I have almost no idea how other people do it. I have my own favourite indicies, my own ways of chosing keywords, and so on.
Okay then, here's the idea (cue music): Research Stadium! Watch virtuoso acts of information retrieval! Watch people juggle multiple parallel search queries! Gasp in awe at a well chosen keyword! Who's skills shall rein supreme?
- Contestants all submit a research question as a wiki page before the event (no peeking!).
- Each contestant is randomly allocated one of these questions (not their own).
- Each contestant has 10 minutes to find web-sites and papers that answer the question, and put links to these pages on the question wiki page.
- Contest performed in a seminar room or lecture theater, with computer screen projected on the wall so the audience can see how contestants do their thing in real time.
- Audience/other contestants vote on most virtuoso performance, best answer. Prizes awarded.
A bit of fun, and a way for everyone to learn new tricks. For better viral skill propogation, make sure to have cross-over contests between disparate social groups, eg Campus vs Campus, academics vs postgrads, Arts vs Science.