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Part I: Gathering Information  > Making People Your Best Resource

Chapter 2. Making People Your Best Resource

Kendall Keil is an analyst for a nonprofit institute that provides educational services to third-world countries. His manager recently asked him to research Lyme disease treatments used in the United States, to support a presentation he was giving to a professional conference on the treatment of mosquito-borne illnesses. Kendall went to the Web to read as much as he could about the disease, but he found his real information by talking with people.

By searching Lyme-related sites, he found out about two e-mail lists that were used by researchers who shared information with one another about possible treatments. Although he didn’t understand much of it initially, by doing a search on unfamiliar terms he quickly developed an understanding. As he became a lay expert, he began to see repeatedly the names of several National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists whose research he respected. When he sent e-mails to some of them, he was surprised to find that they were more than willing to talk to him about promising new treatment protocols. By creating a free account at WebMD (http://www.webmd.com), he found an online community of people who had been undergoing the various treatments, and was able to discuss firsthand how they affected the quality of life of actual afflicted people. This added a personal dimension to the information that his manager used in her presentation.


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