Not your grandfather’s research tools

Way back when dinosaurs roamed Silicon Valley, we all trotted down to the local library with our research questions and had a chat with the nice librarian. Today, it’s safe to say that most of us will turn first to our phone or tablet when we want to do some research.

With the explosion of mobile devices, information is literally at our fingertips, and we have an amazing choice of innovative tools to help us.

Take wikiHow, whose mission is to teach everyone in the world anything they want to learn how to do.

If you get a flat tire on a lonely country road, pull out your mobile device, and wikiHow can show you how to change a tire. Or, if you get lost on that lonely country road, it can teach you how to read a map. (But it probably can’t help those who refuse to ask for directions…)

Deudil, a central place to find out anything about companies in the UK and Ireland, is another innovative resource, more for those in business and finance. Deudil aggregates vast amounts of company information and gives it away at no cost.

Are you looking for companies in Birmingham with a turnover of £1 million or more? Done. Would you like to review a company’s intellectual property records? No problem.

Anyone with a mobile device can use these tools.

“We want to get information to everyone; it doesn’t matter who they are or whether they have the latest, greatest hardware,” said Reuben Smith, an engineer at wikiHow.

“We love HTML5 because we love open standards,” added the company’s CEO, Jack Herrick. “wikiHow is all open source; all our software is open source.”

The team at Deudil feels the same way.

“We’re predominantly using HTML5 because the technology allows us to take our product to as many places as possible,” explained Deudil’s Paul Scott.

“We want to go toward HTML5 because of the scalability, because of the cost implications,” added his colleague, Damian Kimmelman. “We don’t want to hire developers for every single platform.”

wikiHow and Deudil are innovative, easy-to-access research tools. I bet librarians use them, too.

-Jenny Carless


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