How to Time Travel on Web: 2 Research Tips

A lot of what I’ve done at various jobs involves research, and most research today is done through the web. In science and business, knowing where you have been is critical for knowing where you are going. Scientists read hundreds of “old” papers to find methods and discoveries they can use to plan their own experiment. These papers in a way are “case studies”. Business analysts use financial, distribution, product cycle, interest rates and loads of other data when looking at company, making a deal or solving a problem.

Social media analysts use some old data to create new business proposals, but mostly they want “new” data: the latest information and technologies available. On occasion however, to illustrate the evolution of the web, I’ve used this amazing tool, “The Way Back Machine“, which allows you to see archived snapshots of your website. This is a picture from the front page of my blog, a year ago:

Try it yourself!

The second tip I’m proffering up is a simple variation on a Google Search. I choose daily topics for my community’s Twitter handle. Today’s topic was “Chimeras”, as from the recently created chimeric monkeys. (Chimeras are organisms with multiple genomes, different DNA.)

The search was unfruitful thanks to Google’s recent algorithm changes which give greater weight to newer content. (A reason one should blog on one’s company website, and often.) The results I was receiving were for the monkeys or a successful hockey game from yesterday. Search for chimeric:

Search for chimera:

In order to eliminate the cute little baby Rhesus monkeys, I used Google’s time period search. I started in 2000 because information in in DNA research over ten years old doesn’t have much significance with modern discoveries and changing technology. I picked a month ago as the end date, although even last week would have been far enough to clear the viral monkey story.

The results were exactly what I was hoping for, no more big black monkey baby eyes looked back at me imploring the necessity of a future of hybrid creatures. Now I could browse articles which topped the news in another time, a simpler time, like January 2011.

And this is how I stumbled upon….HUMAN CHIMERAS!!!

What are you researching? What you like to discover? Happy hunting!

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