Every month the InfoPosse -- Inc's team of crack corporate librarians -- reports in on what's good, bad, and ugly in the world of information.
Trolling for Dollars: Uninspiring economy notwithstanding, there's still venture capital to be had ($40 billion worth this year alone), and those interested in having it should bookmark www.venturereporter.net, suggests the InfoPosse's Christine Klein. That's the site for Venture Reporter, which until recently went by the moniker Silicon Alley Reporter. "The name change symbolizes our ... expanding focus on the top 10 most active areas for venture capital investment," writes editor-in-chief and CEO Jason McCabe Calacanis. The magazine has switched its coverage from all-Internet-all-the-time to other industries like life sciences, software, telecom, financial services, and security. Venture Reporter exhaustively chronicles who is getting how much from whom and on what terms. And whether you're looking for a vice-president of E-learning in California or office space to share in Manhattan, the free classifieds are a happenin' resource. (An annual subscription is $100.)
"Spending our time covering layoffs and shutdowns is simply not as interesting as covering high-growth firms."
Group Dynamics: The Encyclopedia of Associations is as sexy as a hardware store and almost as useful. Published by Gale, the encyclopedia lists more than 22,000 U.S. associations (a CD-ROM version, called Associations Unlimited, includes many more) with details on everything from membership to conferences to publications. That sounds dust-dry, but associations may offer "the best, broadest information available on a given industry or area of interest," says InfoPosse member Genevieve Foskett. If you want to improve how you ship things, for example, the "Containers" category will point you to groups that specialize in wood tanks; fiber drums; and plastic, paper, and steel containers. Want to market a product to foreign-language teachers? The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages can help. And those hungry for customers can sometimes obtain membership lists (for a fee). The encyclopedia can be ordered at www.gale.com.
In Case You Missed It: The Web is a wonderful source of the latest and greatest but often fails those looking for the passÉ and unevolved. Klein used to chafe when she found that important documents had evaporated from the Net. Then she discovered the Wayback Machine ( www.archive.org), a tool created by nonprofit Internet Archive, which is building a library of historical documents in digital format. The free service lets users bring back from the dead thousands of pages from public- and private-sector Web sites, including six-year-old iterations of Yahoo and Amazon.com. But Klein cautions that such an archive should make Web posters wary. "Just because something you don't want people to see anymore is gone doesn't mean it's necessarily forgotten," she says.
A Controlled Burn: InfoPosse member Lisa Guedea CarreÑo almost didn't bother with From Conflict to Creativity: How Resolving Workplace Disagreements Can Inspire Innovation and Productivity (Jossey-Bass, 2001). "When I saw it was written by a husband, wife, and son [Sy, Barbara, and Daryl Landau], all of whom are 'mediators/dispute-resolution consultants/trainers,' I figured it might be too cute," she says. But she was intrigued by the Landaus' advocacy of "creative contention." They argue that conflict, as long as it's not the knock-down-drag-out variety, is the oxygen of creativity. So striving for rapid consensus isn't necessarily a good thing. "If managers do it right," says Guedea CarreÑo, "at the end of the day they also have an organization that values diversity."
The InfoPosse members are Genevieve Foskett, corporate librarian at Highsmith Inc.; Lisa Guedea CarreÑo, library director at Goshen College; Christine Klein, director of knowledge and information management at LifeCare Inc.; Jean Mayhew, former director of information and learning at United Technologies Research Center; and Lisa A. Zwickey, senior research specialist at J.J. Keller & Associates.
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