Agents: Sources and Queries
Agents are structured to contain two types of information:
- the sources you would like the agent to track
- the query to indicate what you want the agent to bring back
There are a number of different ways to add sources to an agent. Click on the links below to find out more.
- a single URL in Smart Tracker
- a pack of sources from the URL Store
- using keywords in Smart Tracker to interrogate search engines across the internet
- putting a DCF search into an agent
Sometimes you will find that the sources in the agent cover very specific subjects, for example the newsfeed from the corporate site of one of your competitors, a specific section from a trade press title or a well-defined pack of sources from the URL Store. For this kind of source, you may want to have back all of the new information posted on these sources.
On other occassions you will notice that the sources you have added to the agent are more general and contain the information you need, but also other articles and postings that are not within your scope. Good examples of this kind of source are consumer blogs, keyword sources from Smart Tracker, the tweetstream and searches from the DCF. Although you need to cover these sources to ensure you have the information you need, you certainly don't want to have back all the new postings from this kind of site.
Adding a query to your agent will act as a filter, making sure that you agent will only bring back the alerts you are interested in.
If the source or sources in your agent only contain interesting information, you may not need or want to add a query at all.
On the other hand, more general sources will certainly need to be filtered by a query.
Get the Balance Right
The secret to making sure you get the right type and quantity of alerts is to balance the sources with the query.
As a basic rule, the more generalized the source the tighter the query needs to be. For very specific sources, a looser query will suffice.
In this example, the sources are very specific, coming from a company's own news feed. For my purposes there was no need for a query.
However, this agent contains much broader and general sources. In order to get back only the information that is interesting for me, I have added a query:
The query is here:
Keep in mind your own needs as you are working on the sources and the queries in your agents. Each project is different, and a source of highly relevant information for one project may only be of moderate interest to another project.