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There is a mind-boggling amount of information online. And this is a wonderful thing. A good search engine is like an oracle: you can ask it any question you like and be sure to get an answer. The answer might be exactly what you’re looking for, or it might be, well, oracular—difficult to interpret and possibly incorrect. But what if you are searching for some specific data-related questions?
Well let me tell you an incident. Recently I was doing a research paper on “Global entrepreneurs below 20”, and like most of them would do, I started with Google search, which listed few relevant and other irrelevant results. I managed to copy the information and save it in a word file. Then I moved onto Crunchbase, but now it seemed like I was swimming in an ocean with trillions of fishes, and was trying to catch only the golden-colored breed. And believe me, I couldn’t ever complete my project – Not because there was no information available there, but only because all the information available was too scattered and time consuming, so as to put it down on one single sheet.
So coming down back to the question, have you ever spent hours digging up Wikipedia for information about a topic, opening up page after page to compare different information? If yes then you’ll surely like this startup called Silk.
Silk is a free-to-use online application that helps you collect, sort and view the information that you need without making you sweep through the data yourself. Think of it as an expert who knows everything about a given subject and can deliver that information to you with minimal effort.
Once you sign up, you can start browsing the data page by page, just as you would on CrunchBase. But what makes this more easier is that allows you to filter and search the data with specific parameters. This not only drills down the information quickly, but also saves your time without extensive searching and comparing the information. Ah, I still wish if I had known about this earlier.
Other than letting you access information available on other sites, you can even seed your data about your own company or startup, which then can be used as an internal research tool for your employees or team members. This information will then be indexed by search engines, giving you an added advantage of more exposure.
Co-founded by Salar al Khafaji and Lon Boonen, the ease with which Silk allows you to manage data is inspiring for anyone who has to do research for their jobs or studies. The ability to visualize that data in charts and graphs, is something the core value of Data Journalism.