Net check: our series looking at the best of the web is back. This month, Garry Platt talks about about.com.
This is not a visually appealing and dynamic website, brimming with cutting-edge graphics and the very latest in flash animation. I think if you really search, you'll find a picture of a puppy on one of the pages, but I'm not certain.
About.Com is 'about' just about everything. You name it, you'll find it covered somewhere in its vast labyrinthine pages but, unlike Theseus, you won't need a ball of twine to help you find your way around. About.com describes itself as a neighbourhood of experts and also states: "Every month, over 53 million people visit us for help with everything from health care and parenting issues to advice on travel, cooking, technology, hobbies and more.
"And we offer solutions in the form of over two million handcrafted, original articles, recipes, product reviews, videos, tutorials and more--all created by our network of expert 'guides'; real people who, like all good neighbours, help others so that everyone's life gets just a little better."
To say this website has a broad remit is an understatement on a par with the comments of Adolf Hitler's sister who, after the War, said: "It would probably have been better if he had become an architect." However, to access the sections that are most relevant to us as trainers, look down the left-hand side of the page and you will see a list of channels. Left-click on the item labelled 'Business & Finance'. At the newly opened page, once again look down the left-hand side and click on 'Human Resources'. Here, you will find a rich collection of links, and all one has to do is follow them towards the most interesting information.
The site is US-centric, and this can be a drawback, as referenced legislation and working practices will often (not always) be American.
To single out one particular link seems futile, especially with a source like this, which is so well organised and has such a plethora of information. A definite website to have listed in your favourites, I think.
If you want to tender for government work in the field of training and development, an excellent site to visit is TEDs (Tenders Electronic Daily). If the EU or UK government is putting something out to tender, it's likely to appear here. You will be required to fill in an extensive registration process but after that you will receive notification of tenders in areas that you can mark as relevant to your business.
Found yourself on a website written in a foreign language you don't speak? Visit the Babelfish website, which can perform (very unsophisticatedly) a translation into the language of your choice. It's a handy little website to know about.
Garry Platt is a senior consultant at Woodland Grange, specialising in management development and trainer training. He can be contacted on +44 (0) 1926 336621 or at email@example.com