary market by adding certain clauses to its end-user license agreement, telling sellers that character sales infringed upon its EverQuest copyright. In January 2001, Sony managed to convince eBay and Yahoo Auctions to remove all auctions of EverQuest virtual assets, but this did nothing more than move the trading to other marketplaces, such as PlayerAuctions.com. The unauthorized, black-market auctions grew so quickly that Sony was forced to police eBay and other sites full-time. By 2005, Sony had developed its own virtual asset auction website called Station Exchange to sell assets of specific EverQuest II servers. Security effectively eliminated fraud by forcing sellers to place items in special accounts so that Sony could make sure that buyers received what they paid for. But the illegal auctions continued. In January 2007, eBay announced that it would pull all auctions for virtual artifacts, not just Sony assets, except for Second Life assets because that virtual world encourages its members to mix real life with virtual life. All Real Money Transfers (RMT) were suspended, in part, because the legal complexities of virtual property and intellectual rights to the property were unclear. With eBay out of the way, companies such as IGE, which describes itself as "the world's largest secure network of buying and selling sites for massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) virtual currency and assets on the Internet," will make more money. The World of Warcraft banned the sale of in-game items because it doesn't allow players to upgrade their characters or tools by paying money. The company expects players to earn them the old-fashioned way and will ban a player if they are caught selling outside the game world. In December 2005, it closed more than 18,000 WOW accounts for that reason.
Researcher for a PowerPoint Deck on the Importance of Government Documents, January 2008
My client had to make a presentation at an American Library Association conference and needed my help to research the topic and create the PowerPoint deck. One of the areas he wanted to focus on was the user's right to access government information and the importance of preserving it for future generations. Government documents tell the story of a nation, since almost every aspect of society is documented by local, provincial, and federal agencies. Becoming an informed citizen has a long history in American culture and forms an important component in the democratic process. How can librarians assist their patrons in accessing and understanding government information and become better informed citizens? Offering better service in this area of librarianship should be a primary concern for libraries, allowing better dissemination of information to students and researchers. Many libraries recognize the importance of government documents to researchers in areas such as law, political science, and history, but there are also teachers, genealogists, cartographers, small business owners, sociologists, geologists, university administrators, and local government officials to consider. Government documents play an important role in the research process, with statistical publications some of the most frequently consulted. Some government documents are available online, but the collections are far from complete and tend to disappear without any notice. They are also not very well organized. State and local documents present their own special problems because they are often classified using home-grown indexes, which can be ineffective. Librarians need to standardize how they arrange government documents to make the process easier for the average user. The other component covered in the PowerPoint presentation is the lack of bibliographic instruction focusing on using online government information. Studies of undergraduate library use show that new strategies are needed for integrating government information into standard library instruction.
Researcher for an International Insurance Group, December 2007
I was hired to identify the number of power plants in the United States (by state), Canada, South America (by country) and Western Europe (by country). I also had to identify the power source for each plant (steam, internal combustion, combustion turbine, non-conventional, geothermal, oil, coal). I used government documents to complete the project.
Researcher and Writer for a Book Proposal, December 2007
I worked on a book proposal for an American entrepreneur writing a book about a multi-step plan to assist with the start-up phase of new business ventures. The premise of the book is that there are many core reasons for business failure but they can be avoided through competent and considered planning.
Researcher for a Start-Up, December 2007
I was asked to find out the percentage of visitors to contact pages of small businesses/boutique websites that result in the visitor calling or emailing the business, and what percentage of those contacts result in a sale. I did some research and it seems as though the average conversion rate (unique visitors to a boutique business' general website into paying customers) is about 1%. But this doesn't measure "bounce rate" (the percentage of visitors who only view one page, then leave) and repeat visitors who return to the site over several days. What my client was looking for is a combination of "online consumer behavior," "conversion ratio," and "website analytics." I wasn't able to provide him with extensive information because, although the statistics had been compiled, the report was very expensive to buy and my client did not have the budget for it, nor did he have the budget for me to start from scratch.
Researcher for an Academic Librarian, November 2007
My client is an academic librarian, working towards tenure. As a result, he not only has to work full-time, but also has to work on studies and papers that will help him get promoted. That's why he hired me. This project focused on the future of reference service in academic libraries. As a first step, we worked together to develop a survey that asked librarians a series of questions about reference. I had already spent time on the Internet collecting the email addresses of reference librarians working in universities and colleges in Canada, so I sent the survey to them. We had a very good response and their comments added a lot to my final report, which included statistics, graphs, and all comments from responding librarians. Next, I did a literature review, pulling the most important points from each article to make it easy for my client to write up the paper. This is some of what I learned from the project: The bottom line is that many users of reference have moved online and expect reference when and where they need it. They also tend to be self-sufficient and have embraced the self-service ideology for most things in their lives. Long gone are the days when librarians could sit back and wait for library users to come to them, especially with the rise of online databases and virtual courses, which are crucial not only to part-time students, but to special-needs students. Reference services also need to accommodate the nomadic NextGens by supplementing traditional face-to-face service with online communications. The changing nature of college students makes it important for reference librarians to be comfortable with new technologies. Students expect services and resources when and where they need them, not when and where the library staff wants to provide them. New models of service are popping up to supplement traditional reference services: outdoor mobile reference kiosks are scattered across university campuses; librarians offering reference help in dining and residence halls; librarians walking through study areas with laptops, asking if students need help; using Web 2.0 technologies, such as MySpace to reach out; email reference; and conducting reference interviews through chat. Several libraries are incorporating training to help familiarize staff with Web 2.0 concepts. Reference librarians will continue to be flexible and creative in using technology to supplement more traditional methods of service delivery. It is very important for the survival and growth of libraries to go where the users are. However, given the preference for independent information collection, virtual reference is unlikely to be viewed as the solution to most students, particularly since it is still based on the patron interacting with a librarian and doesn't reflect the fact that information-seeking in a digital environment differs greatly from traditional library-based research. Other forms of creative online reference help need to be developed that incorporate the way electronic resources are used. Many of the challenges facing libraries are the same as they have always faced: providing products that their patrons want and succeeding in a competitive environment. Nothing has changed. The current twist is choosing the right delivery system as publishers and library consortiums try to keep up in a networked world of electronic reference products. It is only through such experimentation that libraries will learn what applications are appropriate for what tasks and what reference environments. The progress of technology has allowed, and will continue to allow, reference services to become more collaborative, to the benefit of both individual services and reference work in general.
Researcher and Writer for a K-12 Book on America's Security Agencies, November 2007
My role in this project was to look through the manuscript and taking important points from each chapter, provide qualitative web links for the topics covered. For each link, I created a fifty word descriptive annotation. I also wrote a bibliography. The research I did is found in the back of the book and can be used by students to do further research and write reports.
Fact Checker and Bibliographic Consultant for a Manuscript on Inventors, October - December 2007
This book covers a number of famous and not so famous inventors who changed the world. Elisha Graves Otis invented the elevator brake, which permitted skyscrapers to be built; Alfred Nobel was a wealthy industrialist, who invented dynamite; Robert Metcalfe is the inventor of Ethernet; Louis and Auguste Lumière invented a camera and projector system they named the Cinématographe, which became the foundation for the film industry; Ray Kurzweil invented the Kurzweil Reading Machine, which reads printed materials to visually impaired people; Charles Goodyear's discovery of vulcanization made rubber strong enough to be used in the manufacture of automobile tires; Milton Bradley invented the Checkered Game of Life (later sold as the Game of Life) and launched an entire new range of board games; in 1976, Seymour Cray designed and built the CRAY-1, the world's first supercomputer; Douglas Engelbart owns the patent for the computer mouse; Art Fry, product development researcher at 3M, is the person responsible for Post-it Notes; pioneering automotive engineer, Henry Ford, was an inventor with many patents on automotive components and was famous for creating the assembly line that revolutionized the auto industry and made cars cheap enough for the ordinary person; and Thomas Alva Edison was the inventor who held patents for more than one thousand inventions. He is famous as the inventor of the phonograph, the incandescent electric lamp, the first industrial research laboratory, and the motion-picture projector. I did a lot of research to make sure my client had all the facts and dates correct. I also created the bibliography.
Fact Checker for a Book on the National Parks of the United States, September - November 2007
National parks are going through a transitional period and are faced with many problems. Encroachment, pollution, animal control issues, the dilemma of dams, and the reality that drug cartels are using national parks to grow marijuana, putting visitors and park wardens in danger when they come upon these illegal operations. Interests of various indigenous groups were also covered in the book, along with problems associated with visitors to parks. My job was to make sure all information was accurate, and in some cases, expand the scope of the subject matter. Acadia National Park, Everglades National Park, Glacier National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve, Yellowstone National Park, and Yosemite National Park were covered in the book.
Researcher for a Series of Educational Booklets on the Amendments to the United States Constitution, September - October 2007
The members of the Constitutional Convention signed the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The members met because the states were very dissatisfied with the Articles of Confederation and there was a need for a stronger centralized government to keep the federation together. After months of debate and many compromises, the draft Constitution was presented to the states for acceptance. The Constitution was eventually ratified, establishing the new Federal government in 1789. It is no surprise that the Constitution would need to change as the country grew and matured. An amendment process was built into the original document to facilitate these changes and make room for additions. The first ten amendments are collectively called the Bill of Rights. To date, there have been twenty-seven amendments to the US Constitution. An overview of the Constitution, a look at the Bill of Rights, along with a number of the Amendments, were included in my work. I then had to provide a number of modern examples that challenge some of the Amendments. Some of the amendments I researched were the establishment of women's suffrage (Nineteenth Amendment), the abolishment of slavery (Thirteenth Amendment), the prohibition of alcohol (Eighteenth Amendment), the repeal of prohibition (Twenty-first Amendment), the right to keep and bear arms (Second Amendment), the granting of citizenship to and protecting the civil liberties of recently freed slaves (Fourteenth Amendment), and the right to have individual freedoms (the Fifth Amendment). The history and the events leading up to each amendment and the politics and personalities behind the changes to the United States Constitution are discussed. I wrote summarizations of the amendments, how and why they came about, and characterizations of the main players. I also included scenarios on how these historical occurrences affect us today.
Science Researcher for Industry Canada, July - September 2007
I used the Internet and academic databases to find examples of nano-bio-info convergent applications that are usually embedded in systems. Converging technologies are applications having new and combined features derived from the intersection or combination of different enabling technology platforms. Convergence represents a new way of viewing cross and multi-disciplinary possibilities, and it will provide major recombination opportunities for business and entrepreneurs. It may also present unintended social consequences. A diverse private - public partnership, combining key organizations is required to explore the convergent landscape, the potential opportunities, as well as the unintended negative implications. My client's primary need was to expand, deepen, and add new prospective applications to their present inventory in three areas: 1.) Energy & Environment (EE), including energy production and distribution; energy end use and device efficiencies; environmental stewardship + toxicology; environmental monitoring + sensing; and bio-remediation. 2.) Water, Food and Bio- Products (WFB), including synthetic, bioengineered foods; industrial bio-products; bio-fuels, bioenergy systems optimization; food processing and packaging; and food and water freshness and preservation. 3.) Health and Life Sciences (HLS), including nano-bio pharma-drug design and delivery; bio-computation, nano-imaging for medicine; bio-nano materials for health devices; bio-nano diagnostic devices and arrays; and bio-nano-genetic medicine. The challenge was to identify, analyze, imagine, and speculate how these new technologies, their innovative functionalities, and public partnership-stewardship implications may affect a selected set of sectoral activities that are deemed critical for Canada's future. Here are a couple of the technologies and their applications that I was able to find: 1. Researchers at the ARC Centre for Functional Nanomaterials, University of New South Wales, Australia, are developing new coatings they hope will be used for self-cleaning surfaces in hospitals and the home. Used on outdoor surfaces such as self-cleaning windows, titanium dioxide (TiO2) particles work by absorbing UV light below a certain wavelength, exciting electrons and giving the particles an oxidizing quality stronger than any commercial bleach. These nanoparticles kill microbes and break down organic compounds, and water runs straight off surfaces coated with TiO2, washing as it goes. 2. Motorola Labs and Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona) announced a key advancement in the use of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in Field Effect Transistors (FETs) to sense biological and chemical agents at low concentrations. Together, the research teams tuned SWNT-FETs to sense specific agents by applying a peptide-functionalized polymer coating that does not affect their ability to transmit electrical signals. This developing sensor technology could be used to monitor a host of environmental and health issues, including air and water quality, industrial chemicals, and biological agents, especially in the area of homeland security. 3. Until now quantum dots have been known primarily for their ability to produce a dozen different distinct colors of light simply by varying the size of the individual nanocrystals, a capability particularly suited to fluorescent labeling in biomedical applications. But chemists at Vanderbilt University discovered a way to make quantum dots spontaneously produce broad-spectrum white light. The report of their discovery, which happened by accident, appears in Quantum Dots that Produce White Light Could Be the Light Bulb's Successor. 4. The EU-funded BioFinger project is another interesting project. Its aim is to develop "versatile, inexpensive, and easy-to-use diagnostic tools for health, environmental and other applications." The BioFinger device uses cantilevers on a disposable microchip, making it small and portable, and allowing it to be reconfigured with new on-chip cantilevers to detect different substances. The tip of the cantilever is coated with chemicals allowing it to bend and resonate when it binds specific molecules (such as those on the surface of bacteria). The analysis which can be performed anywhere, anytime, takes between 15 and 20 minutes. 5. Nano-scale sensors are in development that will monitor toxins and bacteria at all stages of food processing. This will help producers spot salmonella in chickens or e-coli in spinach, long before the products reach the shops. Self-monitoring food packaging will mature into technology like the nano-tongue. Wired into your fridge, it will detect and warn you of a whole range of chemicals given off by rotting food, or the presence of bacteria, and then clean them. 6. The food industry is excited about sell-by dates and self-preserving food. Nano-coatings will make the lifespan of manufactured food even longer. Food manufacturers including Unilever and Nestle plan to use nano-encapsulation to improve shelf life and engineer taste sensations in fat-based foods like chocolates, ice creams, and spreads. 7. Development of nanotechnology for rapid detection of food pathogens, specifically, new rapid methods for detecting food pathogens will be developed using high sensitive Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) sensors based on nanostructured substrates. A new generation of nanotechnology companies is focused squarely on the water and food purity market, using nanoparticles that form chemical bonds with contaminants and don't let go. Thiol-SAMMS, a powder, can suck up 60 percent of its own weight in mercury, arsenic, lead, and other metals, and is so absorbent that a single tablespoonful has the same surface area as a football field. Rice University researchers have demonstrated nanorust, microscopic particles of the metal magnetite that bond to arsenic in water and can then be lifted out with an ordinary magnet. 8. Tiny magnets help drugs reach the spot. Inhaled drugs could soon be guided to the lungs by magnetic fields using a new technique developed by researchers in Germany. The team performed computer simulations and experiments on mice to show that drugs mixed with tiny magnetic nanoparticles could be delivered to the lungs up to eight times more efficiently than if inhaled normally. Nanocarriers may not only be used for the administration of drugs to the airways but also to deliver vaccines since the stimulation of a long lasting, protective immunity to respiratory viruses is often difficult to achieve with conventional respiratory vaccines. 9. Nanopatches are expected to make needles a thing of the past. The patch will contain very tiny projections (micro-nanoprojections) that when applied to the skin will deliver vaccine to the target cells below the surface. "It's a revolutionary approach that will overcome several of the problems of existing vaccine delivery, including the need for medical personnel to administer needles, the cost and logistics of storing and transporting vaccines, and hygienic needle use and disposal. All things considered, this technology will have a huge impact on the way vaccination programs are administered in third world countries with the potential to reach far greater numbers of people than under conventional needle technology." 10. Tissue engineering and rejuvenation medicine using self-assembling nanostructures to create fully biological or biohybrid tissues and organs in vitro that can be safely implanted in the human body is also on the horizon. 11. Researchers are attempting to develop more accurate and sensitive techniques to monitor cellular changes of cancer cells in both temporal and spatial domains using nanotechnology and are now working to miniaturize MEMS devices to the nanoscale. 12. Magnetic nanoparticles heat up when a time-varying magnetic field is applied. This characteristic is used to burn away cancer cells (Hyperthermia), which can specifically destroy the desired target without deteriorating healthy surrounding tissue. Cancer cells are more sensitive to temperatures in excess of 41 degrees C than their normal counterparts. 13. Near-infrared light, which passes harmlessly through our cells, causes carbon nanotubes to heat up enough to destroy cells. The nanotubes can be placed only in cancer cells by coating them with folate to attach to the numerous folate receptors on cancerous cells. 14. Magnetic nanoparticles for cell isolation where the attraction between an external magnet and the MNPs enables separation of a wide variety of biological entities. Examples are the isolation of cancer cells in blood samples or stem cells in bone marrow to allow for improved diagnosis and the removal of toxins from the human body. Furthermore, MNPs can be biologically activated to allow the uptake of cells via endocytotic pathways, thereby allowing certain cellular compartments to be specifically addressed. Once taken up, the desired cellular compartments can be magnetically isolated and accurately studied using proteomic analysis. 15. Gold nanoshells for tumor detection: when injected into the blood stream, they naturally congregate at tumor sites so that no additional targeting is necessary. In order to feed their growth, tumors create many, many blood vessels very quickly, so the vessels are often defective, allowing the nanoshells to slip through vascular "leaks" and gain access to the tumor. Detecting and targeting tumors by exploiting their surrounding vascular defects is known as "enhanced permeability and retention," or EPR effect. 16. Nanotechnology research tools to allow better understanding of cellular behavior, the difference between normal and abnormal cells, and communications between cells are currently being developed. These tools can measure energy metabolism, internal fluid flow, transportation of components, and the signaling pathways of cells.
Lifestyle Researcher and Consultant for an Upcoming Book on Ethical Living (NDA in Place), June - November 2007
My role in this project was to research topics for a book that looks at the issues surrounding consumer life, including the clothes we buy, the food we eat, the products we buy for our homes, and how consumers can make realistic choices that are ethically motivated and environmentally friendly.
Researcher for an Education Resource Organization, May - June 2007
I used academic journals, websites, and books to find information on a wide variety of subjects, including great minds of ancient science and math, cultural holidays around the world, how to avoid plagiarism, landmark supreme court cases, and 19th century philosophers. This material was then used to write booklets for the K-12 education system.
Researcher and Writer for an Online Legal Information Company, April - May 2007
I was employed to find information on a number of current topics making the news, including various types of food poisoning. I then wrote articles for each and had them published on my client's website.
Historical Researcher for Enslow Publishers, March 2007
Thomas L. Jennings, Patricia Era Bath, George Washington Carver, Lonnie G. Johnson, Percy Lavon Julian, Lewis Howard Latimer, Jan E. Matzeliger, Garrett A. Morgan, Madame C.J. Walker, and Granville T. Woods are some of the African-American inventors that appear in this book. My job was to use the Internet to find interesting information about these inventors. I then had to summarize each website and make a record for each to insert into an online database. Before America abolished slavery in 1865, only free African-Americans were allowed to patent an invention. After the enactment of the U.S. Patent Act in 1790, there was some documentation of the works of African-American inventors, but that documentation is sketchy because the Patent Office usually didn't record or ask for the race of the inventor. Even after slavery was abolished, there were other obstacles facing African-American inventors. They didn't have the same access to education, apprenticeships, and training programs as whites. Interacting with other inventors and being nurtured through mentorships was not for them. They also found it difficult to get funding to finance their research and development, and the money to market their inventions after they were patented was unavailable to them. Many gave up the rights to their work to get the financial backing they needed, so they never made any money from sales of their inventions. From 1910-1930, more than two million African-Americans migrated from the rural south to escape racism and prejudice. They arrived in northern cities to a new way of life, leaving the fields for better paying jobs in machine shops and factories where they were able to develop new technical skills and where they were exposed to a new mentality, one which brought out their inventive natures. Thomas L. Jennings was the first African-American to receive a patent. In 1821, he received a patent for a dry cleaning process that he invented.
Researcher for a Web 2.0 Start-Up, March - May 2007
My job was to generate a number of reports that incorporated statistics, trends, revenue and business models, market numbers, and historical growth rates. I also researched articles that would help my clients have a deeper understanding of their customers and competitors.
Researcher for a UK Non-Profit Charitable Organization, March 2007
I was hired to assist in the research for a report on how information and communication technologies are changing the way voluntary and community organizations (VCOs) conduct their day to day business.
Researcher for an Academic Library Consultant, March 2007
I worked with a consultant to develop a Library Disability Services Strategic Plan for a Seattle University Library. The goal was to conduct a formal strategic planning process to gauge the growth in service and to identify recommendations for improvements that would meet the future needs of students and faculty with disabilities to make sure they have access to independent learning. We created a series of surveys and questionnaires as our point of departure. An extensive literature review into best practices formed a large part of my work for this project. I also accessed disability plans for a number of comparable libraries to check on their policies. The demand for service continues to grow as libraries continue to struggle to meet the demands of students with disabilities. Only a few years ago, students with disabilities had little choice when it came to technology that facilitated independent use of digitized information. Things are changing and students have much better access to information technology and have the ability to convert materials into electronic text, which allows them to read more effectively and quickly. The following are some of the recommendations we made to the library committee: provide library spaces that are appropriate and safe; make informed staff available to students with disabilities; make certain that LDS study spaces are available whenever the library is open; require staff to undergo training in special software applications and equipment for the disabled; monitor developments in IT for new technology that will level the academic playing field for students and faculty with disabilities; provide access to the extensive library collections; and supply well-equipped library workstations.
Researcher and Writer for a London-based Author, February - March 2007
I was hired to research topical subjects of interest for HR professionals, including current trends, employment legislation, recruitment, HR networking, talent management, the implications of social media, and outsourcing. I also provided my client with a series of mini reports that I wrote for each topic.
Researcher, February 2007
My client wanted me to find articles and reports that address the issue of attrition of bank checking accounts. Retail banks are currently having difficulties retaining checking account customers because of intense competition between banks for such customers. I was hired to get some hard data on the phenomenon. Factiva was invaluable for the project.
Business Researcher, January 2007
I was hired to find information on best practices for fulfillment/retention of financial services sold via direct marketing. The Direct Marketing Association was a very helpful resource for this project.
Business Researcher, January 2007
I used a series of questionnaires, surveys, and interviews to help my client's company become more successful and profitable. I also used government and public data, along with other financial statistics, to create a development strategy to move the business forward.
Researcher and Annotator, January 2007
My job was to read 200 articles in the area of human and organizational systems thinking and write an annotation for each. This work was done for a doctoral student. I also rewrote his comprehensive assessment paper.
Knowledge Manager and Researcher for an International Insurance Group, January 2007
On a monthly basis, I identify information that relates to a particular sector of the insurance industry. It is used as a foundational element in a strategic knowledge sharing system for a global operation. The research is shared with business units throughout the world. These are some of the subjects I regularly research for this corporation: Long Term Care Insurance, Marketing Insurance, Term Life Insurance, Life Insurance Distribution, Critical-illness Insurance, Policyholder Marketing, Insurance Overviews, Digital Marketing, Baby Boomer Market, Customer Retention and Loyalty in Bancassurance, Insurance Market Development, Green Bancassurance, Orphan Management, Distribution Models of Insurance and Financial Industries, Trends in the Insurance Industry (US, Canada, Europe, Asia), High-Net-Worth Market, Multi-Channel Distribution, Insurance Products, Banks Selling Insurance, Annuitization, Cross Selling Insurance, Country Profiles and Research on New Countries, New Insurance Markets, Best Practices for Fulfillment or Retention for Financial Services Sold Via Direct Marketing, Direct Marketing, Competition: ACE, AEGON, Aetna, AIA, AIG, AON, AXA, Cigna, Middle-Market Insurance, Longevity Insurance, Whole Life Insurance, Insurance Regulations, Securitization, Simplified Issue Insurance Products, Universal Life, Insurance Research Studies, Orphan Policyholders, Insurance Conferences and Seminars, Best Practices in Direct Mail, Telemarketing, Ecommerce, Statement Based Marketing, Direct TV, Outsourcing Claims, Emerging Markets Insurance and Banks, Reinsurance Market, Reinsurance Companies, Insurance Companies/Brokers, Bank Market, Marketing, Ecommerce, Customer Retention, Compliance for Communication, Data Protection and Data Transfer Regulations in the European Union and Asiapacific, Creative for Direct Marketing, Professional Broking, Information Security, Voice Message Broadcasting, Mobile Banking and Payments, Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI), Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), Professional Liability, Solvency II, Deregulation, Insurance/Bancassurance Lead Generation, Microfinance and Microinsurance, Bancassurance, Selling Insurance Online, Country Profiles and Research on Existing Countries, Industry Profiles, ULIPs, Attitudinal Data, Bluetooth Marketing, Insurance Direct Marketing, Scor, Trends in the Bank and Bancassurance Market (Americas, EMEA, Asia Pacific), Accident Protector, Accidental Death Insurance, Disability Insurance, Senior Accidental Death, Income Protector, Credit (Card) Insurance, Serious Illness/Cancer, Call Monitoring and Speech Analytics, Corporate Marketing and Branding, Direct to Consumer Marketing (New Players/Trends in the Direct Marketing Business), Takaful (Islamic) Insurance, Charity and Insurance, Direct Marketing Technology, Insurance-Linked Securities Market, Mobile Banking and Microinsurance, Mobile Insurance Payments, and Behavioural Targeting.
Business Development and Researcher for an Internet Start-Up, December 2006
I was hired on an ongoing basis to identify and match innovative business opportunities with my client's company vision. Competitive analysis, targeting potential new customer bases, and assessing target markets is included in my work. Ultimately, my role is to suggest possible new products and services, and brainstorm entirely new business markets and models. Other duties see me analyzing the needs of key customers, monitoring progress, offering solutions, negotiating fees, and contracting new business for them.
Researcher and Editor for a PhD Student, December 2006
My client had the task of writing a lengthy essay on an ethical dilemma in contemporary social work. Ethical dilemmas present the decision-maker with competing perspectives which are of proportional or similar worth. In order to focus the situation, you must state the dilemma in ethical terms. I was asked to find the appropriate information and supportive articles, and helped with structuring the essay and editing it.
Photographic Researcher, December 2006
I was asked to find photographs and the names of those sitting on a number of Australian banking boards.
Sports Researcher for MyReportLinks.com, November 2006
I was given the manuscripts for a number of Grade 7+ books on popular sports teams. Sensational sports teams such as those featured in this series, are teams that have success on the field and are able to capture the imaginations of fans off the field. Each book tells the history of a team and highlights its top players, managers, and personalities that have made the team great. I read the manuscripts and then found thirty qualitative websites for each one. Besides the usual book format, the publisher also provides links in each of its books that relate to the topics covered. Choosing websites for school children is not as easy as some may think. There is a lot to keep in mind. The accuracy and currency of the content and the credibility of the site's creators are the most important factors when assessing whether a site should be recommended for students. Information that is correct and up to date, with appropriate author's credentials; content that is serious and scholarly; information that is politically, religiously, or otherwise unbiased; sites that appear well maintained and updated; and those with correct spelling and grammar are good places to begin. Websites should meet the same stringent standards required of print products. A few other things to watch for are: is there advertising? How is the overall design and presentation of the site? Are there graphics or other features that take a long time to download? Do you need to have specialized software to access sections of the site? Do all the links work? Once I had found the links, I wrote an annotation for each one that summarized the contents. An online database was then used to insert all bibliographic and value-added information for each site and uploaded to the company's server. The Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Yankees, the Miami Heat, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Chicago Bulls, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were some of the titles I did this work for. School children will use the research to learn more about their favorite athletes and what it takes to become a professional competitor.
Designer and Project Manager for a Business Website, November 2006
I worked with an experienced web programmer and designer to recreate an already existing ecommerce site, focusing on the newest digital marketing techniques to complement the client's business plan and target audience. The design incorporates intuitive user interfaces with logical and easy-to-use navigation elements that are accessible and usable to a wide variety of operating systems and technologies.
Endangered Species Researcher and Writer for MyReportLinks.com, October - December 2006
Jaguars, whooping cranes, cheetahs, otters, rhinoceroses, grizzly bears, Florida panthers, giant pandas, mountain gorillas, wallabies, orangutans, and bighorn sheep were some of the animals I researched for this job. Predators, competition for food, hunting, fire, loss of natural habitat, poaching, limited geographic range, pollution, use of animal parts in traditional Asian medicines, illegal trade, and the introduction of non-native animal species were some of the sub-topics I focused on. I then wrote profiles for each and provided other annotations. The information will be used as part of an online educational tool for students and will also appear in a series of books for the K-12 market.
Researcher for a PhD Student, October 2006
This project involved me finding the newest and most cutting-edge information on running injuries, injuries in recreational adult fitness activities, and the etiology and prevention of sports injuries.
Researcher for an Academic Librarian, September 2006
An academic library was considering opening a reference desk inside Second Life. One of the librarians on the committee asked me to do some research on the avatar-driven virtual world, in preparation for a meeting. I chose a hands-on approach to this research project by joining Second Life to learn about it instead of reading articles. Second Life is free to join and many of its activities are free. Others cost money and must be paid in Linden dollars, the official currency of the virtual world. If you want to own land, you have to pay a monthly fee. Businesses, corporations, banks, car manufacturers, clothing designers, tax professionals, politicians, embassies, hotel chains, real estate companies, non-profits, and entrepreneurs are using Second Life as a way to reach out to customers. The educational uses of this virtual world is also growing. For example, Stanford University's Humanities Lab has set up a museum dedicated to award-winning American artist and filmmaker, Lynn Hershman Leeson. Universities, such as Harvard, Pepperdine, Elon, Ohio, Ball State, New York, Stanford, Delft University of Technology, and AFEKA Tel-Aviv Academic College of Engineering have opened cutting-edge virtual classrooms on Second Life. Many libraries have also established 'ask a librarian' reference desks.
Researcher for an European Consultancy, September 2006
I was hired to help my clients develop a more coherent ecommerce strategy. Specifically, I had to look for information on life and health insurance sales over the Internet (global scope); electronic policy delivery/fulfillment; email marketing of financial services; and the use of the Internet to support direct mail marketing or telemarketing campaigns. Once I had collected the information, I read everything and wrote a report.
Researcher for an International Insurance Group, August - December 2006
Working with a web programmer, I helped design and create an application to store, categorize, and annotate digital information. I then did my research using academic journals, trade publications, magazines, newspapers, country reports, industry profiles, market research reports, and product reviews. This great tool allowed me to store the articles and information I found for my client, create bibliographic profiles for each article, categorize by subject and country, write abstracts, add keywords, and make comments and notes.
Business Plan Writer, Researcher, and Editor for a Pharmaceutical Start-Up (NDA in Place), August - September 2006
This not-for-profit organization needed my assistance with researching and writing a business plan, one based on ideas from the field of social entrepreneurship. My clients are working on the release of an important, innovative, and controversial psychoactive substance that can be used to treat addiction to opiates, methamphetamines, and other drugs. The medication displays anti-addictive properties, interrupting the symptoms of drug withdrawal syndrome and reduces drug cravings, which allows an addict to detoxify with minimal symptoms. I also worked on the problem statement. I added new information to try to explain in more detail what my client had in mind. I added hyperlinks and posted the business plan and other background information online for supporters and potential investors who might want to read more. To date, drug development has been largely confined to the R&D-based pharmaceutical industry, which has grown into one of the most prosperous industrial sectors by focusing on the most lucrative medical markets. This reliance on market-based incentives and commercial actors to generate new medicines has transformed drugs into regular consumer goods. The limitation of this system is that market forces skew drug development investments toward diseases and patients that guarantee the highest financial returns. Given that North America, Europe, and Japan account for 80% of the world's pharmaceutical market, the health needs of the majority of the world's population are being sidelined by the proprietary pharmaceutical industry. While publicly financed research institutions are involved in the early phases of research and drug discovery, the expertise, infrastructure, and management capacity for taking these findings through the drug development pipeline are almost entirely concentrated in the private commercial sector. While multi-million dollar investments fund research aimed at developing highly profitable drugs for prosperous markets, drug R&D for neglected diseases is stifled. That is why when Doctors Without Borders won the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize, it committed the prize money to the development of an alternative model for the research and development of new drugs for neglected diseases. As a result, seven organizations joined forces to establish the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi): the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation from Brazil, the Indian Council for Medical Research, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia France's Pasteur Institute, Médecins sans Frontières, and the UNDP/World Bank/WHO's Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, which acts as a permanent observer to the initiative. "Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) is a collaborative, patients' needs-driven, non-profit drug research and development organization that is developing new treatments for malaria, visceral leishmaniasis (VL), sleeping sickness (Human African Trypanosomiasis), and Chagas disease."
Government Documents Researcher and Writer for an Association of Curriculum Development, August 2006
Many school teachers have few opportunities to improve on their course preparation techniques and feel unqualified to teach particular subjects. For example, surveys show that elementary school teachers feel they are more unprepared to teach math and science than any other subjects. Helping K-12 educators enrich their understanding of the subjects they teach and mastering new teaching strategies results in more effective inspired teachers and greater progress for students. Teaching children about the United States federal government and how it is structured can also be challenging for educators. I was hired to do basic research on the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch, which interprets America's laws. I was then expected to package the information in such a way as to provide a step by step guide on how to more easily and interactively teach middle school students about the three branches of government. Quizzes, games, and group activities were developed.
Digital Photographic Consultant and Image Stylist for Online Store, July 2006
I received a large number of digital photos to be used for a gourmet food website. My job was to choose a selection that would best reflect the company brand and facilitate the building of an online retail environment that maximized customer experience and retention.
Historical Researcher and Writer for an Education Resource Organization, June - July 2006
I researched and developed a series of virtual education field trips and finding aids that focused on American historical events and sites. Gettysburg, the National Mall in Washington, DC, Martin Luther King, Jr's National Historic Site, and the John F. Kennedy National Historic Site were included in the project.
Business Researcher for a Technology Start-Up, June 2006
Habbo Hotel, Second Life, Club Penguin, Nicktropolis, Neopets, Webkinz World, Whyville, and Disney Extreme Digital were the virtual worlds I was asked to research, focusing on when they were founded, how many users they have, their demographics, revenue models, terms and conditions, and their privacy policies. I was asked to find the same information for social networking sites Bebo, del.icio.us, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Imbee, Piczo, and YouTube. Additionally, my clients were interesting in knowing which Second Life asset providers and creators were considered the top players in the field. Team-VIP, Player Auctions, Markee Dragon, Gaming Treasures, EyeOnMOGS, The Electric Sheep Company, Aimee Weber Studio, Accident Designs, and Anshe Chung Studios are some of them. Here is a little of what I found out about some of the social networking sites. 1.) The Bebo site was founded in January 2005 and given a major relaunch in July of that year. It reports 30 million registered members, viewing over five billion monthly page views. Bebo is developing its business model around what it calls 'engagement marketing' where ads are spread virally around content. It has also announced plans for a platform that will allow users to choose the ads they receive. No revenue numbers are available. Product placement will be a crucial revenue stream. It was announced that Orange has paid Bebo to provide its customers with an exclusive mobile version of its popular social network, at least for a while. The move follows a similar tie-up between Vodafone and MySpace, which was announced in February. Bebo also announced that it is introducing a music download service that will allow bands to sell music. The indie store service will be available to Bebo users in the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. San Francisco-based social network Bebo recently raised $15 million from Benchmark Capital, and rejected a £300 million ($552 million) acquisition offer from British Telecom Group in 2006. 2.) Facebook launched in February of 2004. It has 20 million active users. It is free to use, but ad-driven. Revenue is estimated to be $50,000,000 per year and is expected to generate revenue of more than $100 million this year. Facebook got its first major influx of money last summer when Microsoft guaranteed to pay approximately $200 million in ad revenue through 2008. Co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg has recently said that the ad contract had been extended through 2011. Facebook continues to look for new markets and is going beyond college and high school markets, now allowing new users from corporate networks to join the social network. Inside Facebook lists ten companies that are currently Facebook-enabled: Accenture, Amazon, Apple, EA, Gap, Intel, Intuit, Microsoft, Pepsi, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Zuckerberg, now 22, reportedly turned down a $750-$800 million offer from Viacom, holding out for $2 billion, according to news accounts. More recently, it was reported that he received an offer of close to $1 billion from Yahoo!, which he also turned down. Some analysts expect Zuckerberg will file for an IPO in the next two years, when Facebook is expected to be much more valuable. He will have time to build up its ad sales and create demand for its stock before going public. 3.) Flickr was launched in 2004. There is a free version and also a paid subscription that costs $24.95 US per year. In March 2005, Yahoo! acquired Flickr. Financial terms were not disclosed. Sources believe that the acquisition price was anywhere from $17 to $35 million (cash and stock deal), although most people in the know put it at $30 million. Flickr reportedly has 7.2 million registered users and 23 million monthly unique visitors. This is only an estimate since Yahoo! does not divulge revenue numbers. Co-founder and general manager, Stewart Butterfield, talks about Flickr's growth in size and quality, and its status as a Yahoo company: "We don't break down revenues by property but I can definitely say we're happy with it. The core of the business is the premium subscription service, and we do much better in that than we expected in the early days. We're gradually starting to experiment more with branded advertising and there's contextual advertising in the search. Over time, advertising will become a bigger component of the revenue picture. So people are definitely happy at Yahoo!. There's never been any worries about Flickr's revenue and the long-term potential is excellent." 4.) The MySpace service was founded in July 2003. It has 100,000,000+ users and an average of 31.5 billion unique page views per month. It is free to use, but ad-driven. MySpace was bought by Rupert Murdoch in July 2005 for US$580 million. Various analysts have called it the deal of the century because it is reportedly worth anywhere from $6-8 billion in the current market. In March 2007, Pali Research analyst, Richard Greenfield, wrote that MySpace is now generating in excess of $30 million a month in revenue, with about $24 million in domestic revenue and $6 million internationally. Google recently agreed to pay MySpace at least $900 million over three years to sell text and banner advertisements on its site. MySpace is gaining a strong footing in the mobile world. A recent deal with Cingular has resulted in the sign-up of 200,000 MySpace mobile users. Really cashing in will mean reinventing the ad business for the social networking world. One way of getting rates up is to create customized ads. 5.) YouTube was founded in February 2005 by three former employees of PayPal. It is ad-driven and free to use. Before being bought by Google, YouTube reported that its business model was advertising-based. Some industry commentators have speculated that YouTube's running costs - specifically the bandwidth required - may be as high as US$1 million per month, fueling criticisms that the company never had a viable business model. The site was losing lots of money, had huge expenses, not much revenue, and no profits, but Google was interested anyway and acquired it for $1.65 billion in Google stock. Traffic was climbing and still is. Since the deal, YouTube's audience has grown forty percent and has more visitors than any other video website, many that you can't easily find watching TV. According to comScore Media Metrics, YouTube's 136 million monthly visitors made up about 18 percent of the world's Internet audience in January. YouTube already has partnerships with NBC, CBS, Universal Music, Sony BMG and Warner Music. What it doesn't have a lot of is the kind of content that advertisers are interested in being associated with. In addition to selling banner and search ads, YouTube is doing custom campaigns for major brands that cost about $750,000 a pop. YouTube is serving 100 million videos per day.
Fact Checker for an Upcoming Book, June 2006
Fact checking involves verifying facts and checking quotes, dates, names, page numbers, addresses, spelling, titles, statistics, geographical locations, and citations for accuracy, relevancy, and legitimacy of content using reliable sources. I was hired to fact check a non-fiction book and do the work within a very tight schedule.
Bibliographic Consultant, May - June 2006
I was hired by a major publishing house to assist copy editors and the project manager with the footnotes and bibliography for a non-fiction book. What sometimes happens when copy editors make their final tour through a book is that the bibliographic citations get moved around and become attached to the wrong text. My job was to iron out the difficulties, check for the accuracy of each note, and to make sure that the proper format was used. I also compiled the bibliography for the book.
Business Development Researcher (NDA in Place), May 2006
I was asked to research and identify appropriate Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors for a business that is currently looking for capital.
Researcher, May 2006
I was asked to find out the ownership structure of Scientific American Inc. They are publishers of the magazine Scientific American. I was also asked to obtain information on the senior management at Scientific American
and/or their Board of Directors. Scientific American is a private publication. Scientific American
Inc. is a private division of parent company, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, in Germany, which is also privately owned. This was a challenging assignment and I used some specialized databases to find the information.
Historical Researcher and Writer for MyReportLinks.com, April - May 2006
My duties included reading a number of manuscripts on famous inventors. Henry Ford, Julius Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Alva Edison, Philo T. Farnsworth, Louis Pasteur, Guglielmo Marconi, Nikola Tesla, and Johannes Gutenberg were included in the project. I used the Internet to find quality information about the inventors and wrote a summary for each of the 240 websites. I then created a database record for each site and inserted them into an online database. The information will be made available to school children who buy the book and used to write reports.
Researcher, April 2006
I was asked to find out the top ten blogs and what business models they are using to make money. Using Technorati as my primary source, I found that the top three blogs were engadget, boingboing, and TechCrunch. A large assortment of ads, sponsorship ads, RSS ads, membership in a larger network, and selling branded merchandise, formed the basis of the blogs' business models. Additional income streams used by other top blogs include: asking for donations, selling books based on blog content, affiliate programs, user subscriptions, paid job postings, and speaking and consulting fees.
Business Researcher, April 2006
My job on this assignment was to find consultants and experts to become a part of the primary management team for a new company. I found software engineers, programmers, security experts, and communication technologists to join the team.
Researcher for a Commercial and Residential Insurance Company, March 2006
Operating in thirty-five states, this insurance company needed my help to identify information relating to a potential new class of business for them. Specifically, they were interested in finding out which insurance companies and brokers provide insurance to family/semi-commercial gentlemen horse farms in the United States, including those which offer stabling services and riding lessons. There is no central list or database that would have this information available. Many insurance companies that write property and casualty insurance have a program that is generally called a "farmowners" policy. A farmowner's policy is similar to a traditional homeowner's policy with the addition of coverage for farm type exposures. It is possible horse farms could be written under such a program. Many of the larger insurers have farmowner's programs, such as Nationwide, Erie, Allstate and State Farm. In regards to brokers, there is no list of available markets for horse farms from the standpoint of surplus lines. Surplus lines policies are often available for specific types of risks that mainstream insurance companies will not write. Brokers are required to file affidavits listing the policies they write through surplus lines insurance companies, but they are not required to identify their markets. Most of the carriers are not willing to write policies for such farms. Some of the carriers that did provide coverage for farms were willing to pick up a limited amount of equine coverage but were not willing to, if there was any kind of business involved. Besides doing exhaustive Internet searches with various keywords and phrases, I also sent out hundreds of emails to various associations to see what I could find out. A lot of people wrote me back and tried their best to be helpful. Many said that no one keeps track of which companies provide insurance for the kind of establishments my client was interested in. I wrote a variety of insurance libraries around the country, and all directed me to the Insurance Marketplace, International Directory of Excess, Surplus, Speciality Lines and Industry Services, 2006 Edition. A number of horse associations also told me that this publication is the best one to use for this type of information. I wrote every state horse council, chapter, and association I could find to ask what companies their members use. Some of the organizations seemed to have made arrangements with particular insurance companies so that their members were able to get better deals. I emailed every national horse association and council I could find, such as the American Horse Council, the American Quarter Horse Association, and the United States Equestrian Federation to ask for suggestions. A few associations, such as the United States Equestrian Federation, told me that the association offers members insurance through specific companies. In their case, it is through Equisure. I also wrote every state department and commissioner of the Insurance Information Institute to request the information. Many said that type of information was not collected. Others suggested specific companies to contact. I wrote every state association of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Inc.. I contacted every state representative connected to the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents to ask for their insight. I was told that kind of insurance is handled by excess and surplus lines companies. Through some of my reading, I noticed that there seems to be an upward trend in country estate hobby farms, so one would assume that the market for that type of insurance would be growing as well.
Researcher for the Discovery Channel, March 2006
I was hired to do some initial research for an upcoming documentary on Tuvalu, an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. The research centered on global warming, climatic changes, and flooding.
Project Manager for a Start-Up, February - December 2006
My main job for this client was to keep the team on track, making sure that projects were completed on time, setting up meetings, helping with status reports, answering emails, and resolving issues in a timely manner.
Researcher and Editor, February 2006
The subject of my research work was Memetics and its connection with terrorism and warfare. My client was interested in writing a series of articles on the topic for a possible book. I then helped with the editing.
Business Researcher, February 2006
I was asked to find a variety of information on a large number of popular massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), including the number of users they have, the price of the games, their revenue models, terms and conditions of use, and privacy policies. Some of the games I researched were World of Warcraft, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Lineage, Lineage 2, RF Online, Final Fantasy XI, Star Wars Galaxies, Dungeons and Dragons, Eve Online, EverQuest II, Guild Wars, Maple Story, The Matrix Online, Mu Online, Rappelz Online, Dark Age of Camelot, RuneScape, Scions of Fate, Dofus, ArchLord, Hero Online, EverQuest, Ragnarok Online, Ultima Online, Toontown, and Asheron's Call. My client also requested the demographics for MMORPGs. The research shows that typical users of traditional MMORPGs are between the ages of 18 and 35. Numbers coming out of the Daedalus Project estimate that only 25% of MMORPG players are teenagers, and paints a picture of a very diverse demographic that is made up of retired people, college students, middle and high-school students, young professionals, and a large number of middle-aged married people. More than 73% of the players have some college education. Analysts have projected that the total worldwide game industry revenue will increase to $54.6 billion by 2009. Another part of my research was determining how many Power-Leveling companies there are and how the prices they charge vary by company, game, and service. IGE.com is one of the leading companies in the field, as are the MMORPG Exchange, Mogs, and PGMx.
Science & Technology Foresight Researcher for the Office of the National Science Advisor, January - March 2006
ONSA identified the requirement for, and the importance of developing a S&T foresight strategy in order to better focus and improve Canada's future strategic preparedness for new and emerging technologies that will impact Canada's future economic performance and its security of critical infrastructure. To this effect, I was hired to locate and assess reports on PACT applications, web references, and sources for experts. I assisted ONSA in finding, documenting, and summarizing relevant research and applications reports on convergent technologies and compiled them into an accessible, organized format. I reviewed the current PACT documentation to ensure that new and additional information was the focus of the searches, and developed a framework for comparing and ordering the prospective applications to ensure that the information could be assigned or allocated according to broad sectors. My final report summarized the research so that it could be used in PACT events throughout the year. I created a template for foresight web searching and a thirty page guide on references, along with a methodological summary of which search references worked best and why. I also compiled a source list of all the reports that can be activated or linked to and inserted them into the PACT knowledge base.
Government Documents Researcher and Writer for an Association of Curriculum Development, December 2005 - January 2006
Teaching specific subjects in the K-12 school system can be difficult and complicated, particularly to certain students. Differentiated instruction is used to overcome some of the problems by using a number of different instruction methods to facilitate learning. Continually questioning what works in the classroom and confronting the challenge of creating and using alternative approaches to learning is central to progressive education. For this job, I was expected to develop research modules on three independent government agencies: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Peace Corps.
Health Researcher for a International Nutrition Company, December 2005
My job was to supply research on a wide variety of ingredients found in a selection of vitamin and health supplement products.
Researcher, Writer, and Editor for Privacy Lost: How Technology is Endangering Your Privacy, September 2005 - July 2006
This really great job actually began in August 2004, when I helped the author with his pending proposal for the book. A year later we began putting the book together. I did extensive original research, summarizing it into briefs for the author. I used a wide range of resources, finding appropriate information in magazines, newspapers, books, government documents, websites, and databases. I edited and critiqued the work in progress, and fact-checked the materials. I also compiled the endnotes (including formatting them into the Chicago Style), references, sources, and created the bibliography. I later worked with copy editors to put the finishing touches on the book, checking the copy for readability, style, and agreement with editorial policy. I also helped with verifying facts, dates, and statistics. One of the most important parts of my job was to act as a sounding board, to tell my client the truth, offer support (because the process is a difficult one), and keep the project on track. The author's intention in writing Privacy Lost: How Technology is Endangering Your Privacy was to explain the connection between technology and privacy and speculate a little on where things might be headed. The premise of the book is that our privacy has become lost because of technology. Technology has changed our culture, how we communicate and how we don't. It has affected our ability to control our personal information, who sees it, what they see, what they do with it. Our privacy is already lost, whether we know it or not. Whether we can find it again is still unclear. Throughout the book you'll find numerous stories and examples, culled from newspapers, magazines and of course, the Internet. Sure, privacy violations happen to celebrities, but more often it affects normal people, the ones who mistakenly think that the government or the law is protecting them. This book is about this connection between technology and privacy. It's not just written for privacy advocates or for technologists. Rather, it's meant to be read by anyone who is disturbed about the growing amount of data available on them, about who's doing the collecting and what the collectors are going to do with all of our personal information. The subject of privacy is applicable to anyone concerned about the growing number of exceedingly well-publicized privacy violations and wondering about how many more incidents haven't become public. It's hard not to notice the unending stream of news stories describing one egregious privacy violation after another: companies losing the financial information of millions of users; a Veteran's Affairs employee's laptop stolen along with the personal information of nearly every American who has ever served in the military; and a Boston newspaper that wrapped papers in printouts of their customers' credit card numbers. They are all documented and discussed in this book. The stories alone are a testament to the effect of technology on our privacy.
Researcher for a United States Law Firm, September - December 2005
My client is a class action attorney in need of some assistance finding information on a particular engine. Specifically, he was suing an automobile manufacturer. The allegedly defective design of a specific engine component was at issue. While the firm also hired expert engineers to consult with, as a preliminary effort, I was hired to find all available literature regarding this engine design and to tap into a vast literature of automobile design engineering literature. I searched for and evaluated relevant resources, schematic representations, and articles, then forwarded copies for review in an organized format. I also searched the Internet to find consumers talking about their problems with the engine and collected their contact information for a class action lawsuit.
Researcher for a Busy Academic, September - November 2005
I was hired to act as a research assistant, finding timely articles on social work related issues. Contemporary psychotherapy, traumatized impact of child sexual abuse, perspectives on youth care programs, attachment theory, and the boundaries between physiotherapy and psychotherapy were just a few of the subjects I researched. Agoraphobia, chronic pain in primary health care, biopsychosocial rehabilitation programs, and multidisciplinary approaches to the treatment of chronic pain were also scanned and profiled.
Researcher and Writer for a Technology Start-Up (NDA in Place), August - September 2005
My work was assisting the company directors in preparing a PowerPoint business proposal deck by supplying the market research and preparing the templates and text.
Business Plan Researcher and Editor for Start-Up, August 2005
I assisted in establishing contact with potential backers, allies, stakeholders, advisors, and partners, along with helping research appropriate materials for the plan, writing and editing the documents, and finding missing references. Without backers, advisors, or a team, most investors don't have enough information with which to judge the prospects of a company. I helped to assemble a serious upper level team. I also helped with development and strategy, and to create a coherent capital formation strategy for successful seed-stage financing.
Historical Researcher and Writer for an International Association for Learning, July - August 2005
I researched and developed American history information resources for topics that focused on political and cultural upheaval, revolution, and the American Indian Wars. The California Bear Flag Revolt, the Texas Fight for Independence, the Alamo, the Cherokee Trail of Tears, the Kansas Border War, and Custer's defeat at Little Bighorn were the main events that I covered in this project. The materials will be used as an accompaniment to online courses.
Research Assistant for an Educational Writer, June 2005
Nutrition, weight management, and the causes of increased levels of obesity among children in the United States were a few of the research areas covered. Obesity and the need for weight management, risks of being overweight or obese, nutrition and your body weight, the food pyramid and portion sizes, metabolism, a road map to a healthy weight, diets, medications, surgery for weight loss, the digestive system, eating disorders in young people, and weight management for young people, were some of the specific research topics. I did the research, found the academic articles, photocopied them, and sent them to the author.
Philosophy Researcher for a PhD Candidate, June 2005
My research focused on investigating the rhetorical devices that Bentham used in his writings, and why those devices made his writing more or less persuasive.
Historical Researcher and Writer for an International Association for Learning, April - June 2005
My work included researching, profiling, and writing about significant 19th century American historical events and people, including the California Gold Rush, the Transcontinental Railroad, the Pony Express, the building of the Erie Canal, the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, and the Oregon Trail. The information was developed to use in the creation of alternative learning resources.
Researcher for World Congress, April - May 2005
I was hired to assist with the development of an information web portal specifically targeting Chief Medical Officers. The site is called CMO Exchange, a members-only, web-based portal meeting the unique information and resource needs of Chief Medical Officers and executives with comparable titles. CMO Exchange has been conceived and developed as a targeted information portal directed specifically and customized individually for the sole use of Chief Medical Officers and Medical Directors. CMO Exchange is developed by World Congress, the producer of events that convene senior-level executives from all segments of the health care industry. World Congress events include The World Health Care Congress, The World Health Care Innovations in Technology Congress and the World Congress Leadership Summit series. My focus was to work with the project manager on the Custom Research area that allows members to request quality information on any topic they need, on a project-by-project basis, including business development, change management, best practices, and medical management resources and reports. I also developed an online request form for CMOs looking for in depth research. The online form requested the following information: definition of research needs in as much detail as possible, time frame to be searched, description of limits or restrictions, reason for needing this information (i.e. journal article, conference presentation, research backgrounder for a book, etc.), preferred format of results (formalized report, list of article citations, website addresses, etc.), specific goals of the research project, provision of keywords and significant terms, depth of research required, and an overview of research already completed to avoid duplication. I also worked on a research project for them that examined best practices in the use of medical directors in case management: best practices of how managed care organizations and medical management companies use medical directors to enhance clinical and cost savings outcomes in case management. Traditionally, case managers have only come to medical directors when they had a medical management coverage decision to make - a pretty typical utilization management function. Case managers have otherwise functioned largely independently, helping to coordinate care during and in the recovery from an acute event. My client was interested in using his case management team to drive more effective outcomes on a long term basis, engaging the case managers and medical directors in more discussion around the appropriateness of the care the member is receiving, not just the efficiency of its delivery. He was also interested in the roles other companies have medical directors play, the structure of the interaction of medical directors and nurses, and any best practices.
Environmental Researcher and Writer for Enslow Publishers, February - May 2005
I was hired to investigate the key issues associated with the global endangerment of animals, including their predators, the competition for food, hunting, fire, the loss of natural habitat, poaching, limited geographic range, pollution, entanglement in fisher's nets, illegal trade, and the introduction of non-native animal species. The Sperm Whale, the Right Whale, the Green Sea Turtle, the Galápagos Penguin, and the Humpback Whale were some of the ocean creatures that I researched for this project. The deliverables were used in a series of educational books for middle school children.
Researcher for an Upcoming Work of Fiction, February - April 2005
My client is writing a family saga that sweeps across time, generations, continents, and cultures. My role was to assist in the research by making sure that historical references, geographical descriptions, cultural content, and other day-to-day nuances were accurate for the time and place.
Business Researcher, January 2005
I was asked to find information on a number of U.S. companies, including uncovering their ownership structure, internal infrastructure, bylaws, and articles of incorporation. I consulted Infogroup's OneSource aggregator of business information and Hoover's proprietary business information services to do the research. Since some of the companies are private, OneSource provides only the bare bones of financial and analyst information for them. Private companies are not obligated to provide the detailed and regulated reporting that applies to public companies under SEC, OSC, etc. Also, if a company was incorporated in Delaware, you can expect very little information because Delaware does not provide much detail from its state corporation records.
Historical Researcher and Writer for an Academic Publisher, January 2005
I created online finding aids and cyber documents for the following: the seven wonders of the ancient world; seven wonders of the modern world; seven wonders of the natural world; and the seven natural wonders of North America. The seven wonders of the ancient world are the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis, the Statue of Zeus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse (Pharos) of Alexandria. Five of the seven wonders were constructed or sculpted by the best Greek artists and architects of the time. Despite the differences in design, all provide proof of the advanced capabilities of ancient technologies. 1.) The only one of the ancient wonders that still exists is the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is the oldest of the ancient wonders and remains substantially intact. Constructed over a twenty year period concluding around 2550 BC, it is believed that the pyramid was built as a tomb for Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu. Standing at almost five hundred feet, the Great Pyramid was said to be the tallest manmade structure in the world for almost 4000 years. 2.) The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were designed around 600 BC as a present by King Nebuchadnezzar II to his wife, Amytis of Media, because she missed her mountainous and foliage-lush homeland. In his Geographies, Strabo reports that the gardens were quadrangular in shape and were a series of arches and terraces. The water was brought in by means of a chain pump from the nearby Euphrates River and would flow down the terraces spreading water to all the gardens. 3.) The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was a massive monument located near Ephesus, an ancient city that was located in what is now Turkey. It was built to honor the goddess of hunting, nature, and fertility. The temple was made of marble and had many bronze statues. Pliny said it took more than 120 years to build and was one of the largest temples ever built in ancient times. It was rebuilt several times over the centuries before its final destruction. The temple was burnt to the ground on July 21, 356 BC by Herostratus, a native Ephesian. The reconstructed temple was destroyed during a raid by the Goths in 262 AD. In 401, the temple was attacked by a Christian mob and its stones were carried off and used to build other structures. 4.) The Greek city of Olympia was home to the Statue of Zeus, an ivory and gold statue of the god. It was built by Phidias, the famous Athenian sculptor, who was commissioned by the priesthood to design a chryselephantine statue of Zeus. It took twelve years to finish the almost forty foot high sculpture. The statue sat in the inner chamber of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia for approximately 800 years. There is a debate over what ultimately happened to the sculpture. Some scholars say that it was stolen, taken to Constantinople, and destroyed in 475 AD by fire. Others argue that it was destroyed in the 5th century AD along with the temple. 5.) The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was a 135-foot high marble tomb conceived by Queen Artemisia, wife of Mausolus, who was the ruler of Caria. Some of the best artists and craftsmen of the time period helped build and decorate Mausolus' beautiful tomb. In Natural History, Pliny the Elder, reported that "along the south and north sides it extends for a length of 63 feet, but it is shorter on the front side, the total length of the circuit being 440 feet; the tomb is 25 cubits high and is surrounded by 36 columns. Skopas did the carving on the east side, Bryaxis on the north, Timotheos on the south, and Leochares on the west, but before they had completed the work the Queen died. They did not stop working, however, until it was complete. For above the pteron (peristyle) there is a pyramid which is equal in height to the lower part and tapers toward the top in pyramidal fashion with 24 steps; at the top there is a marble quadriga which Pytheus made. With this added, the total height of the building comes to 140 feet." The Mausoleum remained in good condition for sixteen centuries before an earthquake damaged the roof and the colonnade. In 1494, the Knights of St. John of Malta dismantled the tomb and used the stones to build a castle, which still stands today in Bodrum. Only the foundation remains at the original site, but several of the sculptures have survived and can be found at the British Museum in London. 6.) The Colossus of Rhodes is an ancient day Statue of Liberty. Located in the harbor of the Mediterranean island of Rhodes in Greece, the statue was believed to have stood guard against incoming ships. The construction of the 120 foot statue was finished around 282 BC and was dedicated to the sun god, Helios. It was toppled by an earthquake in 226 BC. 7.) The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria, was built between 280 and 247 BC on the island of Pharos off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. Its purpose was to guide sailors into the harbor. There was a mirror on top to reflect sunlight during the day and a fire would guide the sailors at night. The Lighthouse of Alexandria stood over four hundred feet high and maybe as high as four hundred and fifty. Earthquakes damaged the lighthouse through the centuries, but it was said to be still partially standing when Mamluk Sultan of Egypt, Qaitbay, began to fortify Pharos Island by building a citadel as a defensive stronghold on the lighthouse's foundations in 1477. The construction lasted two years. The seven wonders of the modern world are the Panama Canal, the Netherlands North Sea Protection Works, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the CN Tower, the Itaipu Dam, and the Channel Tunnel. Each of these structures was so innovative that in 1994, the American Civil Engineering Society named them wonders of the modern world. According to the organization, they are examples of modern society's ability to "achieve the unachievable, reach unreachable heights, and scorn the notion it can't be done." The seven wonders of the natural world are Mount Everest, Nepal; Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe; Grand Canyon, United States; the Great Barrier Reef, Australia; the Northern Lights; Paricutin Volcano, Mexico; and the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro. The tradition of listing the seven wonders of the world carries on today. Unlike the wonders of the ancient world, we can claim none of the glory for creating the wonders of the natural world. Nature carved these sites that we so admire. Over the course of millions of years, rivers flowed over their rocky beds, eroding the stone and carving waterfalls and canyons. Volcanoes and mountains rose up from the earth in reaction to movement far beneath the ground. Powerful forces of nature shaped the land we know today. Finally, the seven natural wonders of North America are: on the east coast is the Florida Everglades, a subtropical wetland. On the west coast, California has two natural wonders: Glacier Point, in Yosemite Park, made of solid granite, and the tallest living trees in the world can be found in the Redwood Forest. Alaska is home to Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. The Grand Canyon is another natural wonder and is located in Arizona. On a typical day, the Canyon can have a temperature difference of 50º between its floor and its highest rim. Canada and New York share the natural wonder of the Niagara Falls, and the Mississippi River passes through ten states. These seven natural wonders are all different, but they share something in common. They are majestic works of art, shaped by natural forces.
Researcher for a Book on Architecture, December 2004 - January 2005
Over the last three hundred years, the homes we live in have changed a great deal. Changes in the way we use space, advances in architecture, reduced family size, new materials, and technological innovations in the housing industry have transformed both our living spaces and us. My job was to research the many transformations that have taken place in North American residential housing over the last three hundred years, including changes in lot size, square footage, number of rooms, and how heating and lighting changed the way we live and use our homes. My job also included predicting the future of housing. I used academic journals, databases, books, and the Internet to conduct my research.
Business Researcher and Editor for a California Start-Up, December 2004
My client needed an experienced editor and fact checker to make his business plan more clear, compelling, and concise for an Angel Investor. He also needed additional research and help with his references.
Researcher and Fact-Finder for a Prominent American Legal Team (NDA in Place), December 2004
I used academic databases, journals, print publications, and the Internet to conduct value-added research.
Business Researcher for a Mexican Medical Consultancy (NDA in Place), November 2004
I was hired to find information on the latest technological advancements in a number of related high-tech fields.
Researcher and Writer for an Educational Enrichment Company, November 2004
My duties included reading educational manuscripts and researching related subject areas on the Internet. I then used the websites I found to create a large number of records and put them into an online database. The information is used by school children to write reports and essays.
Researcher for a Business Book, October - November 2004
My work revolved around fact checking and gathering statistical information on international business failure/survival rates and the truth about franchising.
Science Researcher for Enslow Publishers, Inc., August - September 2004
For this project, I did research on the planets (the Earth, the Moon, Mars, the Sun, Uranus, Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn) in our solar system, their moons, asteroids, and comets. I compiled the information and created electronic K-12 educational resources. I also looked at important astronomers and astrophysicists throughout history and wrote summaries of their work.
Researcher and Writer for a Book Proposal, August 2004
I assisted the author in organizing the sections of his book proposal. I researched additional facts, figures, and other information to incorporate into various sections of the document, including the market potential of the publication, promotional opportunities, and anticipated readership. I also edited the document and added large sections of text to add depth and more perspective to the subject areas covered.
Editor for a Hong Kong University Research Proposal, August 2004
Writing research proposals for additional funding can be time-consuming and very stressful for academics. It takes more than a good idea to obtain a grant. My job was to help clarify the major themes and add additional sections to the proposal.
Researcher and Writer for an International Non-Profit, August 2004
I was hired to look at how the economic success of a country affects the philanthropy of its citizens, and how the politics surrounding debt forgiveness, the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, the IMF, and the World Bank puts many developing countries in a state of crisis.
Health Researcher for an American Nutrition and Health Start-Up, July - August 2004
I was hired to research the health benefits of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. The information was used as the documentation for nutritional software.
Science Researcher and Writer for a Canadian Government Institute, July - August 2004
My job was to find the latest research on drugs such as ecstacy and other party drugs, steroids, heroin, cocaine, crack, nicotine, marijuana, methamphetamine, amphetamines, nicotine and tobacco, and inhalants. After collating and analyzing the data, I developed a number of informational techbriefs.
Business Researcher and Fact Checker for Upcoming Business Book by Best-Selling American Authors (NDA in Place), April - July 2004
I used journals, monographs, and online resources for this soon-to-be-published book on how to get wealthy and stay that way. The thrust of my research was real estate related.
Graphic Design for National Research Council of Canada, April - May 2004
The poster was designed to accompany a conference paper that was presented at the EU-US Scientific Seminar held in Seville, Spain, 13-14 May 2004. The poster was designed with Louis Atkinson. View a small version here.
Historical Researcher and Writer for an Academic Publisher, March 2004
I was hired to do value-added research for a series of books on ancient societies. Subject areas that I worked on were Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Mesopotamia, the Ancient Inca Civilization, the Mayans, and the Persians.
Researcher, Writer, and Editor for a Tenure-Track Professor, March 2004
I rewrote and edited an article on Chinese Archaeology for my tenure-track client based on comments he received from the editor of an academic journal. I also had to do some research to fill in the blanks. The article was subsequently published. In light of the relatively few articles highlighting Chinese archaeological websites and the issues surrounding them, the purpose of the paper was to discuss some of the features and characteristics found on the Internet. Good websites can provide readers with the latest information and also help point out trends in the development of Chinese archaeology. But what constitutes a good website? The ability to sift through the ever-increasing amounts of information made available online to find quality and accurate data is becoming more important every day. Using credibility, accuracy, reasonableness, support, and uniqueness as criteria for website evaluation, the authors analyzed five websites in an effort to determine the value and quality of the information. The article discusses the evaluation of websites dedicated to Chinese archaeology and also points to six main characters of online resources for the subject area. In addition, questions are raised concerning the extent to which online Chinese archaeological resources can advance general awareness of the field and contribute to a growing body of knowledge.
Researcher and Writer for National Research Council of Canada (Planning and Assessment, Corporate Services Division), February - April 2004
I was hired to research and co-write a paper focusing on new strategic capabilities for Canada's science and technology (S&T) institutions, foresight planning and activities, organization strategies, scenarios definition and elaboration, and bio-health innovation and stewardship. The paper was presented at the EU-US Scientific Seminar, 13-14 May 2004 in Seville, Spain. Foresight planning is an innovative and provocative process, which produces strategic insights, especially for those willing to think outside traditional boxes. Scenarios allow a better idea of the range of futures that are possible and shed light on the challenges, choices, and implications that exist. They can weave together past, present, and future elements and help develop new views of science and technology, and then integrate them into a number of imaginative stories to allow individuals and groups to see things previously unnoticed or acquire new viewpoints on familiar situations. Foresight planning has enormous potential to advance innovation, while focusing on the required next steps and strategic investments needed to move toward preferred futures. Scenarios can be a powerful reminder of the importance and significance of long term policy work in a governmental setting, emphasizing the potential of strategic thinking, and enhancing one's preparation for multiple situations of prospective challenge and opportunity. In Canada, like many other places in the world, reaction to events is the order of the day, rather than proactive strategies and planning in scientific and technological thinking. We can no longer rely on mental and analytical models that are getting shorter and shorter with each passing year. Organizations that participate in foresight activities can more easily overcome problems and create opportunities and responses that are robust, agile, and informed by science and technology knowledge. By using knowledge, imagination, and creativity, we can invent a better future.
Researcher for an Architectural Firm, February 2004
This research project involved finding information on residential and commercial building statistics for the North America market, along with data on the assessment of energy conservation measures, sustainable architecture, the environmental impact of buildings, and ecological land use.
Fact Checker, January 2004
My research included checking facts for an upcoming publication on international security and global cooperation. I learned a lot about international politics and the new technology being used to create a safer world. When considering global security in the 21st century, it is important to not just understand what the threats are, but also find innovative solutions. Many countries face 21st century security threats but are using 20th century archetypes to combat them, even though traditional security doesn't work and brings about insecurity. Old-fashioned security models need to be put aside, especially since threats are no longer confined to the state versus state paradigm. The global playing field is different now and old hierarchies have been replaced. Global cooperation is no longer defined as collaboration among states; it now involves individuals, corporations, NGOs, and other non-state actors. In this post-9/11 world, our old perceptions of safety and complacency no longer work against an enemy who wants to undermine a way of life, leaving us vulnerable to attack. We need a better organized and full-proof system that will leave legitimate travelers and visitors feeling safer, more secure, relaxed, and welcomed, while minimizing security breaches and increasing the likelihood of detecting and neutralizing organized threats. We need a safe and systematic process to verify identity and check credentials, but even more than that, we need a technological system that has the capacity to accurately predict both a person's present condition and future intentions by investigating facial expressions, brain activity, and involuntary mental clicks of recognition. With identity theft on the rise, and the prevalent use of false travel documents, the current system is particularly vulnerable to abuse. Implications for personal privacy were also covered.
Project Manager and Small Business Researcher, December 2003 - January 2004
I managed an online technology project that focused on using blogs in small businesses. I helped choose the templates and worked with the tech person to get the blogs online. I also designed the information architecture, and created categories and some initial posts on each one to get the content started. Businesses are beginning to understand that there are benefits to creating blogs and using them as corporate tools for sharing expertise and communicating with customers and potential customers. A business blog is a marketing tool that works for you 24/7, and is probably the best tool available. They can also direct more traffic to company websites. Since blog software is easy to use and often free to use, it is a good choice for small businesses that don't have the budgets for expensive websites and designers. Business blogs also allow a company to interact more easily with their customers and connect with a target market on a more personal level. The time spent in creating content for a business blog is an investment in the future of your business and worth every minute because it will increase your visibility in the search engines and attract new readers. Establishing credibility and increasing transparency, while generating inbound leads, are all good reasons why starting a business blog makes sense.
Client and Market Researcher, December 2003
I identified business partners for a technology company interested in expanding its client base and growing the business internationally.
Business Researcher, November - December 2003
I was hired to locate and collect information relating to the development of a virtual intentional community of cooperation for a specialized group of international entrepreneurs. In particular, my clients were interested in designing a virtual community that facilitates cooperation amongst entrepreneurs, a place where companies and individuals can access resources, and to make it easier to start successful business ventures that offer good ROI. For centuries, intentional communities have brought idealists together to create a better world by sharing a common root value of cooperation, promoting dialogue, and sharing information and experiences with others on similar paths. As a long-time member of Howard Rheingold's private virtual community, Brainstorms, I have experience working in the field of virtual community development.
Researcher for an Upcoming Book on Living a Quality Life, August - November 2003
My role in this project was to help the author develop a list of subject areas to cover in the manuscript. We decided upon 98 topics for this encyclopedia of sorts (Qualipedia™). I then worked with a programmer to create an online software tool that would eventually house the research information, separated into individual records with eight fields/areas of interest. For example, introduction to topic, purchasing, selection, maintenance, implications, tips, etc. I then began researching, using both print and electronic resources, and the Internet to do my work. We ended up with over 3000 research records, which the author will use to write her book.
Editor for a Tenure-Track Professor, July 2003
I edited my client's paper for acceptance into an academic journal. With my assistance, the paper was published. The paper provides tips for finding Chinese history journals on the Internet, and offers practical help to librarians and researchers building websites or electronic libraries for China studies.
Researcher and Writer for Canada Health Infoway, a Canadian Government Agency, May - June 2003
My job was to find the latest information on international best practices and lessons learned for electronic health records, specifically for the United States, New Zealand, Australia, England, and the European Union. I then used the review of the literature to write a report that will be made available through Canada Health Infoway.
Editor and Researcher for a Tenure-Track Professor, April 2003
For this project, I developed and conducted a survey for my client that investigated collection development practices for Chinese electronic resources in North American East Asian libraries. The survey was sent to all East Asian libraries in North America that have websites and electronic resources available on them. I made the survey accessible through email and also created an online version. When I compiled the results, I used Excel to run the stats and make the graphs. Finally, I edited and rewrote parts of my client's article, incorporating the study results, which helped him to get it published. The paper examines electronic resources, including journals and databases for Chinese studies, collected in North American East Asian academic libraries. A small survey of 26 East Asian academic libraries in North America was conducted in May 2003 in order to learn more about collection development practices and accessibility issues for Chinese electronic resources. Based on an eight question survey, 57 per cent of the responding libraries have collection development policies for their electronic resources, 36 per cent do not while 7 per cent were unsure. Budget constraints, time constraints, lack of technical support, lack of training, and Chinese/English computer operating system incompatibilities were given as the top five constraints in the collection of Chinese electronic resources and providing access to them.
Researcher for Rheingold Associates, March - May 2003
Our team worked with a major Internet player to test the efficacy of its search engine. The first phase involved testing a search product and required me to spend several hours a week for a couple weeks trying the product. The second part required me to provide feedback and to participate in private online discussions with the company's team and other RAers. The final requirement was that I sketch out a user case study from my experience as a professional researcher using the tool. Professional researchers utilize the Internet for many aspects of their work. For instance, they could be hired to search for links to Canadian educational resources for a government portal, or newspaper articles about recent fires caused by unattended cooking. For other projects, researchers search for papers, electronic journals, and conference proceedings, to use as resources for the writing of literature reviews, white papers, annotated bibliographies, books, etc. They need powerful tools to do the job, tools that allow them to work quickly and smartly. This new search tool would be a great addition to any researcher's toolkit. The ability to exclude terms and fine-tune searches are extremely powerful tools for a researcher because as the Internet gets larger, there is more and more available to sift through in order to find the appropriate information for a client. The search tool saves time and can help build stronger search strings by allowing the up-front search power of exclusion/inclusion to do a lot of the work for you at the outset. I re-did some of my searches associated with an NDA project that I had recently completed using it and was amazed at the direction I was taken by the terms in the Fine Tuning section of the tool, terms that I had not thought of using until much later in my search were included in its exclusion/inclusion list. Not only is a researcher able to exclude or not exclude and therefore, include terms provided, it allows the user the opportunity to further the fine-tuning process by allowing the addition of information through the Choosing Interests section. One thing to keep in mind, is that many types of researchers are often asked to find information they have no previous knowledge of, so any extra direction at the outset of a search cycle is critical for success. By analyzing the terms provided in the Fine Tuning section of the search tool, a researcher could easily build a more appropriate search string and add those additional areas of interest for their subject area to the Choosing Interests section. It is this multi-step process of exclusion/inclusion, wherein we find the tool's greatest strengths for researchers. There is also power found in the provision of the Personalize options, where a choice of fonts and colours can be made. For someone who may have to spend fourteen hours a day searching through pages of Internet links, having the ability to control the display of the information is essential and can prevent headaches and eye strain. In addition, the ability to search more than one phrase is also uncommon among search engines, and is therefore, both very useful and powerful.
Internet Researcher for Elike Solutions (NDA in Place), March - May 2003
I worked with my client and his PR person to put together information packages for shows such as 60 Minutes. What we needed was to find specific families/individuals who had suffered from unattended cooking fires. Our focus was on five major local media markets nationwide: New York, Boston, DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles. These stories were then packaged for the media as a tie into a patented consumer device. Some of the problems I encountered were that newspapers like to sell their articles, so most are not indexed by Google; newspapers have very poor archives or very inadequate search engines; newspapers will give you a headline but would like you to pay $2.95 or more per article; many articles about fires do not include names; and many locations, besides the ones my client really wanted, were included in the final report because I couldn't always find articles from the regions my client wanted.
Researcher and Cybrarian for Canada Health Infoway, a Canadian Government Agency, March - April 2003
I was part of the team that created the knowledge portals for Infoway's intranets and website. Specifically, it was my responsibility to find every website, listserv, newsfeed, PDF document, report, and digital resource that was specifically related to electronic health records. First priority was given to Canadian sites in both (or either) French or English, followed by international sites in either French or English. I was not expected to conduct literature searches on the topic. The Infoway team was looking for 1.) as comprehensive a search as possible given the time constraints 2.) quality information. Every resource was then entered into a multi-field database and an annotation was written for each one. Feedback and search results were sent to the KM team in Montreal on a regular basis.
Project Manager and Moderator for a National Research Council of Canada Internet Workshop, January - February 2003
I worked with the Canadian Science and Technology Foresight Pilot Project (STFPP) team to develop, implement, and host a week-long virtual workshop/conference to elaborate and develop the initial findings from a series of onsite workshops and technical panels that were held in the fall of 2002. The online workshop's purpose was to enable all the participants, as well as a selected group of additional experts and generalists who were not able to be involved in the fall events, to consider the findings that were summarized into two reports and to help develop the information further in preparation for the scenarios work to be done by the project team in March 2003. The workshop was deemed to be a critical element of the iteration of observations and results from the fall events of 2002. I worked with the project leaders to organize and plan the virtual conference. My work also included helping to write the email invitations; contact all guests and provide them with their registration information; set up the conference, which used conferencing software called Caucus; help the team develop the workshop itinerary; work with a graphic designer to create the workshop graphics; host the event; was present at the conference, checking in at least twelve hours a day to greet the participants and be available for help questions; help those with problems; and format posts, especially long posts that needed HTML tags inserted to facilitate reading. I also made sure the client got a CD-burned copy of the event. Great project!
Internet Researcher for a Virginian Company, January - February 2003
My job was to search newspaper databases, the Internet, Google News, and LexisNexis for articles that my client was interested in reading. I then used online resources, such as telephone directories, reverse look-up, tax assessor data, and real estate property report databases to locate various people.
Internet Researcher for an International Insurance Group, December 2002
The research I did was needed as value-added information for a business plan for a proposed international insurance venture start-up that plans to specialize in large-scale property insurance. I had to identify all cities in North America, South America, and Western Europe with commercial office buildings in excess of 50 stories or with 3,000,000 rentable square feet.
Search Engine Optimization, November 2002
I helped a dentist from Los Angeles to rank higher in web searches for California cosmetic dentistry and TMJ/migraine/headache dentistry. I did this by using a multi-pronged approach to search engine optimization.
Website Design and Database Integration, August - November 2002
I worked with Higher Mind Productions to help design Smart Mobs, the companion website and blog for Howard Rheingold's new book. I also created individual database records for each of the 1000 citations in the online bibliography so that it would act as a mirror for the book's bibliography. Note: although the site we did is no longer online, here is a screenshot of our design.
Client and Market Researcher, August - October 2002
I was successful in finding funding opportunities for my client, an international non-governmental organization.
Researcher for an Upcoming Academic Book, April - July 2002
In the initial stages of this complex project, I was given 962 printed survey documents, many of which were three feet wide and six feet long scrolls. My first task was to digitize the huge amount of information that was found on each one. In many cases, I chose to use an industrial/architectural-sized scanner to create high-resolution scans and then OCRed the data myself. I think it was the best solution, especially since I was working under a pretty demanding deadline. I then inputted all of the data into two separate Excel spreadsheets using assigned categories and additional ones that I developed. I read all of the survey answers and then made an intellectual decision as to which assigned category each of the answers best fell into. I basically summarized open-ended answers/thoughts into pre-assigned categories. Of course, accuracy and consistency were very important, especially for running the quantitative stats (pivot tables and crosstabs) later. I also created two separate Word files to hold almost 900 long answers for the qualitative data that helped draw a portrait of what the respondents thought. We were looking for themes, sub-themes, and patterns in their words. In addition, some online research and email correspondence was needed to complete the project. Here are some of the questions the reference librarians were asked in the survey: are you paid to read?, has current awareness helped you to provide reference service?, has television and radio helped you to answer reference queries?, do you watch TV news shows?, and do you read print papers and magazines on own time? The survey covered both academic reference librarians and public library reference personnel in the United States and Canada, asking them about their reading habits. We were interested in the extent to which librarians read newspapers, periodicals, fiction and non-fiction, and asked them to recount stories about how reading has made them better librarians. A lot of work, but a very exciting, and fulfilling project.
Photographic Researcher for Robert Dafford Murals, March - April 2002
I helped my client with photographic research for a large-scale government mural contract in Camden, New Jersey. I took advantage of New Jersey's digital image collections and Camden's historical societies' online photographic archives to do my research for this floodwall mural project. I then created an online tool that allowed my client to view and download the images. He used the photographs as a point of departure for his painting.
Researcher for a Vermont company, March 2002
For this contract, I did market research for a firm that specializes in mediating and resolving architectural and construction legal disputes. I also did some preliminary search engine optimization for them, including the creation of meta tags and title tags.
Researcher for Elike Solutions, February - March 2002
My research work for this job was associated with a patent that will help to prevent kitchen fires from even starting. My client was interested in identifying victims of fires that were caused by unattended cooking. He needed recent (within the last two years) victims of fires from the Washington DC area, Virginia suburbs (Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax), Maryland suburbs (Montgomery County, Prince Georges County, Bethesda, Silver Spring), or as close as possible to DC. Anywhere in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York was acceptable. I was asked to find newspaper articles and press accounts, with the names, addresses or other identifying information of victims so that a Product Liability lawyer could work with them to obtain compensatory damages from stove and range manufacturers.
Researcher for an Information Science Study on Deselection Policies in Libraries, January - April 2002
This project set out to uncover what policies libraries follow when weeding (deselecting books), how they do it, if there are complaints, what the librarians think of weeding, and if they have ever saved any books that were to be weeded out of the library system. My first task was to take 300 multi-page paper surveys that consisted of open-ended questions and transfer them to digital format. I used a scanner and OCR software to do it. In total, there were nineteen questions covering every aspect of weeding. I then entered all data into nineteen separate Word files, a file for each of the survey questions. Librarians gave many different answers to all of the questions, so I had to analyze them to generate enough categories to fit each answer into. For instance, when looking at the answers for 'reasons for weeding' I came up with the following categories: accuracy, condition, space, circulation, duplicates, vital resource, age, superseded editions, scope, and alternative form. For 'what is done with weeded books' I used the categories of sell, trash, recycle, donate, give to other libraries, and put into storage. Not all the answers fit perfectly into the categories, but it was important to generate meaningful stats from the data. Each set of answers were analyzed and categories were chosen for each one. I then created Excel graphs with the information from the reports. I was also asked to pick out the most interesting responses for each of the nineteen questions, so the author could highlight them in his final write-up. The top three reasons librarians gave for deselecting books were accuracy of the information, the condition of the books, and space restrictions. In answer to what is done with the weeded books, the top three answers were sell them, throw them away, and donate the books. One thing that kept coming to my mind during this project was how book jobbers and standing orders, etc. affect deselection in the long run. Are the best books chosen to begin with? It takes a very intuitive smart person to set up those types of contracts correctly. I wonder how often they use reviews in the process. I believe one library director had weeding built into the review process, which forced the librarians to do more. Overall, there seemed to be some lack of understanding that weeding is an essential component for a circulating public library. In part, that might be blamed on library school programs that barely touch upon this aspect of collection management. In addition, some of the librarians seem to lack any knowledge of what their library's mission is. They see libraries as historical archives and believe they should hang onto every book ever purchased. As the pre-eminent futurist Paul Saffo has pointed out, "libraries were originally created in an era of scarce information ... librarians were sort of mad information hoarders, who were hoarding in the public interest." Not so anymore, the days when libraries could collect everything "just in case" are over. There is an increased necessity for librarians to visualize a rebirth that emphasizes a library connected to a network of electronic information and to other libraries that can offer them interlibrary loan services for their clients. I guess the striking thing for me is the difference in philosophy amongst the librarians. Some are very concerned that the patrons receive misinformation by reading dated materials, especially scientific, medical and legal, while others say they weed to make space for new books. Other librarians do admit to weeding when crowding is an issue, but that is not a norm. For example, they wouldn't just weed out books that didn't meet the criteria just to make more room. That is good. Many librarians are reluctant to weed. They have a problem with the process for many reasons, including the worry attached to what patrons will say about getting rid of books that were bought with tax payers money, and not having the resources available to replace the items they weed, thus, leaving holes in the collection. Some libraries get around this by weeding as new books come in, so the process is seamless and there are no complaints by the public. Librarians also fear they will make a mistake or weed books that other librarians or members of staff feel should remain in the system. Many believe books should be given 'second chances' and marketed better since they were placed too high or too low on the shelves and the public just couldn't find them or notice them as they made their way through the stacks. They remember how much the books cost and really think it is better to give the books another round in the circulation process before the items go out the door, never to return. They don't think they have the expertise to do a good job and are overwhelmed by other duties. Many of them just don't want to weed because it takes so much time. From reading the survey answers, it seemed that some librarians use this as an excuse - they say they don't like the concept, but it might be because they just don't have the time to do it properly. I think some of the best library directors interviewed recognize that the reluctance is based on ignorance. Librarians just don't realize how important weeding is to the management of the collection and to the satisfaction of the patrons. One of the main factors cited is the trouble associated with getting rid of the books. They feel their hands are tied when it comes to disposing of the materials. They have no real space to put the books when they come out of the collection, but must find room since the main avenue for disposal is the Friends of the Library sales, which only occur once or twice a year. It seems like a very frustrating process for them because besides the time it takes to actually find the books that need to come out of the collection and making sure the materials meet the criteria to be weeded, they run up against opposition with other staff members disagreeing on their choices; members of the public looking for books they miss; finding room to store the books for the sales; worrying that the funds won't be available to replace the information that is lost by weeding; and the problems associated with what to do with the books that do not sell. There seems to be so much red tape involved that you can hardly blame them for thinking that weeding is a big problem, which some of them are unequipped to deal with. Even when they put the leftovers in the dumpsters, they have members of the public complaining about the waste of government money and even those who will drag the books out of the garbage and demand they be put back in the collection. They would like to have more options when it comes to disposing of books that don't sell, but are hesitant about sending non-fiction books to schools that may be filled with misinformation.
Researcher, Survey Designer, and Project Manager for a Study on Multi-Cultural Library Services, January - March 2002
This research study is being used as a vehicle to find out how major public library systems in Canada purchase materials for their ethnic populations. Diverse communities need diverse types of materials in their public libraries, not just what has traditionally been available. Is the changing face of the Canadian population reflected in public libraries by incorporating the library and information needs of a diverse community of public library patrons? Are libraries committed to diversity through management decision-making, by educating staff of the needs of changing communities, and by diversifying staff so that the communities' ethnic populations are represented by library employees? My part: I searched for and read a couple of hundred public library collection development policies. I then worked with my client and the original concept he had for the study, to generate a series of questions for the survey. I placed them into ten separate categories. Working with a web programmer, I helped to design and create an online survey, a nation-wide survey of public libraries of all sizes, including branches. A sample of the survey questions can be read here. Almost all questions could be answered using drop-down menus and clickable multiple-choice answer boxes. I then did an Internet search for appropriate listservs where I could post the survey. A summary of the project and the web address to the survey were uploaded. The survey was also emailed to over 1600 Canadian public librarians. Results/answers were emailed to me. I used Excel for the data entry and to run the statistics. I also did a partial literature review for the project.
Project Manager and Researcher for an Academic Research Project on Email Reference, January - March 2002
This research project was developed to find out the condition of email reference service in Canadian public libraries. With more and more libraries offering to answer questions electronically, the researchers were interested in studying the timeliness and correctness of the answers supplied by librarians, and the overall effectiveness of digital reference desks. This study was originally undertaken in 1999 and was repeated for comparison purposes. I helped develop the reference questions, sent the emails, corresponded with the librarians, compiled the answers, and ran the stats, also generating graphs.
Designer, Content Researcher, and Writer for a Corporate Website, December 2001 - January 2002
I designed the website and developed the information architecture. I then did a lot of research into what types of content should appear on the website and wrote the copy.
Client and Market Researcher for Higher Mind Productions, October 2001 - January 2002
On this project, it was my job to identify corporations and individuals that might need the various services my client offered. I also made the initial contact, wrote proposals, negotiated fees, and managed projects.
Project Manager for the Redesign and Enhancement of the International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Center's Website, July - October 2001
This project began for me in January of 2001 when I identified the international association as a possible client for my employer. Three months later, I wrote the proposal that won the company the contract for the redesign. I came onboard as project manager, working with the web committee to establish milestones, keeping everything on track, and acting as the main contact person. Later in the project, additional roles for me were content checker, quality controller, and researcher for the public domain images used on the site. I had a contract to maintain the site, edit the content, and upload new information until 2004.
Market Researcher and Event Organizer (NDA in Place), June 2001
My role was to locate a large number of people who might like to attend a seminar on learning how to create targeted resumes. The seminars took place across the United States and were developed to teach job searchers how to focus on their desired position; how to spotlight their skills and experience; how to create a highly focused format for their resumes; how to ensure that their resume rises to the top of the stack; how to catch the attention of headhunters, corporate recruiters, hiring managers; how to analyze their skills and experience; how to impress the hiring manager; figure out if their dream job is realistic for them; and the secret of getting past the screeners. Professional consulting services were also made available to enrollees at discounted prices.
Client and Market Researcher for Cameron Halifax Associates, May 2001
My job was to locate the contact information for product managers or product marketing managers working for companies located in New York City and the immediate vicinity. These companies had to sell products in the knowledge management, library/information science, information retrieval, computational linguistics or natural language processing fields.
Researcher for Howard Rheingold's Book on Mobile Communications and the Technologies of Cooperation, April 2001 - June 2002
Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution is a book that details how the rise of pervasive mobile communications combined with always-on Internet connections produces new kinds of ad-hoc social groups. Smart mobs emerge when social networks use mobile communication devices, pervasive computation, peer to peer, and reputation management methodologies to coordinate collective action - political, social, economic. This great job began in April 2001. One of my first assignments was to help design an online database that would meet our research requirements and find a host that was cost-effective, allowing more than one person to work at the same time. The database has really been successful and presently contains almost 1000 records, complete with bibliographic information, thesis statements, quotes, and notes. My work also included finding interesting and knowledgeable people from all over the world, who are doing work in various fields and contacting them to set up interviews. To date, we have met with people in Canada, Seattle, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Stockholm, London, Helsinki, Surrey, Palo Alto, San Jose, Tokyo, and Amsterdam. I also did original research, summarized our research materials, compiled sources, wrote, fact-checked, formatted Word files for the publisher, and created tables of content and endnotes (including formatting them into the Chicago Style). In addition, I edited and critiqued the work in progress, and made the bibliography.
Project Manager and Researcher for an Upcoming Book on Third-World NGOs (University of Toronto), March - May 2001
There has been a steady growth in the number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other civil society movements and coalitions in the last decade of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st century. NGOs, especially large international NGOs, and civil society movements often fill the vacuum left by governmental actors in such diverse fields as the environment and social justice. Large international NGOs adopt causes in third-world countries and bring their resources to bear on issues that local governments often do not want to deal with. In addition, NGOs typically make use of information communication technologies (ICTs) to further their aims. The proliferation of large international NGOs and the use of ICTs by large international NGOs has been examined in a number of studies. What has been neglected, however, are NGOs operating in the so-called 'developing' or 'third-world' countries. This research project therefore has a twofold purpose. First, it explores the relationship of 'third-world' NGOs with large international NGOs. Has that relationship been fruitful, or has it been fraught with tensions and conflicts based on philosophical differences? Second, has the introduction of ICTs been a panacea for third-world NGOs or do ICTs bring with them a host of problems and concerns that are not obvious at first glance? This book is about third-world or Southern NGOs, ones that operate mostly in Africa, South America, and the less-developed countries. The focus of the book is two-pronged: the relationship that third-world NGOs have with their bigger brother/sister NGOs in the developed world. Do they get along? Do they feel they are being treated as equals by first world NGOs. AND, how do third-world NGOs get their information? How do they use information technology? My work for this project included the design and implementation of an international online survey, deciding which NGOs to include in the study, collecting articles on the subject, and data analysis. I also project managed. I needed a definition for Southern NGOs. I found that they are mostly those operating in Asia, Africa, South America, and other less- developed countries, including those in countries such as Turkmenistan. One of the first things I did was to search for third-world or Southern NGOs concerned with such issues as environment, social justice, and economic rights. Later, when I was further into the project, I added some centered on women and their issues because they are often fighting for human rights, economic freedom, and environmental improvements. Once I had a good starting point, I searched in the Yearbook of International Organizations, however, almost immediately I saw a problem using just this resource to compile a list of 150 NGOs that fit the bill since so many smaller regional organizations had no profiles in the database. It is possible that some NGOs do not realize that they can submit their contact information and mission statement. One of the aims of the Union of International Associations is to "facilitate the evolution of the activities of the world-wide network of non-profit organizations, especially non-governmental or voluntary associations," not just the larger international organizations that get the lion's share of media attention in the First World. Since my mission was to find smaller, regionalized, down-to-earth non-governmental organizations, I spent many hours sweeping the Internet using a variety of search strings and a series of online maps to make sure I was being comprehensive. I used maps of Asia, Africa, and South America and researched out each country separately to see if they had NGOs that fit the category. Many that I discovered on portal sites or in directories and wanted to include in the study had no web presence, nor email address. Since I needed to find a website so that I could establish a profile and was also required to have an email for each NGO so that they could be contacted, I had to leave those out of the study. As a result, there are some countries that were not included because the required information was not found. The survey we conducted was meant specifically for small and medium-sized NGOs who work in Africa, South America, or Asia. Email messages were sent to a random selection of 120 southern NGOs in March-April 2001 inviting them to go to a website that had a copy of the survey and to complete a series of questions using the web form. They could also answer the survey by hitting reply to the email we sent. In addition to three preliminary questions that elicited basic demographic data, the survey consisted of sixteen questions on two topics: (i) the way in which southern NGOs perceived and used information and communication technologies (ICTs) and (ii) the relationship of southern NGOs with international NGOs. One of the outcomes we were hoping for was to improve the relationship between small local NGOs and larger international ones. Here is a sampling of the questions we asked: About how many times would you say that your NGO has had "significant working contact on a specific issue" with large international NGOs in the past 12 months?; Do you feel that your NGO is sufficiently consulted by large international NGOs on matters of local concern about which your local NGO has special expertise?; Has the use of ICTs affected internal working relationships within your NGO? In other words, has it caused any changes in the decision-making process or organizational structure of your NGO?; and Has the introduction of ICTs, especially the Internet, eroded your NGO's use of indigenous and informal communication channels? All questions were accompanied with a request for specific examples.
Cybrarian and Facilitator for OSN 2001, an Online Event Sponsored by Group Jazz and Rheingold Associates, March 28 to April 11, 2001
Online Social Networks 2001 brought together the most experienced designers and instigators of online think-tanks, virtual team communication spaces, and virtual communities to discuss the art of designing, launching, growing, and maintaining online social networks. For two weeks, from March 28 to April 11, registered participants, speakers, and workshop leaders joined together in structured conversations about practical issues related to online social networks. Caucus web conference software enabled registered participants to interact at any time during the event, from anywhere in the world, using text and images, through a net-connected web browser.
Market Researcher for an International Artist, March - April 2001
I was contracted to compile a list of prospects that might be interested in buying art. The target market was Interior Designers who specialize in hotel, restaurant, corporate, and high-end residential custom art work, with a first preference given to east coast designers. Email addresses, websites, and telephone numbers were collected for each. I also put together a list of interior design trade shows, conferences, annual meetings, and other gatherings of interior designers who specialize in high-end markets, basically any where my client could make contact with these professionals.
Researcher for Cameron Halifax Associates, March 2001
I was hired to find magazine circulation managers, circulation directors, and circulation specialists for a successful direct marketing company which has a growing catalog division and a need for an experienced manager to oversee marketing and promotions, generate new business, design renewal campaigns, develop email and direct mail campaigns, do list selection, and integrate innovative technologies to their circulation operations.
Archival Researcher for a Small Publishing Firm in Switzerland, March 2001
I was hired to collect the names of old and new catalogues of publishing houses from all over the world. My client then planned to request hard copies of each or at least a facsimile. Catalogues from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Luxemburg, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, and the USA were some of the ones I discovered. National libraries and archives were important sources for the information I was asked to find, but I also made contact with private collectors to do my research. Another component to this project was researching the history of publishing and advertising. The collection of catalogues helps to preserve the business history of publishing and provides us with a pictorial history of catalogue design, as well as insight into the evolution of books and what people read the last number of decades.
Researcher and Writer for the National Research Council of Canada, January - March 2001
My research work centered on taking a look at where people and virtual communities believe interactive digital video and visualization/VR/virtualized reality will be by 2010. I used online resources, communicated with some of the finest scientists in the field, and conducted a small survey during the course of the project. I then wrote a report that summarized my findings.
Researcher and Writer (NDA in Place), January - February 2001
I did value-added research and some writing for an international cosmetics corporation.
Client and Market Database Researcher and Creator (NDA in Place), December 2000 - February 2001
My job was to sweep the Internet to uncover a large number of appropriate contacts to be used by an Internet start-up as a foundation for the generation of contracts. I then created a multi-field online database and inputted all the data.
Website Accessibility/Usability Evaluator for Seven Federally-Controlled Canadian Corporations, December 2000 - January 2001
Researcher for Cameron Halifax Associates, December 2000
I was hired to find the contact information for a Grammy-award winning song writer, living in Nashville, Tennessee. My client was interested in hiring him to work on a Broadway musical play. After many false starts, I was able to get his private phone number and put him in contact with my client.
Meta Tag Creator and Web Content Reviewer for Rheingold Associates, December 2000
I created customized meta tags and keywords for every page of the new home of Howard Rheingold's international group of associates. I also reviewed the content, assisting the editorial staff with website copy revisions.
Researcher for Cameron Halifax Associates, November 2000
I was contracted to find library science listservs and library school alumni organizations. These resources will be used by a head hunter to identify possible candidates with MLIS degrees to fill positions in Silicon Valley start-ups.
Researcher for Cameron Halifax Associates, November 2000
I was hired to find advertising sales managers or advertising salespeople working in the magazine industry. The client is a dynamic publishing and direct marketing concern with unique products in print and online.
Website Accessibility Consultant for GEIS, October - December 2000
I was hired to redesign the site and make the changes necessary to obtain Priority 1 Accessibility status.
Client and Market Researcher for Cameron Halifax Associates, October 2000
My client specializes in recruiting talent in Information Science, Knowledge Engineering, Ontology, and related fields. His clients are primarily in Cupertino, Mountain View, and San Francisco. My job was to identify a number of possible candidates for various positions, including a copy of their resumes and their contact information.
Researcher and Writer for AOL, October 2000
I researched and created a PowerPoint deck and a five-page handout for a business presentation on the provision of accessible Internet-related products and services for people with disabilities and the development and implementation of AOL services that would enable deaf people to communicate via the Internet using TTYs and Internet appliances. Since text telephones (TTYs) use outdated and incompatible technology, many deaf people have no access to the Internet. As a result, companies and governments are looking for cost-effective and cutting-edge ways to provide accessible services to deaf consumers. Providing access requires significant annual expenses, but there is significant pressure on organizations to become accessible to people with disabilities with the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Internet offers huge potential to the deaf population for education, training, employment, and empowerment, a new kind of freedom and independence. The creation of a deaf global village can be a reality. The timing is great for moving the entire deaf population onto the Internet. An Internet-TTY Gateway would enable deaf consumers to switch to the Internet without losing contact with the TTY-using community. The deaf population would benefit by having more opportunities for education, training, and employment, without all of the expense. Providing a way to communicate with hearing people via email and messaging would also make deaf people more employable. The anticipated parallel development of wireless instant messaging extends this model to enable direct TTY-to-wireless-phone messaging capability.
Researcher for Rheingold Associates, September 2000
I was hired to collect and format public domain images for a corporate strategy game based on Charles Cameron's thought tool, HipBone Games. The deliverables were used during an international online conference.
Researcher for the National Research Council of Canada, August - November 2000
I collaborated with a senior strategist to develop an online survey that focused on an innovation-oriented group, aged 35 years old or younger to explore what their assumptions and expectations were in regards to the driving factors for Science and Technology (S&T) for the first decade of the 21st century. I, as the researcher, carried out and oversaw the survey study. I had to decide where to post the survey and research which individuals I would email it to directly. I also collected some informed intellectual speculations from experts and scientists in the area of future scenario work, and some of the latest information gleaned from Internet sources. I collocated them into a ten page report, highlighting some of the more important trends, insights, and issues. Additional deliverables included a copy of the survey questionnaire, all completed surveys, the reports generated from the survey software, and a collocation of answers for each essay-type question included in the survey. The purpose of the project was to survey a group of Science and Technology future-oriented individuals, focusing on those who are young and actively involved in leading edge developments in S&T fields. The survey included questions about the dominant issues and controversies involved in S&T, their impact on research facilities, such as the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), and the critical priorities for technology and skill development. Furthermore, it endeavored to ascertain the most innovative or consequential fields/sub-fields of S&T, as well as the changes needed to improve the S&T system for the world of the 21st Century, along with other queries. The links between science and research outcomes and socio-economic progress are complex and uncertain, however, future scenario work offers promise as a means to help ensure that science, engineering, and technology contribute to national objectives through the identification of priority areas in research and development for both economic and social benefit. There is value in using scenarios as a tool in managing change and to address broad issues of skills, culture, innovation, and communications, so as to develop alternative perspectives on Canada's longer-term requirements for science and technology and how we might better position ourselves to respond to the challenges of shaping our future. It allows managers to consider strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in a dynamic context provided by long-term perspectives, bringing together many factors crucial to competitiveness and innovation, such as helping to identify commercially valuable research areas and indicating emerging market needs. By looking forward to possible future developments and their implications for research, the economy, and society, we can obtain valuable alternative perspectives on our present activities. We live in a complex world where technologies that did not exist a few decades ago are playing key roles in our social and economic life. We now understand that the development, acquisition, and application of knowledge through science, technology, and innovation can create new sources of wealth and improve the quality of our lives. Knowledge and skills have become key factors in developing and sustaining international competitiveness. Research in science and engineering gives Canada a strategic capacity to compete in the knowledge-based global economy, an economy whose rapid pace of change owes much to the pace of advances in science and technology. Scientific discoveries are key drivers of economic growth and have a vital influence on the quality of our lives in providing personal success and prosperity, and for economic growth and social development. Accordingly, scientific and technological research is one of the best investments government can make for the future because it contributes to growing an economy that has more high-skilled workers, high-wage jobs, a cleaner environment, a healthier population, advanced information technology infrastructures, a stronger, more competitive private sector able to maintain a place in world markets, an educational system that is challenging, and an inspired scientific and technological research community focused on improving the quality of life and on successfully meeting global problems through cooperation with other countries. The most important measure of success for S&T is the ability to make a difference in the lives of people: to harness S&T to improve the quality of life and the economic strength of a country. Science and technological industries have changed the way people work, live, and learn. There is a need to build a forward-looking science and technology system. Since the strategic direction, skills and knowledge generated by S&T will impact on our ability to meet our future needs, our S&T system must look ahead and be open and responsive to early and possibly weak, signals of change. Collecting and combining information and gathering opinions in such a survey will help to build perspectives on possible futures to 2010, providing a broad context for identifying future needs, while enabling us to assess how well our current science, engineering, and technology system is positioning itself to meet these needs. We need a society that can make informed choices, one that is technologically literate, and one able to embrace innovation and entrepreneurship. This study will aim to provide an information base to assist NRC in making better informed longer-term decisions on the development and application of science and technology.
Researcher and Senior Editor for Internet Start-Up, Good Enough Information Systems, July 2000 - April 2001
My work focused on helping organizations and corporations integrate the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Guidelines into their website designs and content structure to allow a high degree of usability for people with disabilities. Other duties included performing website usability assessments and helping non-profits and small businesses employ technology to become more effective, primarily using the ASP/Webware model. I also researched and wrote internal reports, developed and templated company processes, and wrote or edited articles, press information, and proposals. I was also the manager of the website. Good Enough Information Systems Inc. is a completely virtual consulting company that is dedicated to making organizations, particularly non-profits and small businesses, more effective through the appropriate use of technology. We focus on providing solutions that offer impact and simplicity rather than over-elaborate code or animated extravaganzas. We work for clients all over Canada and the United States on individual consulting and development projects. One of the big problems with technology investments is that cutting-edge today is obsolete tomorrow, and the solution you spent $50,000 on this year will cost $1,000 in two years. Good Enough Information Systems Inc. specializes in helping an organization build a 'good enough' system to meet its requirements without paying for more than it really needs.
Researcher for University of Toronto (NDA in Place), April - June 2000
Researcher for an Upcoming Book on Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Other Civil Society Movements, February - March 2000
My role was to examine the information that was available online, in academic journals, newspapers, and books on the international organization, La Francophonie. I evaluated sources, summarized findings, and wrote a lengthy report to facilitate the author's work. In this age of globalization, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other civil society movements and coalitions have become vastly more diverse and influential. This book explores the crucial role that efficient, skilful use of information and communications technology and news media has played in increasing the influence and enhancing the work of civil society organizations. Rich in case study material, it examines NGOs and other civil society organizations in the policy fields of development, security, international law, human rights, and humanitarian action. In addition, the book examines the relationship between civil society and intergovernmental institutions such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the G7/G8. Information is power. In the last twenty years, citizens' movements have used information to expose, mobilize, and persuade. By doing so, they have irreversibly altered the relationship between citizens and those who govern.
Designer and Website Content Developer for a Conference Center and Reception Hall, Lafayette, LA, January - February 2000
Client and Market Researcher for Higher Mind Productions, December 1999
The age old problem of not having enough time or money to identify new markets is a real challenge for many companies, not just start-ups. Lack of trained in-house staff and not enough time for them to learn market research methodologies, has many companies hiring freelance client researchers like me to find new clients and to recommend new business directions. Working on a limited budget, I considered my client's current priorities, did some research, and identified new markets for the company. I also delivered strategic market and customer insights by analyzing impacts on marketing and product strategy.
Website Designer and Content Developer for a Real Estate Firm in Jennings, Louisiana, November - December 1999
Researcher for Howard Rheingold's Revised Edition of his Best-Selling, The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier that was released in November 2000 by MIT Press, October 1999 - April 2000
My work consisted of compiling an extensive new bibliography that is meant to serve as a guide to further research on virtual communities and the issues that surround online life. In addition, I carried out a literature review, wrote a report, was a fact checker, and acted as a bibliographic assistant to the author.
Researcher and Project Manager for an Academic Study, October 1999 - February 2000
This research project was developed to find out the condition of email reference service in Canadian public libraries. My part of the project included working with the principal researcher to develop the questions used in the study; deciding which libraries to include and collecting their 'ask a librarian' contact information; creating the email addresses that were used to send the inquiries to the libraries; sending out the email reference questions each week and collecting the answers; researching articles written about email reference and compiling an annotated bibliography based on them. I also asked the libraries used in the study for their email reference service policy if they had one. I then compiled all the answers. With more and more libraries offering to answer questions electronically, the researchers were interested in studying the accuracy of the answers that were supplied by the surveyed librarians, their timeliness in answering, and the overall effectiveness of digital reference desks and 'ask a librarian' programs. We were also interested in finding out why libraries were offering email reference and if its integration changed reference departments. The offering of email reference service is a significant step in the development of the concept of a virtual library. The continuing growth in the number of libraries with access to electronic data networks is beginning to impact the way these organizations conduct their business. For library clients, this promises both more convenient access to information and to library professionals. Clients will increasingly expect to access information and the services of librarians at work and at home. Libraries will increasingly have new opportunities to deliver services, such as reference services, to users who now find it difficult or inconvenient to visit the library. However, if remote reference services are to become common, it is necessary for the information profession to prepare now by identifying both advantages and problems for clients and reference intermediaries alike. One problem in providing reference service over an electronic data network is replacing the face-to-face reference interview, which allows for immediate clarification because of its interactive nature. Can an electronic interaction be equally effective? Verbal and non-verbal channels, such as inflections and paralinguistic devices are often equally important in a reference interview. Many of these cues are, of course, not present in an electronic interview. New and rich protocols for communicating non-verbal signals will no doubt develop to fill the void. Here is a sample of the questions used in the study: When did Kitchener, Ontario change its name from Berlin?; Would you happen to know what the date was for the so-called Fog Bowl? It was a football game in the Canadian Football League (CFL).; Would you able to tell me how many Grammy Awards that Celine Dion has won?; I am looking for the postal address of the British Records Office in London, England. It is the office that handles public records.; On what date will Easter 2067 fall?; Could you tell me what the Consumer Price Index was for September 1999 in Canada?; and I am trying to find out the date when and the place where the tidal wave hit Newfoundland. For comparison purposes, this unobtrusive study was repeated during the Winter of 2002.
Meta Tag Creator, Search Engine Optimizer, Website Content Developer, and Editor for a South Louisiana Arts Portal, September - October 1999
I created a series of meta tags, including the Dublin Core sets, for a large number of websites under the umbrella of the portal, and wrote content/edited all websites.
Researcher for the National Research Council of Canada, July - December 1999
This was an extensive research project that included a sweep of the Internet, academic databases, and library OPACs for the latest information on virtual communities, scenario planning, online culture, innovation, future scenarios, systems thinking, and avatar technology. I read all materials, wrote several reports, and developed a series of PowerPoint slide decks for use in federal government departments.
Researcher and Website Content Developer for a Louisiana Art Consortium, July - August 1999
Primarily, my job was to research American copyright law as it pertains to artists. I also helped to design the website, create the content, and develop the meta tags. Search engine submission and optimization were also a part of the project.
Researcher for the CanLearn Educational Database, February - September 1999
The nature of my work was to sweep the Internet for websites featuring Canadian educational businesses, organizations, associations, scholarships, student loans, schools, indices, language training courses, literacy centers, and other education choices, such as home schooling and private school programs. I also helped to develop the categorization schema used for classification, and worked with the programmers to create the interface for an online database that was eventually used to input all websites. Once I found an appropriate website, I created an annotated record for it and then inputted the data into the database. I was also expected to evaluate the process on an ongoing basis. CanLearn is the only online post-secondary education resource that provides Canadians with the information and services they need to decide what and where to study and how to cover the costs. The CanLearn site was developed by the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments and Canadian learning and career development organizations. It provides all the necessary resources, from interactive planning tools to information about savings programs, student loans, and scholarships, to Canadians facing important decisions when saving for, selecting and financing their post-secondary education. It also provides Canadian governments, learning institutions, and other organizations with the means to collaborate on the provision of information and planning tools for Canadians.
Researcher for the National Research Council of Canada, February 1999
For this project, I was required to perform both a literature review and a sweep of the Internet for particular deliverables that helped to prepare a strategic government analyst for a European conference on information and knowledge management. I read all the articles and pulled important points from each. I then wrote a paper on KM to summarize my findings. The literature review, the articles, and the report were all sent to the client. Above all, companies, governments, and large corporations often do not know what they know. Knowledge management attempts to prevent problems such as lost knowledge or lost income by establishing human and technological networks capable of harnessing a company's collective expertise and experience. The move from an industrial-based economy to a knowledge or information-based one demands a top-notch knowledge management system to secure a competitive edge and a capacity for learning. An organization's ability to quickly tap into its internal wisdom gives it a competitive edge in the marketplace. As a result, knowledge is displacing capital, natural resources, and labor as the basic economic resource. Governments know this all too well.
Researcher for the Canadian Directorate of Museums, December 1998 - January 1999
My job was to find out how many international museums have an online presence and then establish what these institutions offered as far as web-based educational materials. I was also required to do a literature review for the latest research on visual literacy, in hopes of making a case for including visual art in school curricula, regardless of the size and means of the school district. I printed off all relevant articles and mailed them to the executive director. Part of the research was used in preparation for a speech given at an American Association of Museums conference for educators in the United States.
Researcher for Indexing Research, New York, November 1998
This project was centered around finding out how many United States public and academic libraries index their local newspapers. I visited hundreds of library websites looking for the information and made several phone calls to library directors asking if their libraries indexed the local newspapers. Many did. The information was needed for the value-added component of a proposal submitted to the federal government for a major legacy indexing project of American newspapers. I also ran some statistics and wrote a report of the findings.
Researcher for Unobtrusive Evaluation of Reference Service and Individual Responsibility: The Canadian Experience, April - December 1998
The nature of my work was to conduct a literature review of the latest materials published on a wide range of topics, including reference services and American and Canadian government information policies. Primarily, I used Dialog, LexisNexis, Library Literature, the Internet, and library catalogues for the various literature reviews I compiled, but also manually reviewed many journals and books for the needed information. I then read, evaluated the materials, and wrote one to two page summaries for over two hundred separate works. You can view some of my research notes for this book at Government Documents Research. If democracy is dependent upon governments providing equitable, free, and easy access to its information resources, then programs such as the Federal Depository Library Program must be considered integral components of the government's dissemination machine. The most important argument against a one hundred percent electronic universe for government information is that it prevents many users from having access to important government information. From lack of technological finesse, lack of money to buy the necessary equipment, to lack of training, there are many reasons why individuals will be prevented from having access. Furthermore, many depository libraries do not have the needed equipment, the infrastructure, nor enough trained staff to facilitate the transition to electronic government information. There has been inadequate federal planning and policy directives to ensure that libraries and their staff can move from a traditional model of librarianship to one which makes resources available to the public in electronic formats. Librarians need to be able to access, use, and communicate network literacy to the population, if the strategies of NII and NREN (National Research and Education Network) are to be successful and widespread throughout society. Therefore, strategies must be developed to ensure that electronic technologies will become integral in the 21st Century, as well as capable of bringing different segments of society together (i.e. the haves and the have-nots); able to promote social equity in terms of network literacy; and enhance the role of libraries and educators to bring about the desired objectives.
Researcher and Writer, Current Events Awareness Study, February - August 1998
The study attempted to find out the state of information access to current event inquiries as it pertains to national newspaper articles in public library settings. My duties included assisting in developing the areas of inquiry, helping to create the questions used in the study, and making over three hundred phone calls to a series of public libraries across Canada. Subsequently, I wrote a detailed report of the findings. In this study, we discuss, from a historical perspective, the value of reading newspapers as an integral part of reference service provision. We then examine, through an unobtrusive test of telephone reference service at twenty-one public libraries in Canada, whether reference staff are paying attention to newspapers in their work. We drew questions requiring short factual answers from the national paper of record, The Globe and Mail. We asked these questions 231 times. We found that respondents answered 19.5 percent of these questions accurately, and made referrals to external agencies about one quarter of the time. When we followed up on these referrals, we found that 60 percent of them led to accurate answers. Patrons who ask telephone reference questions can therefore expect to get an accurate answer at a rate of 34.2 percent, including successful referrals to external sources. This relatively low level of accuracy could cause the loyalty of patrons to their public libraries to erode, since at least one management study of high-level business executives has suggested that accuracy is the most important factor in determining service quality. Libraries might want to institute policies that provide time for their reference staff to read newspapers and magazines. Schools of library and information science might wish to stress the value of keeping up with current events in the syllabi of any reference courses that they offer. Patrons have many reasons for making a telephone reference inquiry rather than a physical visit to the library. Certainly, many patrons could come into the library, but there are just as many patrons who are unable to visit the library. They might be strapped for time, or they might be unable to get to the library because of physical constraints or the lack of transportation. In these instances, a reference staff member who suggests that a patron come into the library to look for an answer might not be offering a real alternative. In the study reported here, 36.4 percent of telephone reference inquiries ended in the patron being told to visit the library. In light of this, Canadian public libraries may wish to consider instituting a telephone reference system of the kind Tour described, when visiting the library to get an answer is not a requirement. These are the eleven questions used in the study. Following each question is the bibliographical information for each news story: 1.) Do you know where I could find a copy of the official CIA report about the Bay of Pigs? ("C.I.A. Bares Own Bungling in '61 Report on Bay of Pigs," New York Times, Feb. 22, 1998, A1, A6; "Secret Report Blames CIA for Bay of Pigs Fiasco," The Globe and Mail, Feb. 23, 1998, A11.) ; 2.) Can you give me some information about whether the musical work Symphony No. 3 by the British composer Sir Edward Elgar has ever been finished? ("A Change of Heart Brings a New Elgar Work," New York Times, Mar. 12, 1998, B1, B9; "Pomp and Circumstance," The Globe and Mail, Mar. 14, 1998, C17.); 3.) Can you tell me the name of the architect for the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC? ("Museum of the Indian Drops its Designer," New York Times, Apr. 4, 1998, A13, A15; "Cardinal Ignores Dismissal Notice," The Globe and Mail, Apr. 7, 1998, C1, C2.); 4.) Could you provide me with any kind of list of all the plants that are endangered globally? ("One in Every 8 Plant Species is Imperiled, a Survey Finds," New York Times, April 9, 1998, A1, A22; "Plant Species Threat Cited," The Globe and Mail, Apr. 9, 1998, A15.); 5.) Has there ever been a credit union owned by blacks in Canada? If so, could you provide me with some details? ("A Community Loses its Line of Credit," The Globe and Mail, May 1, 1998, A2.); 6.) Do you know of any publication that provides a list of abandoned communities (towns, villages, outports) in Newfoundland? ("What's Lost and What's in Danger," The Globe and Mail, May 4, 1998, A13 [op-ed page].); 7.) Are there any statistics available on how many children have been using Ritalin in Quebec in the last few years? ("Ritalin Raises Alarm in Quebec," The Globe and Mail, May 27, 1998, A1, A5.); 8.) Are you aware of any studies that link how well CEOs of companies play golf with how well their companies perform on the stock market? ("Duffers Need Not Apply," New York Times, May 31, 1998, Section 3, p. 1+; "Study Links Golf to Great Returns," The Globe and Mail, Jun. 2, 1998, B12.); 9.) Can you give me some information about the first person to circumnavigate the world solo? ("A Hero Except Back Home," The Globe and Mail, Jul. 17, 1998, A2; "Canada's Own Ancient Mariner," The Globe and Mail, Jul. 18, 1998, D16 [front page of weekend book section].); 10.) Could you give me some information as to whether it is legal to sell the manganese-based gasoline octane booster MMT in Canada? ("Threat of NAFTA Case Kills Canada's MMT Ban," The Globe and Mail, Jul. 20, 1998, A1, A5; " Gas War: The Fall and Rise of MMT," The Globe and Mail, Jul. 24, 1998, A1, A5.); 11.) I'd like some information about the approximate number of native artifacts that have to be returned by Canadian museums under the terms of the Nisga'a treaty with the federal government and British Columbia. ("A Time for Giving Back," The Globe and Mail, Aug. 1, 1998, C1, C8.) See findings in: Dilevko, J. and E. Dolan. Reference Work and the Value of Reading Newspapers: An Unobtrusive Study of Telephone Reference Service. Reference & User Services Quarterly 39, no. 1 (1999): 71-81.
Researcher, Website Evaluation Study, Fall 1997/Summer 1998
With the assistance of students from two government documents classes at the University of Western Ontario library school, a comparative study was done on a large number of American and Canadian government information websites. We were investigating how well the sites did when it came to scope, currency, accuracy, ease of use, organization, appeal, search capabilities, quality of online materials, and learning factors. My primary duties included entering the data into Excel, creating graphs and charts, and collocating the written summaries. For statistical purposes, the websites were classified into the following categories: 1. Finance: treasury, finance, commerce, auditor general, management and budget, privatization, management board secretariat, the GAO, and revenue; 2. Justice: crime, attorney general, justice, and solicitor general; 3. Public Services: transport, health, social services, communications, education, census, energy, consumerism, citizen and culture, housing, travel, heritage, statscan, defense, veteran affairs, and women; 4. Environment: environment, natural resources, fisheries, the department of the interior, Indian affairs, agriculture, and the EPA; 5. International Affairs: foreign, international industry, immigration, and international trade; and 6. Economic Development: opportunity agency, labour, economic development, human resources, industry, and ACOA.
Research Assistant, November 1997 - May 1998
I was the researcher for a study carried out on behalf of the Federal Depository Services Program, Public Access Services Division (Bruno Gnassi). Providing Canadian citizens with free, equitable, timely, and uncomplicated access to federal government information is a national and worthy goal. Now that official publications in print form are gradually being replaced by electronic documents increasingly available on the Internet, systematic examination of the capabilities of federal depository libraries to provide permanent access and quality reference service to the Canadian public is essential. The study reported here was funded by the Depository Services Program (DSP), Public Works and Government Services, Canada, and undertaken by researchers in the Program of Library and Information Science, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario. For this investigation, a set of government documents-related questions were developed and tested for use in an unobtrusive evaluation of full and selective depositories in academic and public libraries located across the five geographic and socio-cultural regions of Canada. The purpose of this study was to investigate how well library staff members in Canadian federal depository libraries are answering government documents reference questions and whether they are using Internet-accessible and web-based sources to do so. Research questions were formulated as follows: what is the degree of accuracy of government reference service in Canadian academic and public libraries that participate in the Depository Services Program, as measured by the number of complete answers supplied by library personnel to specific questions?; To what extent do staff members in these libraries make use of electronic information sources such as CD-ROMs and the range of websites made available by the Canadian federal government?; and which categories of government reference questions are the most difficult to answer for library personnel at depository libraries? While there are legislative libraries with full depository status in most provinces, public access to government documents is most readily achieved through public and academic libraries. Accordingly, the research questions developed for this study were examined through the lens of four categories of depository libraries: academic full depositories, academic selective depositories, public full depositories, and public selective depositories. This study was conducted using paid proxies in a cross-country unobtrusive evaluation of reference service at academic and public depositories. The quality of reference service was operationally defined as the percentage of complete or combined complete and partially complete answers to 15 government documents questions. Selection of tested libraries was based on a proportionally stratified cluster sample. In the first instance, proportional stratification was effected on the basis of the five geographic areas of Canada. On the second level, clusters of cities and towns within the geographic areas were identified, and a sample of public and academic depository libraries was taken to reflect the proportion of these libraries in the depository system as a whole. Fifteen different questions were asked a total of 488 times at 104 libraries in 30 metropolitan census areas as defined by Statistics Canada. Each proxy package consisted of 15 different questions and a brief survey form. Proxies were recruited from students enrolled in the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program of the University of Western Ontario (UWO). Questions were asked from 10 December 1997 to 10 February 1998 - a period during which many students traditionally return to their hometowns for the holiday season. To a certain extent, cities chosen for the study were determined by the travel plans of the proxies. My specific duties included collection of the survey data, inputting it all into Excel, creating a series of tables and charts, and helping to analyze the findings. In addition, I was expected to follow-up on over two hundred referrals received from the initial inquiries made by our proxies. (See findings in the government document entitled: Government Documents Reference Service in Canada: Implications for Electronic Access Ottawa, Ont.: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 1999. - vii, 100 p., 111 p., vii).