It is hard sometimes to find the information you want, and harder more to stumble across something new and interesting. With the steadily declining results returned by Google I have been forced to develop new techniques for searching and finding interesting resources and information. One of these techniques is what I call “combinatory search” where I take a couple interesting n-grams—whether from my own thoughts, or an article I’m reading—and I will search with both in quotation marks (to get exact matches). This narrows down results by quite a lot, often returning somewhere between 1 and 1000 results for any given search, and frequently leads to discovering particularly interesting resources that I would not otherwise have discovered.
I like to think of this technique as “exploring nearby thoughtspace” as my hypothesis is that if someone else is using one or two terms or ideas that I find particularly compelling, then they might be thinking along the same lines. Interestingly this has also led me to stumble upon a number of pieces by people I know and follow, a friend’s thesis, a twitter aqcuaintance’s article, and of course sometimes I end up stumbling upon my own website!