By DEBORA RUBI
iTools, much like the reporter desktop profiled in another blog entry earlier this fall, provides access to many of the Internet tools on easily navigated page.
The page beings with the most basic of functions through a generalized search (provided through the ever present Google), a Google video search, people search, a web directory and a search for discussion groups.
This last one is unique and stands out for better sources (although one must consider depending the subject being searched, weather they are reliable sources.
For now, we’ll search a discussion group for eating disorders. Using Google Groups, the search results provide multiple forums for those suffering of eating disorders and parents of those with eating disorders. This is not only a great way to find information on these diseases but, if approached correctly, could also be a great place to find sources to use in stories.
The next section provides searches for language tools including a dictionary, computer terms, text translations, and web translators. Most of these services are also provided by Google.
The next section is a reference area. There are search options for topic guides, biographies, quotations, and telephone area codes. This would be more helpful for those looking specifically for background information on a subject that may be more complex than a simple profile or news story.
On the left side are iTools links to less frequently used search sections such as finance (which includes a link to currency exchange) and one to maps (which provides maps from throughout the world).
While most of these links have been gathered to help the general public browsing the Internet, they also provide very interesting avenues for journalists that have found dead ends through more traditional means while also providing quicker approaches to traditional journalism (in looking up sources, background information, definitions, etc).
iTools is very simplistic, but it is a very approachable and helpful tool for those with time. Since there are few links and for the sources you have to already have a topic in mind it is not a great spot to find new story ideas but certainly a great way to finally get started on an idea that has been roaming through your mind.