Northern Light Search For Industry Intelligence

When I started my career in competitive intelligence, Google was in its early stages especially when it came to news search. As a researcher, I depended on a collection of specialized search tools based on my particular need. One tool that has fallen in popularity but yet still extremely useful is Northern Light. (Northern Light was one of first tools  to “cluster” (or group) results into blue folders to facilitate the analysis of results.)

The current state of the tool is ideal for those who have the responsibility to gather strategic intelligence.  Thanks to its  search interface, Northern Light offers researchers a nice alternative to Google News.  Figure 1 illustrates Northern Light’s search interface.

Figure 1: Northern Light's Search Interface.








Besides searching for the appearance of keyword(s) in the entire document, the interface allows users to specify the source of the information whether it be an exact publication or an URL.

Users can select to toggle results based on:

  • Business & Technology News
  • Industry Authority Blogs
  • National and Global News
  • US Regional News
  • International Regional News

As with all good search tools, Northern Light offers the ability to base a query on publication date range and sort by relevance, date and time.

For the purposes of this post, I decided to test out the “Industry Authority Blogs” toggle option.  Figure 2 provides a look at the listing of results for the query: “social media marketing” + trends” for the time period of August 2nd, 2010 to December 30th, 2010 and sorted by date and time.

Figure 2: Results For "social media marketing" + trends









It is important to note again that the results are coming from industry-specific blogs only which is a good way to access insights from industry experts.

In addition to conducted your own searches, the tool provides access to the results from research experts from a variety of industries as shown in Figure 3 where you can simply “point and click” on the sector of your choice (Expert Searches).

Figure 3: Expert Searches Interface










Figure 4 is the list of results for the Health Care – eHealth Expert Searches.

Figure 4: "Health Care" - eHealth Expert Searches Results










Next week, I will take a look at how Northern Light analyses its results.

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