Articles of the Faithful

The IRE Journal, a publication of Investigative Reporters and Editors, has a couple of items that are of interest to the research community. “Make Search Engines Work for You” deals primarily with backgrounding people and has nine shortcuts, some of which are common search engine tricks, but others are less common. “Questions for Journalists to Answer” deals with ethical source development in the journalistic world, but the questions are also the kinds of things that allow any researcher to properly vet sources. “Tips for Protecting Your Communications from Prying Eyes” deals with ways to mask the “who” you are talking with and the “what” you are talking about. Finding the “First Quarter 2016” copy of The IRE Journal may be a bit challenging because it is not widely distributed. Try asking for it, or the articles from it by name, on Interlibrary Loan.

Google Dorking: Dam, Dam, Dam

There are indications that an advanced, but widely known, Google search technique was used in a digital attack on the sluice gates of a New York dam. Anybody with a minimal amount of technical skill can use the same open source to access key infrastructure targets. There are more details at

Information Advantage — Understanding the Techniques of Multiple Research Fields

During the past six months the staff of the research school have been taking a preliminary look at the type of research that can be called Knowledge Logistics (KL). It is called that because information is moved from its original place to a location where and when it is needed. The information transfer is often “just in time.”
We have endeavored to look at each major type of contributor to the research field and analyze its major strengths as well as weaknesses. We believe that there are balances in all the major resource research areas.
It is clear that this research area we call KL is in fact a system of systems. Competency requires knowledge of and abilities to use a variety of different systems that meet the needs of the individual researcher and research program.

  • Key areas we studied include:
    Information Literacy of library science
    Opposition Research of political science
    Competitive/Competition Intelligence of the business world
    Computer-assisted Research (CAR) of journalism
    Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) of government.

All have something to contribute to KL research. Knowledge of the systems used by each field will help make the researcher more successful in every endeavor.

Information literacy is strong on storage and retrieval of the information, particularly in databases and fiber-based materials. Knowledge of the information literacy’s contribution to the field helps a researcher file and retrieve the information collected elsewhere on their own systems. Information literacy is particularly strong when it comes to databases and nondigital materials. It is not particularly strong when dealing with online research techniques.

Opposition research has proven its strengths through many election cycles. Its techniques are wide ranging, but tend to be close-held and to that extent unavailable to most researchers.
Competitive intelligence, or competition intelligence as it is often called, is widely used in the business community to provide the background needed by decision-makers. It has a long history of success. Again, many of the techniques and resources needed for this work are close held.

Computer-assisted research is an extension of journalistic techniques. It has great strength in gathering information from social media and excels in web scraping and analysis. It, like some of the other research fields, is light on security for the researcher.

Open source intelligence, used by military and police organizations, has a spotted capability. It is heavier on security than virtually any other research type. That is positive for the security of the researcher, but often interferes with the actual research process. To a certain extent the rise of social media, and the focus on them, has wrenched this resource away from other traditional methods of research.

The role of The Information School ( is to bring the strengths of the various parts of the research field together in such a way that will minimize or eliminate the weaknesses in each field and provide the user with an information advantage.