<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Online Investigations: Searching the Web and Organizing Your Information

Tools Shared During the 2010 School of Authentic Journalism


By the Online Journalism Working Group Professors and Students of the School of Authentic Journalism
Class of 2010, School of Authentic Journalism

March 4, 2010

On February 7, the investigative journalism and online reporting teams held a joint plenary on online investigations.

Presenters demonstrated a few tools that are used to locate information and carry out online investigations.

These tools include online databases on various topics, internet archives, and ways to back up controversial or damning information so that it can’t be removed from the internet. Some of the tools and databases search the Deep Web, which is the part of the web that is not searchable by search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Other tools are used to organize the often copious amounts of electronic documents that online investigators often have to manage.

The investigative and online teams are making the tools they mentioned during the plenary available online.

This is an interactive blog post. The online and investigative journalism teams will continue to update the post with more tools.

Many j-school students have other tools that they use in online investigations. Please use the comments section below this post to post your favorite internet investigation tools so that this post can be a dynamic resource for authentic journalists. Feel free to explain how you use these tools in your investigations.

Saving and Organizing Electronic Information

KeepVid: http://www.keepvid.com
For saving videos from youtube.com and other video upload sites to your computer.

save2pc: http://www.save2pc.com/
For saving videos from youtube.com and other video upload sites to your computer.

Netvibes: http://netvibes.com
A personalized homepage and overview-style RSS aggregator, well-suited to following many news sites at once rather than blogs. Example: http://netvibes.com/mediahacker

PDF Download Firefox extension. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/636
Websites and links frequently disappear. Simply bookmarking a page in your browser that you want to come back to is not reliable. Downloading the webpage as a PDF to your hard drive is a good way to save articles and websites.

Weft QDA: http://www.pressure.to/qda/
Tool to assist in the analysis of textual data such as interview transcripts, written texts and fieldnotes. Organize all your electronic documents so that they are useful and accessible.

Searching the Deep Web and Topic-Specific Databases

Google Cache: http://www.googleguide.com/cached_pages.html
Google-able recent archives of web pages. If you can’t find what you need in Google’s cache, try the search engines Bing.com and Yahoo.com. They both do regular caches of websites, too.

Wayback Machine: http://www.archive.org
Internet archive, for seeing old copies of webpages, or seeing webpages that have since been deleted

Online Newspapers: http://www.onlinenewspapers.com
Allows you to find newspapers—including local newspapers—that have websites. organized by continent and country.

PACER (8 ¢ per page): http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/
Search for records in federal US courts by party name or case number.

Federal Procurement Data System (free login with E-mail required): https://www.fpds.gov/fpdsng_cms/
Search archives of US government contracts with businesses.

FedBizOps: https://www.fbo.gov/
Procurement database. Search for requests for US contracted services by the government.

FEC.gov: http://fec.gov/finance/disclosure/srssea.shtml
Financial disclosures for US lawmakers and political committees.

IRS Political Organizations: http://forms.irs.gov/politicalOrgsSearch/search/basicSearch.jsp?ck
Financial disclosures for other political organizations and nonprofits.

Guidestar (free login with E-mail required): http://www2.guidestar.org/
Tax records for nonprofits operating in US.

EDGAR: http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/webusers.htm
Financial disclosures for publicly traded corporations in US.

Lobbying Disclosure Act Database: http://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=selectfields
Search for US lobbyists, their clients, and how much money is being paid for services.

Foreign Agents Registration Unit: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fara/links/quick-search.html
Search records of foreign entities/countries lobbying in the US.

Foreign Travel Reports: http://clerk.house.gov/public_disc/foreign/index.html
Reports of expenditures for all official foreign travel by members and staff of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Outside Paid Travel: http://soprweb.senate.gov/giftrule/
Gifts/ Outside Paid Travel For US Senators and their staff.

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com
“The YouTube of documents.”

SciELO: http://www.scielo.org
Scientific electronic library.

Google Academic: http://scholar.google.com

JSTOR: http://www.jstor.org
Archive of academic journals

The Open Library: http://openlibrary.org/
Searchable scanned books.

Dominio Publico: http://www.dominiopublico.gov.br
Digital library of open-source/free software

Todo el Derecho: http://www.todoelderecho.com/
Database of laws in many countries.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
Information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities.

ProQuest: http://www.proquest.com/
Meta-database

LexisNexis Academic: http://www.lexisnexis.com/us/lnacademic/
Paid database. Logins are often available from University students and professors.

EBSCO: http://search.ebscohost.com/
Paid research database.

Links provided by Hugo Ramírez, Erin Rosa, Sibi Arasu, Ansel Herz, and Teresa García Moreno.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America