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A gigantic Google cheat sheet

Need a word's definition? Just type it into Google, preceded by the string "define:" and Google will look it up on dictionary.com, which also has an audio clip showing how to pronounce it. That's among the tips in this large graphic from hackcollege.com. Also included are tips for searching Google Scholar, as well as some common keyboard shortcuts for zooming in and out, cycling through windows and applications, and making screenshots of the whole screen or a part.

What's in Santa's bag for journalists?

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Chip Scanlan at the Poynter Institute has some thoughts on what the big guy should leave under the tree for aspiring multimedia reporters this season: "Technology has filled the journalistic toolbox with an array of innovative gadgets that enable journalists to gather and deliver the news with speed and sophistication. But which ones does a multimedia journalist need?" Top of the list: A smartphone. Most audacious choice: A remote controlled helicopter video camera.

Eight research databases for journalists

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Google is only a first step in doing research, and it may not be the best one, writes John Wihbey, who lists his "go-to" research databases in a Poynter post. Wihbey says “conventional Web searches — just Googling it — won’t necessarily turn up the best research materials; search algorithms don’t always prominently highlight studies and reports that are seldom linked to or visited. There’s also the problem of increasing 'personalization' of search results.”

Unlocking the secrets of domain names

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If you want to learn who is behind a web site, use Whois, Meranda Watling writes on 10,000 Words. Her tech tip on the web tool says: "If nothing else, it’s another place to look for potential sources and data. It’s also something I’ve seen mentioned a few times in news stories of late about memes taking off from political flubs. How long did it take for someone to register 'BindersFullOfWomen.com' for instance (and while you’re looking it up, who registered it)?"

A new tool for journalist code geeks

© iStockphoto.com/Konstantin Inozemtsev

The Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project's Source feature is perfect for reporters who want to venture into programming but aren't sure where to start, Ryan Lytle writes on 10,000 Words. It includes an index of contributed code samples, but Lytle says: "Where I think most journalists will get the greatest benefit ... is getting some background information on how some of these projects were put together, from the initial idea to site implementation."

Some must-have tools for reporters

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Ann Friedman lists old favorites like Dropbox but also some new apps and gadgets in this Columbia Journalism Review post from reader suggestions. "For recording in-person interviews, I am in love with my new Echo Smartpen, a James Bond-ish invention that allows me to take notes on actual paper and then syncs those notes with my audio," Friedman writers. "My white whale? I have yet to find an app I love for recording iPhone calls. Drop me a line if you’ve got one."

Has Twitter moved past manageable?

Three recent stories focus on the same challenge: harnessing the power of Twitter. First, an update from Nieman Journalism Lab on plans by the Library of Congress to build and maintain a Twitter archive. In short, it's moving slowly. Second, the New York Times explains how Twitter's new rules make it harder for outside developers work with it. Finally, Reporter's Lab on the obstacles to building a Twitter tracking tool.

Popular online tools for freelancers

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It's not exactly an exhaustive survey, but BestVendor.com polled 97 independent workers for their favorite gizmos and compiled the results into an elaborate online graphic. It includes familiar ones like Google Docs but also up-and-comers like Expensify: "One observation: Freelancers are all about the cloud. Not one piece of desktop software made the top 25, with the possible exception of QuickBooks, which has both a web and desktop version."

Improving data literacy for journalists

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It's largely a matter of asking the right questions, according to this excerpt from the new Data Journalism Handbook. An example: Are there lurking variables in a study linking tea consumption to better health? "In most countries, tea is a beverage for the health-conscious upper classes. If researchers don’t control for lifestyle factors in tea studies, they tell us nothing more than 'rich people are healthier — and they probably drink tea.'"

A free text on data-based journalism

Digital journalism specialists from the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and others contributed to the Data Journalism Handbook, a project of the European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation. Chapters include "The Web as a Data Source," "Start With the Data, Finish With a Story," "How to Build a News App," "Using Visualizations to Tell Stories," and "Different Charts Tell Different Tales."