Someone suggested I write about how to find people, addresses, phone numbers and other information about individuals and organizations online. I am by no means an expert in this department but I may be able to direct you to a few good resources. “How is this applicable in the library” you ask? Well perhaps you’ve been asked how one might contact their MLA or member of parliament? What about a company or association address? How about just helping someone track down an old high school friend? If you haven’t had any of these types of questions I’d be surprised.
Finding members of government and government employees:
- Alberta Government Directory (www.gov.ab.ca/directory)
- Canadian Federal Government Directory (http://www.canada.gc.ca/directories)
- Visit other provincial/territorial websites to find their directories.
Looking for contact information for an association or non-profit organization? You could try a very under utilized database we have access to. It is likely under utilized because for some reason we did not have a link to it on our database page - don’t ask me why… It is there now Under the list of Gale databases.
Just looking for a local person’s phone number or a business? You could try:
How about finding those old friends or classmates? There are a several services out there that charge for this sort of information such as classmates.com. Or you could try the latest Internet rage, Facebook. This social networking site helps old and new friends connect. I have to admit I found several friends I hadn’t spoken to in years and years using Facebook. Caution! Facebook is addictive
Looking for the contact information of a famous person, their agent, their publicist, their lawyer? You could try their website, failing that, if you are really serious the Internet Movie Database has loads of that sort of information on actors and actresses for a fee.
You may have heard people talking about how they Googled someone. Have you tried Googleing yourself? People with common names like John smith or say… James MacDonald might have a hard time finding themselves amongst a million results. You can narrow a search down by adding other keywords like middle names, home towns, professions. People with not so common names are much easier to find…
A final tip, try looking for people directories, journalism and sites on private investigation to find resources for tracking people down. Places like JournalismNet might have links to just the right resource.
Did I forget to mention that looking for the “contact us,” “about” or similarly styled page of a website sometimes proves to be rather helpful? Well, sometimes it does.
If you know of a great resource for tracking down that elusive government employee, association, or person feel free to leave a comment.