What Phil found - the best of the web for information professionals

Phil Bradley picks some of his favourite new web tools.

At the annual Internet Librarian International conference I run a session called 'Things that Phil has found', which is becoming something of a tradition.  In it I look at a few things of relevance to the information community that have caught my eye in the last year. For those who were unable to attend in person, this is a quick roundup of a few of the tools that I particularly liked.

In the field of search I have always found the related: function in Google to be of interest, in which you can find similar sites.  But this has now been taken to an entirely new level by SimilarPages which is both available as a website and a bookmarklet. Simply type in a website or subject that you're interested in, find a relevant site, and SimilarPages will do its best to locate alternatives for you. If the bookmarklet is in use (which is my preferred option) it's just a right mouseclick, and then you can view the alternatives. It's an astonishingly quick and valuable resource, especially when the site or page that I'm on isn't quite what I'm after.

We're seeing a real explosion in the area of curated news content at the moment, and by that I mean tools that you can plug your Facebook/Twitter details into and the tool will pull out a series of stories for you based on your specific interests and those of your nearest and dearest few thousand contacts or friends. This is a great way to quickly get right to the centre of the news, and means you can save a lot of time otherwise spent trying to catch up. Tools such as Zite
and Pulse have joined the ranks of the better known Flipboard but there is also ShowYou which does the same for videos.
These all work well on tablet devices, but if you don't have one available you could also check similar tools such as Scoop It Headslinger or Learnist online.

I was taken by a few 'one trick pony' tools, such as Screenleap which has to be just about the easiest way to share screens that I have discovered, since it doesn't require any downloads, installations or signups. Lazarus is a cracking little tool that sits quietly in the background while you're working. If you are filling in a form and you lose a connection, don't panic because you haven't lost all of your work, as Lazarus has been busy storing all the form content for you. With a couple of mouse clicks you're able to retrieve all of your work. If you're concerned about loosing your laptop, install a free resource
called Prey which sits silently on your machine and can be started remotely. It takes photographs of the thief, is geolocation aware and can lockdown the computer for you.  Alternatively try 'Find my iPhone' which does the same sort of thing for your iPhone.

That's just a few of the many tools that I found - the 2012 collection is on my Slideshare profile and if you want to keep really up to date with the things that I find, take a look at my weblog 'I want to'.

Phil Bradley is an information specialist and well known Internet consultant. He runs courses on various aspects of the Internet, is a webpage writer and designer, is the author of several books about the Internet and speaks on various Internet related subjects at conferences.

Photo courtesy of asenat29 via Flickr.