Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Keeping Informed

I really believe that Accurate Information is the foundation of humane parenting - and humane living, for that matter. I sometimes think how blessed we are to have so much great information at our fingertips. Other times I feel like I am drowning in information, and I am spending so much time researching that I don't spend enough time living the life I am trying to learn how to live.

Two tools that have helped me to organize my information-seeking behavior are:

GoodReads.com - I have this habit of reading about a book and thinking that it sounds fascinating, so I order it from inter library loan. Then I get it and either end up having more books than I could possibly read at one time, or deciding that it wasn't all that interesting after all, but I feel obligated to read it because the library went to the trouble of getting it for me. What I do now when I hear about a book that sounds interesting is add it to my Good Reads list under To-Read, and then when I return a book I check the list to see what I want to get next. I also keep track of what I've read and include a brief review so that I remember what the book was about.

Google Reader - I do not think I am overstating things when I say that Google Reader has changed my life! I believe that blogs are one of the most important tools we have right now for sharing ideas and information in real time, but I was also finding that keeping up with them all was a drag. I was using RSS and it would take me FOREVER, hours literally, to read them all every couple of days. I'd get frustrated and stop after awhile, and then many of the things that would have interested me didn't get read until the information was already out of date. Now, with Google Reader, I can very quickly scroll through my blogs and news sources, read what interests me, and leave the rest - and I can even do this on my phone while I'm picking Bess up from school or waiting for an appointment!

What are your information gathering strategies?

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